Create Your Own Time-Lapse Templates for Lightroom Classic

Five years ago, I made a video about creating timelapses only in Lightroom Classic using the Slideshow Module. It’s been an experiment in pushing the boundaries of what Lightroom can practically do, and over the years it’s garnered over 175,000 views, which was totally unintentional, but it was a very welcome surprise.

Looking at this video (which still gets over 1,500 views a month), you completely ignore the technical part of how to achieve something Lightroom never intended. I only provided templates that I created for others to use, but I didn’t fully explain how to do it yourself. So after five years, I thought it was time to share this information now that I have access to a much wider audience.

First of all, I have to spread some bad news. Lightroom was never built for time periods, so we have to work within the confines of its programming and bend the rules a bit. With the Slideshow Module, you can make individual photos appear as they would at any desired frame rate, but Lightroom is only able to export a slideshow movie at 29.97 fps.

Second, the slideshow module is only able to export to whole second, never fractions. So, in fact, no matter how many photos you use in a slideshow, Lightroom will always zoom the exported movie to the nearest full second. For example, if you wanted to make a ten-second video at 30 frames per second, you would need 300 photos (10 seconds x 30 frames per second = 300 photos). But if you only have 290 photos, when exporting, Lightroom will trim the final video to nine seconds because it misses the last ten frames to get to the next full second (9 seconds x 30 fps = 270 photos).

Third, you will be limited to landscape video only, with a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080. Moreover, there are only four preset options for export. If you want more options, you will have to consider using Photoshop or something more advanced like LRTimelapse.

If you keep these three limitations in mind, Lightroom can create very simple and quick timelapses at any “frame rate” you want.

How do you make your own molds?

First, go to the slideshow module. The right side of the unit shows all the options available to customize the slideshow to your liking. Since the goal of this tutorial is to create a simple time-lapse video from still frames, you’ll need to deselect every box in the left panel except for the first option, which is Zoom in to Frame Fill.

Next, click on the “+” icon next to the form navigator on the left side of the unit. Name your form, select the folder in which it should be entered, and click Create. Now your base template is created, but the default slide length is 4.0 seconds. This is what we have to change, but we can’t do it in Lightroom, because the minimum slide length we can set here is 1.0 seconds.

Right-click on the form you just created and select Show in Finder/Explorer. A new window will appear showing you the folder where this user-created template is stored. Now we need to edit this template using a simple text editor like Notepad (WIN) or TextEdit (MAC). So right click on the template again and open it with your desired text editor.

Scroll down to the bottom of the code on the page and find the line starting with “speed” (line 178). It should read “speed = 4” if you leave the default value from the beginning. The value here corresponds to the number of seconds each frame will appear on the screen. All you have to do is change this value to get the desired fps look. So if you want your interval to appear like 24fps, just divide 1 by 24 and you get 0.04166666666666667. Enter this number instead of 4 (don’t omit the comma!). The line should now read “speed = 0.04166666666666667,”

Next, find the line that begins with “TransportationSpeed” (line 182). Change its value to 0 (again, don’t omit the comma!). This line should now read “transferSpeed ​​= 0,”

You must now save the document, close the text editor, and restart Lightroom before you start using the template, or your changes will not take effect. After restarting Lightroom, you can rename the template if you wish.

This is! You just created a custom timeline slideshow template. You can create as many variations of this as you like, all by just changing the numbers in these two lines in the template file.

Troubleshooting Tips

If Lightroom stops working, or seems to take a long time when exporting your slideshow, it’s likely because your photos are too large. Try exporting all of your time-lapse images in .jpegs at 1920 x 1080 resolution, then import them back and try to export your slideshow again.

If your output video has really bad flicker, try creating a different template with a different fps value. I only saw this result when using 30fps (speed = 0.0333333).

If you see any other type of flicker, such as sharp increases or decreases in brightness between frames, you may need to retake your time-lapse photos. This type of flicker is most likely the result of the camera being in auto exposure mode. For best results, you should shoot in manual mode with a manual ISO so that the settings remain consistent from one shot to the next. If that’s not possible because the lighting will change drastically while shooting, you really need to invest in a program that will automatically fix the flicker for you, like the aforementioned LRTimelapse.

If the resulting video looks like a regular slideshow and not a time-lapse, open the template again with a text editor and double-check that the “TransportationSpeed” line is 0. This is often the line people forget to change. But you should also check that the ‘speed’ line is not an integer. Remember that his font specifies the time, in seconds, that each frame appears. So this number should probably be a fraction.

If your time-lapse video appears out of order, remember to change the image sort in the Library module to sort by capture time before switching to the Slideshow module for export. A good practice is to start in the Library module and create a set of images that you want to include in your time-lapse video before you begin, and set the sort to the time of capture.

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