Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Time-lapse video of a flowering Ariocarpus kotschoubeyanus var. macdowellii cactus

Flowering Ariocarpus kotschoubeyanus var. macdowellii (SB 100; El Pilar, Coahuila) - please note that the time-lapse video is generated with a fairly high frame rate meaning that you can slow down the video to 0.5x its speed (or even 0.25x) with good results - the playback speed is controlled via the settings for the YouTube video.

As mentioned in the previous post I broke the shutter of my old faithful Nikon D70 SLR camera while capturing photos for a time-lapse video of a flowering peyote. A time-lapse video of just a few seconds duration requires hundreds of photos and thus imposes a considerable wear on SLR cameras with mechanical shutters. Consequently I have avoided using my new SLR for time-lapse shooting and instead experimented with alternative solutions. One of these being iTimeLapse Pro for the iPhone - an app that allows you to control basic settings like the capture interval, when to stop and start capturing images, and the capture resolution.

The app was used for shooting the images for this video and as such functions just fine, but I still need to work on enhancing the steadiness of the phone (it slid slightly on its stand during the capture sequence), and on tuning the focus (which is slightly behind the center of the flower, making the flower itself look blurry). Also the images are taken in natural light that changes continuously giving the video a flickering appearance - on the other hand the change in light is also responsible for the flower closing again, adding to the video.

I also shot photo sets for a flowering peyote ( Lophophora williamsii var. echinata) and a Gymnocalycium calochlorum and will generate and upload time-lapse videos for these as time permits.

For the technically inclined it must be mentioned that the video was generated using FFmpeg, a free set of tools to record, convert, stream and play multimedia content. FFmpeg can be downloaded here. The photos used in the video were shot one every 15 seconds and is played back at a rate of 25 images per second. The time-lapse video comprises 1001 still images.

If the video doesn't embed properly you can view it in a separate window by clicking the picture below.

Flowering Ariocarpus kotschoubeyanus var. macdowellii (SB 100; El Pilar, Coahuila)


  1. Aww that's so beautiful! A most graceful floral dance~

    1. Thanks Ngeun, that's very poetically put :-)


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