What you'll learn
1.Understand the basics of using LRTimelapse
2.Learn how to deflicker a timelapse with LRTimelapse and Adobe Lightroom
3.Learn how to export a timelapse through LRTimelapse
Sometimes your timelapse doesn’t go according to plan and you end up with varying exposure values, creating a less than enjoyable viewing experience. Thanks to tools like LRTimelapse, a flickering timelapse doesn’t have to mean a wasted timelapse venture.
What you'll need
- A set of timelapse stills
- A computer
- Adobe Lightroom
A bit of theory
Flickering in timelapses – meaning the exposure of your photos varying, resulting in the end timelapse clip changing from light to dark to light rapidly – is a great inconvenience when creating timelapses. Thankfully there are a few ways you can help to reduce this flicker.
First of all, do not use automatic settings. Automatic settings are too reactive and will change your aperture or other settings so much that your end timelapse clip will be a mess of lighter and darker images.
Despite shooting on full manual mode, you can still end up with flicker in your final timelapse clip caused by your aperture. Shooting on a wider aperture can help to reduce this.
Some photographers use the lens twist method to reduce flicker, although this method is a little more advanced.
For the times when the above techniques are impractical for what you’re shooting, your best bet might be to try and fix the flickering in post production. Software such as LRTimelapse uses keyframes and average light readings to create consistent exposures across a set of images.
First of all you’ll need to make sure you have both Adobe Lightroom and LRTimelapse installed on your computer. LRTimelapse essentially works as an advanced lightroom plug in so you’ll need both applications for this technique to work.
You need to have a set of timelapse images that you have already taken. Save these in their own separate folder somewhere on your computer. Do not rename the files so that LRTimelapse can easily read them in chronological order.
Select LRTimelapse from your applications. When it loads, choose your folder of timelapse stills from the list of available folders in the left hand column.
Select ‘Keyframes Wizard’ from the top menu. Using the slider under the timelapse preview, scroll through your timelapse and whenever you see a significant exposure change select the diamond symbol next to the highlighted still in the stills column.
Next to Keyframe Wizard, select the ‘Save’ button. This saves your keyframe information in the metadata so that you can transfer that information to Adobe Lightroom.
Open Lightroom and in the Library tab, select ‘Import’. Import your full folder of timelapse stills, the same photos you imported to LRTimelapse earlier. They should appear with crop and develop settings that have been pulled over from LRTimelapse.
Go to the develop tab and edit your keyframe photos as you would edit photos normally. Remember to keep settings and exposures consistent across all keyframes.
Return to the Library tab in Lightroom. Select all of your keyframe images. From the top menu, select ‘Metadata’ and then ‘Save Metadata to files’.
Now that your updated keyframe data is loaded in to LRTimelapse, select the ‘Auto Transition’ button to create a smooth transition of exposures between your keyframes.
Draw a square over the part of your frame that you believe to be the best and most consistent exposure reference for your clip. To do this, click and drag over the desired area in the timelapse preview window. LRTimelapse will recalculate the average brightness of your timelapse based on this reference. This helps with the accuracy of the next step.
Select the ‘Deflicker’ button from the top menu. Adjust the slider until the purple line that has appeared over the exposure value line is as smooth as possible.
Next to ‘Deflicker’, select the ‘Save’ button. This saves your keyframe information in the metadata so that you can transfer that information to Adobe Lightroom.
Once your metadata has been read in to Lightroom, make sure you have the full folder of imported stills selected and then go to ‘File’ and ‘Export…’.
Select the LRTimelapse preset from the left hand menu.
Select LRTimelapse from your apps folder as the executable.
Select where you would like your file to be output to, such as the same stills folder they came from.
Name your export file.
Lightroom will inform you when the files have been rendered out to LRTimelapse.
Once your photos have rendered out of Lightroom, the ‘Render Video’ box will automatically appear in LRTimelapse. Return to LRTimelapse and make sure that your output file is named something you will remember and is going to be saved to your desired folder on your computer.
Next you will need to select your output settings. These are very much up to you, but if you’re a beginner here are our recommendations:
Codec: MP4 (H.264)
Output size: 1080p
Frame rate: 25
Speed: 1:1 (default)
Once you have chosen your settings, select ‘Export’.
Congratulations, you should now have a deflickered timelapse clip