Explore how to create a time lapse video!

Do you enjoy viewing time-lapse videos but have no ideas how to create them?   I was reluctant to try capturing or putting together a time-lapse video. myself. I thought it would be too tricky and take too much time, but I recently decided to jump in and give it a shot! This post will share the steps to create your masterpiece. I use Lightroom and Photoshop to create my time-lapse. There are apps and other tools for this type of video, but LR and PS work great for me since I already use them to edit my images. 

A time-lapse video is a combination of still images taken over a period of time. They are a great way to capture the movement of clouds, a storm rolling in,  sunrise or sunset. So let’s get started! 

The first step is deciding on a scene you want to capture. Plan a location that will have some movement or change over time for your video. Focusing on clouds, stormy weather, sunrise or sunset, will help you create a video. This type of photography works excellent when you are shooting a landscape scene or even a cityscape. A big tip is to think about how much time do you have? How long before sunset/sunrise, how fast is the storm moving in? Also, consider how fast the sky or clouds are moving/changing. 

Equipment needed is your camera, a tripod, a blank SD card, and maybe a comfy chair to hang out while the scene processes. 

The next step is setting up the photo shoot.  A tripod is needed to ensure a steady shot and align all the images the same. Make sure you are on a sturdy service and not a lot of wind so that your camera stays stable between shots.  Set up your camera on a tripod and take some single photos of the scene to get excellent exposure. Once you are ready to begin the time-lapse, you will need to go to your camera settings and set up interval shooting ( see example below). For DSLR cameras, this setting is usually located in the Drive section. Check your camera manual to see how to use this feature. The key is to set up how many images you want the camera to take and how far apart. If the clouds are moving fast, you may want to capture an image every 3 seconds; if they are slower, you could adjust to 5, 10, or even 30 seconds. Last you have to decide how many total images you want for the time-lapse. Most time-lapse videos average 30 frames/shots per second. 100 images will give you about a 3-second video. That may be plenty of time if you are using this for social media or your personal use. You can also think about how much time you have available to run the time-lapse. Once you have all the settings, you can click start to run the interval shots. If your camera does not have interval shooting, you can still do a time-lapse you would have to press the shutter for each image. 

Once you have taken all the images, you need to process them. I load all of my pictures into Lightroom. You can use Bridge or another file system if you like. If you need to edit the images, I recommend picking one shot in the middle of the stack and edit that one image. Then you can copy those edits and apply them to all the images in your stack. When you are finished editing all the photos you want to export to a folder on your computer or a hard drive, please make sure they are the only images in the folder. 

The last step is the easiest and magical! Open Photoshop and then go to File > Open. This will take you to your file system. Open the folder with the timelapse images and click on the first image. Then at the bottom of the screen, make sure to check the box Image Sequence. This will tell Photoshop that there is a series of files to load as a video. 

Once the files load into Photoshop, your screen will look like the first image below.  The video timeline should be visible at the bottom of your screen. If it is not visible, you can access it from Window>Timeline ( see second image below).  The timeline allows you to edit your video and add music.

 Before you export the video, note that the file will be huge, so you will want to reduce the canvas size. I recommend going to Image > Canvas Size > Change pixel size to 3840 and 2160 ( see image below). At this point, you can now export the video:  File > Export>Render Video. Be sure you select Render Video for your export. 

Once you walk thru the steps one time, you will be good to go! The hardest part is deciding what to capture and how many images to take. The editing steps are straightforward. Below is a video that walks you through the editing process. 

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