Workflows



Basic workflow with Adobe Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom is certainly the best solution to edit time lapse sequences in terms of the price performance ratio. With Lightroom 4 and 5 Adobe lowered the price even more so that obtaining this masterpiece is practically a no-brainer.

Please note that Lightroom 5 is not supporting the slideshow templates for time lapse anymore – now LRTimelapse 3 will take over the rendering and will be triggered by the new LRTExport Lightroom Plugin provided with LRT3.

Here is the Workflow for editing and exporting a Time Lapse sequence with LRTimelapse and Adobe Lightroom:

Step 1: Start in LRTimelapse to prepare your images

  1. Select the folder with your time lapse sequence
  2. Click on the top-left Button “Initialize”.
  3. Wait until all the previews are loaded
  4. Define an area in you sequence you are going to use as reference for the brightness. Do this by clicking and dragging with your mouse inside the preview panel.
  5. You might want to play the time lapse via the little play-button below the preview, in order to get you a first impression on the time lapse.
    Please note that LRTimelapse only shows the original previews – never the developed images!
  6. Click on “Keyframes Wizard” to create Keyframes automatically or create the Keyframes manually, at least set one Keyframe to the first frame and one to the last frame of the sequence.
  7. Save

Step 2: Switch over to Lightroom

  1. Open the folder with your time-lapse images
  2. Go to grid-view (G) and select all the images (Ctrl-A)
  3. Select Metadata -> Read metadata from files from the menu
  4. Set a filter to only show images with one or more stars (click on the left of the 5 stars on the top right of the lower filmstrip in Lightroom)
  5. Edit the first starred image of the series
  6. Copy/paste the settings of the first image to the next
    (Ctrl-Shift-C, Ctrl-Shift-V)
  7. Edit the next image of the sequence differently based on the pasted settings, do this from left to right for all starred images.
  8. Save the metadata for the edited images (Ctrl-S)

Step 3: Return to LRTimelapse

  1. Reload
  2. Click on Auto transition for a smooth transition that will take the key-framed images into account.
  3. Save

Step 4: Now go back to Lightroom

  1. Clear any filter (click on the left star again to deselect it)
  2. Go to Grid-View (G), and select all images (Ctrl-A)
  3. Go to the metadata menu and chose “read metadata from files”. This will update your sequence with the calculated transitions
  4. Now you can export the time lapse movie via the new LRTExport Plugin. Just go to export in the Library Module (not Slideshow, like with LRT2) – choose “LRTimelapse Export” on the left in the section “LRTimelapse” – this will bring up the LRTimelapse exporter. Make sure the path’s are set correctly and then hit export. After creating an intermediate Sequence, LRTimelapse will pop up and offer you a render dialog with all quality, resolution etc. settings and perform the video output.

Voilà, that’s it! Now it’s your turn. Be creative!

Basic workflow with Adobe Camera RAW / Bridge

Since Lightroom is basically just a front end with an integrated Adobe Camera RAW Library, you can use LRTimelapse with Adobe Camera RAW as well. Accessing the image will take place in Adobe Bridge, the results will go directly into Adobe After Effects or you can export them as JPG-sequence and use an arbitrary piece of software for video creation.

There is no big difference in the workflows between Lightroom and ACR. The biggest difference is that Lightroom requires you to read/write the metadata manually while Bridge/ACR does it automatically.

Below is a basic workflow for editing with LRTimelapse and Adobe Camera RAW / Bridge. With this workflow, you can either export a JPG sequence to create a video or continue post processing in After Effects and export your video from there.

Step 1: Start in LRTimelapse to prepare your images (same as in the Lightroom Workflow)

  1. Select the folder with your time lapse sequence
  2. Click on the top-left Button “Initialize”.
  3. Wait until all the previews are loaded
  4. Define an area in you sequence you are going to use as reference for the brightness. Do this by clicking and dragging with your mouse inside the preview panel.
  5. You might want to play the time lapse via the little play-button below the preview, in order to get you a first impression on the time lapse.
    Please note that LRTimelapse only shows the original previews – never the developed images!
  6. Click on “Keyframes Wizard” to create Keyframes automatically or create the Keyframes manually, at least set one Keyframe to the first frame and one to the last frame of the sequence.
  7. Save

Step 2: Go to Adobe Bridge

  1. Open the folder with your time lapse image sequence in Adobe Bridge
  2. Set the Filter to only show images with one or more Stars (Ctrl-Alt-1)
  3. Edit the first starred image (right-click on it and choose Open in Camera Raw…, adjust the White Balance or other settings like exposure
  4. Hit Done (not “Open”)
  5. Copy/Paste the development settings to the next Keyframe (=starred image)
  6. Change the development settings of this image (again in Camera RAW) according to your needs – change the WB or whatever you would like (later the images in between will be calculated) -> repeat steps 5-6 for all keyframes from left to right by copying/pasting the settings of the previous key-framed image as reference for the next and so on.

Step 3: Return to LRTimelapse (same as in Lightroom-workflow)

  1. Reload
  2. Click on Auto transition for a smooth transition that will take the key-framed images into account.
  3. Click on Deflicker, if necessary. Normally the default works well. See the detailed deflicker guide.
  4. Save

Step 4a) Rendering and post processing in After Effects

Now you can either open you RAW-Sequence in Adobe After Effects:

  • import the images as image sequence into in After Effects
  • check “Camera RAW Sequence” (or “JPEG Sequence” if you are working with those)
  • process further
  • render as .mp4 or .avi

or:

Step 4b) Post processing as a JPG-Sequence

You can use Adobe Bridge to export a JPG sequence and use an arbitrary program to generate a movie from that JPGs.

In Bridge

  1. Select the Export-tab on the left side.
  2. Select all images and drag and drop them to “save to hard drive” on the export-tab.
  3. Double-click on “save to hard-drive”, you will get the export dialog.
  4. Choose a new folder to put your generated JPGs in
  5. Export
  6. Depending on the software that you are going for creating the video, you may have to rename your images – you could use the batch rename feature (Ctrl-Shift-R) in Bridge to do so.

Now that you have properly preprocessed the JPGs, you can use an arbitrary software to make a video out of them.
Examples are: Quicktime pro, Avidemux, VirtualDub, Photoshop Extended.

An example for using Photoshop Extended to generate the Movie out of the JPGs

Open Photoshop Extended (>=CS3)

  1. Chose File -> Open
  2. Navigate to the folder with your image sequence
  3. Select the first image
  4. Check “image sequence”
  5. Hit Open.
  6. Chose a frame rate, i.e. 30 fps
  7. You can check if the whole sequence was loaded under Window -> Workspace -> Motion. If only one image was loaded, the numbering of your files is not correct. I got good results with naming them as test-1000.jpg, test-1001.jpg and so on.
  8. Now you can render the video via File->Export->Render Video.

Adobe After Effects can be used with either of the both workflows to finish and render a sequence since it fully understands the XMP Metadata LRTimelapse is writing and is capable of render that information on its own.

When working with Lightroom, after completing the second “row” in LRTimelapse just load your sequence as “image sequence” in After Effects, further post process and render there.

  • import the images as image sequence into in After Effects
  • check “Camera RAW Sequence” (unfortunately After Effects will not apply XMP edits to JPGs)
  • process further
  • render as .mp4 or .avi

When working with Bridge/ACR it’s the same, just see the Bridge/ACR workflow.

Comments are closed.