How to Use Lightroom 4 to Create a Time Lapse Video

September 9th, 2012

This weekend I shot a time lapse of my son’s house while I mowed the surrounding 4 acres. I am part of the landscaping crew. This wonderful old home was built in 1880 in on a land grant section (640 acres) by a prominent Oregon pioneer family and has been in my wife’s family for going on 30 years. It takes a huge amount of work to maintain the grounds, the vineyard and the house. It’s affectionately referred to as the Yellow House.

I set up my 5DMkII on a tripod with a Cannon TC-80N3 remote controller set to shoot a frame every 2 seconds and then when off and mowed for a hour and a half.  The result was 1409 medium size JPG frames (5.4 gig).

What you need to do with all these JPGs to create a time lapse video is crop and adjust them and then create a video file. I used to use QuickTime 7 Pro to create the video file. I’d tried to use Lightroom 3 but I found that it took forever to render the video file (probably because of the slow machine I was using). I’d not tried Lightroom 4 so I though it would be worth a try. I found the above video tutorial which covered exactly what I wanted to do. With previous time lapses I’d had trouble getting Final Cut to upload the video to Vimeo as in a 16:9 aspect ratio but doing the cropping in Lightroom solves that problem nicely. It turned out that to render my 59 second video of 1409 frames it took Lightroom 4 about 20 minutes on my MacBook Pro that has a 2.7 GHz I7 with a flash drive and 16Gig of RAM. It’s nice to be able to do some adjustments, cropping in Lightroom before you render the video.

I rendered this video at 720p 25 fps using the slideshow presets described in the tutorial video. I want to try to render it again at 1080p to see if I can get the video a little sharper.

Oh yea, the music track is from danosongs.com Royalty Free Music.

11 Responses to “How to Use Lightroom 4 to Create a Time Lapse Video”

  • Larry,

    Pretty cool tutorial here from Philip Bloom if you use an older version of Quicktime. Super fast and easy.
    http://philipbloom.net/2009/10/18/tutorial-on-how-to-turn-your-dslrs-stills-timelapse-into-video/

  • Great post Larry. I think we all need a little time lapse in our tours! Lightroom 4 can do some amazing things. We love the slide show module for creating custom slide shows very quickly.

  • @Terry- Thanks for the tutorial link! Philip Bloom’s approach is nice because it adds the ability to pan/zoom in post.

  • Nice tutorial, thanks for sharing. I will be trying out this technique at some point. The ‘Sync’ button is a lifesaver.
    Every time I show Lightroom to someone they can’t believe how powerful it is, not to mention fast and easy to navigate. Top software!

  • Great post Larry. But what I like the most was that you’re on a riding lawn mower. Someday I wish to have a lawn large enough to warrant a riding mower.

  • Very nicely done Larry! However, you guys must be in a drought because it looked like you were mowing the dirt more than grass!

  • @Michael- Yea, we don’t do any irrigation except drip irrigation in the vineyard so when I start mowing in May I keep getting the mower stuck in the mud and by early Sept it gets so dusty where the gophers make mounds that the mower spreads around.

    @Charlie- Having to mow 4 acres every week is a mixed blessing! Last year our 15 year old John Deer mower died so we got a used zero turn-Honda Kubota (http://www.kubota.com/product/ZG222/ZG222.aspx) Which is a kick and a half to drive and it mows about twice as fast as old Johnny but it burns 5 gallons of Premium gas to mow the four acres. It takes 3-4hours a week just mowing.

  • If you really want great looking timelapse take a look at this http://lrtimelapse.com/
    Gunther is now charging for his software but it is a great tool for making flicker free videos.

  • @ Larry – Looks like a hoot. I don’t know, riding mower are like getting to drive a go-cart while doing good. Living in snow country I splurged with heated grips on my snowblower. No quite the same thing as a go-cart.

  • @Greg- Thanks for the link Gunther’s site and products look great… I’m going to get them.

  • Wow. Thanks to the comments above I realized there was a video of your own time lapse. Otherwise I don’t think I would have seen it. I loved the clouds. The two layers were so very close together but still distinct.