Introduction: Old Film Flipbook

A good friend of mine is a HUGE fan of the Indiana Jones movies (even the 4th one) - for an upcoming birthday, I decided to try a little different method for creating a new flipbook for him. It involved some new software and a slightly larger page size. Here's how I did it.

*** Note: A special nod and thanks to instructable user, teamwalrus, for pointing me to some of the software I used in this process. ***

Step 1: Grab Video

Rather than use video I took with a video camera, I needed to be able to rip out about 20 seconds or so of video - to do this, I used a piece of free software called DVD Shrink 3.2. This software allows you to make backups of your DVDs but it also lets you edit the backup before burning it - this way you can take out the pesky previews and any of the extra content - even credits if you don't want them.

The software isn't complicated, but here's the basic steps:

1. Put in your DVD.
2. The software will "scan" the DVD for stuff - movie, extras, out takes, etc.
3. Click the Reauthor button
4. Drag the video you want to edit (such as Main Title, Chapter 1, etc.)
5. Use the Set Start/End Frames button to define the start and ending of your clip.
6. Click the Backup button.
7. Your video will be copied to a folder you specify (TS_AUDIO and TS_VIDEO are in there by default.)

After you've created your backup, you'll need to import the video into your video editing software. Maybe you know a different way, but I use Pinnacle 12 and it's the only way I could import and convert the DVD backup image and convert to a suitable format (MPEG-4) for Step 3 later (converting the video to JPEG files.)

Stay with me...

Step 2: Import and Convert Video to MPEG-4

There's a lot of different video editing software out there that can save to MPEG-4. If you own a digital video camera, most likely the software that came with your camera can do this. I use Pinnacle 12 which was a separate purchase but allows me to do some really nice DVD authoring that my camera's software doesn't have.

Another feature that Pinnacle 12 offers me that I've used with this flipbook is the ability to alter my video with some special effects. In this instance, I modified the video by adding a Sepia overlay, giving the video that "old film" look, complete with lines and some "static" in the video. The Sepia coloring gives it a nice antiqued look.

Next, I save the video to my hard drive in MPEG-4 format for use in the next step...

Step 3: Convert Video to JPEG Files

For this step, I've used another free piece of software called Video to JPEG Converter from DVDVideoSoft. Again, the software is fairly easy to figure out - I'm fairly certain it can handle other video formats, but MPEG-4 is one I'm certain about, so I've stuck with it.

Here's how it works:

1. Open the video by specifying the file's location.
2. I've already edited by video for length but you can also use this software to crop the video.
3. Next you specify how you wish you grab jpeg - by number of frames, seconds, or a certain number.
4. Specify the save location, click the Save button and your jpegs will be ripped from the video.

It took some experimenting to figure out what i wanted - I will say that the "Every X frames" seems buggy - I wanted to grab every 6th frame but it kept grabbing them all. So I didn't use that option - instead I just saved the number of total frames I knew the video contained and then manually grabbed out every 6th frame - giving me 90 frames from approx. 20 seconds of video. This method gives the final flipbook that choppy, old-film look.

After I had my 90 frames, it was time to apply a watermark and number them (for ordering) using another free piece of software...

Step 4: Number JPEGs and Apply Watermark

For this final software step, I used another free piece of software called FastStone Photo Resizer. Yes, you can use this software to shrink, enlarge, and perform other mods to your image files, but I also used it for the ability to apply some text to each jpeg (a number) and to add a watermark that contains the framing lines I used to cut the printed pictures properly.

Once again, the software isn't difficult - you'll have to experiment a little, but the time you spend playing around will really show you the power of this tool.

Here's what I did:

1. First, I imported all my jpegs (90 of them) and resized them.

2. Next, I clicked on the Advanced Options button to gain access to the screen shown in the 2nd pic.

3. I used the Text tab to place a variable along the left edge - it will put the filename there. (Because all my jpegs have numbers for their names - 1.jpg, 2.jpeg, etc. - the number shows up on the image.)

4. I created a custom watermark that I created in PNG format that contains the white lines and solid black areas that frame each image as well as the little graphic above and below the video. An example of this can be seen in the 3rd image.

5. When done, I clicked on the Convert button (back in the first image) and my jpegs were modified and ready to be printed in 4x6 format.

Step 5: Print and Cut Photos

I took the JPEGs to Costco for printing - the stack of prints were then put into the cutter and reduced to the stack you see in the 3rd image.

Step 6: Drill the Frames

A small set of clamps was used to hold the right-most edge (flipping edge) of the stack firm. You want the stack as flat on this edge as possible.

A larger set of clamps was then used to clamp down the entire stack to a piece of scrap wood. I have a small template piece of wood with holes pre-drilled that I used to guide my drill. The 2nd image shows the holes drilled.

Step 7: Cut and Drill the Leather Binding

Image 1 shows me cutting a 4 inch length of leather (approx 3 inches wide, but I had to trim just a bit so it didn't overhang the stack above and below too much).

Image 2 shows me fitting the leather around the stack. Once I knew the position of the leather, I used the last frame in the stack to mark 2 holes (seen in image 3) for drilling.

Image 4 shows how I clamped down the leather and drilled the two holes that will go on bottom of the flipbook.

Image 5 shows the brass screw posts that will be used to clamp down the leather.

Image 6 shows the brass screw posts inserted into the leather and then the stack is added.

Finally, Image 7 shows the final two (top) holes drilled. To get these, I simply folded over the leather and pressed down hard - the top of the screw posts made marks in the leather where I should drill.

Step 8: Final Assembly

And here's the final flipbook. It's a bit longer than my other flipbooks because I wanted to have the entire widescreen video included in the flipbook's viewable area - I'm including a video of the flipbook in action.

The black border on the frames and the black leather binding look sharp with the brass screws - and it really makes the flipbook images pop. (The video doesn't do the real flipbook justice - the Sepia coloring is bright and the images are sharp but that's not so apparent in the video, sorry).

Hope you like it - and I hope my friend does, too. I chose one of the more memorable scenes from the first Indy movie that really doesn't require sound to understand what's going on... the words were added late in the game ("Marion is lost... but our Hero has bigger problems") because I thought it would be fun to have it look like a really old movie with words for narration.