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Best Settings for Creating Time-Lapse Recordings in CamStudio

First, look at Nick’s suggestions in an old post at’s forums.

In it, Nick emphasizes the requirement to have the “Capture Frames Every” TIMES the Frame Rate to be equal to 1000. (thus 1000 milliseconds, thus 1 second).

The most important setting change was from:

Capture frames every: 500 mS (1/2 second)

Playback frame rate of output clip: 30 fps


Capture frames every: 500 mS (1/2 second)

Playback frame rate of output clip: 2 fps

Making the two amounts, when multiplied, equal to 1000 ==> 500-mS * 2-fps = 1000.

The following is as good an explanation of the “Capture Frames Every” setting as I’ve ever seen:

“Capture Frames Every

This field determines the input frame rate. It dictates how long the CamStudio will “sleep” after capturing each frame. One millisecond is 1/1000 of a second.

If you set this to a large value (for example 1 hour, or 3,600,000 milliseconds), you practically create a time-lapse movie. CamStudio will actually “sit and watch” for activities on the screen that takes a long time to occur and take a snapshot (say, only once every hour).

Playback Rate

Recommended rate is 10 frames per second, it’s smooth enough to see what happens, leads to small file size and is close to the speed CamStudio is capable of capturing the screen.”

(taken with some editing from the commercial lossless compressor site for ScreenPressor at – I am not endorsing them nor recommending them (I never tried it and know nothing about their compressor), but their tutorial was good on this point!)

In other words, for a 10 fps playback rate, set this value to 100.


for 5 frames per second frame rate, the “capture frames every” should be set at 200.

for 1 frame per second frame rate, the “capture frames every” would be set at 1000.

Ok, that part was easy! You can set those slower time-lapse rates with the “auto-adjust” slider.

But when you move past the 1fps playback rate and “Capture Frames Every” of 1000, the playback rate (fps) jumps to 20 fps and stays there. I believe it jumps to 20 fps and stays there because now playback rate is going to be dependent upon the final playback rate set in the editing software, but that will be set to 20 fps in the CamStudio software to avoid the occurrence of dropped frames. If the software’s playback rate is stuck at 20 fps, perhaps only even multiples of 20 will produce recordings not having any dropped frames??? I’m not certain what’s going on there.

If all CamStudio does above the 1000ms “Capture Frames Every” point is “sit and wait” for that period of time before taking another snapshot, and that functionality is not tied to the 20 fps playback rate in reality, then any setting above 1000 should be possible.

See the next article on Using VirtualDub to adjust the frame rate of a time lapse recording to see what to do next with your recording, now that you’ve captured it!

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