A beautiful aerial sunset time-lapse is a sight to see. In this video, a photo was taken every 2 seconds during a 20-minute flight and edited into an 18-second video. I have captured hundreds of timelapse from the ground and have been working on a way to make an aerial timelapse look like they are on a tripod in the air. I have used two drones, the DJI Inspire 2 and the DJI Mavic 2 Pro. I have found both drones tend to drift around a lot in the air. The Mavic 2 Pro holds its position in the air better because it has less prop wash. I believe I would get a better result if I used an RTK enabled drone to reduce movement. My workflow to get this final aerial-lapse takes several steps. Over time I have refined my workflow and each one gets better as my process and drone gets better. Below is my step-by-step workflow that I have refined over the past 3 years.

STEP 1: Set drone to take aerial photos every 2 seconds in JPG and lock exposure.

(I would prefer camera raw but DJI’s lowest interval time setting for raw photos is every 5 seconds in the DJI GO4 App)

DJI 2 Second Intervals Sula Aerials
STEP 2: Edit the photos in Adobe Lightroom Classic and export to JPG

STEP 3: Process photos in TLDF to remove the flicker and export JPGs

(LRTimelapse is the best in my opinion. If you have the time, shoot in camera raw and edit in Adobe Lightroom. Sunsets can be the most difficult to de-flicker because of the clouds.)

STEP 4: Manually stabilize motion tracking with “Positing” & “Rotation” in Adobe After Effects. Export 4K Prores file. Adobe After Effects
STEP 5: In Premiere Pro, warp stabilize the footage. Use ‘Smooth Motion’ under ‘Results’. Under ‘Method’ try all four options. Sometimes one works better and will surprise you. For me, ‘Subspace Warp’ or ‘Position, Scale, Rotation’ give me the best result.

Adobe Premiere Pro 2020

STEP 6: Export to your preferred codec and you’re done!

Have you mastered the aerial-lapse with a drone? What is your workflow? What drone do you use? What software do you use? Let me know your favorite aerial-lapse in the comments. I would love to see it!

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