Make Video Wallpaper for Your iPhone

(This tutorial is for earlier versions of the iPhone and iPod touch but might work with tweaks to the video resolution.)

If you have a jailbroken iPhone or iPod Touch, you might have seen an app for running video wallpaper.  Or maybe you’re running VWallpaper already and want to know a free way to make your own video wallpaper.  This post is about turning photos into a time lapse wallpaper, but most of the steps are the same for other video.

Before I begin, I should point out that moving these videos to your iPod takes a bit of skill and patience.  I’m only going to explain how to make the videos in the proper format because this isn’t an iPhone hacks blog.  However, if you’re interested in jailbreaking your iPhone or iPod Touch and installing these videos, you’ll have to take the following steps:

1 – Jailbreak your iPhone

2 – Install Cydia or Rock

3 – Install Winterboard

4 – Install VWallpaper app

5 – Install an SSH program (and please change your iPhone’s root password!)

6 – Transfer videos to the proper folders

There are plenty of tutorials online to show you how to do these steps, but I couldn’t find one authoritative website and so I’m not providing links here.  I used bits and pieces from over a dozen sites when I first did this, so feel free to provide links to your own tutorial or a favorite how-to website in the comments.

Take the pictures

Like all time lapse videos, you’ll have to begin with a series of photographs.  The only differences are that the camera should be tilted 45 degrees to a portrait orientation and the resolution can be much less than normal.  All current iPods play video in 480 x 320 pixels.

Your video will be playing in the background every time you start your iPhone, so you want to make something that isn’t too distracting.  Take your photos at a smaller interval to create slower motion and use a higher framerate to avoid choppiness.  Try to make a video that’s at least thirty seconds so it will be less distracting when it loops.  The good news is that you can fit many more photos on your memory card because of the small resolution.

Edit

Remove the occasional bird or plane using a photo editing program such as Photoshop or Gimp.

Make the video

I use VirtualDub for most of my time lapse videos.  In this case, it works especially well because it allows me to crop my video to the desired dimensions.  Select “Video” from the top menu and then choose “Filters…”  Choose the resize filter and adjust the aspect ratio to 320 x 480 by selecting “Crop to aspect ratio” from near the bottom and changing the absolute pixels.  Remember that the numbers are reversed from the normal aspect ratio because the photos were taken in a portrait orientation.

Click “OK,” select your framerate, and save the file as an AVI.  Don’t worry about compressing the file or changing the file type, we’ll change that in the next step.

Convert

This final step requires another piece of software.  For video file conversion, I prefer the free Format Factory because it’s easy to use.  Download it here.

Drag your AVI file into Format Factory.  Choose “All to MP4″ and click “OK.”  Don’t use the default iPhone settings or your video will be converted to a horizontal format and won’t look right on your iPhone.

Now use the SSH program to upload the video to your iPhone and the file name should appear in the VWallpaper app.  Good luck!

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