Time Lapse in OS X

I wanted to turn a series of images into a time-lapse type film and started to do a bit of research.
As I’m prone to trust that Apple’s own solutions usually work well, plus the fact that the search result for “time lapse osx” resulted in mostly tips about time lapse captures using a webcam, but some mentioned that Quicktime Pro should have a function called “Open Image Sequence”, which turns your images into a film. This is exactly what I wanted since I’m taking the pictures with my DSLR.

First I wanted to wait until after the WWDC to make sure that nothing new and revolutionizing was on the horizon before dropping the 275 SEK for the Pro upgrade.

So last night I went to puchase the Pro upgrade, and eager as I am, instead I accidentally bought the Quicktime MPRG-2 plugin for 185 SEK by mistake instead. (damn!)

Then I got it right.. I downloaded the Quicktime Pro upgrade, which turns out to be a password for an ancient version of Quicktime! (version 7! – Aren’t we on version 10 now?)

So I had to download a very old version of Quicktime first, then enter the password to upgrade it to “pro”.  Well at least my timelapse import was going to work now right? (185 + 275 SEK later)
But no.. It doesn’t work!! I’m unable to open my images, so I start searching again, and I see that I’m not the only one with this problem..

Turns out that the images are too big in size for this function on Quicktime from back in the day.. What to do..?

Back to googling. Now I’ve tried a freeware program called Time Lapse Assembler 1.4 which seems to do the trick (for free nonetheless!), but I can’t help but feel that there should be a better way.

Any tips anyone?
(please leave a comment if you have any thoughts, tips or experiences)

Oh, by the way – I called Apple and they’re giving me my money back for both the MPEG-2 decoder and the Quicktime 7 Pro key. Kudos!

Below is my first attempt at this:

Stefan Leijon

Black Belt Digital Concept Designer. I occasionally lecture on finding ideas and emerging media. I take instagram pictures, share what I find and love to cook. Connect with me on Google+

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  • Bastian Fellenberg

    did you find any solution for the time-laps problem under lion and without quicktime pro?

    greetz Bastian

  • I ended up using “Time Lapse Assembler 1.4” (link in the post), it works fine.

    I would have hoped for a smooth solution in Quicktime, but I really don’t want to go backwards in time and use an ancient software that doesn’t support modern picture resolutions.So Time Lapse Assembler is what I currently use until I can find something better.

    Actually, now that you remind me, I’ll ask a friend of mine that has made some great time lapse videos to see what he uses. I’ll get back to you.

  • pokho

    would like to know if you find something better for lion

  • Unfortunately not.

    My friend was using an old version of Quicktime (downgraded), so my vote still goes to Time Lapse Assembler, although I haven’t looked around in case there’s something new out there since I wrote the original post.
    If you come across something, please let me know.

  • Joelbennett88

    Thanks for this post, I found it helpful and have also downloaded the free timelapse software… I wonder if the reason that quicktime no longer supports this feature is due to apple wanting the user to do ‘everything’ within final cut x 🙁 i hope not 

  • Tryptophane

    Hmmm… My journey was similar – but I finally got a copy of Quicktime Pro 7, and after entering the license key, I’m able to import a sequence of images from my Canon 5D Mk II flawlessly on both my iMac and my ancient MacBook Pro. I should mention that I haven’t imported any sequences larger than 310 images so far – so maybe I haven’t hit the “magic” number that makes it fail?

  • If I remember correctly, it’s also a matter of picture resolution. But if it works for you – great. It could also be the downgrading to a very old version of Quicktime that bugs me a bit, besides it not working for what I needed it for.
    Best of luck and thanks for your input!

  • Santaclauss1234

    I too am looking, in particular, for something just a tad more sophisticated.

    I would not mind something with the capacity to align images (I’ve done some shooting while riding a bike) as well as defining fps.

    Thank you for the post and the link! I’ll visit again to see if anyone answers with other suggestions.