10 Best Free and Paid Time-Lapse Software in 2020

By Cecilia Hwung | Last Update:

Time-lapse photography is a technique that takes photos or videos at a lower frame rate and then plays them at a normal or faster rate. In a time-lapse video, the process of slowly changing objects or scenes is compressed into a short period of time, presenting a wonderfully speeded-up picture that is usually invisible to naked eyes. It's commonly used in shooting day to night transitions, urban scenes, natural scenes and many more.

However, not all cameras have a time-lapse function. Therefore, you need to take a series of photos and combine them into a video using time lapse software. And this article has carefully picked up 14 best time lapse editing software for your reference. Let's Explore!

Best time lapse software

#1. Adobe Premiere Pro

Compatibility: Windows, macOS

Pricing: $20.99 per month

Arguably one of the best time lapse software, Adobe Premiere Pro is professional and feature-wise software to create stunning time lapse videos. It can work with a wide range of file formats and involves tons of customizable tools, as well as third-party plugins to let you fly through your workflow.

Making a time lapse video from photos in Premiere Pro is simple. Create a new bin and import all your photos to the bin at the get-go. To ensure the video playing without any glitch, you will need to sort the photo files by name. Next, you will create a sequence with proper video settings and add all your material to the timeline. Then you will be able to get a smooth and nice time-lapse video.

Apart from that, you can find out other nice-to-have features like scaling, stabilization, color grading, etc. in the arsenal of Premiere Pro to make your video look better.

Time lapse software – Adobe Premiere Pro

What we love about it

  • It can make a time lapse video from photos or convert video to time lapse.
  • A wide array of file formats supported.
  • Lots of plugins to extend.
  • Make quick adjustments like adding music, color grading, stabilization, zoom in/out, etc.
  • 7-day free trial to the new.

#2. VideoProc

Compatibility: Windows, macOS

Pricing: $42.95 with a 30-day money back

With a smooth and uncomplicated interface, VideoProc can emulate the time lapse or hyperlapse effect by increasing the playback speed of original videos. What you need to do is to navigate to where your video is located and import your video to the program, alter the speed of your video, and mute all video tracks.

Once the speed change is complete, you can preview the changed video in the viewer. You can enable cropping, cutting, trimming, etc., or applying filters, texts to your will. At last, export the video with your needed format and save it to your computer.

Time lapse software – VideoProc

What we love about it

  • Turn normal videos into time lapse.
  • Increase/reduce playback speed up to 16x times.
  • Cropper, splitter, filters, stabilizer, fish-eye remover for video enhancements.
  • Handle processor-intensive media with full GPU acceleration.

#3. Adobe Photoshop

Compatibility: Windows, macOS, iPadOS

Pricing: $20.99 per month

Deemed as the most powerful image editing program, Adobe Photoshop, virtually, can be also used to create videos. Though this ability is not as powerful as it does in Premiere Pro, it still is a good solution to compile a high definition time lapse sequence. The sweet spot is that you are able to modify the ISO, white balance, exposure, contrast, saturation, etc. of images in Raw format directly in Photoshop, so that you can yield the best result of time lapse videos.

Time lapse software – Photoshop

What we love about it

  • Deep adjustments like ISO, white balance, exposure, contrast, temperature, etc. to the images.
  • It's pretty easy to resize images and make them fit into the frame.
  • You are able to add a music track in Photoshop with nothing else needed.

#4. iMovie

Compatibility: macOS

Pricing: Free

iMovie is a Mac-only photo and video editing software that gives you highly functional and cool capabilities like theme-based templates, cropper, speed alternation, text layer, image stabilization and more. And creating a time-lapse video in iMovie takes much time than other tools in this list, largely because iMovie doesn't edit videos frame to frame in the timeline and the minimum duration in iMovie is 0.1 second, which is nearly 10 frames. Therefore, you need to export the time-lapse sequence first and speed up the clip later on.

Time lapse software – iMovie

What we love about it

  • Free and frequent updates.
  • An intuitive interface makes tools pleasant to use.
  • Incredible video stabilization, frame cropper, color balance, etc.
  • Exported files are high-quality.

#5. Shotcut

Compatibility: Windows, macOS, Linux

Pricing: Free and open source

Putting into the open source league, Shotcut is widely considered one of the best time lapse video editing software at no cost. Though it is primarily geared toward video editors expecting to create videos, Shotcut is also packed with a number of key image editing features for making time lapse videos from photos.

Time lapse software – Shotcut

What we love about it

  • It's completely free and works across platforms.
  • Keep your sequence at one frame per picture.
  • Give your videos touch-up by speed alternation, video/audio filters and others.

#6. LRTimelapse

Compatibility: Windows, macOS

Pricing: Private License for $116.62; Pro License for $293.32

LRTimelapse is a professional and flexible software designed for making time lapse videos with the integration with Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Camera RAW, and Adobe After Effects. The real benefits of it are that it can remove ugly and distracting flickering in your image sequence and connect all the images with a smooth change in white balance, exposure, highlights, temperature, etc. in one click.

Time lapse software – LRTimelapse

What we love about it

  • Seamlessly works with Lightroom, Adobe Bridge, After Effects with the LRTExport plugin.
  • Workflow indicators let you have a clear vision of your workflow position.
  • Luminance curves guide you to make steady brightness throughout.
  • A high-performance video rendering engine that can handle high-quality videos up to 8K and supports popular formats like MP4, H.264, ProRes, H.265, etc.

#7. Panolapse

Compatibility: Windows, macOS

Pricing: $99.95

How to timelapse a video with motion? Generally, you can use camera sliders to shoot smooth motion control time-lapse video. However, in addition to the price, the heavy and bulky slides could be prohibitive to some. Don't have one? No sweat. You can use Panolapse to motion to time lapse videos in a minute. More so, it can work with fisheyes lens and 360° panoramic images.

Time lapse software – Panolapse

What we love about it

  • Support almost any lens, including normal, fisheyes, equirectangular, thoby and more.
  • Create real-world rotational panning.
  • Built-in deflicker guarantees for an even brightens of your projects.

#8. Time-Lapse Tool

Compatibility: Windows

Pricing: Home License for $69; Business License for $99

Time-Lapse tool is a Windows-only software dedicated to making time lapse videos by combining multiple still images. Once you've imported your images, you will find there are many options to play with, covering color adjustments, transitions, shooting info, adding watermark, rotation, zoom & pan, as well as deflicker that helps reduce unstable brightness. Plus, you can export time-lapse videos to 4K, Full HD 1080p, H.264, and other formats.

Time lapse software – Time-Lapse Tool

What we love about it

  • Modern and easy-to-use interface.
  • More than 20 visual effects can be applied.
  • Adding of watermark and camera information for professional protection.
  • Support a wide range of file formats.

#9. SkyStudio Pro

Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8 or 10

Pricing: Free

Let's say you want an application to film yourself at work, at study, or even as a CCTV that safeguards the security of your home. SkyStudioPro can be the best choice for you. It's a piece of freeware that uses a webcam or external cameras to capture time-lapse videos with motion detection. Simply put, motion detection is a feature that increases the video frame rate for a short period of time when it detects an object or sound is being captured, so that you can see the object in slow motion clearly.

Time lapse software – SkyStudio Pro

What we love about it

  • Compatible with both webcams and external cameras.
  • Work with two capture devices simultaneously.
  • A scheduled auto-shot is available.
  • Motion detection slows down objects in motion.

#10. MakeAVI

Compatibility: Windows

Pricing: Free

If you're looking for a tool to stitching images together, you can opt for the free MakeAVI tool. It offers a quick method to compile JPGs, PNG, BMP, as well as other formats into an AVI. What's more, you are allowed to crop images to needed dimensions. Unfortunately, MakeAVI functions well when handling less than a thousand images but it could generate glitches in your time lapse video when working with over a thousand photos.

Time lapse software – MakeAVI

What we love about it

  • Very flat learning curve.
  • It can make time lapse videos as well as stop-motion animations.
  • Video cropper and resizer provided.
  • It reads JPGs, PNG, BMP and other image formats.

How Do You Make a Time-Lapse Video?

a. Choose a place to shoot

There are three factors when choosing a location to shoot time lapse videos: moving objects, a great night scene, and no or less strong lights. Among the moving objects can be the clouds and traffic, as well as changes in shadow, because time-lapse videos will be no different than regular videos if without variations. And strong lights are one of the elements to avoid in capturing day to night transitions, otherwise, it will be very troublesome in post-production.

b. Prepare the tools needed

  • A camera (it can be a DSLR, a smart phone, an action camera, etc.);
  • A stabilizer (it can be a tripod, a gimbal, and camera sliders) that helps capture steady images;
  • Memory cards;
  • Power banks, ND filters (if available) and others.

c. Set up your shooting mode

  • Always shooting in Raw.
  • Set to manual focus (MF).
  • Fixed aperture, shutter speed and ISO.
  • A rough idea of setting intervals: moving clouds with an interval between 2 seconds; sunset between 2~5 seconds; growing plants between 120 seconds, etc.

Conclusion

This article has summarized 10 different time lapse video editing software with different prices, features, levels of use, as well as a few tips on how to shoot a time lapse video. Wish you can get some inspirations from this article, and you can share it on your social media if you consider it is helpful, thanks in advance!

About The Author

Cecilia Hwung is the marketing manager of Digiarty Software and the editor-in-chief of VideoProc team. She pursues common progress with her team and expects to share more creative content and useful information to readers. She has strong interest in copywriting and rich experience in video editing tips.

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