If no one else has a better suggestion, here are a couple of ways you might try for getting all of the pics to have about the same brightness (which may not be exactly what you want):
1. You could try the Settings > Match Total Exposures command in Develop, but it's not likely going to help, since it's going to adjust all the photos to have the same effective exposure value (ISO, shutter, aperture, exposure slider), and you'll likely still see the stair steps in birghtness. Match Total Exposures looks at the camera settings and slider only, not the actual pixels of the pics.
2. You could use LR's auto-tone to automatically adjust just the exposure of each pic based on the actual pixels, which should adjust the pics to have about the same brightness. But it takes a little bit of a song and dance routine:
a. Define a develop preset "Zero Basic Tone Except" that sets all the Basic Tone sliders to 0 except exposure:
b. In grid view select all the pics and apply Auto Tone using the Quick Develop panel:
c. Do Library > Build Standard-Sized Previews to work around a nasty LR bug.
d. Apply the "Zero Basic Tone Except" preset using the Saved Preset dropdown to clear all except the Exposure slider:
LR's auto exposure can make pics a stop or so too bright. So you could use Quick Develop's Exposure buttons to make the same relative increase or decrease in Exposure to all the pics at the same time:
I don't know if this will give you satisfactory results, but I think it will eliminate the stair-stepped brightness. If you try it, let us know how it turns out!
On second thought, Match Total Exposures might work out very well and eliminate the stair-steps in brightness. Give it a try!
Good suggestion, I forgot about LRTimelapse.
Have you any experience using it John?
It's new to me. I might take it for a spin.
No experience with it -- I've just seen it mentioned on these forums a fair number of times.
I use LRTimelapse. I think it's very clever and well-executed. And it's perfect for the original problem in this thread, because it can ramp most of the sliders in Lightroom.
The basic idea behind LRTimelapse is the use of keyframes and XMP metadata. You tell it how many keyframes you want between the start and end of the time lapse; if you only need two different Exposure values at the beginning and end, that's two keyframes, but if you wanted another change in between you'd add three. LRTimelapse then uses metadata to mark the keyframes in XMP sidecar files, then you read the metadata changes into Lightroom and use the Develop module to edit the parameters of just those images. It's no problem to apply an idea such as "I'd like to gradually shift the color temperature across this time lapse;" just set the Temperature values of the start and end keyframe images in Develop.
You save the metadata back into the frames and have LRTimelapse read the updated metadata, and it interpolates the intermediate values for all of the images between the keyframes, and writes its edits into the metadata for all of the images. LRTimelapse is very good at compensating for things like if you changed the shutter speed three times during the time lapse to avoid overexposing a 3-hour sunrise. LRTimelapse can also apply adjustable flicker removal, which can be very important to smooth out the exposures from some cameras and lenses. The whole program is sort of a super Match Total Exposures.
LRTimelapse then writes out all those changes into the XMP sidecar files for the last time, you have Lightroom read the final Develop values back in for the original raw files, and then you use a special LRTimelapse Export preset to render all those frames to a video file.
Obviously, for success with LRTimelapse, it's important to be comfortable with how the Save Metadata To File and Read Metadata From File commands work in Lightroom. And follow the workflow tutorials on the LRTimelapse website very closely.
It's a lot of money unless you're going to do a bunch of time lapses, but if you use it, it does a very good job.
Thanks Conrad. Great overview.
Thanks all for the feedback!!
Match total exposure did the trick just fine!
There was a small glitch on the way: my lens is a manual focus Rokinon which was not identified by LR, so if I tried to run Match Total Exposure with the original pictures an error would pop up saying no pictures were selected. Turns out that there has to be metadata on aperture, f-stop and so forth for Match Total Exposure to work, and since there was no info on my lenses, the command would not work. Therefore, I had to download the LensTagger plugin so that it would input the metadata concerning my lens for the batch of photos. After that, the Match Total Exposure did the job.
Good. And thanks for the pointer to LensTagger -- I hadn't seen that plugin before.
You may also want to try Jeffrey Friedl's “Timelapse Support” Lightroom Plugin that says it will allow you to 'fade in/out' develop adjustment amounts: Jeffrey Friedl's Blog » Jeffrey’s “Timelapse Support” Lightroom Plugin
I have not used it myself but came across it when checking out something else on his site.
By the way,
end result is here!
I used the Match Total Exposure solution in the opening sequence of this clip. Thanks again for the support everyone!!