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How to Use Lightroom 4 to Create a Time Lapse Video

Published: 10/09/2012
By: larry

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 Royalty Free Music.

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

  1. 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.

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

  3. 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!

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

  5. @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 ( 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.

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

  7. 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.

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