Friday, March 23, 2012

Lego VW Bus build

I got this wonderful Lego kit for Christmas, from my family -- I actually built it soon thereafter (with help from my trusty assistants, Nimue and the cat) and took photos as the assembly progressed. I just now got around to turning the pictures into a time-lapse movie, which you can see below!

It turns out, I am not by any means the only one to have thought of this... these guys (amongst many others) did much the same thing, but in far greater detail and with more finesse... their video looks great! 

For the technically interested (and for myself, so I can remember how I did this), I used the following steps to make the movie from my collection of stills:

1) Export images from iPhoto into a working directory. There were 88 photos for this sequence.
2) Resize images to something more suitable for use on the web:
mogrify -resize 800x600 *.JPG
3) Change the filenames from something like 'DSC_2835.JPG' to 0001.JPG, keeping a numerical sequence. For this, I used a Perl script (based on the canonical Larry Wall 'rename' but with a mod to handle the sequential numbering; found here): 's/^[^.]+\./sprintf("%04d.", $n)/e' *.JPG
4) Build the video. I initially tried qscale = 2, which resulted in a 9.3MB file -- too big for sharing on the web! qscale = 10 gave a more reasonable ~1.3MB filesize.
ffmpeg -qscale 10 -r 10 -b 9600 -i %02d.JPG bus10.mp4

If I were to do this again, I'd definitely get a remote control for the camera, and take lots more stills to smooth out and lengthen the animation.

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