Timelapse Videos: How I did it

I often get asked how I made all the timelapse videos of my build. It was a pretty straight forward thing to do, and after a few times, I got the process condensed way down, and it didn’t add much time to the overall build. At a high level, I’m just capturing images from a webcam (connected to a PC) once every 5 seconds, and then I turn those images into a video slideshow (that plays the images back very fast!)

I have a full desktop PC on my main workbench (with a 32″ HDTV for a monitor ) running Windows 7. A laptop would work just as well. Not sure about other operating systems, as I use Windows Live Movie Maker… which comes pre-loaded on Windows 7.

The PC is under the bench, below the LCD TV.
The PC is under the bench, below the LCD TV.

The webcam is a Microsoft LifeCam HD-5000, but any webcam that the PC recognizes will work.

You can see the webcam mounted on a tripod in front of the plane
You can see the webcam mounted on a tripod in front of the plane

I also have a 30′ USB extension cable from monoprice.com ($9, LOVE MONOPRICE!!!)

The program I use to capture pictures from my webcam is called Booru (http://lumai.se/bc.html). The extent of the configuration is telling the app which webcam to use, how often to take a picture, what resolution to capture, and where to store the pictures. Mine is set to take a pic every 5 seconds. There are other apps that do the same thing, but I haven’t investigated them.

My process is this:

1. Put the webcam somewhere it can get a good view of the work area. Mine is normally clamped to a shelf somewhere.
2. Open Booru (it starts recording as soon as it opens)
3. Build an airplane.
4. When finished building the airplane, quit the Booru app.
5. I move the captured pictures to another folder, but only because I’m going to keep them all. If you’re only interested in the video, you can ignore this step… and delete the pics when you’re done.
6. Open Windows Live Movie Maker
7. In WLMM, click “All Pictures or Videos”
8. Browse to your pictures folder, right click > select all, then click “open”.
9. In WLMM, hit the edit button.
10. There is now a field to choose how long to display each pic. I use .05 seconds. With a 5 second capture time, this ends up being 100x faster than realtime.
11. Hit “Save Video” You now have a WMV Video file.
12. Upload to YouTube for the world (or at least a few crazy airplane people) to enjoy!

It looks like a lot all typed up, but it takes me about 20 seconds from start to finish (except the “build an airplane” step)

4 thoughts on “Timelapse Videos: How I did it

  • July 7, 2016 at 3:27 PM

    This is great! I have been considering doing a time lapse of my RV-10 build (hope to start it within 2 or 3 months) but I was worried it would take too much effort to do. I’ll definitely look into Booru.

    By the way, I love the paint job and the panel on your RV-10. I hope my wife and I can build one that nice.

  • July 8, 2016 at 5:31 PM

    Thanks for the compliment! We’re really happy with how the paint turned out.

    Do look into Booru. It’s free, and it worked for me… but when I did my research, it was early 2012. There may be something better out there now.

    I too was worried about the extra effort. I told myself that I’d try it for a few building sessions, and if it took too much time, I wouldn’t continue. After a few days, I had the process pretty streamlined, and it only added a few minutes each day.

  • December 2, 2016 at 1:48 PM

    Hi, I´m a guy from northern Germany and actually ordering the empennage kit to begin the building process. I enjoy you blogs and videos so much. Hopefully my RV 10 will look as nice as yours…

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