Looking for the best time-lapse video editing software? You’ve landed in the right place.
This guide will arm you with the knowledge and tools to transform fleeting moments into captivating time-lapse masterpieces.
Comprehensive set of powerful tools to help create compelling and engaging time-lapse videos in less time.
Having spent weeks exploring the nuances of time-lapse photography and its post-production intricacies, I’ve curated a list of the top software options available.
By the end of this article, you’ll not only be equipped with the right software choices but also gain insights into the essential equipment and techniques that make a time-lapse stand out.
Dive in, and let’s embark on this journey to elevate your time-lapse game.
(If you’re on a smartphone, check out the best time lapse mobile apps.)
Table of Contents
What is the Best Time Lapse Video Editing Software in 2023?
Adobe Premiere Pro | Best Professional Video Editing Software for Time-Lapse for Windows
- Professional standard tools
- Full integration with other Adobe products
- Cloud storage and tutorials
- Supports a wide selection of formats
- A 7-day free trial is available
- Subscription required
- Complex for beginners
Widely used by professional video editors, Adobe Premiere Pro delivers a comprehensive selection of basic and advanced tools for all your editing requirements.
Capable of processing raw footage from the leading camera manufacturers, Premiere Pro has an extensive toolset for editing a long list of file formats.
It’s simple to use when creating time-lapse videos, with an unlimited number of tracks for those who want to bring in effects and other elements to their content.
The program’s time-lapse feature allows you to quickly speed up your videos and simulate camera movement to bring more dynamic results that make the most of the space within a shot.
You can also use Adobe Premiere Pro to smooth out any bumps and jolts from your time-lapse video using the warp stabilization feature.
Adobe Premiere Pro also comes with a raft of impressive effects that can be used to tweak the aesthetics of a time-lapse video through the image sequence tools.
While the subscription model may be off-putting to casual videographers, Adobe Premiere Pro delivers all the tools you’ll need for professional-looking video content creation.
Final Cut Pro | Best Professional Video Editing Software for Time-Lapse for Mac
- Easy-to-use interface
- Dedicated time-lapse for Apple users
- Trackless magnetic timeline
- Impressive organization tools
- 90 days of free use available
- The one-time purchase is expensive
- The import process could be better
If you’re invested in Apple’s ecosystem of products and want a professional editing suite capable of time-lapse videos, Final Cut Pro is the go-to program.
The software offers a clear and intuitive user experience with a common sense workflow, and creating time-lapse videos is easy to achieve.
Once you’ve imported your string of time-lapse photos, you can add them to the timeline and modify the Retime feature to select Custom, Blade, or Fast Speed.
This means making time-lapse footage is incredibly intuitive through Final Cut Pro, and like Adobe Premiere Pro, there’s full support for many different file types.
There are also plenty of great tools to help you produce more complex time-lapse videos, such as colour correction through the Colour Adjustment Panel.
If your time-lapse still images have any issues, you can use the new flow transition feature to smooth out jump cuts, change the playback speed, and remove other imperfections.
Far more than just time-lapse software, Apple’s Final Cut Pro delivers customization workspace layouts and the full suite of video editing tools demanded by experienced editors.
iMovie | Best Free Time Lapse Software for Mac
- Straightforward user interface
- Excellent titles
- Available for smartphones
- High-quality exports
- Completely free to use
- 0.1 frames per second limit
- Software is fairly basic
A great alternative to Final Cut Pro for Apple device users is iMovie, a completely free-to-use video editing program with the necessary tools for time-lapse videos.
While it isn’t as easy to do this as it is with dedicated time-lapse software, a little trial and error means it’s capable of producing great results.
iMovie doesn’t edit your video frame to frame within the timeline, and the limit of 0.1 seconds means you’ll have to export the sequence and then increase the playback speed afterwards.
You can do this by simply importing the video clip, heading to the Speed setting in the pop-up menu, and selecting fast or choosing your own speed through the Custom options.
With that said, once you’ve experimented with the process and settings, iMovie’s time-lapse tools have the potential to be as creative as other more advanced programs.
iMovie is among the best time-lapse software available for Mac users who don’t want to fork out for dedicated programs and want something for more casual use.
VirtualDub | Best Free Time Lapse Video Editor for Windows
- Easy-to-use UI
- A comprehensive selection of basic tools
- Batch processing capabilities
- Free to use
- Lacks advanced video editing tools
- Some file formats are not supported
Another notable example of free-to-use time-lapse software that lends itself to the more casual video content creators is VirtualDub.
This open-source video editing suite has been around for many years and can be used to create time lapses in just a few clicks.
Once you’ve numbered your still images sequentially, they can be added to the VirtualDub timeline by selecting the “Automatically load linked segments” import option.
You can then change the video frame rate and apply any filters you wish to use, as well as set the resolution and size options before exporting.
When you’re ready to export the time-lapse video, you can simply head to the File option in the menu and choose the Save as AVI option to process the results.
VirtualDub may be on the limited side for dedicated video editors, but it’s among the best free timelapse software options for Windows users who don’t want to spend any cash.
GoPro Quik | Best Time Lapse Video Editor for GoPro Videos
- Automatic import options
- Supports YouTube and Facebook video-sharing
- Wireless transfer to smartphones
- Optional panning effects for time-lapses
- Additional cost for some editing features
- No desktop content management
While GoPro cameras are typically associated with fast-paced action videography, they’re more than capable of producing photo files needed to deliver a time-lapse video.
Indeed, GoPro Quik has got you covered if time-lapse is your thing, with a quick and intuitive process to get great results using images captured via GoPro cameras.
Be advised if you’re using a GoPro camera for time-lapse, you may need to invest in additional gear, such as a camera mount and extra batteries and memory cards.
Once you’ve upgraded your setup to make it time-lapse-ready, you can add your images to GoPro Quik and sync the results to your choice of music.
There are also more in-depth options to take your time-lapse video to the next level, introducing intervals and adding charts and graphs.
GoPro Quik even has the option to bring in panning effects to make a time-lapse more visually interesting while shifting focus to points of action.
If you’re an outdoor content creator who shoots mostly with GoPro cameras, GoPro Quik is a great program for making time-lapse videos with minimal fuss.
Filmora | Best Beginners Software for Time-Lapse Videos
- Impressive editing interface
- Great selection of tools
- Compatible with smartphones
- Fast rendering speeds
- Affordable price
- No option to edit effects
- Limited option in the store
Wondershare’s popular video editing software Filmora offers plenty of beginner-friendly tools to help you create visually interesting video content.
Whether you’re looking for an alternative to Final Cut Pro or replacing Windows software, Filmora is a powerful tool for making time-lapse videos.
To do so, you’ll need to import either 24 or 30 photos per second of the time-lapse video you wish to create and arrange them on the editor’s timeline.
Once you’ve done this, select all the timeline photos in the panel and access the Duration setting options, where you can set the input duration of each image to 0.01 seconds.
Filmora gives you the option to preview the results before you take the plunge and export them to your video file format of choice.
It’s also possible to double the playback rate of video files to simulate a time-lapse effect, lending more scope when using Filmora to achieve various results.
LRTimelapse | Best Time Lapse Software for Existing Lightroom Users
- Requires Abobe Lightroom
- Expensive licenses
For professional photographers and videographers who are heavily invested in Adobe’s packages, LRTimelapse delivers dedicated tools for the best possible results.
The program allows users to process each image in Lightroom and import the edits into LRTimelapse, where there are plenty of great tools to explore.
You can add fades in and out of the footage, tweak the white balance throughout the sequence, and remove any unwanted flickering.
Key-framing, grading, and luminance curves are some of the other professional tools that help address changing brightness and maintain clarity throughout the process.
It also delivers exceptional video rendering with videos of up to 8K, as well as batch rendering for multiple videos at a time.
While LRTimelapse is expensive, the results it produces are among the best on the market, and there’s a free version you can try before investing in a license.
How to Choose the Best Time Lapse Intervals
The settings you’ll need to use when creating a time-lapse video will depend on a variety of factors that impact the shutter speed and interval time required.
The duration of your final time-lapse videos, as well as the lighting conditions and how this will change through the process, are the first key factors to consider.
If you’re shooting a time-lapse in a short period of time, you’ll want to reduce the interval time, for example, to around 1-2 seconds for a 20-minute shoot.
For longer periods of time shooting time-lapse, such as 2 hours, you can extend the intervals to around 5 seconds to account for the additional action captured during the process.
There are also a few rules of thumb for creating time-lapse videos capturing certain subjects and events, such as moving crowds and vehicles or rolling banks of fog.
In these situations, taster intervals work better since this will ensure a smooth rendering of the motion when played back at normal speed.
Set the interval too slow for these scenarios, and it’s likely you’ll miss the motion and won’t get those aesthetically pleasing long streaks of car lights at night time.
If you’re new to creating time-lapse videos, take the time to experiment with the interval times and shutter speeds, and over time, you’ll be able to produce stunning time-lapse videos.
Experiment with additional factors, such as the video playback speed and subtle camera movement, to create time-lapse videos with different effects.
You can also check out our time lapse calculator to learn more about intervals.
Frequently Asked Questions about Time Lapse Software
While the effect works best when processing a series of dedicated time-lapse photos, it’s also possible to convert traditional videos into time-lapse mode.
This can be handy when you have a long static video you wish to condense or simply forget to switch on time-lapse mode when shooting your landscape.
There are several apps you can use to convert video to timelapse, with some of the best free timelapse software including this feature.
Flixier, Clideo, and iMovie are a few examples of free-to-use apps that allow users to convert a standard-speed video file into a timelapse with ease.
Can I make a timelapse in Lightroom?
Adobe Lightroom is the most popular photo editing program for professional photographers, so it wouldn’t be complete without the option to create time-lapse videos.
There are several ways you can use Lightroom to create time-lapse videos, such as using LR Timelapse as recommended above.
It’s also possible to create a time-lapse video in Lightroom by installing a free preset that allows users to stitch together multiple images in the Slideshow tab.
How do I make a timelapse video on Windows 10?
There are plenty of options for creating time-lapse videos while using a Windows 10 computer, with Windows Movie Maker a quick way to process AVI video files of your time-lapse photos.
Movavi video editor and OBS Studio are alternative free-to-use programs that work fine on Windows 10 devices with simple time-lapse functions to turn still images into video clips.