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Is it possible to create a video file (playable in VLC) from a collection of pgm files. I would like to do this in Python.

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I assume you're referring to portable gray map files. Are you trying to make a slide show or is each image to be a frame in an animation? –  Kenneth Cochran Feb 3 '10 at 14:58

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The easiest way I've found to combine images into a movie is to use ffmpeg. Here's a page on how to do that: http://electron.mit.edu/~gsteele/ffmpeg/

There's a pyffmpeg project, I don't know if it supports this kind of frame sticking-together, but here's the URL: http://code.google.com/p/pyffmpeg/

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