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Wanted: Software for chaining digital photos into a stop-motion AVI or MPEG - Howard Tayler
Ramblings of a Happy Cartoonist
Wanted: Software for chaining digital photos into a stop-motion AVI or MPEG
Per sandratayler's most recent post, I've just learned that my 8-year-old wants to make a movie. The easiest way I can think of for him to make something that doesn't look like a corny home video is for him to stop-motion-animate some of our very, very many toys.

(I did this when I was a kid. My movies all sucked. Stupid 8mm camera...)

We have a digital camera capable of taking video, but not single frames of video. It can, however, take single pictures, and can hold lots and lots at a low resolution (640x480 -- twice what we'd be getting in video mode). So... what I need is a way to drop pictures into a video editor one at a time, and have it output an AVI or an MPEG.

I'm also on a budget. I need to be able to do this without spending money.

I've Googled this little project, and determined that I don't know enough terminology to ask the right questions. There seems to be no shortage of software out there, but I'd rather not have to install a dozen different packages in order to find one that actually does what I need.

So... do any of you have recommendations?
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bibliophage From: bibliophage Date: February 11th, 2006 11:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
It sounds like the _easiest_ way would be to build animated gifs.

That would require two steps.

1) convert all the.jpg files to .gif.
2) merge the .gif files into one.

I'm not saying it'll be hugely pretty or small, but it should do the job.
bibliophage From: bibliophage Date: February 11th, 2006 11:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
randytayler From: randytayler Date: February 11th, 2006 11:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

That should do you just fine.
katayamma From: katayamma Date: February 12th, 2006 12:26 am (UTC) (Link)
I'd suggest getting your kid one of the Lego Creator products. It's video software for your PC that lets the kid create/edit/record animation/movies using Legos on the PC. I've seen what they can do with it and it's not bad. Amazon.com has used versions that are cheap too.

r_caton From: r_caton Date: February 12th, 2006 12:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Paint Shop Pro has an animation program included with it.....
I suppose the 8mm gear has gone the way of the dodos....
howardtayler From: howardtayler Date: February 12th, 2006 06:12 am (UTC) (Link)
The 8mm stuff is long gone, yes. It's also pricey, because of, you know, FILM.
peterchayward From: peterchayward Date: February 12th, 2006 01:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Windows Movie Maker comes on every XP computer. It might have what you want.
pablowapsi From: pablowapsi Date: February 12th, 2006 08:13 am (UTC) (Link)
How do you load individual digital camera jpegs into it?
(Deleted comment)
athelind From: athelind Date: February 12th, 2006 01:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmm. No software recommendations, but I wanted to note that THE CORPSE BRIDE used digital still cameras instead of movie or video cameras. So it's not merely possible, you can actually get much cleaner results than with ordinary video.
howardtayler From: howardtayler Date: February 12th, 2006 06:13 am (UTC) (Link)
And where do you think I got this wacky idea? That's right... DVD special features on the Corpse Bride. GREAT movie.
blurr003 From: blurr003 Date: February 12th, 2006 02:02 am (UTC) (Link)
i think iMovie can do all that, if not than i'm sure iLife can. it ought to have come preloaded on most newish macs. The 12" powerbook I bought back in '03 has it.
memeatron From: memeatron Date: February 14th, 2006 05:55 am (UTC) (Link)
If you have a Mac, there are several nice programs (and very inexpensive - I'd happily pay for one for you) specifically for taking still pix and turning them into movies that have live onionskinning features (Y'know, where you save a frame and it ghosts the image of it over what you're posing so you can move your subject *just enough*?).

So if you have a Mac, please let me know.
lordhostile From: lordhostile Date: February 12th, 2006 05:29 am (UTC) (Link)
iMovie definately can (having done so myself) but most moviemaking programs should be able to, as they can treat any image as a single frame of film in the editing process. That said, if your 8 year old has the patience to put even a tiny short together, it would be stunning. I made one for a film class a few years ago, and it nearly drove me mad, as well as taking up the better part of a semester, for only 60 seconds of footage. (And that was at 15 frames per second, which usually looks better for hand done work, as it hides some of the jerkyness.) On the other hand, if you need something to keep him occupied, and he can do all the computer work himself, I can think of few better time sinks. But it does take a near Aspergers attention span, not ADD flightyness to make something out of it.
galbinus_caeli From: galbinus_caeli Date: February 12th, 2006 05:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Depends on your OS, but the MPLAYER/MENCODER family can do that. I also suspect that the Transcode family can as well.

You need to decide what your end result is going to be. Windows mwv, Quicktime, or AVI are your basic container choices, then what format your video is going to be in. MJPEG is going to be the most direct, MPEG2 is DVD standard, MPEG4 is standardish on the web. Then if you are adding audio, that is in yet another format, AC2 is DVD type (and is basically a raw audio file) MP3 is much more compressed if you are only going to view the result from a computer.

Video is difficult and complex (probably more so than it needs to be, but it is an evolving area). I am trying to learn the intricacies as I get Flying Car Television ready for launch.
galbinus_caeli From: galbinus_caeli Date: February 12th, 2006 05:50 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, both Transcode and Mplayer are opensource, so won't cost you anything.
stellar_dust From: stellar_dust Date: February 12th, 2006 07:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Sounds like you've got a lot of options, but here's another: Virtual Edit Lite should do what you want pretty easily. It'll take still frames, string 'em together with (or without) a soundtrack, and output .avi. The free version is slightly limited, but the limitations shouldn't matter at all for what you're doing. 'Course, it's basically the same as Windows Movie Maker, but I like it.
davebennett From: davebennett Date: February 12th, 2006 08:03 am (UTC) (Link)
It's not free, but Pinnacle has been doing consumer video editing software for ages. and $50 is not too bad at all for what you get.
zenkitty_714 From: zenkitty_714 Date: February 12th, 2006 08:53 am (UTC) (Link)
I have no advice, but I'm amused that people in the same house sometimes communicate via LiveJournal. It makes me feel better that LJ is my primary means of communication with many of my friends!

Also, can I just mention again how much I adore your family?
bibliophage From: bibliophage Date: February 12th, 2006 10:17 am (UTC) (Link)
That's okay. Kreely and I used to talk back and forth - and we'd be on two different desks in the same room. It's just that IM is easier than talking when you have music running.
(Deleted comment)
mrmeval From: mrmeval Date: February 12th, 2006 11:36 am (UTC) (Link)
I browsed around and found this. Takes a series of images and outputs avi movies.

Very simple

Monkey Jam, looks cool

bryan314 From: bryan314 Date: February 12th, 2006 02:48 pm (UTC) (Link)


I strongly encourage you to have him use highest possible resolution on your camera rather than low rez. That way, he can make changes and crop without having to worry too much about pixelization. The final out put is when you go to a lower rez....but then, I suspect I'm teaching my grandmother to suck eggs here. Schlock is always of highest quality, I'm sure you are more aware than I of the "shoot high, output low" school of graphic manipulation.
bryan314 From: bryan314 Date: February 12th, 2006 05:28 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: resolution

Oh, and I assume we get to see the results, if any? :) Just read Sandra's journal and it sounds like the short person is choking on a mouthfull of inspiration! Quick! Get it out and onto film!
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