Tutorial – Batch process hundreds of pseudo HDR images for timelapse

Please watch Tutorial 1 for more information on creating a rich timelapse with a deep dynamic range using a sequence of single exposure RAW images.

In the first tutorial I demonstrated how to create a pseudo HDR image out of a single RAW image.  In this new tutorial I look at how to apply the technique to quickly and easily apply it to hundreds of photos that make up a typical timelapse sequence.

For those who prefer to read about the steps involved, here you go:

Basically, select an image from your sequence (could be any image, but let’s choose the first). Go into the Develop module and make all of your adjustments to the image so it’s ready to export as an EV-. Go ahead and create 2 additional virtual copies for EV0 (a.k.a. EV neutral) and EV+ and make your adjustments on those. Then select your first virtual copy for EV- and hit Ctrl-Shift-C to open the copy develop settings box and select the develop settings you want to copy (I normally click Select All). Next, go into the Library module, select all the images in your sequence, and Ctrl-Shift-V. That will paste those develop settings to all the images in your sequence. Then export all them with this set for the name: “{Custom Text}-{Sequence # (1)»}-1″.

You’ll then have a new sequence of images named something like:

Yosemite-1-1
Yosemite-2-1
Yosemite-3-1
Yosemite-4-1

Then select your EV0 virtual copy and again Ctrl-Shift-C the settings and Ctrl-Shift-V to all of the other images. then export again with this: “{Custom Text}-{Sequence # (1)»}-2” and you’ll get a second set of files that look like:

Yosemite-1-2
Yosemite-2-2
Yosemite-3-2
Yosemite-4-2

Do it again for EV+ and you’ll have a third set like this:

Yosemite-1-3
Yosemite-2-3
Yosemite-3-3
Yosemite-4-3

You’ll probably choose to export all the images after each set of adjustments to the same folder, so in the end that folder will look like this:

Yosemite-1-1
Yosemite-1-2
Yosemite-1-3
Yosemite-2-1
Yosemite-2-2
Yosemite-2-3
Yosemite-3-1
Yosemite-3-2
Yosemite-4-3
Yosemite-4-1
Yosemite-4-2
Yosemite-4-3

That’s it. Using the Photomatix Pro batch import will let you automatically grab the first 3 images in the sequence and merge them into an HDR image. It’ll then grab the next three and do the same.

I would suggest that after creating your 3 virtual copies (and before doing all the batch work above), export those 3 virutal copies directly to Photomatix and get them looking the way you want and save those Photomatix settings for use in the Photomatix batch processing. Do this first because you may end playing with changes to the settings of the 3 virtual copies and the settings in Photomatix to get the best looking HDR image. Once you’ve got it dialed in, you can then so all the Ctrl-Shift-C and Ctrl-Shift-V as described above. (By the way, the virtual copies also give you a handy place to store your settings without needing virtual copies for each image).

Alternatively, you could create 3 virtual copies for every image in your sequence (you can do this all at once with just a few clicks) and apply your changes to the virtual copies, but then you’ll end up with a ton of virual copies that you don’t really need. Much cleaner to just use a single set of virtual copies to store your changes and then apply and export as described above.

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