Ongos Molt! (And how to make a time lapse video)

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FeistyMcGrudle

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I woke up this morning before work to find this guy mid molt! I rushed to get my camera set up and tried my best to get this going so I wouldn't be late.

ongo.gif

Full timelapse here

So heres how I made this time lapse. If you want to follow this exactly you will need a USB webcam that will capture .jpg images, a program called FFMPEG, as well as a Windows 10 PC. This also assumes at least a little know-how with a computer. 

First off, you will need a way to record. I used a USB webcam hooked up to my PC and used the built-in Windows 10 Camera app and set it at 5 second shutter intervals, but as long as you have a way to digitally capture images at timed intervals, this method should work.

Secondly, you will need a program to stitch all these images together. This tutorial is for a program called FFMPEG, and you will need to download it. You can get it here. You will not need to install anything.

Once you have FFMPEG downloaded, extract the contents of the .zip file into a folder on your desktop (or anywhere thats easy to find).

Next you will need to access whatever pictures you want for your time lapse and get them somewhere easy to find on your computer. For example, the default storage area for the photos I took were stored in the 'My Pictures' folder on my computer. Once you have located the pictures, it is recommended you copy all the pictures into a new folder so you aren't working with the originals, just in case something happens. Once your pictures are copied to a new folder, you are going to want to sort and rename them. To follow this tutorial exactly, open the folder with all your pictures and sort them by date, next, press control (ctrl) + A. This will select all of the pictures. Then, right click on the very first picture in the folder and select 'rename'. Rename the picture to (without quotes) "img". Make sure the naming schema is img (1).jpg, img (2).jpg, etc..This is very important for the last step to go smoothly.

After renaming your photos, locate the FFMPEG folder you created and locate the ffmpeg.exe file in the 'bin' folder. Right-click and copy ffmpeg.exe and paste it into the folder with all your renamed pictures. 

From here we need to run the ffmpeg.exe file. This next step involves using a command line. The easiest way to access the command line is to open the folder with the renamed pictures and ffmpeg.exe, and in the address bar (where it says, for example, This PC > My Pictures) simply click on it and type CMD and press enter. A black command line box will pop up and you can go to the next step. Otherwise, you can click on the start menu and just type CMD and press enter, and a command prompt will open and you can navigate to the folder from there. If you have trouble with this step, google how to navigate your computer using a command prompt.

Now, we will need to run the actual command to stitch all these pictures together. This command is:

ffmpeg -i "img (%d).jpg" timelapse.mp4

Copy and paste that, or type it in exactly as it is shown above into the command prompt window and press enter. If all goes well you will see the command prompt chugging away. Depending on a bunch of variables, this could take some time, so if you have gotten this far and your computer looks like it is doing something, just sit back and let your computer do its thing. Otherwise let me know where you are stuck on and I can try to help. When completed, you will notice a new file called timelapse.mp4 in the folder you ran FFMPEG from, which is your time lapse!

 
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FeistyMcGrudle

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This is wicked!

Well done, @FeistyMcGrudle!

Man, that's cool.
Thanks! It was relatively easy to do. I just set up a webcam and used the Windows 10 camera app to take pictures in 5 second intervals. Once I snapped enough pics (about 1,800 of them) I stitched them together using a program called ffmpeg. The last part was not intuitive at all, but if there is interest I can do a quick write up on my process!

 

Graceface

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Cool! I have a gopro style action can that does time lapse. I've done one of an Orchid eating flies, but I always wanted to do a time lapse molt video. Logistics have prevented me so far, but this inspires me to try 

 

FeistyMcGrudle

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Comparison of (what I believe) a freshly molted l5 and l6. The darker, smaller guy is Mantis Toboggan and the bigger lighter guy is Ongo Gablogian

IMG_20190202_104905.jpg

 

Mystymantis

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Awesome time laps of your mantis molting. Wow that is a lot of pictures! I am interested in the process and would love a write up on how you did the time laps.

 

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