Need advice on best setup for time lapse capture
  • Currently have SS with several cameras set for both continuous capture (new file every hour) and motion capture (quick look at interesting events).

    What I am interested in doing is having a video file which is a time lapse for quickly viewing/reviewing. My thought is that with the time-lapse already created in the video file, I can use any regular video viewer - especially if I am remote and download the video file to a local device.

    I have had unreliable experience viewing videos online and/or in real-time and trying to play them at faster speeds than the default 1x or using scrubbing to move quickly forward or backward. Doesn't seem reliable across all possible viewing platforms (directly in SS with the built-in "browser", locally on the LAN using the SS web server/browser interface, or using iOS apps on iPhones/iPads.)

    I am considering defining duplicate camera configurations to create time-lapse videos but not sure if this is the best option or the best way to do this. Should I configure video capture with xx frames/time period defined or capture stills every xx time periods and use an external utility to stitch the stills together into a video?

    For time lapse, what is a recommended time interval (one frame or capture per xxx seconds or minutes) that is a good starting point?
  • SecuritySpy will let you specify the frame rate at which to capture video frames to continuous-capture movies, but these movies will always play back in real time by default.

    However there are a few ways to get them to play back at faster than real time:

    1. Use the Browser built into SecuritySpy: press the L key multiple times until you get the speed you want (K to stop; J to go slow down or go backwards).

    2. View the movies in a web browser. Assuming they are .m4v files (i.e. movie files that use H.264 video encoding and AAC audio encoding), you will see controls there to speed up/slow down playback.

    3. Download the movie files to your local machine via the web server, and open them in Quicktime Player for playback. Here you can use the same "JKL" controls as the SecuritySpy Browser.

    As for capture frame rate, 1fps is normally a good setting (any less frequently and the chances of missing something become unacceptably high).

    Note that if the incoming stream from the camera is in H.264 format, you will need to enable the "Recompress video frames" settings under Preferences -> Cameras -> Device so that SecuritySpy can change the frame rate of the incoming video for capture, OR you will have to set your camera to itself send video at 1fps, in which case SecuritySpy can just capture this directly.
  • Thanks for the info. I didn't realize that the video would still play in normal time.

    A brief amount of Googling shows there are a lot of specialized tools to create time-lapse videos from still frames (or possibly regular videos).

    Does anyone have experience with any of these tools and can recommend something that runs on the Mac? (I am still looking for a way to create a video that is intrinsically a time-lapse and doesn't require special controls in the player to speed it up. I realize this would be limited to one speed, but that would meet my needs.)
  • Sometimes you have to go backwards to go forwards.

    Revert to v3 of SS. you can set the playback frame rate and capture rate in that version.
    It works really well.
  • @stublight is indeed correct - SecuritySpy version 3 can do this. We removed this option mainly due to the new Browser feature, where only real-time footage can be displayed (due to the new timeline and synchronised multi-camera playback).

    @Spiv - if you own a v4 license but want to use v3, please email us and we'll be happy to supply a v3 license for you (but you won't be able to use it at the same time as your v4 license).
  • @ben - Thanks for the additional info. I'm going to stay with v4 as I like the other improvements and I'm still more interested in finding a time-lapse solution that creates a video file that can be played/used anywhere without special viewers or players.

    N.B. - SS continues to provide the best, most responsive support of all the "prosumer" and commercial applications that I use. Some for personal use, some for my business clients. @ben deserves praise for going above and beyond (we are often critical on forums pointing out limitations, etc. but need to give thanks when really due.)

    (And some apps with lousy support cost many times more than SS!)
  • Thanks @Spiv! I believe it's incredibly important to pay close attention to what customers are saying, and respond in a proactive way to all issues and suggestions.

    Just FYI, SecuritySpy v3 does produce standard move files (.mov or .m4v) that will play back almost anywhere without special viewers or players (the same goes for SSv4, but of course these will all be real-time).

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