"time lapse", Mobile, nokia, Photo

Time lapse with Nokia phones

Sequence Mode

The people that are lucky enough to run around with iPhones in their pockets probably wonder what to do with their old phones. Here is a suggestion. Regular readers will know that I like photographic experiments. So first, the ones that just retired their Nokia N95. It has built in time lapse photography. Something called “sequence mode”. Simply choose what kind of sequence you want, click the trigger and let the camera snap an image at the selected interval.

Sequence Mode

I did an experiment and placed my N95 in the window of my car while out driving. It happily snapped an image every 10th second. Giving a stop motion movie of my short ride.

Very short and very useless.

The problem with proper time lapse photography is the fact that it takes time. I am not the happy owner of an iPhone, so I can’t just place my N95 in a window for a couple of weeks. So I decided to put my old and trusted Nokia 6630 into duty. You know, the phone that survived the 20 meter drop. It has no proper time lapse function built in. A little searching around the net and I found a solution. One involving a Java application and one involving a Python script. I decided to try the last one.

Nokia 6630

First you install Python on your phone. That involves installation of two applications. You find them here. You need the versions that are right for your phone. For my 6630 these are the files I installed:

1. PythonForS60_1_4_0RC1_2ndEdFP2.SIS
2. PythonScriptShell_1_4_0RC1_2ndEdFP2.SIS

You find some help installing Python on your phone here.


When these are installed your phone will start running “.py”-scripts

The script on Foozia’s blog mentioned earlier was made for Nokia N80, so I had to do some modifications to make it work on my old 6630. You can download my 6630-version here: 6630Timelapse.txt

Before you install it on your phone you need to remove the “.txt”-extension and replace it so the file name ends with “.py” and only “.py”. In other words, the file you send to your phone should be named “6630Timelapse.py”.

Before you run it you also need to make a folder on the memory card of your phone. Use the built in file manager and make the following structure: Memory Card (e:): python/timelapse/

Your images will be stored there.

Run Script

Then you start Python and select “Run Script” from the menu. Give the project a name, decide a number of images and an interval. Note about the interval, choosing anything less than 5 seconds might cause problems. The phone needs some time to store the image on the memory card.

Time Lapse

Time to test it. I simply put it outside our window facing the sky. Snapping an image every 15th second during the evening until the sky went dark. My experiments indicates that the phone can snap about 500 or 600 images on one charge. Of course depending on the time interval. If you connect a charger you could leave it until the memory card is full.

And here’s another one. A couple of hours outside the window at work.

And how I made the videos? Install QuickTime and choose “File->Open Image sequence” on the first image of the sequence that your phone just made. Or just google “software make time lapse video from image sequence” or something like that…

I’ll bring that phone when travelling. Leave it in my hotel room to document the cleaning process. Leave it on stage while speaking, to document how many people left during my presentation… Endless possibilities.


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