In 2002-2005 I collected approx 280000 jpegs from a webcam that updated every 5 minutes, with pictures of a construction job in my local town.

My goal is to make a youtube-video with optimal quality.

Can I do this with free software? How many fps should I have? What codec?

Here are two consecutive original images.



  • 1
    Can you give us a bit more detail on any kit you may have access to (Windows, Mac, etc) Commented Apr 27, 2015 at 13:38
  • I use Windows. It is possible for me to run linux-tools in a virtual PC. I don't have any fancy software. Commented Apr 27, 2015 at 13:43
  • I've done this using VirtualDub as described in the answers below but there are limitless options. I would recommend this place if you are interested in time lapses: forum.timescapes.org/phpBB3/index.php very friendly community and a lot of information on what to do and what not to do when creating time lapses from the process of shooting to the final video assembly steps!
    – mmvsbg
    Commented May 7, 2015 at 10:12

2 Answers 2


Assuming these have, or can be given, consecutively numbered file names you can do this easily using ffmpeg, avconv and similar utilities. Most have builds for Mac, Windows and Linux.

The choice of frame rate is up to you, and really affects only the total length of the output file (at 30fps, 280000 frames is 2.6 hours; at 24 fps it's 3.24 hours). If you have a target device or platform that needs a specific rate, use that.

You may want to decimate the source stack -- that's a lot of pictures and it's unlikely to be interesting for the entire length. I would convert to 30 fps, then edit the result to eliminate long unchanging sections (nights, etc).

Good luck.


I've done this a couple times. My software choice is VirtualDub (free), and then After Effects for some cleanup (stabilization). The stabilization can be done by YouTube if you don't own After Effects.

Basically just download VirtualDub, then import the image sequence into it. It'll automatically import all the photos after you select the first one. Make sure to change the frame rate to something higher, VirtualDub defaults to 10. I'd pick either 24 or 30. Once you've done that, just save as an AVI from the file menu.

Then you can upload straight to YouTube, or take it into After Effects and use warp stabilizer to stabilize.

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