Timelapse Workflow

a Lightroom plugin

Video Tutorials


Quick Overview Demo

Full-length post-processing walk through

Frequently asked questions


Why do I need this?
Well, if you're only doing short time-lapse clips that are during the day or the night, but not sunsets, sunrises or any other changing light conditions you might not absolutely need it. Still, even in those scenarios, this plugin can be used for creative animation such as the Ken Burns effect, as well as just using the group feature to quickly organize your photos by time-lapse. On the other hand, if you're doing any kind of day-to-night or night-to-day, whether manually, bulb ramping, exposure ramping, etc, this plugin becomes essential for blending changes in white balance or exposure across a series of frames.

Does the plugin have a free trial period?
Yes, when first using the plugin you'll be prompted to start a free 7-day trial.

Is an internet connection required to use it?
Only to initially register it. After that, it will fully function without an internet connection.

Does this work with Adobe Bridge / ACR / Photoshop?
No, it's specifically a Lightroom plugin and requires a current version of Lightroom. If you haven't done time-lapse processing in Lightroom before, I recommend downloading the trial of both Lightroom and this plugin and checking it out. It's a pretty efficient workflow.

How do Timelapse+ VIEW Intervalometer users register the plugin?
Just download and install the plugin and on first use you'll be prompted to login with the same email and password from your app.view.tl account. The first login will validate and register the plugin. Note that the app.view.tl account must have a VIEW device paired with it to validate the plugin (see Information -> Registration & App on the VIEW for instructions).

Does it support gradients?
Yes! There are no limits on gradients -- settings on a gradient can be faded across keyframes, the gradient position/rotation can be animated, and there can be any number of gradients. If gradients are added in a middle keyframe, it will be faded in automatically from the prior keyframe. Same goes for fading out. This all applies to any local adjustments as well, such as brushes, masks and cloning.

Does it deflicker the time-lapse?
Technically no, but it does smooth in-camera exposure changes to eliminate flicker from that source, so for exposure ramping intervalometers with a low or locked aperture, this should be all that is needed. This method is purely based on metadata which allows it to be very fast. It does not analyze images for luminance changes, and therefore cannot correct flicker caused by something such as aperture variation, and there are no immediate plans to add this. For true deflickering, try TLDF, GBDeflicker, LRTimelapse, or Sequence.

Does it render time-lapse to video?
No, you'll need to export the image sequence from Lightroom and render it with another program outside Lightroom. If you're using After Effects or Motion, the image sequence can be loaded into them directly. LRTimelapse also has good integration with Lightroom for rendering and more. On Mac, I highly recommend TLDF. Sequence is also nice simple Mac program that can be used for rendering the exported images.

Does this replace LRTimelapse?
I try to avoid direct comparisons, but this one comes up a lot. No, it does not replace LRTimelapse; it does not render or do visual deflickering, but it does have a bit of overlap. Also, unlike this plugin, LRTimelapse supports Bridge/ACR workflows as well. I wrote this to simplify support for postprocessing in Lightroom so that there would be a quick and easy solution that gets great results for the common use-cases rather than a comprehensive application for every situation -- for that I would recommend LRTimelapse.

What Lightroom versions does it work with?
Lightroom 6.0 and up, which includes Lightroom CC. Lightroom 5 and below are not supported.

Installation


  1. Download a copy of the plugin here
  2. Extract the downloaded zip file and move the resulting timelapse-workflow.lrplugin folder to a location on your computer you can remember (like the documents folder)
  3. Open Lightroom and go to File -> Plug-in Manager...
  4. In the Plug-in Manager, click the "Add" button on the lower-left and select the timelapse-workflow.lrplugin from the location determined in step 2
  5. Close the Plug-in Manager, then go to File -> Plug-in Extras and select "1: Group Photos by Time-lapse". On the first use, this will open the activation dialog where you can start the free trial or register.

Registration


On first use the plugin will open the registration dialog. From here you can select to start the trial or activate it with your app.view.tl account or a purchased registration key. If you've already started the free trial, the registration dialog will not be shown again until the trial expires.

There are two methods of registration, either by purchasing a registration key or by verifying VIEW Intervalometer ownership via app.view.tl. The two methods are described below.

Register using purchased key
If you do not own a Timelapse+ VIEW Intervalometer, you'll need to purchase a key via the "Buy" button above. Then, when prompted to register the plugin within Lightroom, select the "Register with purchased key" option, then enter the email address and registeration key that was purchased. It's best to copy and past the registration key to ensure it's entered properly.

Once registered with a key, it will remain active permanently. Registration keys may be used for up to 3 of your own systems, but sharing is not permitted.

Register as VIEW Intervalometer user
Owners of the VIEW Intervalometer by Timelapse+ can register the plugin at no cost (and it doesn't matter where you purchased the VIEW). When prompted to register the plugin within Lightroom, select the "Register with app.view.tl" option, then enter the email address and password for your app.view.tl account. You'll need to have already associated your VIEW device with your app.view.tl account for verification. Instructions for this can be found at docs.view.tl, as well on the VIEW in Information -> Registration & App.

Group photos by time-lapse


This is typically the first step in the workflow. After importing your images, this feature can be used to separate them into collections by time-lapse sequence. It works with the images currently in the Library grid. You can select multiple folders or even your entire library if you're doing it for the first time. You might find some missing time-lapse sequences! (Note: if the current view is filtered, the filter will be disabled temporarily to search all images in the selected folders.)

To run this tool, click the "File" menu (upper-left corner of Lightroom), then "Plug-in Extras", then "#1: Group photos by time-lapse". It will then search the current images for time-lapse sequences and show the list of what it found. At this point you can toggle the checkboxes on each sequence to disable/enable creating a collection for it. If a sequence already has a collection, it will automatically be unchecked.

Press "Create Collections" to create the collections for each time-lapse sequence, under a collection group called "Time-lapse". It will automatically switch the current view to the first collection created. Or, press "Cancel" and leave everything unchanged.

Auto create keyframes


Once you have a sequence of time-lapse images in the current view, the next step is to create keyframes. The keyframes are the images you edit, and the plugin takes care of applying those edits to the rest of the sequence. Keyframes are identified by "1-starred" images in Lightroom.

While you can mark the keyframes yourself, the plugin makes it easy by identifying transition points to ensure the entire sequence is properly edited. This is especially important for holy-grail sequences where the white balance will vary significantly. For simple sequences, it will likely only put a keyframe on the first and last frames.

To run this tool, click the "File" menu (upper-left corner of Lightroom), then "Plug-in Extras", then "#2: Auto create keyframes". It will then analyze the current sequence for exposure transition and show the list keyframes it suggests.

Press "Create Keyframes" to create the keyframes shown in the dialog. It will then automatically filter the view to just show the keyframes switch the Develop panel in Lightroom. Or, press "Cancel" and leave everything unchanged.

Blend settings between keyframes


The blend feature is where the real power of the Timelapse Workflow plugin is at. This interpolates the develop settings between each keyframe, making for smooth transitions and animations. It also automatically smooths out any camera settings changes for flicker-free exposure ramping.

Local adjustments such as brushes, gradients, masks and even the clone tool are smoothly blended between keyframes. If a local adjustment is present on a single keyframe but not on the ajacent keyframes, it will be copied to the ajacent keyframes with the corrections set to zero, then interpolated between, resulting in it fading in/out, with the full strength of the correction peaking at the original keyframe where it was created.

Local adjustments and the crop can also be animated. If you use the Previous button, Synchronize, or copy/paste local adjustments, they will be recognized as being connected, so any changes, including changes to the position, will be interpolated between keyframes. For example, if you start with the first keyframe, add a gradient, then copy that gradient to the second keyframe and change it's position or anything else about it, those changes will be animated between the first and second keyframe. This can be useful if you want local corrections in a certain area that's moving across the frame in a motion control sequence.

To run this tool, click the "File" menu (upper-left corner of Lightroom), then "Plug-in Extras", then "#3: Blend settings between keyframes". It's ok if the current view in Lightroom is still filtered for just the keyframes -- it will change it to show all the images. It will then analyze the current sequence and display the settings across the keyframes.

Press "Blend Keyframes" to interpolate the keyframes across the entire sequence. Any changes to the develop settings for images that are not keyframes will be overwritten (but still in the history). Once this is complete, the sequence is ready to be exported. Or, press "Cancel" and leave everything unchanged.

Preview time-lapse


As a final step, the plugin allows you to get a feel for the end result before you spend the time exporting and rendering it. Unfortunately, due to limitations in the plugin API, it's hard to get this to play back smoothly until Ligthroom has updated the previews for all of the images in the sequences. This can take some time in longer sequences. To ensure smooth playback, first select all images, go to the "Library" menu, then "Previews" -> "Build Standard-Sized Previews" and wait for it to complete.

To run this tool, click the "File" menu (upper-left corner of Lightroom), then "Plug-in Extras", then "#4: Preview time-lapse. Adjust the speed of playback by changing the number of frames to skip.

Exporting & rendering


The Timelapse Workflow plugin does not export or render the images, so you're on your own from here, but there are several options out there.

Render using Lightroom

If you add some slideshow templates, you can render the image sequence to a video entirely within Lightroom. Unfortunately, this method is limited to 1080p. You can find instructions for this method here.

Render using LRTimelapse

LRTimelapse can render high-quality videos and is well integrated with Lightroom. Check out the "Export and Render" section of the LRTimelapse workflow page.

Exporting the images for rendering with an external tool

For most other tools, you'll need to first export the image sequence from Lightroom. In the Library panel, select all the images, then click Export. Set the size of the exported images to your desired final output size. For faster processing, use JPEG with about 85% quality. Or, for the best results, use TIFF.

Once you have the folder of exported images, here is a short (non-exhaustive) list of some programs that can render them to video:

  • After Effects
  • Motion (Mac)
  • TLDF (Mac)
  • Sequence (Mac)
  • Quicktime Pro 7 (old version) (Mac)
  • ffmpeg

Release Notes


Check the installed version of the plugin from the plug-in manager.

1.0.0.15

  • Added editable frame number during playback so specific frames can be referenced
  • Now ignores XMPs from the VIEW Intervalometer for consistent results

1.0.0.14

  • Added setting for playback speed regulation for fast CPUs (in Plug-In Manager)

1.0.0.13

  • Minor corrections.

1.0.0.12

  • Corrects an issue in certain cases with it saying trial expired on first use.