Making and Saving a Time Lapse Video:
Once you’ve taken a long series of photos with your camera and intervalometer, you’ll need to use your computer to turn it into a movie. Do not worry if you have hundreds and hundreds of photos it is very easy to do. Above is a video showing the process below I will outline step by step instructions. There are several ways to do this, I am only detailing the most likely way you will be doing it. *You must have Quicktime Player 7. Quicktime Player v10.0 will not work. If you don’t know which quicktime you have, open it, click Quicktime in the top tool bar, then About Quicktime Player. There you will see the version.
- Open Quicktime Player 7
- Choose “File”, “Open Image Sequence”
- Locate the folder containing your time lapse photos, click the first photo in the sequence only
- Click “Open”
- Choose your desired video frame rate from the drop down menu.
- Choose “File”, “Save As”
- Name your video and save it somewhere on your hard drive as “Self-contained movie”
Keep your camera folders organized while shooting it will save you a lot of time when you get back to the computer. Test your shots and as soon as you are ready to start your time lapse create a new folder. You can find on article on how to do this here: How to Prepare Camera Folders for Time Lapses
Most likely your video will be too large to play smoothly. This depends on your picture size. An 18 Mega Pixel photo will be roughly 5184 x 3456 pixels. HD Video is only 1920 x 1080, so you can see why your computer might have a hard time with playback. But don’t worry this is part of the process and only the first time you save your time lapse without any compressions yet. Keep this High Resolution original as your “control“. You can scale down copies of it when you edit at any time, even zoom up and pan around to some degree and still have full HD.
In this post I have made a video that does most of the talking, posted below. I have provided a specific example of compositing using a time lapse sequence I shot with the exposure bracketing function. The video conveys a process showing the advantages of using alpha mattes which you can apply to time lapse, regular video, HDR, back ground replacement, color grading, and more.
The most important step is preparing your alpha matte which needs to be done on location while you are shooting. With your camera in the EXACT position as it is when shooting your time lapse or video, take a highly over exposed or under exposed photo. Adjust the settings until the ground or sky is as close to pure black or white as possible without bleeding into the other. The goal of this is to provide a photo with a clear differential between ground and sky so an alpha matte can be easily created that perfectly matches the elements in your video. Once you have an appropriate photo you will make a .psd or .png in photoshop and inport that into after effects or your compositing program and use this as your alpha matte.