Plant Time-lapse

Time-lapse photography of Plant : Videos & Techniques

A Very Easy Time-lapse with Windows Movie Maker


For my first time-lapse, I went through several softwares found on internet. Nothing worked really properly, my mistake ? Undoubtfully… The point is I did not want to spend too much time on that technical part. Finally I had already the solution in my computer : Windows Movie Maker.

Loading the photos on the timeline

Just make sure, before starting windows movie maker, you have prepared a folder with all pictures. You should not need to rename the picture as your camera already increased 1by1 all the pictures name. If it did not, I advice the little software “Irfanview“. You can find a tutorial here.

Also quickly check out your pictures to confirm that nothing has pertubed the subject. For e.g. you watering the plant or your wife getting home earlier with your best friend…

  1. Open Windows Movie Maker
  2. On the left menu, select pictures on “import” window
  3. A pop-up appears, go to the folder with pictures imported.
  4. Press the first picture
  5. Do the command “Ctrl + a”
  6. Select “import”
  7. Do the command “Ctrl + a” again
  8. Slide the content to the bar on the screen bottom. Easy !

Define time-lapse parameters

  1. On the top menu, select “tools” then “options”
  2. Go to “advanced parameters”

Length parameters

Here we are, windows movie maker is not really offering what we are looking for. Indeed, the smaller picture time is 0,125. That means 8 frames/s. Most of the time-lapse I saw were made 15 frames/s which is lower. I suggest you to try the smallest to see if it matches your needs, regarding the number of pictures and the video length you want to make.

Do not mind about “transition time” as we did not add transitions.

Video parameters

You can choose between the two predominant video format NTSC (National Television Systems Committee) or PAL (Phase Alternating Line). You should keep the default value. It is just regional standard. For number lovers :

  • NTSC : 30 frames/s with 525 individual scan lines
  • PAL : 25 frames/s with 625 individual scan lines

Then you can decide the screen format 4:3 or 16:9. To get HD format, Youtube will only take 16:9 !

I am not sure about the last option, I have decided to take the highest : 25 Mo.

Publish your movie

  1. On the top menu, go to file –> publish film
  2. Select “on the computer” and press “next”
  3. Choose a name and a directory for your movie
  4. Then movie parameters…

I advice you to try first publishing the movie in high quality (HD). If the movie exceeds about 200Mo, it will be difficult to upload it and you should try to publish a  “compressed” film. Please notice that the default option is not the highest quality ! To get the HD :

  1. Clic on “More parameters”, you can now access a list
  2. Select “HD 720p Windows Media” or “Windows Media HD 1080p”

I have found out, people advice “HD 720p Windows Media”, I guess because it is enough for a computer screen.

As a conclusion, I would say Windows Movie Maker will offer very few options for the real time-lapser! It will not manage a big amount of pictures. If I suppose, a guy gets bored after one and a half minute of a plant time-lapse, that means 90seconds times 8frames = 720 pictures maximum. You will see that you can easily need several thousands pictures. Unless you are OK to sacrifice every second picture, get another software !

Author: Ben

After 5 years of SAP consulting in south of France, I now live in Vienna, Austria. From there I offer consulting services in France and I am learning German. Please feel free to contact me if you want to exchange informations.

5 thoughts on “A Very Easy Time-lapse with Windows Movie Maker

  1. Pingback: Lithops Plant Time Lapse « Plant Time-lapse

  2. Pingback: Imotion APP : Create your first Time-Lapse next hour ! « Plant Time-lapse

  3. Pingback: Dragon Tree Plant growing from a dead trunk | Plant Time-lapse

  4. There is a new kid in town it seems! It’s called Time Lapse MovieMonkey and it’s quite awesome! I found out about it from a softpedia newsletter. It did the job of creating my latest time lapse movie really really really fast. And I didn’t have to read the instructions. It’s simple and intuitive, but has enough advanced settings. And it’s freeware. So maybe check it out:

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