Living Images

Electronics, Trains

A feature that’s been available on select Nokia Windows Phones for a while is called living images. The general idea is that it takes a 2-3 second snippet of video and combines that with some subtle image effects to create a 6 second “Video”. Unfortunately I was unable to figure out how this worked and it really only would play back on the phone and I couldn’t find a way to export the video. If I copied the image file over it’d just be a static jpeg.

Things changed recently as I have upgraded my phone to a preview of Windows 10 and discovered pictures I uploaded to my Windows 10 computer were doing the animation. This prompted me to figure out how it’s done. Turns out there is two ways, in Windows Phone 8 there are a pair of special hidden files (that don’t auto sync to the computer or one drive). One of them is a MP4 file (the one that ends with .mp4.thm). With Windows 10 it’s embedded in the jpeg itself (which I’m still looking into how they do this). I found a way on the phone to extract the video portion from these Windows 10 images as an mp4.

You may be wondering what this has to do with trains, and so far technically nothing but I was able to take a couple of the pictures from the last operating session and extract the video files and use an mp4 to animated gif converter and create these:

Yard Limits.gif

Yard Limits


400 Club

Approaching bridge.gif

Bridge Approach

Not sure how much I’m going to use these moving forward and certainly welcoming any feedback . I will note the stop of motion and color change with slow zoom at the halfway point is something the camera does as part of the living images and I experimented with removing it but it just made it too short and jarring when it restarts.

Note:  After publishing this I discovered it takes a while to start working properly in MS Edge (and probably IE too). If the images aren’t moving, or are moving very slowly just wait (or try Google Chrome). No idea if FireFox works but it’s likely better than Edge/IE

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