How to Make a Digital Flipbook

The Bridge flipbook

If you have QuickTime on Mac or Windows, you can make a cool digital flipbook in just minutes. "What the heck is that?" you say. Well, it's a sequence of photographs played in rapid succession and saved as a QuickTime movie. You can see for yourself with the flipbook I created called The Bridge.

First, Take the Shots

All I did was catch a ride across the Golden Gate Bridge with my Canon Digital Rebel XT pointed at the passing bicyclists. I had the camera set to burst mode so I could fire off a series of shots quickly. I took pictures from one end of the bridge to the other.

Next, Sequence the Shots

I then uploaded the shots to a folder and launched QuickTime Pro. If you don't have the Pro version of QuickTime, it's $29 from Apple and available upon purchase. It has all sorts of nifty editing and presentation tools. The function we use for this project is called Image Sequence.

Image Sequence Settings

Go to File > Open Image Sequence... and navigate to the first image in your folder of shots. Click Open, and you'll be presented with the Image Sequence Settings, as shown here. I usually select "2 frames per second" from the pop up window because I like things to move along at a good clip. But you can pick any setting that suits you.

Finally, Add a Little Audio

Click OK, and QuickTime will build your digital flipbook and open it in a 640 wide window. All you have to do now is add the audio. I usually grab a free loop out of GarageBand and make it as long as the flipbook I've just created. Once you've exported the file out of GarageBand (or whatever audio tool you use including QuickTime itself), the add it to your flipbook.

Make sure the scrub head is positioned at the beginning of the movie, then go to Edit > Add to movie... You audio is now positioned as a sound track to accompany your flipbook. Go to File > Save As, give you completed work a name, and click the radio button "save as self-contained movie." You're finished!

The version of The Bridge I posted here was exported as iPod compatible so I can include it with my other whacky projects on my iPod video.

Give it a try... it's a really quite fun.

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This is really cool--it reminds me of the Sesame Street scenes where they show (or showed; I haven't watched in a while) people doing everyday things, with snappy music playing in the background. I may be mistaken, but I think those segments also had a stop-motion, flipbook feel to them. I'm going to try this out.

This is great. but one thing is unfortunate. Quicktime doesn't account for portrait and landscape photos together. If it did, this would be a great tool....

Any answers out there to remedy this?

Generally speaking, when making a flipbook, you're going to want all of you images oriented the same way. It's just the nature of the medium. Now, if you want to make slideshows with all sorts of different types of images, then I would look to more sophisticated product, such as FotoMagico. So, IMHO, QuickTime is great for some things, but definitely not everything :)

I did like it.