How To Make A Timelapse In Lightroom & FCPX

We all love a good timelapse don't we?!

It ups your production value, goes great cut with music and gives a sense of place that's way more interesting than just standard location shots. 

It's an art form, not an exact science- how long to run for? Intervals of shots? Shutter speeds? The perfect framing?... There's lots to think about and most of the time you don't realise that the moment you stopped, the clouds were doing the coolest thing ever and if you'd have just waited ten more mins you'd have the perfect ending.... but let's face it, the world is always doing the coolest thing, so there will never be perfect timing!

If you want to watch a film rather than read... then here you go! (Sorry, I waffle a bit!)

Now- I am in no way an authority on this matter. I am obsessed but still learning- I have progressed through the various levels of timelapse making: 

1. Just film something for ages and then speed it up in post

2. Film photos using an intervalometer bung them all in FCPX and export. (When I had my Canon 5DMKiii)

3. Use an in-built app to calculate and record timelapse then do the end of No.2 (Sony A7Sii)

4. Use in-built app to calculate and record timelapse and then take the raw photos into lightroom to edit and export- then the FCPX bit. 

Now, I'm on 4... who knows what level is next?! Anyway, this is just my process- there are a billion and one ways to make a timelapse 1 to 3 and beyond... but I thought I'd share it with you and see if it can help you out....


HOW TO MAKE A TIMELAPSE IN LIGHTROOM & FCPX

OK... so here's one I made earlier: 

See- should have kept going longer... but my battery died and my card ran out halfway through, so there is a slight movement in frame and a color jump... I was not prepared for this timelapse- I just shoot them all the time whatever!

So... how to do this?/ How this should have been done! 

1: Shoot a timelapse

First off- stick your camera somewhere safe and steady- somewhere you can leave it a while. Preferably on a tripod, but I've shot awesome timelapses from benches, tables, rocks... the floor...sturdy stuff is key! 

Because I shoot on a Sony A7Sii I use the Timelapse app that you can easily install on your camera- so you don't have to carry any extra equipment! And because it's on my camera I end up shooting them lots, even when I don't really have the battery life/card space to handle them- because I just love them!! Even shit ones are good! 

There are some cool presets (I have yet to try them out..) but I always pick standard because you have a bit more control.

There you can pick the interval of shots (I usually go with 3sec... depends on how much time I have and how fast the thing I'm shooting is moving), and how many photos you can take.

This is where timelpasing is a lot of trial and error... but even then, no two sunsets are the same and no clouds go the same speed... so, it really is guestimating! 

You can pick the file format... if you want you can choose for the app to make you a film automatically and not even save the photos- they are pretty good if you're on a tight deadline and low on space, but not for this lesson!

I usually pick photo and film, just in case!

Then- press your shutter to begin and WAIT. I mean... wait as long as you, your batteries and your memory card can. 

THE LONGER THE BETTER.

 

 

2. Import

Depending on the settings you picked you should have a shed load of photos to play with now- that stuff is bulky! Grab yourself a hefty hard drive and get offloading

Organisation is key (you don't need me to tell you this!) get your RAW photos and JPGS separated if your camera is set up to take two lots... back-up and label and do all that boring stuff... coz now the fun beginnnnns!!

3. Edit in Lightroom

1. Grab your well organised RAW photos and import them to Lightroom. 

2. Go to develop- edit the first photo how you wish. (Hold back on cropping- you can do that later)

I'd definitely recommend bunging on some clarity- just to make those clouds pop and buildings stand out. Obviously, make sure you get the exposure nice if you didn't get it right in the camera. With timelapses, I find you can go a bit more extreme with your edit because they look a bit nuts anyway! 

If you're editing RAW photos, you've got a lot to play with... so if you are trying to match a look if you've shot other footage to go with the timelpase, you should be ok. JPGS are still pretty great because the file size is nice and beefy... but if you can, go RAW, and have MORE. (wow- new catchphrase?!) 

3. Once you've done your first edit, scroll through to the end of all the photos that you'd like to have that edit.. press shift... they will highlight and then press sync in the bottom right-hand corner. Then wait, coz it's going to take some time to copy that edit to potentially thousands of photos.

You might want to do this process several times if you need to tweak your edit to account for changing light and such.

4. Then when you're ready- export... and wait for ages again.

4. Edit and Export in FCPX

Disclaimer: Think this process might be easier in Premiere Pro, but I haven't tried it because I love FCPX... might give it a whirl soon. 

1. Import all your sexy edited exported photos from Lightroom into a new project. 

2. Select all and dump them onto a timeline- pick your settings- your photos will be big enough to stick in a 4k timeline, but I usually just do HD because I don't have many requests for 4K yet... and it means I can zoom in and around the photos if I'd like to. 

3. Keep all the clips highlighted and right click and select Change Duration... because at the moment they are like 3sec long each!!! whoa!... That will not make a decent timelapse. So change the duration of each clip by typing 1 into the frame counter at the top of the timeline... this turns them into a frame each. 

4. Keep them all highlighted, right click again and click New Compound Clip then they will all jump into a lovely little manageable clip thank you can reframe and edit to scale up or whatever you so please. 

5. I would export this if I wanted to put it into an edit, because although a compound clip is easier to manage, it still has thousands of photos embedded in it, so it's going to slow your edit down a lot. 

5. Share with the world your masterpiece

This is an important step... you gots to learn, and to learn you have to share, be seen, get feedback and get better. 

I struggle with this, because I basically don't like anything I do for more than 48hrs and it's hard to put things out there that you feel aren't perfect and recieve criticism... but, it holds me accountable for what I do and makes me increasingly conscious of what I put out into the world. 

We are all learning here, so spread the love!

Good luck! Let me know how you get on :)

Jx