The iPod Photo Flip Book

The iPod Photo Flip Book

A couple of turns through a photo album using the click wheel will remind people of a certain age of an old-fashioned "flip book."

For those who are unfamiliar with the term, a flip book is a do-it-yourself animation technique in which you draw a figure on the first page of a book, slightly change the figure on the next page, and on and on until you have multiple varied copies of the figure.

Then, if you flip rapidly from one page to the next (using a motion like shuffling a deck of playing cards), the figure will appear to move.

After wheeling his way through a couple of photo albums on an iPod Photo, Dan Frakes, my partner in crime at and Macworld magazine, had a flash of inspiration: What if you segmented a movie into still frames, loaded those frames onto an iPod Photo as a photo album, and then scrolled through them at the proper speed?

Who says the iPod Photo can't do video (albeit really cheesy video)? Here's the technique:

1. Open a QuickTime movie filepreferably, a movie without soundin Quick Time Player. (Note that this trick requires QuickTime Pro.)

2. Choose File > Export.

3. In the Export dialog box, choose Movie to Image Sequence from the Export pop-up menu.

4. Click the Options button, and choose a frame rate (15 fps works well) and an image format (I use JPEG).

5. Save the movie to a new folder.

6. Open the new folder containing the exported movie. The folder will be full of images.

7. Drag the images into a new iPhoto Album, and make sure that the images are in the right order within the album.

8. Copy the new album to your iPod Photo (via iTunes' Preferences).

So now you have the individual frames from your video on your iPod Photo. Unfortunately, the fastest "playback speed" provided by the iPod's standard slideshow options is 2 seconds per image, which is far too slow to get smooth video.

Instead, select your album and then select the first image in the album (the first frame of your video) to display it in full-screen mode. Now use the iPod's click wheel to "play" the movie (by scrolling clockwise) at whatever speed you like. You've just created the first electronic photo flipbook!