Must have timelapse software

Timelapse software cover

This article talks about which timelapse software I use and why. It features Photoshop, Lightroom, After Effects and LRTimelapse and covers basic and advanced timelapse editing workflows.

If you don't like to read then you can watch this video instead.

Timelapse photography consists of recording a series of photos at a fixed interval over an extended period of time. You then turn these photos into video files.

Basic timelapses have fixed settings: your shutter speed, iso and aperture stay the same.

For advanced shots – we timelapse industry folk call these holy grail shots – your camera settings change over time because the amount of light around you changes as the sun rises or sets.

Sometimes you do these changes manually, sometimes you let the camera decide, sometimes an external controller decides for you.

No matter what kind of timelapse you shoot, you are going to need to turn these series of photos into video files at some point, we call this post processing.

Certain cameras can do this internally, like my much beloved Lumix S1, which saves JPEG and RAW photos and can render the video file in camera. 

Check out my review of the S1 here or watch the below video.

But even if your camera can create the video files internally, you want more creative control over your edit, to make sure the footage looks as good as possible.

I’ve made plenty of videos about how to shoot timelapses both basic and advanced, today’s video is about the post processing of timelapses.

I’ll walk you through all the software I use to edit world class timelapses!

Before we move on: one of the most common issues with timelapse footage is so called (exposure) flickering, where your image has small jumps in exposure throughout the sequence. This is very visually distracting and is something you want to avoid at all time. Sometimes there’s no way around it though, so software is used to perform a so called deflickering process. Remember this for later.

Let’s start with the basic software for basic editing.

Basic timelapse editing software

Adobe has a so called photography bundle. This bundle costs about $10 a month and gives you Lightroom and Photoshop.

You use Lightroom to organise and colour grade your photo sequences.

You then save these edits and use Photoshop to turn these sequences into video files.

Yes, Photoshop can create video files! Download my free e-book about timelapse photography from the link below to learn how.

In theory you could also use just Photoshop and your computer’s file explorer by the way, but LR makes things so much easier!

For more advanced editing we’re going to be using two (or three) apps.

Advanced timelapse editing software

We'll be using Adobe Lightroom and a standalone app that works alongside Lightroom called LRTimelapse

Once again we’re organising and colour grading our photos using Lightroom, but alongside Lightroom we’re also using LRTimelapse. Check out this video about LRTimelapse I made a while ago.

I’ve made a few videos about LRT already, you can find them all on the blog post or in my tutorial playlist. 

Basically LRTimelapse is advanced timelapse editing software

It isn’t cheap but it is insanely powerful and really, really good at what it does. 

It was written specifically to edit timelapses and is used by the vast majority of pro timelapse photographers around the world.

It’s used for batch editing, deflickering, ramping or gradually changing certain settings and exporting high resolution video files.

So you can use Lightroom and LRTimelapse for advanced editing, but then on top of that I personally like to use Adobe After Effects too.

After Effects is great when you need to stabilise your sequence or add other effects or edits to it.

It’s easy to prepare a bunch of sequences and then batch export them while you’re asleep.

Let's recap this article:

For basic timelapses all you need is Lightroom and Photoshop.

For advanced timelapses all you need is Lightroom, LRTimelapse and if you want After Effects.

On top of these stand alone apps, there are a number of Lightroom plugins you can use for timelapse editing. I'm writing a separate article for that, so make sure to check back soon. Here's a quick preview:

Timelapse Support – A free LR plugin that allows you to ramp (gradually change) settings in a sequence (for example gradually changing the white balance from cool to warm during a sunrise)

Timelapse+ Studio – A paid Lightroom plugin to organise and edit basic and advanced timelapse sequences. Check out my article about Timelapse+ Studio here. insert link

Flicker Free – A paid After Effects plugin from Digital Anarchy.

GBDeflicker – A paid After Effects plugin that deflickers your footage.

Neat Video – A paid After Effects plugin that removes noise from your footage.

What about free apps?

There are free apps out there, and they all suck.

Let me know if I’m wrong, but I’ve looked and I can’t find any decent free apps out there.

That’s why I don’t talk about free apps in The Ultimate Timelapse Guide.

What’s The Ultimate Timelapse Guide you say? It’s an e-book I wrote about planning, shooting and processing the highest possible quality timelapse footage.

There's a discount code at the end of the video at the top of this article, but I'll save you the effort to find it. Use ‘ilikeyoutube' at the end for a discount!

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

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