In this tutorial I will show you how to create a Timelapse video made from a sequence of still images, using Sony Movie Studio Platinum 12.

The instructions I show in the video tutorial will work in all versions of Sony Movie Studio Platinum and Sony Vegas Pro.

Types of Timelapse

There are two ways you can create a timelapse video sequence.

  1. The most simple of all is to simply speed up a standard video recording, however this is not the best method to create a good looking timelapse.
  2. The best method is to shoot a long sequence of still images using a DSLR camera or a GoPro Hero camera, and then convert those still images into one video.

In this tutorial I will be showing you how to do the second method using Movie Studio Platinum 12.

How to Control the Speed of a Timelapse ?

If you want a time-lapse to go slower, you need to shoot more still images at time intervals closer together.
This has the biggest influence on whether your time-lapse runs fast or slow.

If you want a time-lapse to go faster, you need to shoot your original still images at time intervals further apart.

Example #1

Shoot 1x still image every 5 seconds for 60 minutes (1 hour) = 12x images per minute
12x images per minute x 60 minutes = 720 images per hour
Import 720x images into Movie Studio and set to 25 frames per second
720/25 = 28.8 seconds of video
So a 1 hour timelapse turns into only 28.8 seconds of video.
If the same sequence was set to 60 fps, 720/60 = 12 seconds of video.

Example #2

Shoot 1x still image every 1 second for 60 minutes (1 hour) = 60x images per minute
60x images per minute x 60 minutes = 3600 images per hour
Import 3600x images into Movie Studio and set to 25 frames per second
3600/25 = 144 seconds of video = 2:24 minutes of video.
So a 1 hour timelapse turns into 2:24 minutes of video, which would play back 5x times slower than the Example #1.

How to Import Still Images

This is the most important step in the workflow using Movie Studio or Vegas Pro.

Select Import Media from the Project menu and then navigate to the folder where you have your sequence of still images.

Before you proceed any further, it is extremely important to make sure your images are ordered from First to Last and NOT Last to First. If it looks like the numbers of your files are counting down instead of counting up, right-click a blank area inside of your image folder and go to Sort By - Ascending (not descending).

Now select the first image in the sequence and then have a look at the description box near the bottom of the Import Media Window.

Next make sure to select Stills - Open Sequence

Then check to see that the Last Image indicated is in fact the last image in the sequence.
If it is OK, then press Open.

create a timelapse2

In the Properties window you can now select what frame rate you would like the Video to be, then press OK.

create a timelapse3

A new video will be created and now appear in the Project Media tab.
Now you can drag this onto the timeline and continue like a normal project.

For full instructions on how to create your timelapse, please watch the video tutorial below.

create a timelapse4

 

 

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About Derek Moran
Derek Moran is the author of all articles on Movie Studio Zen.
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  • Your comment will be reviewed by a moderator before it is published on the site.
    Barb · 07:03 09/09/2017
    Hi Derek. Yesterday I was able to import 60 .bmp images as a sample of a large quantity of images made from 8 mm film. I was able to go into event properties and set the playback rate at 0.033 which worked very well. Today the rate has reverted to 0.25 and I am not able to change this for the original sample or for a new set of imported images. I am using a trial of Movie Studiio 14.0. Can you help? Is this because I am using a trial version or do I need to go to the Platinum version? I am puzzled because it worked yesterday. Thanks.
    • Your comment will be reviewed by a moderator before it is published on the site.
      Derek
      • Moderator
      · 11:27 09/09/2017
      Trial versions work exactly the same as paid versions - there is no difference.
      I have [i]never recommended[/i] anyone use the NON-Platinum version of Vegas Movie Studio, because it is too basic a lacks a huge amount of functions and cannot be customized. I recommend you download the trial for [b]Vegas Movie Studio 14 Platinum[/b] and start again.
      A playback rate of 0.033 is way too low - that is why it is being rejected.
      If you followed this tutorial, what [b]Frame Rate[/b] did you set the Video when it was created ?
      60 images would only give you a video of 2 to 2.5 seconds.
      If you want to do a better test, you need to use 200 to 300 images.
  • Your comment will be reviewed by a moderator before it is published on the site.
    dustin cressey · 13:18 13/11/2016
    Hello i am using a Canon 5Dmkii shooting for a timlapse with magic lantern. i am able to create the timelapse and edit it how i like on my studios but when i go to render it will not render as a video i have tried all sorts of different file type but it will not work
    • Your comment will be reviewed by a moderator before it is published on the site.
      Derek
      • Moderator
      · 00:43 15/11/2016
      Which exact program and version are you using ?
      I will assume you created a timelapse following the instructions in the tutorial above ?
  • Your comment will be reviewed by a moderator before it is published on the site.
    games james · 08:34 25/09/2016
    id love a video on creating a time lapse of video. i build stuff on video games and would like to time lapse it but when i do the compression method it comes out choppy.
  • Your comment will be reviewed by a moderator before it is published on the site.
    Jim · 18:46 20/04/2016
    Hi Derek,
    I seem to have a problem creating a timelapse in Movie Studio 12.0 not Pro. I'm using a sequence of photos from a GoPro camera.
    I've followed your guide, but seem to be having problems. When it comes to importing the media, I select all the images in ascending order. I check the box saying open sequence and then click OK. The properties box then pops up and I click OK, but rather than it creating the sequence at that point. The properties box pops up again and again for each image. If I eventually click OK for each images' properties window, each image gets added separately in what I think is a timelapse form. But the name of each image in the media library is showing the images own name and ending in a much higher number in the sequence that doesn't exist.
    I'm
    Not sure what I'm doing incorrectly.
    Any ideas?
    I hope I've described that well enough.
    Regards
    Jim
    • Your comment will be reviewed by a moderator before it is published on the site.
      Derek
      • Moderator
      · 18:57 21/04/2016
      Hi Jim
      I think I know what the problem is.
      When you are selecting the images that need to be turned into a video, you only need to select the [b]first image[/b]. You don't need to highlight all the images you want - if you do this, this is what causes the problem.
      1. Go to Project/Import Media
      2. Select first image in sequence.
      3. Check [b]Open Sequence[/b]. Last image should automatically appear in last image box. This can be manually set if needed.
      4. Press OPEN.
      5. Set Frame Rate and press OK.
      • Your comment will be reviewed by a moderator before it is published on the site.
        Jim · 20:18 21/04/2016
        Thanks Derek, that was spot on. Fixed my issue.
  • Your comment will be reviewed by a moderator before it is published on the site.
    Sven · 04:04 05/12/2015
    This is a great tutorial and website too....thank you so much. I am having trouble putting this timelapse together and it is driving me mad. When I drop the assembled video onto the time line, as soon as I click play i see the first photo and then a black screen in the preview window while the while the frame numbers count up quickly. Do you think you can help....it is so frustrating. Thanks Sven
    • Your comment will be reviewed by a moderator before it is published on the site.
      Derek
      • Moderator
      · 11:12 05/12/2015
      It might be a good idea if you transfer your question onto the Forum. The Forum allows for uploading of screen shots.
      What camera do you use to create time-lapse ?
      In your folder that contains all the still images, do they have sequential increasing numbers in the file names ?
      I think it might be best if you send me a copy of your project file.
      If you are using Movie Studio, your project file will end in .vf
      If you are using Vegas Pro, your project file will end in .veg
      I will not be able to see any of your images - only the settings you used.
      Email to help@moviestudiozen.com
  • Your comment will be reviewed by a moderator before it is published on the site.
    lukas · 02:58 26/07/2015
    how can i make the timelapse faster?
    • Your comment will be reviewed by a moderator before it is published on the site.
      Derek
      • Moderator
      · 03:25 26/07/2015
      If you want a time-lapse to go faster, you need to shoot your original still images at time intervals further apart.
  • Your comment will be reviewed by a moderator before it is published on the site.
    Gareth · 19:40 23/06/2015
    Hey, so I have made a few time lapse videos following your steps before and they have all worked out great. However I have recently come into trouble when increasing the playback speed. If I shorten the length of the clip, the video just renders as blank, black video. If I return the clip to the original length it renders fine. I fixed it once but have no idea how I did it and can't figure out how to fix it again.
    Any chance you might know how to fix this problem?
    • Your comment will be reviewed by a moderator before it is published on the site.
      Derek
      • Moderator
      · 20:09 23/06/2015
      I am thinking outside of the box here.
      Normally when people render a video and it comes out as just black, that indicates you have accidentally turned ON [b]Render Loop Region Only[/b].
      Go into the Advanced "Render As" window and look at controls near bottom. This is where you can turn [b]Render Loop Region Only[/b] on/off. Turn it OFF and re-render. Does this fix problem ?

      A loop region is created by the [b]little yellow triangles[/b] above Ruler for Timeline.
      If Loop Region is turned ON, the video renders only between these triangles. So you may have these triangles way past the actual project. You can drag them both back to the ZERO point and loop region will be deactivated.

      Regards
      Derek.
      • Your comment will be reviewed by a moderator before it is published on the site.
        Gareth · 13:18 24/06/2015
        I also thought it may have been that in the beginning. But tried a few options with the loop and still didn't work. It seems the only factor that changes each time which results in the the render problem is the playback speed increase.
        • Your comment will be reviewed by a moderator before it is published on the site.
          Derek
          • Moderator
          · 14:14 24/06/2015
          I don't think I had all my brain switched on yesterday.
          I don't have time to do my own tests right now, but it makes sense that you can't speed up a Time-lapse made from Still Images. At least not in one step.

          [b]Your solution is to do a TWO step process.[/b]
          Render the time-lapse first at normal speed - just the video portion of your project.
          You could render to [b]Video for Windows .avi[/b] if you want a lossless/uncompressed first version, however that normally produces a massive file size. Alternatively, if you have Movie Studio Platinum 13 or Vegas Pro 13, render to one of the Sony XAVC templates which encode at 50Mbps or Mainconcept AVC/AAC at maximum Bit Rate.

          Then import this video into a new Master Project and then you will be able to change the speed with no problems at all. If you need any more help with this, please post a new message on the Forum instead. The Forum is a better place more explaining things with screen shots and the like.

          Derek :rolleyes:
  • Your comment will be reviewed by a moderator before it is published on the site.
    Wesley · 06:03 23/02/2015
    Thanks for the tutorial. I got everything to work great, except the video quality is really low. I'm using a Canon T2i and when viewing the still photos individually they look great, but once I make the timelapse it looks really grainy. Any ideas what I can change to improve?
    • Your comment will be reviewed by a moderator before it is published on the site.
      Derek
      • Moderator
      · 09:08 23/02/2015
      What settings did you use in your Project Properties ?
      Which Make Movie / Render As format did you render to ?
      If you have uploaded your video to YouTube, please supply link so I can see what you mean.

      If you post your question on the Forum, you can upload screen shots showing your settings.
  • Your comment will be reviewed by a moderator before it is published on the site.
    Mason · 00:53 10/11/2014
    Hi Derek.. I have followed the tutorial exactly to make a video from photos. The problem I have is that when I go to select my photos and click on the first image, it does not activate the "first image - last image" parameters. The check box for Stills "Open Sequence" is grayed out, so I cannot use it. I have Movie Studio Platinum 12. I am completely baffled. Thanks, Mason
    • Your comment will be reviewed by a moderator before it is published on the site.
      Derek
      • Moderator
      · 22:17 10/11/2014
      Hi

      All your still images must be from the [b]same camera[/b] and [b]same session[/b].
      They must have the [b]exact same file name[/b] followed by [b]sequential numbers[/b] and the [b]exact same file extension[/b].
      If any of the things I mentioned do not match up, Windows will not register that the images belong to the same sequential group and it will be greyed out.
      • Your comment will be reviewed by a moderator before it is published on the site.
        toloko · 08:05 13/10/2015
        I had the same problem. After converting the files from .jpg to .png the open sequence came alive.
        • Your comment will be reviewed by a moderator before it is published on the site.
          toloko · 11:33 17/10/2015
          My camera is a TrailCam that produces an odd format of .jpg and .avi files. Sometimes I have to convert them into another format before I can use them. Also I found that I had to rename the files into a numerical sequence before I could get the sequence to work. I use tools developed by AVS to convert files.
  • Your comment will be reviewed by a moderator before it is published on the site.
    Tom · 09:26 18/03/2014
    Thanks again for this tutorial. It aligns perfectly with what I'm looking for. I have the GoPro Hero camera and love that I can now use Sony's program for all of my editing, instead of flipping around and using the GoPro software which is okay, but being able to do everything in Sony is awesome. Keep up the great work. And by the way, I'd be willing to pay for a subscription to your site if you have inside info. Thanks!!!
    • Your comment will be reviewed by a moderator before it is published on the site.
      Derek
      • Moderator
      · 14:38 18/03/2014
      Thanks Tom.
      I am working on lots of new material at the moment, but can't talk about it until it is ready.
      Stay tuned.
      Derek.

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