Time-Lapse Software (post-production)

We are often asked what software is best for assembling a time-lapse movie from still images. The answer is: it depends. There are many techniques used to assemble time-lapse movies and lots of software to help effect these techniques. Here is a list of some popular software ranging from simple to complex.

QuickTime Pro 7 ($30)

QuickTime Pro has a feature called Open Image Sequence (removed in QuickTime 8+) that allows you to open a directory of images, choose a frame rate, and export to a movie file. Creating a time-lapse movie does not get simpler than this.

Download QuickTime 7 (supports OS X, and Windows)
Purchase QuickTime Pro 7

Time Lapse Assembler (donation-ware, $5-$20)

Time Lapse Assembler allows you to create movies from a sequence of images. Provide it with a folder containing sequentially named JPEG images and it will produce a QuickTime compatible movie file for use in iMovie or other editing software.

Time Lapse Assembler (supports OS X)

LRTimelapse (donation-ware, requires Adobe Lightroom)

LRTimelapse is a tool for applying Adobe Lightroom adjustments to images in a time-lapse sequence. Keyframes are chosen and values can be applied gradually between keyframes. The adjustments are then rendered into a movie or set of JPEGs with Lightroom. It supports many advanced features such as

  • Alter the white balance over the time (for example for sun sets)
  • Deflicker
  • Make Ken-Burns effects (pan/zoom)
  • Fade in / fade out
  • Continuously saturate / desaturate
  • and any other adjustment available in Lightroom

Download LRTimelapse (supports OS X, and Windows)

ffmpeg (free, open source)

ffmpeg is a command line based video encoder that can output almost every digital video format. It can create a video out of sequentially named JPEG files using the "-i" flag. Because it is command line based, it is possible to write a program to automatically generate time-lapse movies.

Download ffmpeg (supports Linux, OS X, and Windows)
ffmpeg time-lapse tutorial

Other time-lapse movie software

We have heard that the following software is capable of creating time-lapse movies, but haven't tried it ourselves.

  • Adobe Premiere Elements
  • Adobe Premiere
  • Adobe After Effects

Other tools

  • GBDeflicker ($99) - Tool to de-flicker an image sequence.
  • GBResequence ($49) - Windows application to help organize and rename image files before using time-lapse movie software like those listed above.