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Photo to Movie Blog

Make a Timelapse Using Photo to Movie Slideshow Software

Posted February 6th, 2012 by Chris

You already know that Photo to Movie can be used for slideshows. Did you also know you can use it to assemble your timelapse sequences into a video that you can put on DVD or upload to YouTube?

Basic Equipment

You will need some basic equipment such as a camera, a tripod, and a timer (hardware or software).

  • Camera, tripod, remote control with timer (intervalometer)
  • Computer camera works well with timelapse software
  • iPhone can also be used with a tripod with timelapse software

Choose Your Subject

Some timelapse subject ideas:

  • Shadows
  • Plants
  • Clouds
  • Stars
  • Sunrise/Sunset
  • Movement
  • Landscapes

Plan Ahead

Each subject will have its own specific details to consider. Some of the details you should think about:

  • What format and aspect ratio will each photo have?
  • How long will the overall sequence take?
  • How long between each photo?
  • How long will the resulting video be?
  • How will you keep warm and comfortable?
  • How will you protect the camera from weather, animals, thieves, or vandalism?

Basic Instructions

There are plenty of good websites with instructions for making timelapse videos, such as How to Make a Time Lapse Video with Your DSLR by Darren Rowse.

A quick run down of the steps:

  1. Set up your shot, take test shots, and adjust the camera settings
  2. Configure your timer and take the shots
  3. Build the timelapse video and post your video

Some details specific to Photo to Movie:

  • Shoot JPEG at high resolution. You'll crop the photos to 16:9 within Photo to Movie. Make sure the camera is centered on your subject.
  • Plan to take between 5 and 30 photos per second of the final video. One or two minute videos are usually sufficient, giving a total of between 300 – 3600 photos. It's a big range so plan accordingly.
  • Name your photos with a numbering scheme that can easily be sorted in Photo to Movie. For instance, use Image0001, Image0002, etc. If you just use Image1, Image2, then they will sort close to Image10 and Image100. Use the leading zeros instead.

Make the Video

Once you've shot the photos, you can assemble them in Photo to Movie. Some software solutions allow you to produce the video directly from other software. In a pinch, that is a quick way to go.

But Photo to Movie offers some advantages:

  • Live preview to adjust timing
  • Ability to adjust key frames when the camera is bumped
  • Add captions, credits, and music
  • Control the transition technique between frames
  • More rendering possibilities
  • Easy frame cropping to make HD video

The basic steps for making the movie in Photo to Movie are:

  1. Drop your photos into the Photo to Movie timeline. Make sure they're numbered with leading zeros (see above).
  2. Use Document Info to set the aspect ratio of the final video. We suggest using 16:9 widescreen.
  3. Select all photos and set the Duration to 0.1. Uncheck Pause Before and Pause After.
  4. Select all photos and use the Motion Templates button in the inspector.
  5. Set the motion to No Motion, 100% Zoom, 0% Rotation. Uncheck Random Zoom and Random Rotation. Then click OK.
  6. Click the Edit Transitions button in the inspector.
  7. Set the transition duration to 0.0. You can also choose a short dissolve transition to make things smoother.
  8. Make Movie to render your movie.

Live Preview to Adjust Timing

You may need to adjust your timing. Photo to Movie normally has a lower limit of 0.1 seconds per slide. However, you can adjust the length to be shorter if you select all photos and then grab the right-most point of the right-most photo and drag to the left.

You can also drop in some music and use the menu item Audio > Fit Photos to Audio. This will adjust all of the photos to match the length of the music.

Adjustments to Key Frames to Compensate for Bumped Camera

Select the photos after the bump occurs and use the inspector to adjust the frame rotation or position to adjust for a bumped camera. You may have to spend some time with the preview tweaking the frame position and rotation to get it just right.

Try to get the two frames where the bump occurred (before and after) to align. Then write down the key frame parameters and use the Motion Templates button in the photo inspector to adjust the rest of the frames.

Add Captions, Credits, and Music

Add captions, opening or closing credits, and music to your slideshow. Here are some links specific to Photo to Movie:

Titling Techniques in Photo to Movie

Making Opening and Closing Credits

Fitting Your Photos to Music

Transition Techniques Between Frames

By entering a small transition duration between frames, you can make the flow from one frame to the next more smooth.

The transition durations also have a minimum limit of 0.1 seconds. To work around this, make the duration of all of your photos be 1s and the transitions be 0.1s. Then use the Fit to Audio menu item or photo stretching to adjust the overall timing. Both techniques are covered in this blog entry:

Fitting Your Photos to Music

More Timelapse Photography Links

6 Timelapse Photography Tips You May Not Have Considered

How to Make a Time Lapse Video with Your DSLR

How to Make Time Lapse Video Ultimate Guide


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