Time-Lapse Software (post-production)
We are often asked what software is best for assembling a time-lapse movie from still images. The answer is: it depends. There are many techniques used to assemble time-lapse movies and lots of software to help effect these techniques. Here is a list of some popular software ranging from simple to complex.
QuickTime Pro 7 ($30)
QuickTime Pro has a feature called Open Image Sequence (removed in QuickTime 8+) that allows you to open a directory of images, choose a frame rate, and export to a movie file. Creating a time-lapse movie does not get simpler than this.
Time Lapse Assembler (donation-ware, $5-$20)
Time Lapse Assembler allows you to create movies from a sequence of images. Provide it with a folder containing sequentially named JPEG images and it will produce a QuickTime compatible movie file for use in iMovie or other editing software.
Time Lapse Assembler (supports OS X)
LRTimelapse (donation-ware, requires Adobe Lightroom)
LRTimelapse is a tool for applying Adobe Lightroom adjustments to images in a time-lapse sequence. Keyframes are chosen and values can be applied gradually between keyframes. The adjustments are then rendered into a movie or set of JPEGs with Lightroom. It supports many advanced features such as
- Alter the white balance over the time (for example for sun sets)
- Make Ken-Burns effects (pan/zoom)
- Fade in / fade out
- Continuously saturate / desaturate
- and any other adjustment available in Lightroom
Download LRTimelapse (supports OS X, and Windows)
ffmpeg (free, open source)
ffmpeg is a command line based video encoder that can output almost every digital video format. It can create a video out of sequentially named JPEG files using the "-i" flag. Because it is command line based, it is possible to write a program to automatically generate time-lapse movies.
Other time-lapse movie software
We have heard that the following software is capable of creating time-lapse movies, but haven't tried it ourselves.
- Adobe Premiere Elements
- Adobe Premiere
- Adobe After Effects