Friday, September 14, 2012

Using Lightroom and Quicktime pro to process images for stopmotion

Here's my first-ever video tutorial, and the first time you get to hear my voice - a 17 minute demo in which I show how I use Adobe Lightroom to process a folder full of RAW images for use in a stopmotion film. Lightroom has an amazing feature - the Sync button - that allows you to work on one image and then instantly apply the exact same changes to every image in the folder - something you can't do in Photoshop or most other image processing apps.

I messed up a couple of times, but I mostly left those in to demonstrate how to fix it in case you mess up the same way - hey, sometimes you learn more by watching a teacher screw up! Plus you get to laugh at me - who could ask for anything more, right?

At the end I also demonstrate how to use Quicktime Pro 7 to turn the pictures into an Image Sequence and export it as a movie file that you can then use in your video editing software.

Also - the importance of using a white balance card!


Shelley Noble said...

EXCITING!!!! Terribly exciting, Mike!!

The tutorial is fantastic, answering so many questions before I could know what to have to ask. Terrific instruction and nifty tips!

You are just the coolest, guy! Your voice sounded as I've read it and yet also different than imagined. The unpretentious intelligence comes through as does the emphatic punctuation of an enthusiastic Surveyor's Mind such as yours. But your voice sounds lower than I thought.

The kindness is there too. Illinois just makes nicer people I guess. A Mike Brent for always fan.

Great to get a glimpse of the film! Beyond the beyond exciting.

Darkstrider said...

Awww, thanks Shellikins!! So sweet of you!!


Garancsi Kata said...


your tutorial is really useful! thank you for that!:)
can i have one question?
i have 10 photos of an object. The same object, the background is different. And i want the object to be in the middle of all the photos. this way, in the movie, the object stays in the middle, only the background changes. how do i crop the photos to do this?


Diego said...

Hi, Mike,

we've been corresponding thru Amazon for the last couple of days, reminiscing about the good old days of Eerie and Creepy and the Warren magazines, and I came upon your blog. This entry caught my attention. I dabble in digital photography and have heard of Lightroom, but thought it was another software like Photoshop, but from what I saw in your video (and yes, I watched it all the way thru, lol), I wonder if there are possibilities of working with video (not image stills) on Lightroom as well.

This would explain something that's been puzzling me for a while: I have an add-on filter on Photoshop that let's you do all sort of effects with the color (among others), and I've seen the same effects added on I wondered how they did it, as you can't treat video with Photoshop...but if you can with Lightroom, that would elucidate my query, lol. Alos the fact that you can reframe your picture is wonderful (you can also do it with Photoshop), but if it can be done with video it'd be even better.

Uh, I think Lightroom works with video, but since you use it, you'd know better.

Anyway, hope you check your blog once in a while... and by the way, your stop-motion videos look absolutely great. If ever you need someone to do some music, don't hesitate to ask me...


Darkstrider said...

Hi Diego,

Wow, how did you know it was me?!! Hahaha... I guess my Amazon account shows all the stopmotion related books I've bought (or maybe I even have a link to my blog, I don't remember).

Lightroom does work with video but not as well - to take advantage of the real power of Lightroom though, it's a simple matter - all you have to do is use Quicktime Pro to convert your video into what's called an Image Sequence.

I use a Mac, and these are the instructions for how to install Quicktime Pro on a Mac (it might be slightly different on a PC):

Download Quicktime 7, which is free from Apple (though you'll also need to buy the Pro key for it, which is only like $30). Find their Quicktime downloads page and look for older versions. They're up to I think version 10 now, but you want 7, which is the last time it had the all-important Pro functionality.

Download it and look in your Utilities folder, which is inside your Applications folder. They won't tell you that's where it's going to show up, and usually nothing does, but for some reason that's where it'll be. Move it into your Applications folder. Open it and click on where it says Quicktime Player 7 (left side of the toolbar across top of page). From there you can purchase the activation key to turn it into Quicktime Pro. Hint, copy the code into some kind of note and save it - if you ever need to re-install after a crash or something you can always use that same key to re-activate it.

The part that might be different on a PC is what folder you'll find QT7 in... I can't say since I don't use a PC.

Ok, how to use it to convert a movie into an image sequence - this is assuming you're starting with a quicktime movie. Open the quicktime file and from the File dropdown menu select Export. From the bottom area of the resulting dialogue box select Movie to Image Sequence. Click the Options key next to it and choose Tiffs and type in the same frame rate as the movie was shot at (most likely 24 fps in the US, 25 if in Europe). Click the little Options button at the bottom and select Millions of colors + and for Compressions select None. I don't check the Little Endian box. Then you just have to click the Save button and it will generate an image sequence in whatever folder you selected.

You can work with these as I demonstrate in the video and then use Quicktime to once again turn the images back into a movie - I demonstrated that in the video too.

If you have any questions feel free to ask - and if you're working with AVI files on a PC there should be a way to convert that into a Quicktime file - Quicktime might be able to do it or there should be free apps for it.

Darkstrider said...

Also, AVIdemux a free program that can at least turn an image sequence into a movie, not sure if it can do the opposite as well but it probably can:

For a Windows version of Avidemux, the download page is here:

Here are the steps to use it:
Select "File" "Open" and then select the first image in the directory. Avidemux will automatically load the rest. Under "Video" select "MPEG-4 AVD" and under 'Format' select "mp4". This will encode the videos with the h264 encoder which will give you the best quality and smallest video file size. Under "Filters" select "Resize". I like to resize to 1920x1080. To upload to YouTube, you might want 1280x720. Select Resample FPS and set the frame rate. You might want this to be '15' or '24'. Then, click 'File' and 'Save' and 'Save video'. That is it! It is just that simple! You will get a video much better than what you will get with Windows Movie Maker.

(I copied these intstructions from a message board - I haven't actually used it myself).

Diego said...

Thanks, Mike, for taking the time to explain everything. I just found out that I indeed had Quicktime 7 Pro in my Utility folder (I must have bought for a previous computer, and since you've got to change computers every couple of years, I usually copy everything from one computer to the newest version). Anyway, to cut a long story short, I did as you said and it works out perfectly. Thanks again!

By the way, is there a way I can contact you directly without filling your blog with messages that won't interest anyone else but us? Can you add a contact me button somewhere, so that I can send you a private email (don't worry I'm not going to spam you). I like the stuff you do, and wanted to share some thoughts about it with you personally.

Again thanks for taking the time to explain all this thoroughly (and yes, I use a Mac; always have, so no need to go thru all the PC explanations).

Take care, bro.

3dcnc said...

Can yo tell me how fast you can speed the transition between photos in Lightroom 4/5. Lets say I wanted 4 photo's per second can that be done in Lightroom or should I bring the images back in to Quicktime Pro

Darkstrider said...

Hey there - no, Lightroom only processes still images - for anything duration related you need a video editor like QTPro.