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DeFlicker a Timelapse

timelapse photography,deflicker,tldf

One of the most significant problems for time-lapse photography during processing is getting a flicker in a large number of files that are created.  The aperture moving causes this during each shoot, and it does not matter how expensive the camera lens is, it will be seen in nearly every timelapse shoot.  There are solutions to deflicker.

What Causes Flicker in Timelapse Photography?

As explained already, an aperture in a lens can move slightly during each shoot.  This causes a flicker effect when the collection of images are processed into one video.  Some of the more extreme causes of flicker is having the camera’s white balance set to auto rather than setting it to a fixed number.  Another is having the camera in the wrong shooting mode.  One way of stopping this is using the lens twist method. But this does not always work on some brand names, and I would not like to have a lens fixed insecurely while shooting.

A video below explains how to use the lens twist method.

How to DeFlicker during Processing

If you decide not to use the lens twist method, then using software to deflicker the frames will be the next solution.  There are a few programs to deflicker a series of images, and they all do the job well.  For this particular article, I have decided to use TLDF – Timelapse DeFlicker.  It is probably the easiest method to use as all you do is load up the images, and the program does the rest.

The Apple version has more features than the Windows version, but they both process the same way.  This program is probably one of the more cost-effective tools out there compared to other deflicker programs.  In a nutshell, all you need is something to deflicker, nothing more.

A list of other tools is available in the links at the end of the article.

Step One – Edit the Images

A lot of processes & workflows seem to get posted on all platforms.  There is by no means an ultimate method.  It is merely the method that you are comfortable with.  I first edit the images in Lightroom due to the bulk editing capabilities.  Then exporting the photos to a new folder.

To edit files in bulk, select the first image.  Then hold down shift while selecting the last picture.  Make sure Auto-Sync is also selected.

lightroom,deflicker
Lightroom provides a smooth workflow to edit files in bulk, including exporting them.

Once you are happy with your edit, export them in whatever file format you are comfortable with.

Step Two – Use TLDF to DeFlicker

As explained already TLDF is a straightforward tool to deflicker a timelapse.  I use the Windows version.  It does exactly what it says on the tin.  You load the files & the program does the rest. There is an option to either export the images with a processed video or process the photos alone.

Without forcing anyone to use the best method as there are a few, I am comfortable with just transferring the processed files from TLDF, then creating the time-lapse video with different software.

tldf,deflicker
Opening screen for TLDF. It’s as necessary as you can get but the power behind the software is excellent.

Open the images in TLDF.  An option to select the output will appear.

tldf,deflicker
Options to either transfer the images or create a video in TLDF.

Next, a screen will select options to deflicker the files & reduce noise.  Note the opportunity to reduce noise will increase processing time.  I usually reduce any noise in Lightroom if it is needed.

tldf,deflicker
Options to Deflicker & reduce noise in TLDF.

Let TLDF do its work on the files.  Get a drink, and wait for it to finish.  Depending on what options you selected, you can create the video in another program or watch the video if created in TLDF.

Deflicker Comparison

Watch the two videos below. The first has no deflicker while the second has been processed with TLDF.  I am sure you will agree that TLDF does a great job of deflickering images to use for time-lapse photography.

Other Useful DeFlicker Tools

There are a few tools out there to help deflicker your timelapse.  Some are listed Below.

  • TLDF – The program being used in this article.
  • Timelapse Tool – A great program with options to create videos by zooming in on specific areas, including other options.
  • LRTimelapse – a plugin used in conjunction with Lightroom.
  • GBDeflicker – A plugin for Adobe Premiere Pro or After Effects.  Can be purchased as a standalone.

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