Time Lapse Assembler is software that provides a quick and simple way to compile time-lapse footage from a sequence of stills images. It’s very much a no-frills option. It doesn’t have the power of Quicktime 7 Pro (which is no longer available), let alone the high-end, specialist app LRTimelapse, but it is inexpensive, easy-to-use, and effective.
It’s available for Mac only and is donation-ware (meaning you can donate what you like to unlock the app). You can download it directly from the developer’s site.
Compiling a time-lapse video from stills images with Time Lapse Assembler is pretty straightforward, but here’s a quick guide to the steps. This assumes, of course, that you’ve already shot the still photos and processed them into a JPG format (if you’re shooting RAW or TIFF). For Time Lapse Assembler to work, all of the images used in the sequence should be in dedicated folder that doesn’t have anything else in it.
Open the Image Sequence
When you first run the program, all you’ll get is this basic options screen.
First, hit the Choose button and select your source directly. You’re choosing a directory here, not individual images, so it’s important that your image sequence is in its own folder. The image files themselves will be grayed out.
Choose a Codec
Next, click on the Codec drop-down menu and choose the type of video file you’re planning to make. Unlike something like Quicktime 7 Pro, you only have limited options here for exporting file formats and codecs. If in doubt, h.264 is a good place to start. MP4V isn’t a bad option either. Photo-jpeg and RAW will result in much larger files and are best saved for instances where you’re creating an archival master or submitting to stock agencies (iStockVideo, for instance, takes photo-jpeg), although if you’re creating those, realistically you should probably be looking at higher end software like LRTimelapse.
Set the Other Export Options
Next choose a Frame Rate. 30fps, 24fps, 25fps, or 29.97fps are typical, but you can set pretty much anything here. If you’re sharing on the web, 30fps is a good place to start. If you need to stretch the footage a little and want it slightly slowed down, try 24fps.
Choose whether to resize. If you’ve created your image files in the size and dimensions of the target video (eg. starting with 1920px by 1080px images for 1080HD video), you can keep this unchecked. If you leave the Scale proportionally unchecked, it will resize the images without regard to their original aspect ratio, so you might end up with squashed or stretched video.
Finally, choose the quality setting. There’s no way to fine-tune the quality setting, so you’ll have to use trial and error to see which setting you prefer.
And that’s about it. Just hit Encode, choose an output folder and filename, and wait for it to finish its crunching.
There’s no built-in preview, so to check the video you’ve just created you’ll have to open it from Finder. There’s also no way to add a soundtrack or select a poster frame–for those things you’ll need to use a video editing app like Quicktime 7 Pro, Final Cut Express, Adobe Premiere, or any of the many other video editing apps that provide that functionality.