Creating Time Lapse and Stop Motion Videos

When I started getting interested in making my own Time Lapse movies I found it difficult to find a coherent tutorial on the web that contained all the information that I needed to get started. It is my hope that this brief introduction will fill this void. In this whole post I am assueing that you have already got the images on your hard drive and have them processed. In a later post(s) I will talk more about these two other aspects of the process.

The great thing about Time Lapse is the magic of going from these 24 images to one second of movie.

one second.jpg


There are many different applications that you can use. Here I shall make a list of all the programs that a photographer will already have or are available for free on the internet.

One of the free options is google's Picassa, there are others but I prefer this one.

Most photographers will have access to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (I use version 3) ,  and Photoshop (I use CS4E). Both of these programs can be used to create movies, however Lightroom is rather limited.

There are two other programs that many people use which are Quicktime pro and Adobe Primer and Final Cut. The last two are industry standards that have a lot of bells and whistles which you don't need for your basic timeplase.

Photoshop CS4 Extended

1) Save the files in a numerical sequence i.e. filneame-1.jpg, filename-2.jpg, etc

2) File>Open and select the first file in the sequence and check the image sequence box

Untitled 2.jpg

3) A dialog box will appear for you to enter the frame rate you will want to use. Note that if upon opening the image sequence you picked a file sequence of 2fps then later in step 4 when exporting the video you select 1fps you will only get every second image appearing in your movie.

3) You can edit the file just like any other file in photoshop but here the edits will be applied to each frame in a static way.

4) File>Export>Render video and work though that dialog box



1) Navigate to the folder with the images

2) Click on create a new Movie Presentation


3) When you first open this you will find a title slide which can be removed.

4) Go to the movie tab and change transition style to time lapse.


5) Once you have selced time lapse you can selcted the fram rate you want to use, here I have selceted 24fps as well as the final output dimesions you want you movie to have.


6) Once every thing has been selected you can then click onto create movie and you are done.


7) Picassa's default location to store the videos that you create are in (on a mac) you>pictures>Picassa>Movies

Lightroom 3

The down side to using lightroom is that it is limited interns of the frame rate of 10fps or slower to get over this you can download a series of templates from

1) Select the slidshow modual.


2) Select which photos you want to be inculed in the movie which you can in three ways, either selcted photos, flagged photos or all filmstrip photos.

UntitledLR 2.jpg

3) Go to the preset panel and selcted the frame rate you want the output video to be from the presets that you have just downloaded (on the left of screen)

4) Then click on export to video.

UntitledLR 3.jpg

Now that you have created your video it is time to share it, here is the video I created via photoshop which has been uploaded to youtube. I uploaded the movie at 720p which is not the deafual quaility for youtube videos so besure to bump up the image quality to see the movie at the highest quality.