Speed up Lightroom for timelapse editing

Speeding up Lightroom for timelapse editing

In this article I will explain how you can speed up Lightroom for timelapse editing.

With the latest versions of Adobe Lightroom a very frustrating and time consuming bug has crept into the software.

The ‘copy/paste settings' or ‘synchronise settings' action now takes minutes instead of seconds.

This article explores a different workflow to increase your efficiency when editing timelapse sequences.

I realise that this technically isn't speeding up Lightroom however I worded it that way for SEO purposes so that more people would find this solution.

Timelapse workflow context

Timelapse photography consists of shooting a large number of photos at a fixed interval over an extended period of time.

These sequences of photos are then colour graded and rendered into a video file.

Instead of colour grading every photo separately, a batch edit is done across every sequence.

In Lightroom you can choose to copy and paste the settings from one photo on to the rest of the photo's sequence. Alternatively you select the single photo, as well as the rest of the photo's sequence and choose Synchronise Settings.

With the latest version(s) of Adobe Lightroom this action now takes minutes instead of seconds.)

It appears the engineering team behind the software overlooked timelapse photographers (understandable, we are a bit of a niche) when redesigning the software.

Finding a solution

After talking to my friend and fellow timelapse photographer Martin Heck from Timestorm Films I decided to run some tests using LRTimelapse to figure out how we can speed up Lightroom for timelapse editing.

Martin has a different timelapse editing workflow than me which requires the use of LRTimelapse. Martin's post production workflow goes from RAW sequence > TIFF sequence > video file, whereas mine goes from RAW sequence > video file.

Because of Martin's different approach he hadn't noticed this change in performance yet, which makes sense because he applies his (batch) colour grading to the photo sequences at a different stage in his post production workflow.

Running speed tests

Tests were done on a full spec 2015 Macbook Pro (2,8 GHz Intel Core i7, 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3, working on an external SSD drive) running the latest OS with the latest versions of Lightroom and LRTimelapse.

Using only Lightroom

I colour graded one photo from 250 photo timelapse sequence. I then copy/pasted or synchronised the settings on to the rest of the sequence.

The total duration of this process was 4 minutes and 30 seconds.

Using Lightroom and LRTimelapse

I opened up a similar 250 photo sequence in LRTimelapse and followed the basic workflow.

I initialised the sequence in LRTimelapse, added a keyframe at the start and end of the sequence using the Keyframe Wizard and saved the metadata.

I then selected the entire sequence in Lightroom and read the metadata (right click > metadata > read metadata), followed by colour grading/editing the first photo.

Then I copy/pasted the settings of the first photo on to the last photo and saved the metadata for these two edited photos.

Back in LRTimelapse I clicked Reload, then Auto Transition, followed by Save.

This is a lot more work and quite a few more steps however, the results speak for themselves.

The total duration of this process was 1 minute and 30 seconds.

That is 3 times faster than using just Lightroom.

Granted, this was single test on two sequences )however it is clear that using LRTimelapse and Lightroom is faster than using just Lightroom.

Download a free trial or buy a copy of LRTimelapse here.

You can buy my e-book about timelapse photography and astro photography below.

Get all the best tools and techniques to become a great timelapse photographer.

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