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Scripts used to compile time-lapse frames into movies.
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Latest commit be0c812 Jul 9, 2019


Time-Lapse assembling

This repo contains scripts used to compile Time-lapse movies using ffmpeg. The ffmpeg utility is controlled via the ffmpeg-python wrapper.


This package requires the ffmpeg tool to be installed. Moreover, it should be installed with the --enable-libfreetype option. Additionally graphviz should be installed to visually inspect the graph from in to output. When using homebrew use:

brew install ffmpeg --with-freetype
brew install graphviz

Then install this package:

pip install -e .


For near-universal compatibility the H.264 codec is used. The following section describe some of the choices for specific configuration options.

See the ffmpeg wiki for additional information:

Constant Rate Factor

Use -crf 22 to set a constant rate factor, which means the overall quality of the movie should be constant. So bitrate varies to ensure this. Higher value is slower quality. The quality with 22 seems reasonable. Check if it streams nicely to users on slower bandwidth.. otherwise a high crf (lower quality) might be needed.


Use -preset slower to improve the compression ratio for the selected quality (crf), without taking too much time. The slower preset is still fast enough for me.


Set -movflags +faststart to allow the movie to quickly start playing, while it is still loading.

Quicktime support

The codec defaults to YUV 444, which is not supported by Quicktime. So add -pix_fmt yuv420p to fix Quicktime support.


Select input frames

Use frames as input by giving a glob pattern which matches the desired images. Usually these will be tiff images so use -pattern_type glob -i "*.tiff".


When using image sequences as input the framerate of the desired output should be given using -framerate 30.


Commonly used filters:


  • First deflicker the video to ensure it is equally deflickered for all outputs
  • Then scale and crop the videos to fit the desired final resolutions
  • Then add the watermark (which should not be deflickered)

Scale video

Add scaling to ensure it fits in given dimensions. Negative values for width or height make the encoder figure out the size by itself, keeping the aspect ratio of the source. The integer of the negative value, i.e. 4 for -4, means that the size should be devisble by that value. TODO: does it just scale/squish the video or crop?:

-vf scale=1920:-2
-vf scale=960:540:aspect..

Convert movie

Using time-lapse and ffmpeg-python:

import ffmpeg

from time_lapse import output

NAME = 'test'
PATTERN = '*.tiff'

input = (
    .input(PATTERN, pattern_type='glob', framerate=24)
    .filter_('deflicker', mode='pm', size=10)
output.create_outputs(input, NAME, verbose=False)


By passing verbose=True to create outputs the following ffmpeg-python inspection methods will be performed.

Show the ffmpeg command options ffmpeg-python would use:


By using graphviz the graph from input to output can be shown using:

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