LifeCapture, time-lapse photography for your phone:
Please note there are different versions of the program depending on what make of phone you have. The standard version should work on most makes of phone except Motorolas. LifCaptureSE is only suitable for phones which allow unsigned applications to save files without asking for permission each time. LifeCaptureSE v2.1 is designed specifically for new Sony Ericsson phones which support JSR234, such as the w910i, w595 etc.
Life Capture turns your phone into a time-lapse camera. You set how often you want the phone to take a picture anywhere from a few tenths of a second to several minutes. You then set how many frames you want the phone to capture. The application could also be used as a kind of cctv/spy camera. If you have any problems, please read the FAQ below before asking for help.
A timelapse of different scenes inside and outside various pubs in Stamford, Lincolnshire.
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Download the standard version:
You can download LifeCapture directly by going to the following link on your phone's web browser:
Or, you can download these files onto your PC and transfer them to your phone: LifeCapture.jar and LifeCapture.jad (Right click and choose Save File) Once you have files stored on your phone, install the application from the '.jad' file
LifeCaptureSE is now also available to download. This is a special edition of the program for modern phones, such as new Sony Ericssons, which allow unsigned java applications to save files without asking for permission every time. It works in a similar way to the standard version but many more frames can be captured in this version as the picture is saved as soon as it is captured instead of in a batch at the end of the program. If you have used the standrard version and do not have to keep tapping the 'ok' button every time a picture is saved then this version might be a better option for you. Instructions for use are pretty much the same as the standard version and any extras are self explanatory. Please note that LifeCaptureSE v2.1 is only designed to work on new Sony Ericsson phones which support JSR234, such as w910i or w595 etc. This version has extra features. The program now captures each frame at a much faster rate and at a greater resolution, up to 2048x1536 if your phone's camera supports it, although for creating videos it is recommended that you use 640x480. All frames are now captured in landscape mode which fit standard screens much better. There is also a night exposure mode setting.
Download LifeCaptureSE v2.1 (Sony Ericsson only):
Check compatibility for running LifeCaptureSE2.1 by following this link and choosing your phone from the drop down menu. Your phone will need to support java platform 7 or higher.
Use the mobile site or download these files onto your PC and transfer them to your phone: LifeCaptureSE2.jar and LifeCaptureSE2.jad (Right click and choose Save File) Once you have the files stored on your phone, install the application from the '.jad' file
Download LifeCaptureSE v1.1.1:
Use the mobile site or download these files onto your PC and transfer them to your phone: LifeCaptureSE.jar and LifeCaptureSE.jad (Right click and choose Save File) Once you have the files stored on your phone, install the application from the '.jad' file
When the program starts, you will need to select what type of phone you have (not SEv2.1). If your phone is not listed use the 'Generic' option.
Next, select where you want the pictures to be saved. Either your phone's default picture folder or the root of the memory card (modern Sony Ericsson users, eg w910i, look in the DCIM folder). The picture will be in a folder called 'LifeCapture'. SEv2.1 will save the pictures in a folder called 'LC' tagged with the month, day, hour and minute capture began eg 'LC01-14-22-10'. This allows you to use the program as many times as your memory card will allow without overwriting pictures captured from a previous session.
You now need to select the resolution of the captured frames. Please note that if you are using the standard version of LifeCapture, using the higher resolution options will reduce the number of frames the application is able to capture. This does not apply to the SE version, although if you intend to convert the pictures to a video file, it is recommended that you use 640x480. SEv2 users will now be able to select normal or night exposure.
From the main screen(pictured) you can use the direction keys to select how often the phone will capture a picture and how many pictures to take (NFrms). Note that the phone will probably take about a second to actually save the frame on top of what time is set. The first time you use the program, it is reccomended that you use the default settings to test that the program will work on your particular phone. If you recieve a phone call or text message while the program is running, operation will probably be interrupted. If you're setting the phone up for a long period of time it is advisable to use an old SIM card which won't recieve texts or calls. To exit the program at any point while it is taking pictures, hold down your phone's 'back' or 'red phone' button for a few seconds.
Now, highlight the green 'Start' (The standard version of the program has an orange 'Start Unsafe' option which may allow you to take more pictures, but the program is more likely to crash) and press 'fire' to begin taking pictures. At this point, the phone will probably ask permission to use the camera. If it keeps asking permission every time, you will need to edit the java permissions on your phone. The mulimedia (or something simlar) permission will need to be changed from 'Ask Always' to 'Ask once'.
The SE version saves each frame to the phone's memory card as it is captured, so even if you end the program early, any frames already captured will be saved. The standard version, however, has to store the frames in memory and save them in a batch at the end and you will probably have to give permission for each frame to be saved. If your phone does not ask permission for each frame, then the SE version will probably be a better option for you.
Turning the images into a video:
The images will be saved to your phone's internal memory in the pictures/images folder or Memory Card (Modern Sony Ericsson, eg w910i, look in the DCIM folder) in a sub-folder called 'lifecapture'. Depending on your phone, this folder and/or the images may not be visible from your phone's media browser. You will now need to connect your phone to your home computer and use the software which is usually supplied with your phone to transfer the images. Once you have the images saved onto your computer, remember to delete the 'lifecapture' folder from your phone.
There are a number of commercial and free programs on the market which will turn the images into a video. I use VirtualDub which is completetly free to download and use. Click the link below to download it:
VirtualDub is not my program so I can't really give any support in using it, but full instructions can be found on the website. It is a very powerful piece of video editing software and allows to to do all sorts of things to exported video, such as using filters (motion blur, contrast adjust etc), changing the frame rate and adding music etc.
This video tutorial shows you how to capture a short time-lapse sequence using LifeCapture and then turn the sequence of images into a video using the VirtualDub program.
If you create a really funny or interesting film using this software, please send me a link to the video by clicking here, firstname.lastname@example.org, or post the video as a response to one of my examples. If you post a video using this software I would be grateful if you gave a link back to this page.
Q: Why doesn't LifeCapture work on Motorola phones? A: Motorola do not allow unsigned applications to save files to the phone. Unless anyone wants to give me $500 to sign it then Motorola phones will not be supported.
Q: Why can't I change the save data option from 'Always ask' to 'Ask once'? A: This is because the application is unsigned and most phones (not all) won't allow you to change it unless the applications is signed ($500 See above). It may be possible to hack the phone to remove the permissions nag. Seach the internet for 'your-phone-make java permissions hack', but don't blame me if you brick your phone :)
Q: Why can I take more photos with the unsafe mode? A: Some phones, noteably Sony Ericsson, have more free memory than can be tested for. If you use the unsafe option the program will still try to catch any memory errors but it may not be sucsesful and the program may crash or show unusual behavior. If the program crashes for any reason it is recommended that you switch your phone off for a few seconds and restart it.
Q: What phones are compatible with LifeCapture? A: If your phone is not compatible, you will recieve an error and LifeCapture will close. It will need to support MIDP2.0, CLDC1.1, JSR75 and JSR135. You should be ablde to find the technical specs for your phone on the internet.
Q: How can I tell if my Nokia is a Series 40? A: Go to the nokia homepage , select your region and country. Click find products, find your phone and get the technical specs. Expand 'User Interface' and it should say there if your phone is a series 40.
Q: Why does the image about to be captured not always display on the phone? A: If you set a fast capture rate usually <2/10ths, the phone may take pictures before the display can update. The pictures will still be captured even if nothing is showing on the display. The same applies if your phone's backlight goes out to save power.
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My nephew eating his Sunday lunch.
A time-lapse film of traffic passing outside The Horseshoe pub in Thurlby. The camera then moves about a mile along the road and films traffic approaching Thurlby from Peterborough along the A15.
The moon rising above the rooftops behind my house. A frame was captured every 10 seconds and played back at 15fps.
A friend and I enjoying a quick pint at The Horseshoe pub in Thurlby, Bourne. 400 frames captured every 2/10ths of a second and played back at 15fps. This video and the ones below were all filmed using the standard version of LifeCapture.
This is me having a quick bite to eat and reading the paper. 350 frames shot every 2/10ths of a second and played at 15fps.
Driving from my house in Thurlby to Bourne at night. 400 frames shot every 3/10ths of a second and played at 15fps.
Film from an upstairs window. An example of how the program could be used as a kind of cctv camera. Frame captured every 15 seconds and played back at 15fps.
Clouds moving across the sky. 490 frames. Frame captured every few seconds. Played back at 15fps.