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Best practices to create a time-lapse video

  1. Adobe Premiere Elements User Guide
  2. Introduction to Adobe Premiere Elements
    1. What's new in Premiere Elements
    2. System requirements | Adobe Premiere Elements
    3. Workspace basics
    4. Guided mode
    5. Use pan and zoom to create video-like effect
    6. GPU accelerated rendering
  3. Workspace and workflow
    1. Get to know the Home screen
    2. View and share auto-created collages, slideshows, and more
    3. Workspace basics
    4. Preferences
    5. Tools
    6. Keyboard shortcuts
    7. Audio View
    8. Undoing changes
    9. Customizing shortcuts
    10. Working with scratch disks
  4. Working with projects
    1. Creating a project
    2. Adjust project settings and presets
    3. Save and back up projects
    4. Previewing movies
    5. Creating video collage
    6. Creating Highlight Reel
    7. Create a video story
    8. Creating Instant Movies
    9. Viewing clip properties
    10. Viewing a project's files
    11. Archiving projects
    12. GPU accelerated rendering
  5. Importing and adding media
    1. Add media
    2. Guidelines for adding files
    3. Set duration for imported still images
    4. 5.1 audio import
    5. Working with offline files
    6. Sharing files between Adobe Premiere Elements and Adobe Photoshop Elements
    7. Creating specialty clips
    8. Work with aspect ratios and field options
  6. Arranging clips
    1. Arrange clips in the Expert view timeline
    2. Group, link, and disable clips
    3. Arranging clips in the Quick view timeline
    4. Working with clip and timeline markers
  7. Editing clips
    1. Reduce noise
    2. Select object
    3. Candid Moments
    4. Color Match
    5. Smart Trim
    6. Change clip speed and duration
    7. Split clips
    8. Freeze and hold frames
    9. Adjusting Brightness, Contrast, and Color - Guided Edit
    10. Stabilize video footage with Shake Stabilizer
    11. Replace footage
    12. Working with source clips
    13. Trimming Unwanted Frames - Guided Edit
    14. Trim clips
    15. Editing frames with Auto Smart Tone
    16. Artistic effects
  8. Applying transitions
    1. Applying transitions to clips
    2. Transition basics
    3. Adjusting transitions
    4. Adding Transitions between video clips - Guided Edit
    5. Create special transitions
    6. Create a Luma Fade Transition effect - Guided Edit
  9. Special effects basics
    1. Effects reference
    2. Applying and removing effects
    3. Create a black and white video with a color pop - Guided Edit
    4. Time remapping - Guided edit
    5. Effects basics
    6. Working with effect presets
    7. Finding and organizing effects
    8. Editing frames with Auto Smart Tone
    9. Fill Frame - Guided edit
    10. Create a time-lapse - Guided edit
    11. Best practices to create a time-lapse video
  10. Applying special effects
    1. Use pan and zoom to create video-like effect
    2. Transparency and superimposing
    3. Reposition, scale, or rotate clips with the Motion effect
    4. Apply an Effects Mask to your video
    5. Adjust temperature and tint
    6. Create a Glass Pane effect - Guided Edit
    7. Create a picture-in-picture overlay
    8. Applying effects using Adjustment layers
    9. Adding Title to your movie
    10. Removing haze
    11. Creating a Picture in Picture - Guided Edit
    12. Create a Vignetting effect
    13. Add a Split Tone Effect
    14. Add FilmLooks effects
    15. Add an HSL Tuner effect
    16. Fill Frame - Guided edit
    17. Create a time-lapse - Guided edit
    18. Animated Sky - Guided edit
    19. Select object
    20. Animated Mattes - Guided Edit
    21. Double exposure- Guided Edit
  11. Special audio effects
    1. Mix audio and adjust volume with Adobe Premiere Elements
    2. Audio effects
    3. Adding sound effects to a video
    4. Adding music to video clips
    5. Create narrations
    6. Using soundtracks
    7. Music Remix
    8. Adding Narration to your movie - Guided Edit
    9. Adding Scores to your movie - Guided edit
  12. Movie titles
    1. Creating titles
    2. Adding shapes and images to titles
    3. Adding color and shadows to titles
    4. Editing and formatting text
    5. Motion Titles
    6. Exporting and importing titles
    7. Arranging objects in titles
    8. Designing titles for TV
    9. Applying styles to text and graphics
    10. Adding a video in the title
  13. Disc menus
    1. Creating disc menus
    2. Working with menu markers
    3. Types of discs and menu options
    4. Previewing menus
  14. Sharing and exporting your movies
    1. Export and share your videos
    2. Sharing for PC playback
    3. Compression and data-rate basics
    4. Common settings for sharing

This document provides all the information you need to shoot a time-lapse video including the hardware requirement and shooting specifications.

Time-lapse videos are videos which when played back at normal speed, the time appears to be moving faster and thus lapsing. With time-lapse effect the mundane or subtle scenes look very dramatic. Some everyday occurences that can make for good time-lapse videos include the following:

  • Sunrise and sunsets
  • Celestial movements 
  • Landscapes and cityscapes
  • Vehicles and people moving on the road 
  • Flowers blooming

Note that scenes with prominent movement or action over time make for good time-lapse video frames.

Example time-lapse videos

A time-lapse video shot at a beach during sun set.
Time-lapse video shot at the Namakan Lake shows the beautiful phenomenon of aurora.
A time-lapse video shot at a take during sun set showing moving clouds and a starry night.
A time-lapse video shot at a busy tourist attraction showing the hustle and bustle.
A time-lapse video showing a busy highway shot from a bridge.

Create a time-lapse video

A time lapse movie can be created from a sequence of still images or videos that show the passage of time. The content may be shot over a period of few minutes, hours, days, or even weeks and then the speed increased by a high margin to create a time-lapse movie. It is recommended to shoot a time-lapse with a steady camera using a tripod.

Create a time-lapse using videos

You can capture the whole scene in a single video or multiple videos to create a single time-lapse video output.

Create a time-lapse using photos

If you are creating a time lapse movie using photos, the time interval to choose between shots will depend on how fast or slow the elements in the scene are moving. If there’s little wind and cloud movement is minimal, you may want to set an interval of one shot every 30 seconds whereas if there’s a lot of movement, we recommend setting up a five second intervel. Getting a feel for the exact interval time in different situations comes down to practice. If you’d like to get it right first time do some test shoots where you shoot enough photos for one minute duration of video to see how different intervals look. 

A representative table to create a one minute time-lapse video for some select scenarios are given below:

Duration of caputure (Minutes)

Time interval between shots (seconds)

Image duration to set in Premiere Elements (frames)





Photos clicked in burst mode    




Fast moving clouds, crowd movmeent, kids playing




Sunrise and sunset, slow moving clouds, landscapes and cityscapes




Building construction, plants growing, flowers blooming

Hardware requirement

For creating a time-lapse video, all you need is your camera, the kit lens or a lens of your choice, and a tripod. If your camera has a built-in intervalometer, you won’t need a shutter remote with one built in. Keep in mind that you're going to end up with perhaps a thousand photos. Use the basic or normal quality setting to avoid having  over a thousand multi-megabyte photos to work with.

Camera & lens set-up

Attach your camera to a tripod to ensure it remains fixed in one position for the duration of the shoot. For your first time-lapse it’s worth shooting in aperture priority before moving on to manual. Set ISO to 100 with aperture at f/11 and apply any exposure compensation that’s required if shooting in aperture priority. If shooting in manual mode, set the appropriate shutter speed.

When the focusing is set to manual, focus one-third of the distance into the scene behind the foreground. This will provide good depth-of-field.

Post processing and creating the time-lapse movie using Premiere Elements

To learn how to post process your images and videos and create a time-lapse movie using Premiere Elements, see Create a time-lapse - Guided edit.


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