How to make a movie from the history of wikipedia images

Install some software

apt-get install imagej wget imagemagick bash

Get a JSON with all the versions of a image on Wikipedia

Let’s assume you want to watch how the invasion in Ukraine took place. That’s this one:

We only need the URL, so iiprop=|url. If you need the timestamp (when was the image file made) then use iiprop=|url|timestamp. A list of them you can find here.

You can use wget or in your browser just do save file as (use RAW data at the top then, for example in Firefox).

Fetch the images

#! /bin/bash

mkdir svg
cd svg
ITEMS=`cat api-result.json | jq '.query.pages."-1".imageinfo | .[] | .url'`
for a in $ITEMS
wget "$a"
sleep 1

Convert them to PNGs:

Normally they are already in the right order. So no renaming should be needed. Else you have to add to the iiprop of the query ‘timestamp’ and then with jg you extract that from the JSON to for example add it somehow to the filenames.

Or just use touch to change the file’s last modification date after wget fetched it and then here you use UNIX find to loop in the right order, and write PNG files like 0001.png, 0002.png, etc.

#! /bin/bash
cd ..
mkdir png
for a in svg/*
# You can come up with a better translation for the filename
b=`echo $a | sed s/svg//g`
convert -density 250 -size 1546x1038 $a png/$b.png

Convert PNGs to a movie

  • Start imagej
  • File > Import > Image Sequence
  • Select the png directory where the images where converted to
  • File -> Save As -> AVI -> fill in 2 frames per second -> movie.avi

Convert into fake-news, propaganda, etc

  • Use another software to insert dramatic background music
  • Upload to youtube for fame and fortune or whatever
  • Buy likes, become a hipster, convert from hipster to influencer