I own a Nikon D700, which has in-camera support for taking time-lapse photos, but I need advice on the easiest and best software solutions for processing the resulting heap of images. I accept that the best software may not be the easiest, and vice versa. Open-source would be great, but I'm open to commercial solutions as well. I've tried Picasa's movie-making feature, but found it to be kludgy and missing many useful options. What do you recommend?
If you are on a Mac, one of the best ways is using Automator, which you can use to do basic cropping/editing and conversion to video (although this part usually requires Quicktime Pro).
There is a good walkthough here: How to Make a Time-Lapse Video from Stills
Also, a great open source solution is to use ffmpeg, but it is a much more technical path to take, so keep that in mind.
There are lots of examples out there, here's one example: Creating Time Lapse with ffmpeg
You answer lies in Lightroom and this free software plugin for lightroom http://lrtimelapse.com/
NOTE: this will only work for free for short timelapse segments. Anything over 400 images requires a license.
The great thing about using lightroom for a timelapse is that you can easily crop,edit thousands of images with a simple click. You can then make a slideshow.
Here is a blog post that shows how to install the slideshow video templates for lightroom:
If you want to take your timelapse photography a step further you can make gradual changes and deflicker the timelapse within lightroom with the lrtimelapse plugin.
LRTimelapse will take your movies to the next level. It allows you to continuously change Adobe Lightroom or Camera RAW development parameters over the time enabling sort of key-frame animations like in video-processing. The great advantage over post processing in your favorite video production software is the way higher quality of pre processing on a RAW-file basis. Of course you can work with JPG as well.
Examples and use cases
- Alter white balance and other parameters over the time (for example for sun sets)
- Make the "Holy Grail" - (day to night transition) easy peasy
- Deflicker Make Ken-Burns effects (pan/zoom) Fade in / fade out
- Continuously saturate / desaturate
- and many more...
For Windows, you can use VirtualDub. It is free and open source.
To create a timelapse, you need all of your photos numbered in order, without any gaps in the sequence. Then just go to File > Open, and pick the first image. VirtualDub will then load all of the images.
To set the frame rate, go to Video menu > Frame rate. You can also add filters if you want to change the output video, on Video > Filters. If your photos are higher resolution than the output you want, you can use a resize filter. You can also use filters to crop if you don't want the whole frame.
You can set the compression on Video > Compression. The options available will depend on what codecs you have installed. You can just use uncompressed format, then use other software to compress it as required.
Then to save the video, use File > Save as AVI.
Ha. Nobody mentioned free windows alternatives.
I've been using windows live movie maker with good results. It is as simple as dragging your pictures into the timeline, selecting them, setting a time for each (24 fps is around 0,04 seconds per picture) and exporting :)
(It auto-adds black vertical bars to your 3:2 or 4:3 aspect ratio pictures if you export to 16:9 HD video, but you may prefer cropping them beforehand. I've used image magick for windows for batch cropping - add a comment if you want more details about this)
Try Time-Lapse Tool Software for Windows. It provides lot of featuries such as:
- Zooming and panning your frames
- Add soundtrack to movie
- Render your movie to different video formats or publish to YouTube
- Easy to apply image effects
- Free Community Edition available
(Note: I am affilated with Timelapse Tool.)
Avidemux is a good tool for this purpose. Open source, free.
It is the easiest. Just open the first image from the folder in which you have the sequence. It automatically populates the rest for you! Then you have to export it as video.
You could try Blender, it is open source but personally I think there would be a learning curve for it.
It also has video editing capabilities so if you aren't able to fork out for the commercial offerings it could be alternative for you.
You can also use Panolapse. It supports:
- Fisheye lense
It is free for resolutions up to 1280x720.
Use VideoVelocity if you need to record video over long periods of time, reliably. You can also broadcast the time-lapse as it's recording to Teleport for online viewing, private or public. Great for project promotion.
VideoVelocity also does mass stitching of stills into high quality H.264 or HEVC/H.265 video files. And performs de-flicker on the frames to minimize light variation effects from frame to frame. You can also speed up existing video files easily. You would then use a video editor of your choice for post processing.
It is free for non HD resolutions.
Disclosure: I'm affiliated with VideoVelocity
I am adding my 2 cents here.
This task is a 3 step process.
1) Just mergin the frames into a video.
I am not sure, but I think all the programs listed here are just simple editing programs that merge this.
2) Controlling the framerate.
You need to see if this options listed here can do that. On this part I would go for virtual dub (as someone already has)
3) Adding motion blur. Here is a quantum leap.
Although the primary goal of this software is to do the inverse than time lapse (slow motion) On this open source project there are some tests to smooth a timelapse: http://slowmovideo.granjow.net/videos.html
The comercial options are twixtor and kronos: https://www.thefoundry.co.uk/products/plugins/kronos/ The company that sells twixtor has another plug in called, well Motion Blur. Probably this will help too on this case. http://www.revisionfx.com/products/rsmb/
If you're looking for a free app on Windows, I ended up using the Photos app that ships with Windows 10. It's a bad name for a product because it replaced Windows Movie Maker, but it was super simple to do a time-lapse after. Simply import your images, drag them onto the storyboard, then adjust the duration.
Good free tool from Microsoft Store
Easy to use, nice result. Some time converting fails, but whatever.
I've been having good luck with Sequence (for Mac):
I've so far only used its more basic capabilities.