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Creating a time-lapse from a series of images using avconv
Jan 31, 2016
2 minutes read

A series of images can be converted into a time-lapse video with Ubuntu Server using avconv. ffmpeg can be used to accomplish the same thing, but it’s not available in the 14.04 repositories.

avconv can be installed using

sudo apt-get install libav-tools

Once it’s installed, an example of using it to convert a series of sequential images to a time-lapse video is shown below:

avconv -start_number 10006 -i IMG%5d.JPG -r 30 -vcodec libx264 -q:v 3 -vf crop=3840:2160:160:0,scale=iw:ih output.mp4
  • i - input files. In the example above, %5d can be any 5 decimal numbers.
    • %xdx can be replaced with the number of digits that make up the iterable portion of the filename.
  • start_number - sets the starting number for the iterable portion of the image sequence’s filename
  • r - frame rate of the output time-lapse video
  • vcodec - specifying libx264 uses x264 to encode the output
  • q:v - specifies the quality. Values range from 1 (least compression, highest quality) to 31 (most compression, lowest quality)
  • vf - video filter option that can be used to specify a section of the source frames to use in the output video. In the example, the output was cropped to 3840 x 2160.
    • cropout_w:out_h:x:y
      • out_w is the width of the output video
      • out_h is the height of the output video
      • x is the horizontal position, in the input video, of the left edge of the output video
      • y is the vertical position, in the input video, of the top edge of the output video
    • scale - indicates how much scaling should be applied to the output video. iw:ih indicates that no scaling should be applied. However, if you wanted video to be scaled to half the height and width you would use iw/2:ih/2.

An example timelapse created using this technique is show below:


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