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3 easy steps to do time-lapses using Lightroom and Photoshop

The other day I was with my son on a birthday on the beach and as usual he took his GoPro with him. At sundown he wanted to capture a time-lapse sunset. The sunset was fast and I knew this would be a time-lapse photography material. In this post I will share with you the easiest method of extracting and merging the photos into a time-lapse video. 

First: what do you need:

  1. A camera capable of taking automatic shots on set intervals (like a GoPro or a mobile phone). If you want to achieve this with your DSLR, then you need an intervalometer connected to the camera.
  2. Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw
  3. Photoshop


Second: import, adjust and export using Adobe Lightroom

We captured circa 1,400 shots and we needed a software that can auto synchronize all adjustments on all shots. Off course I use Lightroom and this software works like a charm. If you don't have Lightroom you can always use adobe Camera Raw to apply a batch of adjustments on all shots. 

In Lightroom, select the first shot and do your global adjustments in the develop module like cropping, straightening and exposure, shadows and highlights.

Select all the rest of the shots and click on Sync in the bottom right corner of the Lightroom Develop module. MAke sure you check all the changes that you made to the first shot to be applied to all the rest of the shots selected. Press Synchronize and now all the shots will take the changes you made on the first image. 

After that, you are ready to export the results as Jpegs. If you are only publishing on the internet, then use a low resolution (72 dpi is enough). The size of the image is better to be 1980 pixels (longest side), which is a good size for videos.


Third: Open the sequence and process the video options in Adobe Photoshop

In Photoshop, go Menu - File - Open. Go to the folder with the exported images and select the first one in the sequence. Don't select all; just the first one or else Photoshop will try to handle every picture like a time-lapsed video. In the Open dialog box, and  before you press the Open button, make sure you check "Image Sequence" in the lower bottom of the window. Now select Open.

When prompted for frames per second just click OK because you can always change that later on. 

Go to Window in the main menu and select "Timeline" (Menu - Window - Timeline) a new panel appears at the bottom. If you press the play button you will try your time-lapse video.

Now its the time where you can change your Frame Rate if you want. To do that go to the Timeline Window right corner (a down arrow with lines next to it) and click on "Select Timeline Frame Rate". I stick with 30 fps or somewhere around that range. Once you are happy with how quick or slow your time-lapse runs, it is time to "render" the video.

Go to Menu - File - Export - Render Video. The Render Video dialog will appear and this is where you can give your video a name and decide on which format you want it saved. 

I recommend setting it on one of the HD settings. Press OK and wait a bit then enjoy the outcome!