Flix is an application that uses a digital camera or webcam to create time-lapse movies. Still pictures are captured every few seconds, minutes or hours (whatever the user decides), then they are merged together as frames in a time-lapse video. Some cool effects can be achieved this way, often used in films such as those featuring Wallace and Gromit and in music videos. Flix is useful just for fun, but there are also educational uses for it - such as to record science experiments.

User videos

(Timelapse-o-maniac! is also a good source of inspiration...)

FAQs

A1: Images and videos made with Flix will have a watermark imprinted on them.
A2: Flix is shareware, not freeware and costs $10.
A3: This depends on the resolution of the webcam. The pictures are compressed to Jpeg format which is ideal for photos in that it preserves fidelity but is also drastically smaller in size compared to other formats such as bitmaps (Bmp). A standard webcam resolution is 640x480 pixels and the typical filesize of such a photo would be of the order of 90KB.
A4: Flix requires your PC desktop or notebook to be fully powered during the entire picture capturing period. It is, therefore, recommended that monitors are set to power down automatically when not in use for energy saving purposes. Unfortunately there is no known method of hibernating a PC and also have software of any kind to run at the same time without some external trigger to wake the computer and perform its picture capturing task.
A5: The mode most cameras default to when plugged into a computer's USB port is "Transfer Photo" mode, used to transfer snaps onto your computer. Most digital cameras do however also have "PC Cam" mode which lets you use it as a webcam.
A6: Your PC will probably already have such a codec but just in case it doesn't, the DivX codec is usually pretty fast and results in a good quality video. In addition, here's a good site for downloading codecs.
A7: Good time lapse subjects are things like; a pretty skyscape, traffic buildup in a parking lot, a construction site, hot air balloon competitions, flowers blooming, science experiments... Search timelapse-o-maniac to get some ideas. Stop-motion videos can be made too... of sporting events, road trips etc. These typically work well with a frames delay of less than one second.
A8: What Flix does is take the first imaging device in your registry and try to get images from it. If it can't find any image devices it will flash up a message box saying "can't find a webcam/camera." If a dark grey box is being shown, it might be due to interference from other webcam software that is already running. Please close these down and try again. Otherwise the webcam is probably not listed as the default device - it may instead be the graphics card for example. Try "My Computer", "properties", "device manager" and select the cross beside "sound, video and game controllers". The USB webcam should be listed here but perhaps along with other devices (like, an entry "Nvidia WDM Video Capture"). Check the properties of any such capture device and disable them (presumably they are not being used anyway) then the webcam should be bumped up to be the first capture device. Flix should then work properly!
A9: The current settings can be found in the registry (Start->run->type "regedit"->click OK) They are listed under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE->SOFTWARE->Nimisis->Flix (pre-Vista) or Computer\HKEY_USERS\[some guid]\Software\Classes\VirtualStore\MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Nimisis\Flix (Vista and later). If you just installed Flix and cannot find the registry, try restarting your computer.
  • AUTO_START_DIR is the default directory to store the frames (important when using windows task scheduler to run up Flix automatically). Make sure you use back slashes, i.e. C:\Program Files\Flix\. The folder must exist before starting to capturing frames.
  • AUTO_START_FRAME_COUNT is a counter for the number of frames that have been saved using the scheduler. Users don't need to worry about this too much except that they should reset the counter to zero if starting a new recording using scheduler.
  • AUTO_START_ON_OFF is a flag - 0 for normal use, 1 if intending to use Task Scheduler. Flix then knows when it has to close itself down and increment the AUTO_START_FRAME_COUNT counter etc.
  • CAM_REF will usually be set to 0 but if a user has plugged multiple webcams in their machine in the past, the ID of the webcam in the windows registry might not be 0 (and they see a black window as described in Q8). In this case experimenting by setting this variable from 1 upwards should allow the user to find their webcam. If 1 through 15 fail then I would assume there is another problem/bug.
  • RESOLUTION_REF when set to 0 gives a resolution of 320x240. 1 gives 640x480. 2 gives 960x720. 3 gives 1024x768. Custom resolutions are also possible by entering the width and height [X][Y]. For example, if you want 2MP or 1600x1200, you would enter 16001200 (without quotes and no 'x'). Do make sure your webcam does support this resolution though.
A10: Use Windows Task Scheduler to set Flix to run up when you want it to. As described in the previous question, set AUTO_START_ON_OFF to 1 and AUTO_START_FRAME_COUNT to 0. When you've captured all the frames, set AUTO_START_ON_OFF back to 0 (but leave AUTO_START_FRAME_COUNT to whatever value it's up to). The next time you run up Flix you'll notice that the Make Video button is not greyed out. Press it to make your movie. Note that when Flix subsequently runs up with Task Scheduler, it waits about five seconds for the webcam to adjust to the light levels before capturing a frame. Flix then shuts itself down.
A11: There is a way! Say the most recent frame in your frames folder is pic_10478.jpg then you have 478 frames. Set the AUTO_START_FRAME_COUNT in the registry (described in Q9) to 478 and the AUTO_START_DIR to the folder that contains your jpgs. The "Make Video" button will be enabled the next time you start Flix. Press it to make the video.
A12: If you find that you have too many frames or that the resultant video is going to be too long, you can skip every other frame by setting Gap to 2 and that will have the duration of the final time lapse film. If you only want every 5th frame to be in the movie then set Gap to 5. You get the idea.
A13: Yes, but a couple of customers did report problems with the license validation and having the default directory for saving frames set to drive C:\, though these were resolved. (Note that the registry key on later versions of Windows is "Computer\HKEY_USERS\[some guid]\Software\Classes\VirtualStore\MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Nimisis\Flix." This can also be found using "Find" in regedit. If you just installed Flix and cannot find the registry, try restarting your computer.)
A14: No, but there hopefully will be soon. A customer has reported being able to emulate Windows XP on Max OS X using a program called Parallels. VMWare should also do the trick.
A15: In short, yes. Contact us with details of what you need and we'll provide a quote.
A16: By default they are in the directory with Flix.exe, but you can specify a folder within the application and in the registry. If files are not appearing, it may be because you have specified a directory that is read-only - change this to a directory with write-access. You may also need to choose "run as administrator" when starting Flix.
A17: It's been reported by some users that running Flix as Administrator stops it crashing. Do this by right-clicking on Flix.exe -> Properties -> Compatibility -> Run this program as an administrator. However, if that doesn't work, it would be very helpful if you went to Windows Event Viewer and contacted us about the problem so that we can fix it.

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A computer, an image capture device such as a digital camera or webcam (Flix can automatically detect and work with most image capture devices), and a video codec that will compress the final movie to a reasonable size. (Your PC will probably already have such a codec.)

Version 3.6 (released 31/03/11)

  • Custom resolution support
  • Timestamp option

Version 2 (released 31/08/06)

  • Display at 640x480 resolution as well as 320x240
  • Set the delay between frames as low as 0.1 seconds
  • Use Window Task Scheduler to set Flix capturing frames say, at 10am every morning
  • Specify the folder for keeping frames in

Screenshot

webcam timelapse software