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Lightroom Time-Lapse Video Production

Lightroom Time-Lapse

This guide to Lightroom time-lapse video production was put together to teach you how to produce time-lapse videos from the images in the camera to a fully produced video using just Lightroom. We have also put together some advanced tips and tricks for the more seasoned time-lapse videographers out there.

Editing a Time-lapse with Lightroom is something you should definitely consider if you are serious about producing time-lapse videos in a smooth and efficient way.

This page is more than just a Lightroom tutorial. There’s plenty of those already. It’s more of an ultimate guide to Lightroom time-lapse.

It wouldn’t be an ultimate guide if it didn’t have something to teach to new players, so let’s start from the basics for the uninitiated:

What is Lightroom?

Lightroom is a mature and widely used software application, which has been actively developed since around 1999 by the creator of Photoshop, Adobe. It’s used by most photographers and time-lapse videographers, since it is widely considered to be one of the best all-round photo editing applications for Windows and Mac computers.

“Lightroom is a mature and widely used software application, which has been actively developed since around 1999 by the creator of Photoshop, Adobe. It’s used by most photographers and time-lapse videographers, since it is widely considered to be one of the best all-round photo editing applications for Windows and Mac computers.”

Lightroom Features

Lightroom has all of the features you want from a photo processing suite, plus more. The ability to edit images in bulk makes it ideal for producing time-lapse videos.

Some of the main features used when processing photos for time-lapse include:

Photo library management

Lightroom let’s you manage your photos with a range of intuitive features including collections and smart collections. This lets you group photos like folders on a drive.

Bulk processing of photos

You can copy modifications from a photo and apply (sync) it to all of the other photos you’re working with. You can even select a group of modifications and just apply those to the other images.

Filters

All of the expected exposure and color correction tweaks are here, adjustable by dragging a slider or editing a number.

Non-destructive editing

When you edit a photo in Lightroom, the changes that you make to the image are saved to a separate file, leaving the original photo unchanged. This allows you to revert all edits at any point in time.

RAW file support

Import RAW images directly from your camera and edit them like any other. You can fully and easily adjust light exposure in Lightroom, allowing you to correct under- or over-exposed images as if it was taken right first time!

Creative adjustment tools

Tools such as the graduated filter, adjustment brush and post-crop vignette allow you to get even more creative with your time-lapse video production.

Export images

You can export to all popular image formats 

Lightroom time-lapse presets

Presets in Lightroom are a great way to apply a bunch of commonly used settings in a fast and repeatable way. Just click on the desired preset and all of the settings are applied to your selected image.

If you’re serious about time-lapse production and  looking to speed up your workflow, then you need to consider using Lightroom presets.

You can buy Lightroom preset packs online in a number of places. When researching this article, I discovered a trove of professional looking preset packs on Etsy. Whilst I couldn’t find any packs specifically targeted at time-lapse photographers, there is no reason why you couldn’t apply any of them to your time-lapse videos for a fast way of achieving a unique and creative style.

How to install a Lightroom preset

More often than not, you will probably be creating your presets within Lightroom itself, rather than importing them from files. However for whatever reason you may find yourself with a preset that you want to import into Lightroom.

If you have some preset files that you would like to import into Lightroom, then follow the steps below to install and enable your presets.

Method 1: From within Lightroom

  1. Download the preset file to your computer. If it’s compressed in a zip archive, then decompress all files to a folder on your computer.
  2. Open up Lightroom and go into the ‘Develop’ section (Click on  the ‘Develop’ tab to the top right of the main Lightroom window (arrow 1 in the screenshot below).

The presets should show in a list within a pane to the left of the screen (Green box in the screenshot)

  1. Next at the top-right corner of the Presets pane (arrow 2 in the screenshot) there should be a ‘+’ button. Click it and select ‘Import Presets…’ (arrow 3).
  2. In the file browser window that pops up, locate the folder where your preset file was saved. Select it, then click on the ‘Import’ button to import the preset.
  3. Select the preset in the ‘Presets’ list and it will be applied to your image(s). 

Method 2: Using Windows Explorer or Mac Finder

  1. Download the preset file to your computer. If it’s compressed in a zip archive, then decompress all files to a folder on your computer.
  2. Open another file manager window and navigate to the Lightroom Presets folder. The location of this folder depends on your operating system.
Windows 7/8/10

On Microsoft Windows systems, you can find the Presets folder at the following location:

C:\Users\[user name]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Lightroom\Develop Presets

Mac OSX

On Apple Mac systems, you can find the presets folder here:

/Users/[user name]/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Lightroom/Develop Presets

Lightroom Time-Lapse Plugin

You don’t need a plug-in to produce a time-lapse in Lightroom, but a plug-in can certainly speed up your workflow and give you more creative tools.

I you are ready to take your time-lapse to the next level, then you can add extra functionality and features to Lightroom with a Time-lapse Lightroom plugin.

Jeffrey Friedl’s ‘Timelapse Support’ Lightroom Plugin

Developed by Jeffrey Friedl, a dedicated photographer, author, blogger and Lightroom plugin developer, the Timelapse support plugin is handy tool for fading settings in the Develop workflow.

Jeffrey has been actively developing the plugin since 2014 and offers it for free on his website. If you find the plugin useful, then it’s advisable to give a donation to Jeffrey to support development. You can choose how much to donate when registering the plugin. 

More information on the plugin, including a download link and installation instructions can be found on the Timelapse Support plugin page of Jeffrey’s site.

Jeffrey has also developed a selection of other Lightroom plugins. Some of these export to various online platforms, others offer features to enhance you workflow and organisation in Lightroom. You can see the full list of plugins here.

LRTimelapse

Another popular and very powerful piece of time-lapse software, LRTimelapse is considered by many as one of the best available.

It integrates with Lightroom, however it also functions as a standalone application and is stuffed full of features that will help you up your time-lapse video production game.

I wrote a detailed review of LRTimelapse so I will save repeating myself here, but it’s something I can recommend personally as I use it quite regularly.

LRTimelapse features

Here are some of the main LRTimelapse features:

Keyframe and grade time-lapse sequences of RAW images

Add keyframes to selected photos so that you can transition settings across images between them.

Animate and keyframe over 400 Lightroom tools

Adjust almost any Lightroom setting between keyframes to account for lighting variations and to add creative effects

Holy Grail Wizard

Allows you to create night-to-day (sunrise) and day-to-night (sunset) sequences

Visual deflicker and LRT motion blur

These tools allow you to remove flickering and add realistic blur effects.

H.264 support

Export to a number of video formats including MP4 H264, with support for up to 8k rendering

TimelapsePlus Studio

Timelapse Plus Studio software

This plugin was developed by Timelapse+, a company that already produces a popular hardware intervalometer called the VIEW intervalometer.

Whilst I haven’t used it personally, from what I read on the official website, it appears to offer much of the same features as LRTimelapse, but for a smaller license fee and a couple of extra features such as auto-keyframe and auto-grouping of time-lapse sequence images.

The author admits that it is not a direct competitor to LRTimelapse as it does not actually support rendering of video, but instead aims to “simplify support for postprocessing in Lightroom so that there would be a quick and easy solution that gets great results for the common use-cases rather than a comprehensive application for every situation”.

TimelapsePlus Studio Features

The plugin has loads of time-lapse specific features which aim to speed up and enhance your workflow. Some of these features include:

Auto grouping of time-lapse sequences

Detects and groups time-lapse sequences within the Library view into collections.

Auto identity keyframes

Intelligently recognises transitions in your time-lapse sequences and marks them with a star, so that you can apply transitions more quickly and effectively.

Blend keyframes & animate transitions

Once keyframes have been marked with stars, this feature allows you to blend settings between keyframes, resulting in professional and creative time-lapse productions. This is perfect for achieving the holy-grail effect. 

Preview timelapse in Lightroom

You can play through a preview of your time-lapse within Lightroom, to get a feel for the settings effects without having to render a full video.

How much does Lightroom cost?

Adobe used to let you buy Lightroom outright, as a one-off purchase. Sadly, this is no longer the case, you have to pay an ongoing subscription fee to use the software.

At the time of writing, you can access Lightroom for $9.99 per month. This includes 1TB of available cloud storage. Whilst I personally prefer to purchase software outright, for industry-leading software, $9.99 does represent excellent value for money in my opinion.

You can also get a software license for Lightroom and Photoshop together for a slight discount, or the whole Creative Cloud suite if you want it all. Check out the Adobe plans & pricing page for more details and up-to-date prices.

How to produce a time-lapse in Lightroom

Since Lightroom doesn’t support video rendering, you cannot fully produce a time-lapse video within Lightroom alone. However by combining Lightroom with Photoshop, you can indeed produce a full time-lapse video from start to finish.

You might not be able to adjust settings using keyframes, as you can using a plugin, but you can buy a combined Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom subscription for a reduced licence fee which is nice.

If you’re not familiar with Photoshop, or if you’d have more features beyond what Photoshop provides, then you might consider LRTimelapse instead. For the purpose of this guide, we are using Lightroom with Photoshop.

Let’s get into it and start producing a time-lapse in Lightroom.  I’m assuming that by now you at least know your way around Lightroom and know how to import, filter and process photos.

Import your photos into Lightroom

If you have already imported your photos, then skip this step. Otherwise, click on ‘File’ then ‘Import Photos & Video’ to open the image file importer window.

From here, you can navigate to the folder on your computer where the RAW (or JPG) images are stored. Select all images you would like to import. It doesn’t have to be just images from a single sequence – you can import them all together and group them into collections later in Lightroom.

At the top centre of the file importer, you will see a row of buttons labelled “Copy as DNG | Copy | Move | Add”. This is what you want the importer to do with all your image files during import. Select the one you want and finally click the “Import” button at the bottom right. Your image files will now be imported into Lightroom.

Retouch your photos

From within the “Library” tab of Lightroom, select the sequence of photos you’d like to include in your video and click on the ‘Develop’ tab. 

Select the first image of your sequence from the image thumbnails along the bottom of the window, then proceed to tweak the image tools in the right-hand panel until you get a result that you’re totally happy with.

If you’re new to this, you can find a brief description of the various develop module tools on the official Adobe website.

Export sequence image files to disk

Next you need to take your retouched photos and export the sequence to jpeg (.jpg) files. Take care to ensure that the file names are numbered in order. The screenshot below shows the Lightroom export screen. Make sure the “File Renaming” section is configured to rename files to include a number sequence.

Import images into Photoshop

Start up Adobe Photoshop and select ‘File’ then ‘Open’. When the ‘Open’ dialog opens, browse to the folder containing the photos you exported from Lightroom and highlight the first image of the sequence. Not all of them, just the first one.

Check the ‘Image sequence’ checkbox and then click on the ‘Open’ button. Photoshop will now import all of your images.

Photoshop will now ask you to provide a Frame rate. Videos are commonly 24 or 25fps (frames per second), but if you’d like to slow your video down, generally I would recommend 30fps (bit slower) or even 60fps (much slower).

Your photos will now be imported into Photoshop as a video. Once it’s done, look for the ‘Timeline’ panel at the bottom of the main Photoshop window. If the ‘Timeline’ panel isn’t visible, select ‘Window’ then ‘Timeline’ from the main menu bar.

You can use the Timeline panel to trim the video, adjust playback speed and join together multiple sequences. You can also add keyframes to the timeline for simple transitions and animations.

Render your final video

When you are happy with your timelapse sequence, click on the export button (found at the bottom of the timeline panel).

You will now see the ‘Render video’ dialog, which allows you to customise the video format filename, dimensions and encoding.

If you’re not sure what settings to choose, then click on the ‘Presets’ dropdown to choose the option most relevant to what you want to do with your video and some settings will be automatically selected to meet the intended use.

Taking it to the next level

You can further enhance your time-lapse videos with features such as flicker removal and animation of exposure and other settings, with software such as LRTimelapse or one of the other Lightroom plugins listed earlier in this article. 

In Summary

Adobe Lightroom is considered by most time-lapse photographers as the industry standard photo editing software. By learning how to use Lightroom, you are gaining a valuable set of skills that will be useful for the rest of your time-lapse videography career (or hobby).

The bottom line:

Adobe Lightroom is considered by most time-lapse photographers as the industry standard photo editing software. By learning how to use Lightroom, you are gaining a valuable set of skills that will be useful for the rest of your time-lapse videography career (or hobby).

By extending Lightroom with plugins and secondary software, you will be acquiring the tools you will need to produce professional level, production quality time-lapse videos that live up to your creative ambitions.

LRTimelapse Pro Timer 3 Review

Pro Timer 3

There are quite a few time-lapse controllers on the market. From the basic unbranded basic intervalometers you can pick up on eBay, through to the complicated, specialist high-tech units that link up to your favourite motion controller. 

Pro Timer 3 Box

The Pro Timer 3 from the maker of LRTimelapse, Gunther Wegner, sits somewhere in the middle. Packed into a small form factor that slides nicely into your camera’s flash mount, this nifty little unit packs plenty of features whilst maintaining an intuitive interface. We tested the product over a couple of weeks, here are the results.

Someone who is new to time-lapse (or photography in general) may see the PT3 as expensive, especially considering their entry-level timer may have cost a fraction of the price. To those people I would say that the PT3 is a specialist piece of technology aimed at professional time-lapse photographers and amateurs that are serious about their craft, and it is priced as such.

First Impressions

The first thing that struck me when I opened the box was just how small the timer was. At just over 3 inches (84mm) on its longest edge, this device really is quite compact. You’d be forgiven for thinking that its small size and weight means there is not much to it, but you would be wrong. Despite the product’s small size, it is packed full of features, as I went on to find out.

Pro Timer 3 Start Screen

The texture of the plastic that the case is made from seemed slightly unusual at first. It has a rough matt textured surface which gave it an almost prototype-like feel. I have seen similar results from high-end 3d printers before. This is not a criticism however, the case seems sturdy and fit for purpose.

After reading the online documentation, I turned the Pro Timer 3 on and started to play around with it. I was impressed with how intuitive the user interface was, despite only having a single clickable knob.

As well as having all of the features I want, the information shown on the display during a time-lapse shoot is exactly the information I need.

At this point, I really got a sense that this was a gadget I would find useful and would likely have a permanent place in my everyday time-lapse kit. 

One thing to be aware of when buying this timer is that you need to buy a separate shutter release cable. By default, the timer comes on its own in the box with no accessories of any kind. When buying this timer online, retailers may offer to upsell you a cable, however it’s up to you to make sure you get the right one for your camera.

I didn’t realise this at first and the cable I had in my kit bag was too short, so I had to order another and wait for it to arrive.

A paper manual would also be a welcome addition. Whilst a simple leaflet would add almost nothing to the overall cost of the product, it would allow you to quickly look up specific features and settings on the go, without needing a computer or phone with an internet connection. I know I could download and print the manual, but this really shouldn’t be necessary for a premium product at this price point.

According to the manufacturer, since the software on the timer is regularly updated, printed instructions would quickly become outdated. Downloadable digital instructions can regularly be updated, so they encourage you to download the latest manual from their website.

Features

The Pro-Timer 3 has more than enough features to meet the needs of most time-lapse amateurs and even professionals. Whilst 99% of my time-lapse shoots use the standard interval mode,  I could definitely see myself making use of the interval ramping feature and the scheduling feature at some point in the future. These features just open up new creative possibilities that would be difficult to achieve otherwise.

When navigating through the software features of the device, I had more than a few “oh, nice” moments when discovering things that it could do, or settings that could be configured.

Pretty much all of the features felt like they would be useful at some point, I didn’t get the feeling any had been added for the sake of it. You can tell this unit was designed by a true time-lapse photographer who understands what the end-user will need, as opposed to someone hired to design electronic devices.

Below are some of the more notable features, beyond what you may expect to find on a typical intervalometer.

Fast Shutter Release

One interesting difference between the Pro Timer and many other intervalometers is the way it handles (or rather, doesn’t handle) the autofocus signal. Unlike most other timers, this one doesn’t send an autofocus signal at all, freeing up valuable ‘dark’ time between shots.

Interval Ramping

Whilst this isn’t a feature I often use, the ability to ramp your interval over time opens up a world of creative possibilities.

The most obvious being the elusive holy grail time-lapse. For those new to the subject, the holy grail time-lapse technique is shooting day-to-night (or vice-versa) transitions. It’s called holy grail as historically keeping good exposures over such a dramatic change in scene brightness has been incredibly difficult (however modern technology has taken much of the difficulty out of getting this right).

Dual Trigger Output Ports

If you ever want to connect the timer to a second camera or send a signal to your motion controller, the Pro Timer 3 features a second output port. Whilst I haven’t yet needed to use this, it’s great to know that option is there when I decide to set up a motion controller at some point.

Dual output ports

The raised “I” and “II” around the ports help you to identify the ports by touch alone in complete darkness, which is a nice touch. 

OLED Display

The sharp, bright OLED display is a great feature as it allows a wider range of visual display elements to be displayed. Unlike LCD displays that have fixed characters or symbols, OLED screens have a large number of individual pixels. This means that the manufacturer can be more creative with their user interface and display almost anything on it including text, numbers, symbols, borders, shapes, you name it!

For nighttime shooting, this display is great. Unlike LCDs which generally have to use an LED to backlight them, the OLED is bright and clear in any ambient lighting condition.

Scene Flashlight

Screen Flashlight Tool

A simple, yet useful feature. You can illuminate the OLED screen in order to illuminate your scene. Whilst this would be nowhere near enough light to be useful in other circumstances, during long-exposure night sky shoots, this is apparently plenty enough light to illuminate the foreground.

Hot Shoe Mounts

The ability to set the timer on top of your DSLR camera’s hot shoe (flash) mount is simple, yet a great feature that means you don’t have to hang it down from a cable.

The Pro Timer has two hot-shoe mounts, so as well as the standard setup of the screen facing backwards, you can also attach it with the display facing upward, perfect for when your camera is set low on the ground.

Hot shoe mounts

You’ll also notice the clip on the back there for securing a lanyard. Another nice little attention to detail. 

Build Quality

Whilst I don’t feel like I have put this device through its paces physically, I can comment on the build quality for general use. I haven’t subjected it to extreme weather, moisture or any drops/crushes, which I would have to do to be able to comment on how it stands up to tough environments.

Having used the Pro-Timer 3 for a few weeks, shoving it into my camera bag and various pockets, leaving it out for a few hours at a time, I have experienced no problems with it at all.

The build quality on inspection looks more than adequate for standing up to average time-lapse photography usage. Like with any high-tech electronic equipment, look after it and it should serve you for years to come. 

User Interface

One thing that is guaranteed to annoy me with technology is poor user interface design. Quite often, product developers fail to put the necessary thought and planning into designing an intuitive, simple user interface. This is often the result of a lack of expertise in that area.

Whilst a product team may have all of the technical skills to develop working hardware to spec, user interface design is a totally different discipline. Making a powerful tool with a lot of features, whilst also maintaining a simple interface is no easy feat. This is as true for software as it is for hardware.

Fortunately, the product developer has managed to develop a really simple, intuitive user interface for the Pro Timer 3. He clearly has a lot of experience with interface design, having worked as a software engineer and having developed the LRTimelapse software over 10 years according to his fascinating documentary of the LRTimelapse story.

Hardware Interface

Aside from the on-off switch, the only control on the device is a rotary knob, which has a satisfying ‘notched’ feel as it turns, helping you to cleanly select items in the user interface. The knob also clicks in to select an item, or you can hold it down for a second or so to go back. Really intuitive.

The ability to use the product with just a single knob is no accident – it allows you to use the timer with gloves on, in almost any weather condition. Although I wouldn’t use this product in the rain as, to the best of my knowledge, it is not rainproof.

Knob adjustment

Initially, when using the knob, I was a little frustrated that the knob seemed to be reversed compared to my expectation. Turning clockwise scrolled up the menu and anti-clockwise scrolled down. Satisfyingly, it turns out that the rotation direction can be set in the settings, brilliant!

Software Interface

The menu structure follows a fairly standard hierarchical structure. First, you choose the mode by turning the knob, then you click into it and proceed to progress through each of the settings for that mode by turning and clicking.

This is about as simple and straightforward as it could be. You can go back a step by holding the knob, right back to the main menu. This simple mechanism of forward/backwards covers all of the main functionality of the Pro Timer 3, meaning as soon as you work this out, you can pretty much use every feature on the device.

Battery Life

I left the intervalometer running for 3-4 hours at a time each night and it didn’t need charging for a couple of days.

The battery definitely exceeded my expectations, each time I checked the battery indicator I half expected it to be empty but it just seemed to keep going.

For longer shoots, I use a USB power bank to power my camera, so I could have plugged the Pro-Timer into that however I didn’t need to as the timer’s battery lasted much longer than was needed for any photoshoot.

Documentation

As previously mentioned, there was no physical documentation included in the box, but documentation is available online.

The online documentation covers all of the features and settings of the device, which proved to be sufficient for me. The inclusion of a PDF diagram depicting the full navigation menu system was a great idea and worth printing out.

I did feel like something was lacking however, some secondary information would be useful such as information about the battery, options for connecting the device to your camera(s), tips on using the backlight, resolving common problems etc.

I had a problem where my camera hadn’t finished processing the photo when the next photo was triggered, causing every-other photo to get missed. Whilst this wasn’t a problem with the timer itself (and was an easy fix), being able to identify these potential issues prior to going out into the field could have saved my some frustrations!

In Summary

All things considered, I really like the Pro-Timer 3. It’s well designed, easy to use and has all of the features I want from an intervalometer.

Whilst the price is quite high compared to some other intervalometers, the simple software menu system and unique hardware interface puts the device on another level compared to the competition and justifies the extra cost.

If you are looking to buy a new intervalometer and the Pro-Timer 3 is within your budget range, then this device would be a great purchase.

Pros

  • Excellent user interface
  • Lots of features
  • Great battery life
  • Small and light

Cons

  • Quite expensive for a timer
  • Lack of bundled cable/physical manual

To find out more about the LRTimelapse Pro-Timer check out the official website here.

Time-Lapse Software: Applications You’ll Need For Creating Pro Videos

Time Lapse Software

It doesn’t matter how much photography equipment you have, you will really struggle to produce a professional level video unless you’re using the best time-lapse software.

This article serves as an introduction to the most popular software available for producing time-lapse software. From processing the initial photos, reducing flicker through to stitching the photos together to produce the final video.

Time-Lapse Stages

Since there are different stages to producing a time-lapse video, it’s important to first identify these stages so that we can identify what software can be used for each stage. The main stages of the time-lapse post-production process are:

  • Photo Capture
  • Colour Correction/Enhancement/Processing
  • Video Compilation/Rendering

You may find software that covers most or all of these processes, but generally, it’s better to use software that is really good at one thing, rather than okay at all of them. The old phrase ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ springs to mind.

Time-Lapse Capture Software

When it comes to capturing the photos needed to produce a time-lapse video, you have two options. You can use a hardware intervalometer plugged directly into your camera, or you can use a software solution. Whilst the hardware option is generally preferred for most projects due to it’s portability and simplicity, you may find that capture software allows for more control and offers extra creative features.

VideoVelocity Time-Lapse Capture Studio

This application allows you to capture time-lapse using a Nikon or Canon DSLR, webcam or even IP camera. Recorded pictures can be up to 4K format and exported video can be up to 1080p format.

Some other features include an advanced deflicker filter, failure recovery and scheduling.

The software has a free version which is restricted to SD image and video output. To output HD quality video, you will need to pay for the pro version.

You can find out more about VideoVelocity and download it , go to the following URL:

https://www.candylabs.com/videovelocity

SkyStudioPro

This simple application is quite basic, but might be all you need if you’re just looking to capture a series of photos to make a time-lapse video.

Whilst it is only currently available for Windows, the best thing about this program is the price – it is completely free.

Download it from the SkyStudioPro website here.

Photo editing Software

Once you have captured a series of photos, you don’t just want to stitch them together into a video without first doing a bit of post-production to enhance the colours and make the image ‘pop’.

“It still amazes me to see just how much difference a few simple tweaks can make to the quality of a photo”

It still amazes me to see just how much difference a few simple tweaks can make to the quality of a photo. Repeat that to every frame of a time-lapse sequence and you’ve got a really professional looking production.

Before and after Image processing

The photo above is from a time-lapse sequence I shot earlier this year. Post-production was done using Adobe Lightroom. You can clearly see the benefits of image post-production.

Adobe Lightroom

This is probably the most popular post-processing software on the market. Most photographers use Lightroom as part of their post-production workflow, Lightroom isn’t just for time-lapse photographers.

Lightroom basically ticks all the boxes for most photographers when it comes to optimizing photos in bulk. You can easily import all your photos, adjust pretty much everything including exposure, contrast, color balance and so much more before exporting images based on your specific needs.

A great feature of Lightroom is that it performs all of your changes non-destructively. IE it saves all of your changes separate to the image file itself. So you never have to worry about being able to reverse your changes.

Adobe Lightroom is available as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud suite, which you can subscribe to and pay monthly. A lot of people are critical of the subscription model as you never truly own the software, but it does make the product more accessible for people who can’t afford a large upfront cost.

If you’d like to delve further, our Lightroom Time-lapse guide covers pretty much all you need to know on this software.

Video Production Software

The final step of producing a time-lapse video is to stitch your images together into a single video and export that video to a file format of your choice (usually AVI. MP4 or MOV). You may want to add on a soundtrack at this point, but generally, you’d add any sound or music when incorporating your time-lapse video into a larger video editing project along with other video clips.

LR Timelapse

Unlike most other video production software, LR Timelapse, as the name would suggest, has been developed especially for time-lapse production. It is considered by many as the best time-lapse software available.

LRTimelapse

Available for both Windows and MacOS, LR Timelapse boasts loads of timelapse-specific features including:

  • RAW image support
  • Integrates with Adobe Lightroom
  • Keyframe and animate more than 400 Lightroom tools
  • Holy Grail wizard for perfect day-to-night transitions
  • lossless Multi-Pass-Visual Deflicker
  • LRT Motion blur technology

Honestly, if you are not using LR Timelapse to produce your time-lapse videos, then you are missing out on some amazing features that I have not seen in another software package. 

For a more in-depth introduction to LR Timelapse, check out our LR Timelapse review. or visit the official LR Timelapse website.

Panolapse

Panolapse is another piece of dedicated time-lapse production software, developed by Patrick Shyu. Like LRTimelapse, Panolapse supports Windows and MacOS and has a lot of time-lapse-centric features including:

  • Panning/zooming with perspective correction
  • Blending frames with RAWblend (Exposure, contract, white balance and more)
  • Deflicker
  • Autoexposure
  • Export to MP4

Whilst it boasts similar features to LRTimelapse, it does not seem to integrate with Lightroom, but might be worth checking out nonetheless.

The free version of Panolapse allows you to export up to 1280×720 HD videos. With the premium version, the output video resolution is unlimited.

To try Panolapse for yourself, check out the official Panolapse website.

Adobe Premiere Pro

Most of Adobe’s creative applications are leaders in their respective markets and Premiere Pro is no exception. Used by top media/video production companies and amateurs alike, Adobe Premiere Pro is popular for a reason. With a neat, intuitive user interface and rock solid performance, if you are looking to edit videos and produce showreels then you can’t go wrong with Premiere Pro.

“With a neat, intuitive user interface and rock solid performance, if you are looking to edit videos and produce showreels then you can’t go wrong with Premiere Pro”

Having said that, Premiere Pro doesn’t offer much in the way of stitching images together to produce time-lapse. Whilst it is the first choice for many time-lapse videographers, I feel this may be due to most people already having it installed and being loyal to the Adobe brand.

Maybe I just haven’t discovered the right tools and options, but after producing a few time-lapse videos in Premiere Pro, I cannot find a precise and reliable way to set set the right frame rate.

If you are more adept than myself with PRemiere Pro, or if you have more time to learn to edit time-lapse sequences in the software, then I would most certainly suggest giving it a go.

Vegas Pro

Vegas is another popular piece of professional video production software. If you are serious about your time-lapse production and don’t want to use Premiere for any reason, then Vegas pro should be next on your list to try.

Like a lot of software these days, Vegas pro is available on a monthly subscription, or you can buy a license outright if you prefer.

Beyond the usual video editing features, Vegas pro offers an impressive range of features and filters to take your time-lapse video production to the next level including:

  • Denoise filter
  • Flicker control filter
  • Advanced color grading
  • Special effects plugins
  • AI-based colorization

For a full list of features and to see what Vegas Pro can do, check out the official website.

 Is Mac or Windows time-lapse software better?

This question has been asked a million times, not just in the photography software world, but all kinds of industries. A lot of people would argue that Apple Mac’s are better for media production in general, however a Windows PC with a similar spec is probably going to perform just as well.

Most time-lapse applications that we reviewed are available for both MacOS and Windows, so there’s not much difference with regards to support.  The best advice would be to stick to the operating system you are most comfortable with.

One factor that will make a big difference however is hardware. Whether you choose Mac or PC, make sure you have a decent processor, plenty of RAM and a high-end graphics card. Whilst a midrange computer should work just fine, you may find that rendering high resolution videos takes a long time unless your system is up to the task. A good graphics card could mean the difference between waiting 30 minutes for a rendering to complete vs waiting a whole day.

The bottom line:

The best time-lapse software for your project depends on the specific needs of your project. The only way to find out is to identify what tasks you want to achieve, and chose software to achieve those tasks. You may end up working with a few different pieces of software over the course of your time-lapse production workflow.

LRtimelapse Review

Photo editing software

If you are considering using LRTimelapse software but you’re unsure if it’s the right tool for the job, then our detailed LRTimelapse review should help make up your mind.

There are a number of time-lapse software options available, LRTimelapse is just one, but it’s one of the most fully-featured and powerful applications out there.

LRTimelapse is likely the most capable and effective tool available for serious time-lapse photographers. It could also be effectively utilized for some stop-motion work. It harnesses the effective RAW processing of Adobe Lightroom to define keyframes within the sequence of images and will subsequently apply those adjustments to successive images, and it will even transition between them. It does allow manipulation of white balance, brightness – apparently anything available in Lightroom – however, LRTimelapse itself is not as user-friendly by any means, but adjustments in Lightroom can be easily utilized in LRTimelapse. It features a de-flicker feature which is remarkable and incredibly useful if you’re trying to reduce flicker in time-lapse. It also features functions geared specifically to photographers using the “holy grail” protocol available from the same software engineer, Gunther Wegner.

LR Timelapse is a hybrid of a plug-in and a standalone program. I appreciate this, as you can make adjustments within the program, however, it doesn’t try to replicate the efficiency and robust features of Lightroom. Lightroom does what it does best, and the modifications in the metadata can be loaded into LRTimelapse and vice-versa; you can load the modifications you have made in LRTimelapse into Lightroom as well by going into “metadata” and “read metadata from files”. To load updates from Lightroom in LRTimelapse, make sure to “reload” in LRTimelapse to apply the metadata changes after you have saved the metadata to files. For example, you may run a de-flicker at some point, but then realize that after the brightness issues have been resolved, you have a white-balance issue, which is more easily taken care of in Lightroom. In this situation, you would load the metadata from LRTimelapse in Lightroom, adjust the white balance in Lightroom, save the metadata to the file(s), then go back into LRTimelapse and reload to preview and continue editing your timelapse.

Although LRTimelapse has the ability to modify the white-balance and other elements such as brightness, sharpness, whatever, I found it does not live-update, so if you are trying to make a modest, visual adjustment, Lightroom is far superior. In fact, unless it’s a holy grail sequence or de-flicker, you should be primarily editing in Lightroom and then going from there. I think that is the opinion of the creator as well, as LRTimelapse leaves most things to Lightroom that Lightroom does superbly, and simply facilitates their transition between frames. It is similar to batch processing in some ways, but it is much more than that – the ability to allow the adjustments of one keyframe in the timelapse to be applied and transitioned to the next keyframe in full resolution using Lightroom is a hallmark feature.

LRTimelapse also allows you to sample a specific region to determine the flicker adjustments – so if you have changing lighting due to clouds or whatever, you may select a region in the photographs which are not affected by the cloud cover in order to de-flicker based on that sample area. If that area were to become undesirable as a sample region at some point in the time-lapse, you could change the region using keyframes. You can keyframe this area to animate a transition between these regions.

I also would like to point out that, although the GUI has “auto-transition”, which is most often the choice you will make, there is another option which is “individual transitions” under “transitions” which will allow you to determine which transitions you want to animate and how. You can define the curve, and select which transition it is applied to. This is helpful, especially if you have a highly imperfect time-lapse, or are looking for a certain aesthetic element.

There are a lot of things to like about this program. It is what you ought to be using if you are shooting time-lapse, pure and simple. It could also do wonders if you are shooting stop-motion and have flicker in sequences or would like to apply transitioned adjustments to the sequence.

As for the bad, I would say the most disappointing thing is there is no simple “undo”. This is highly desired in any program which has an aesthetic element to it and is something I would highly recommend in future versions. It also doesn’t allow you to simply create new folders from the import option, so you will want to create the folder outside of LRTimelapse and then populate it using the import option. Not ideal.

I like that the sequence can essentially be dragged into Lightroom – This is very nice. You ought to be using Lightroom Classic as simple Lightroom CC does not apparently support the plug-in. The export option is quite convenient, however, it would be nice to have a preview of the final product in case one is trying to determine the desired speed – that said, LRTimelapse does offer speed options, including 1,2,4 and 8 times slower or faster, which is nice. You can select framerates from 24p-30p, including 29.97 and 23.97 for NTSC. This is nice, but I would almost like to see other options such as 12fps and 60fps. You can manipulate this using the speed+framerate (30fps + 2x “faster”=60fps)…

In conclusion, this is a premium timelapse solution. Gunther Wegner, although sounding like a mixture between a physics professor and an action hero in his tutorials, is an authority on timelapse science and practice and the program is the best available. If you have issues, the aforementioned tutorials are available on the website and feature the developer himself. They are quite informative and a quality resource if you are planning to use this program.

In terms of LRTimelapse’s utility, I have to say, although you can do much of these things in Photoshop or Lightroom, you really can’t. Although there are competing software options out there, if you are serious about timelapse, or do it professionally, there really aren’t. This is the only software I have found with the ability to keyframe, transition and deflicker at an effective, professional level. I would suggest using the Pro version as the export options are superior, however, if you are not a professional or a habitual pixel-peeper, the private license is certainly more powerful in many ways than anything else out there.

To find out more about LR Timelapse and to see some examples of what it can do, check out the official LRTimelapse website.