Background: Fluorescent and bioluminescent time-lapse microscopy approaches have been successfully used to investigate molecular mechanisms underlying the mammalian circadian oscillator at the single cell level. However, most of the available software and common methods based on intensity-threshold segmentation and frame-to-frame tracking are not applicable in these experiments. This is due to cell movement and dramatic changes in the fluorescent/bioluminescent reporter protein during the circadian cycle, with the lowest expression level very close to the background intensity. At present, the standard approach to analyze data sets obtained from time lapse microscopy is either manual tracking or application of generic image-processing software/dedicated tracking software. To our knowledge, these existing software solutions for manual and automatic tracking have strong limitations in tracking individual cells if their plane shifts.