Christmas 2010 I had the idea to make a video of the 37signals homepage. I’d recently gained access to the relevant source code repositories and It seemed like a fun thing to do over a weekend.
The result is the video below. It’s a timelapse of the 37signals.com homepage between March 2009 and January 2011. Enjoy!
Creating the video
First I wrote a Ruby script to check out every version of the site from git, our source-code repository. I used mojombo’s excellent grit library for this.
For every revision checked out I ran an Objective-C program I had written to screengrab the resulting page by requesting it from a web-server set up on my local machine. This program saved all the screen grabs as sequentially numbered files in a temporary directory.
Next I ran imagemagick on all the images to crop and resize them and after that I ran ffmpeg on the the images to create a movie. Nearly done!
The movie worked, but lacked finesse. After allowing it to mature for a few months I ran it through Final Cut Pro to add an intro, music and credits. I also had to do a fair amount of editing to remove long parts where nothing changed. I’d done some de-duplication of images in the Ruby script, but it needed a lot more work. The final movie was down from 3:35 to approximately 1:00 in length.