How to Make a Time-lapse from Stills with Premiere Elements

Over the course of this year’s Midwest Photography Expo, Adam captured some video and stills with a GoPro HD Hero3+ Black. Part of the idea was to make a time-lapse video out of the stills. The problem was: I’d never made a time-lapse before.

Thankfully, the internet exists, and I was able to combine a couple of resources–namely, this article and this video–to use the tools I had at my disposal to cobble together some time-lapse footage. I thought this process would be interesting to share, in case there are those out there who want to make a time-lapse from stills but have no idea how.

The first step was to make sure all the stills looked consistent. The way I did this was create an action in Adobe Photoshop CS6 and batch the photos. (You can achieve the same effect using presets in Lightroom.)

timelapse action 1Open the Actions Menu next to the History Sidebar.

create new setTo create a new action, you first have to create a new Action Set by clicking the folder icon.

create new actionThen create a new Action by clicking the folded page icon next to the folder icon.

action record

When you create a new Action, you will be prompted to name the Action and then click the Record button. From here on out, every edit you make will be recorded, even including changing the image size and saving. When you’re finished editing, your Action Set should look something like this:

action set completeThe next step is to Batch your photos with the Action Set. I chose a sequence of stills ahead of time and copied them to a different folder on my hard drive. I recommend doing this before you Batch edit your photos, so that you can keep your originals while saving the edited photos over the duplicates.

automate batchTo Batch edit in CS6, go to File>Automate>Batch. You will get a menu that looks like this:

batch menuAs you can see, I chose the same folder as both the source and the destination, meaning I was only left with one set of files after I finished batch editing. Also note that I clicked the Override Action “Save As” Commands. This was because I had already recorded a “Save As” action in my action set. If you did not record a Save As action, you are not going to want to check this box. I saved my photos in the action set because it prevented me from having to approve every photo that was being saved. I would also highly recommend saving your photos with sequential numbering. This will make your life much easier when you’re putting them together in a video.

The last steps are the easy part. To create the time-lapse sequence, I used Photoshop Premiere Elements 11. When you open the program, I recommend setting the amount of frames each still photo will count for.

preferences generalGo to Edit>Preferences>General.


I set my Still Image Default Duration to 1 frame. If you have enough still photos, go with 1 frame. You can make the stills last longer in the video if you don’t have as many and still achieve a cool effect, but I found 1 frame to be exactly what I was looking for.

Finally, just upload your photos by choosing Add Media, then drag the photos onto one of the Video Track. If you saved the photos sequentially, they should already be in the order you want. Render the video, save it as the file type and size you want, and share away!

Midwest Photo

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