Written by Photography, Video

Muvi X-Lapse Timelapse Experiements

Yesterday I got hold of a cheap Muvi X-Lapse. It’s basically a device that you can mount on a tripod, and then on top of it you can either place a small(ish) camera or a mobile phone. Then with some kind of intervalmeter software either on your camera or your phone, you can shoot rotating timelapse videos.
The Muvi X-Lapse comes with a clip that should hold most smartphones. I used a paid-for Android app called Lapse It Pro to try it out with my phone. That looks like quite a nice piece of software, although as the makers warn you, processing those still JPGs into a video file can be processor intensive on your phone, so it’s something to do when you have your phone charging.
Today I spent some time using my old faithful Canon A470 camera. It’s a bit beat up, and is very basic, but it runs CHDK. This is “alternative” Canon firmware that you can temporarily (or permanently) install on many Canon point and shoot cameras to give them lots of additional functionality. Most usefully, you can add an intervalmeter to shoot timelapse videos.
Here’s what I shot today:

Timelapse Test in London from Adam Bowie on Vimeo.

The stills were assembled into a video using Quicktime Pro. I fear that I may need to play with the settings in Quicktime, because it does seem to have added a bit of pixelation in that phase. However Quicktime is the easiest way to assemble a video from a series of JPGs. I ensured that I’d set the camera to a 16:9 ratio before shooting. I also ran a batch-file in Photoshop to reduce the filesize down to 1080p video size.
Then it was just a bit of tidying up in Premiere and exporting to Vimeo.
Overall, I’m quite impressed. The major drawback with the Muvi X-Lapse is that you have no control of the speed that it rotates. A full 360 degree rotation will take an hour. All you can do to speed up or slow down the video is decide how frequently you will take pictures. The sunset sequence at the end is taken at 5 second intervals, but most of the rest of the video is shot at between 1 and 2 second intervals.
The Muvi X-Lapse itself is probably built on a kitchen timer mechanism. There are plenty of websites that show you how to make your own timelapse device using things like cheap Ikea kitchen timers. But I was happy to pay a few pounds more and have tripod mounts and smartphone mounts built in for me. I’m happy with my purchase.