Timelapse Photography with GoPro and DSLRs - How To Make Timelapse Videos with Still Photos

GoPro Time Lapse
Got a GoPro HD or a DSLR and want to make time lapse photography clips? We'll use Magix Edit Pro Plus for this tutorial.

Update: You can make timelapse videos with footage as well. Check out the first part of this slow motion video tutorial.

Here's how you can do it:

Shoot tons of pictures first

Use the time lase photo shooting mode (blinking camera) and take as many pictures as possible. I used about 500 pics for the 20 seconds of video that you can see below (second video).

For time lapse with stills, I use the 2 second delay between pictures (default mode in GoPro HD). This gives the most fluent video when you export it as a clip.

The longer the delay between pics - the more obvious will be the differences between an instance of a developing action and the next instance - and that could look choppy in video.

Keep the camera still (tripod), place it on motorized DIY slider or on a kitchen timer - for a great panning effect.

You may wanna crop those photos 

If you don't like the squarish look of the GoPro HD pics, which naturally come in 4:3 aspect ratio, you can batch crop them to 16:9 proportions.

How to batch crop images in Microsoft Office Picture Manager

Use Microsoft Office Picture Manager - it comes with any Windows PC that has Office installed.

Follow these steps:
  • Open your pics with Microsoft Office Picture Manager
  • Click the left icon for Thumbnail View mode
  • CTR + A to select all images
  • Then click Edit Pictures symbol in the top bar
  • Go to Crop in the right sidebar
  • Crop your photo just as you want
  • Click OK and all pics will be cropped to your desired dimensions
  • Then click the Save icon and all the files will be saved under the same name but with a new aspect ratio/resolution
So, if the original resolution of a GoPro photo is 2592/1944 pixels (width/height), for 16:9 you have to make the height 1458 pixels; 16/9 = 2592/1458 = 1.77

How do you actually find out the right resolution to match the 16:9 aspect ratio?

You use the cross multiplication (rule of three) mathematical formula to find it out. So you basically say:
  1. If 16 is represented by the width, namely 2592 pixels
  2. then 9 represents the height which we must find out; so we know that the 1944 pixels cannot be represented by 9, thus we'll replace it with X
  3. X = 2592*9/16 = 1458 pixels - this is the new height for our pictures
Cross Multiplicatipn 16 9 Resolution Aspect Ratio

Batch Crop Images

Color correction

Color Editing Pictures in Batch

Following the same procedure as with the cropping, you can batch edit your pictures in terms of color, contrast and brightness. Basically, you do the color correction of all frames in batch and skip this process during editing.

If you're into serious photo editing, then you can use Light Room for amazing artistic effects and adjustments.

Import all photos into your video editing software

I use Magix Edit Pro Plus for all my GoPro video editing (I edit all kinds of videos with Magix actually). But no matter what software you use, make sure you have a setting that allows you to make each picture as a single frame.

This means that if you export say in 25 fps, one second of video will contain 25 still pictures.

See the picture below to learn how to adjust this setting in Magix for your timelapse project.

Time Lapse Photography Setting in Magix Edit Pro

Timelapse photography video tutorial with GoPro & Magix

Taking stills or shooting video?

You can also make a time lapse scene by shooting video. Then you just speed up the footage in your editing program. In Magix go to Effects/Video Effects/Speed.

But it's actually better to shoot images and then render those as a video. Why?
  • Higher resolution - with video, you're limited to full HD (1920 by 1080 pixels) but with photos you can go higher than that. This means more clarity and more detail captured in each image. 
  • Better exposure. With a DSLR you can adjust the shooting mode: exposure time, ISO, aperture, multiple focus points. That's why those night time lapse videos look so sharp and bright - coz each frame is actually a picture which had a long exposure time. Not to mention the big size and light sensitivity of the sensor in modern DSLRs which contributes to the high quality of the pictures. 

More time lapse tricks for GoPro

Check out GetAwayMoments.com for a suite of tutorials related to GoPro video making.

GoPro Mount on Plane Window

Here are some sample vids:

DIY GoPro panning unit from kitchen timer

Plane flight time lapse

GoPro Suction Mount for Plane Flight Time Lapse

Keep shooting your outdoor adventures!

Comments (imported from Highball Blog)

MarianoMarch 3, 2012 at 8:58 PM

I usually use virtualdub for my time lapse. It is very intuitive, but very good
MarianoMarch 3, 2012 at 8:59 PM

excuse me is not intiutive

ConstantinMarch 3, 2012 at 10:33 PM

:-) Yeah, I guess it's all about "who we first fell in love with".

After I bought my GoPro cam, I started testing software and when I got to use Magix, it just worked unlike the others. So I'm still "involved".
jaredMarch 5, 2012 at 3:24 PM

great tutorial, thanks. What setting do you use? Meaning, how many pictures/second, etc.

ConstantinMarch 5, 2012 at 7:01 PM

I export in 24 or 25 fps. 24 fps gives the classic Hollywood cinematic look in video - but this is mostly for footage.

If the action is developing slow - say a construction site - then you either export in higher fps (60, 90 - whatever) or you just set your cam to take a pic every 60 seconds.

Meaning you either export in a higher fps or you export in 25 but make sure your photos were taken at larger time intervals as for the action to develop enough.
ConstantinApril 4, 2012 at 3:49 PM

And I set the camera to shoot one pic every 2 seconds.
AnonymousApril 15, 2012 at 5:14 AM

Very interesting.
AnonymousApril 15, 2012 at 5:16 AM

Does Magix allow you to do the super slow motion playback of footage and would I film it in 60fps with my GP2?

ConstantinApril 15, 2012 at 2:22 PM

Yes, you can do slow motion in Magix - here's my tutorial on the matter.

For super slow motion you need to shoot in very high fps (hundreds or thousands fps) or use a plugin called Twixtor (works with Adobe Premiere, After Effects, Sony Vegas or Final Cut Pro).

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