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CommandCam Uses Webcam To Create Time-lapse Photography On Windows

CommandCam is not a GUI program, but the good point is it can run in the background (hides itself from Windows Desktop) and shoot photo using webcam at fixed interval.

So, if you’re looking for a Windows timelapse program and not fear of working with command-line tool (like a geek does), here is a Windows batch file (TimeLapse.cmd) that executes CommandCam continuously at a fixed interval (5-second) to capture image and save it using timestamp file name.
Besides using it for timelapse photography, this combination can also work as a low-cost CCTV program if you’re interested to find out who is trying to access your computer, working desk, locker, etc, during lunch hour.

1. Create a folder, says C:\CmdCam, to keep the exe and cmd files.

2. Download CommandCam.exe – an open-source, portable Windows command-line program for acquiring image from webcam/digicam using Microsoft DirectShow API.

3. Create TimeLapse.cmd that contains these lines (which uses Windows endless for loop technique to run the exe file and save the bmp file in unique file name, with reference to previous post on how to create file name using timestamp value):
@echo off

:begin

C:\CmdCam\CommandCam.exe /delay 5000 /filename C:\CmdCam\%time:~-11,2%%time:~-8,2%%time:~-5,2%.bmp

goto begin

4. Connect the webcam (or use the built-in webcam if there is one), open Command Prompt, change working directory to C:\CmdCam and execute this command:
CommandCam /preview

If you see the preview window, then you’re set to go – run TimeLapse.cmd and the bmp files should be created in C:\CmdCam folder after 5 seconds. To stop it, just press CTRL+C or use Task Manager to terminate it.

To run it in background, you can use the Windows Task Scheduler to run it as a scheduled task.

Note, the program is only able to capture images and cannot generate video. You can, however, use Google Picasa to generate time-lapse video from a series of photos.

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