Make Better Photos Linger in Time-Lapse Trip Recaps Using Lightroom Starring

A neat way to present a recap of a trip is to take all the photographs taken over many days — both keepers and unwanted shots — and string them together into a fast-paced time-lapse video. A problem with this type of video, however, is that the photos often fly by so quickly that it’s difficult for your brain to distinguish between them and to pick out “highlights.”

Australian photographer Marcus Round of Brisbane, Queensland tells us that an easy way to make these videos a little easier to consume is to help surface the best shots by allowing them to linger.

Back in November 2012, Round took a two week road trip through California. He started in San Francisco, passed through Yosemite, and ended up in Los Angeles. Over the course of those two weeks, Round snapped roughly 5,500 photographs.

To share a recap of his photographic journey, Round threw the photographs together into the video above, in which those 5,500 photographs are shown in less than five minutes.

Round tells us that he highlights the best photos in the video by giving better photos more “screen time.” His trick for doing this involves using the 5 star system in Adobe Lightroom:

As part of my normal workflow for sorting through the thousands of photos from this trip, I looked at every single photo, and any that were half decent I would rate one-star. Then I would go through all the one-star photos and again cull them by rating the best ones two-stars.

I repeated this process through to five stars, ending up with 135 five-star photos out of over 5,000 initial photos.

I’m sure many people use this method to select the best photos. But the trick to make the video was to export the higher-rated photos multiple times from Lightroom, before I imported the entire lot into After Effects as an image sequence. So that zero- and one-star photos only show up for one frame, two-star photos for two frames, three-star photos three frames, four-star photos five frames, and five-star photos eight frames.

This provides a subtle effect of holding slightly on the better photos.

Here are some of the highlights that were allowed to linger:

On his first day in California, Round managed to photograph a proposal going doing in SF.

On his first day in California, Round managed to photograph a proposal going down in SF.







You can find more of the photo highlights from the trip (and time-lapse) in this Facebook album.

P.S. For another time-lapse road trip recap, check out this popular video by a Seattle couple (5000 photos of a cross-country journey in 3 minutes).

Image credits: Photographs by Marcus Round and used with permission

  • Chris

    Honestly, this kinda hurts my head.

  • Brian

    Agreed. Some nice photos, but I found the presentation awful enough that I bailed after maybe 20 seconds.

  • Delowa


    Oh Dear that headline is by far the most confusing dribble ever:)
    Seriously though….

  • Mantis

    Thanks. I just had an epileptic seizure.

  • PocitoMustacio

    Great photos and great variety, but the video is too jarring to watch.

  • photosforus

    Pictures are nice, I’d rather just scroll through the best ones. Like others said the video is jarring. I couldn’t watch the whole thing.

  • Mansgame

    I think this would have worked better if the aspect ratios and vertical orientations didn’t change so much. Also, They seem a little too random…if there was some more defined transition from one scene to another it would be better.

  • harumph

    lol, I was just about to post the same thing. I read that word salad five times and couldn’t decipher it until after I’d read the article.

  • Neoracer Xox

    Perfect for the ADD kids

  • Jim

    The raining opinion seems to be against the style but I kinda liked it and is an interesting idea.. It was a little jumpy but got used to it.

  • Michael Seljos

    This is interesting, and I appreciate what you’re trying to do, but this is not a time lapse video. This is just a bunch of random photos shown at a very rapid pace – too rapid. You’re a fairly good photographer, but you could have presented your photos in a much better way. Also, the music was not good at all. Some strange woman talking a bunch of nonsense.

  • Jake

    The most intriguing part of the video was the story that woman was telling.

  • Luis

    Loved it

  • Casey

    Unwatchable for me. Don’t get me wrong, I like well done time lapse, but call me old fashioned, I like the still images best. It’s part of the esthetic that I like about photography. You can look at for as long as you want, and enjoy it if it’s good to you, or move on if it’s not, and return whenever you want. This video is just jarring and disjointed. By contrast, the Yosemite image with the fog on the water is very nice. I don’t really want that one rushing by.