Stop Motion and Time-Lapse Toolkit
This is a simple but powerful Linux bash script to create stop motion and time-lapse videos from an Internet URL or an attached video device (see examples). Simply point it at an image source, set the capture frequency, and starting recording stillframes.  You can view your stillframes as a video, or convert to a true video format at any point.  Bad frames can be browsed/removed with the operating system file browser. 

Stop Motion/Time-Lapse Toolkit Screenshot
Screenshot of the script

  • supports multiple frame capture mechanisms (Internet webcam, attached video device, and screen capture)
  • selectable playback frame rate
  • configurable URL capture
  • supports multiple instances in the same directory
  • sequential or datestamped filenaming
  • video creation from still frames
  • OS level still frame editing/deletion
  • visual/audio frame capture feedback
  • pseduo-real-time display of captured frames
  • can be used to play/create movies from previously captured still frames
  • test mode for capture and display of a single frame
  • supports HTTP authentication

Quick Start:
  • Copy this short script into the directory where you want to create your movie
  • Make sure it is executable (eg, you may have to do "chmod +x")
  • execute it from a shell (terminal) window
  • use the simple menu to point it toward a [U]RL (or use "INTERNAL" to grab from an attached camera)
  • set the [D]elay between captures
  • [T]est the capture to make sure it is pulling in frames properly
  • If everything looks good, start the automated [W]ebcam capture
  • [Q] the capture mode when you have enough frames
  • set the desired playback [F]ramerate
  • scan and delete any bad frames using your operating system file-browser
  • view your video from the [S]till frames
  • [C]onvert your still frames to a video
  • [P]lay your video for confirmation that it was created properly
  • [E]rase your still frames since you don't need them anymore (answer "yes" at prompt)

  • You can run multiple instances within the same directory, so that one instance is actively capturing images, and another allows you to playback video of the captured frames to see how your movie is progressing.
  • Beep==1 will beep immediately before and after a frame capture.
  • ViewCap==1 will display the most recently capture frame.
  • If CameraURL=="INTERNAL", then a frame capture from the attached camera will occur via video4linux (V4L).
  • The CameraURL is of the form:
  • The URL must point to still frames (almost always JPEGs). Video streams (eg, MJPG, MPEG, etc.) will *not* work.

  • This program runs in Linux!  You might be able to get it to work under windows using cygwin.
  • If you're capturing from an attached device, make sure that "streamer" is working properly before running this script. 
  • If you want to use "fswebcam" instead of "streamer", you will have to adjust the script accordingly.
  • You may want to tweak mencoder for the desired quality/size/performance.

This script relies on some other programs to do the heavy lifting, like capturing video, and creating/dislaying movies.  You need these programs installed if you're using the associated functions.  The following programs are used:
  • wget:  used to grab frames from Internet
  • streamer:  used to grab frames via video4linux
  • mencoder:  creates movie from individual frames
  • mplayer:  plays movies and still frames
  • ImageMagick:  used to display captured frames

I came across a few oddities in creating this:
  • Streamer:  requires the extension ".jpeg" in the output file for still image capture
  • Display (from Image Magick):  can't do timed display for less than 3 seconds, and the "delay option" is a flaky for single images.

If you enjoy this script, please drop me a note at webmaster(at)  And please note that continuous frame-grabbing from random cameras
does consume bandwidth, so be respectful, and keep your image captures to a reasonable level. 

  • 2008/03 Original release by AS
  • 2012/04 Modified by AS, way more features and a much better UI!

Distributed under the GPLv3.


Here are a few samples that I made from both webcams on the Internet  and attached cameras to demonstrate what you can do with the Simple Time-lapse and Stop Motion Toolkit.


Pleaselink to this page, and send me an email if you use this program to make any cool videos.  I'd love to know that this is actually entertaining to someone other than me!