Add Camera Motion to Time-lapse Videos with Panolapse

The new cross-platform application is available in both free and commercial versions.

Films using the time-lapse technique were amongst the first created and it's an approach that has never really gone out style. In fact, recent years have seen it become wildly popular in the hands of amateur movie makers with access to tools that are inexpensive but which can still produce impressive results. However, if there's one aspect of time-lapse creation that has remained difficult to master, it's adding camera movement.

Users can mount a camera on a motorized track that slides and/or a motorized head that rotates but such systems are typically heavy, fragile and restrictive. The alternative is to employ video-editing software, by cropping into a scene and sliding the viewing window around. However, the resulting video can appear flat and unnatural, since changes in perspective aren't taken into consideration. This is where Panolapse comes in.

Panolapse's motion effect is said to be similar to that of 360 panorama viewers using 3D perspective correction to simulate real-world accurate movements. It applies perspective warping to allow more natural panning and adds rotational motion to a sequence, thus acting as a motorized head. Panolapse works best with wide-angle lenses, including fisheyes, allowing for pans up to a 360 field of view. The software also tackles the problem of flickering, endemic to time-lapse films, by calculating a moving-average of the brightness of the scene and then adjusting each frame to match exposure. Final videos can be exported to high-quality JPG frames, .mov (PhotoJPEG) video or .mp4 video.

Included is RAWBlend, which works with Photoshop or Lightroom to blend between RAW or JPG images, adjusting such settings as exposure, contrast, color balance, vibrance, highlights and shadows.

Panolapse 1.1 for Mac and Windows is available in a free version that supports output sizes up to 1280x720. A commercial version is available on the Panolapse site for $64.95.