I remember watching a video about timelapse photography. There was a moment when the narrator explained that there is a specific trick to make the videos "smoother":

  • In the timelapse videos which don't use this trick, if people are moving, they suddenly appear at a precise frame, then disappear,

  • In the videos which use the trick, we have a feeling that they are smoothly moving, like if there was a motion blur.

What is this technique? What is it called? Is it done when taking photos or during post-processing?

5 Answers 5


After Effects has a frame blending mode called "Pixel Motion," which will attempt to match features in two temporally adjacent frames and smoothly blend between them. This video shows it in action, where it is used to generate filler frames for video footage that was slowed down 10x. As you can see, the results are mixed.

There is no magic bullet for filling in missing data. As the classic computer programming expression says, "Garbage in, garbage out." If you only need to blend between small changes in the scene between frames, this blending mode might help. Otherwise, your best bet is probably to just do a very fast plain fade between each image, which can be achieved with the "Frame Mix" blending mode.

  • Sure this one is the right answer. I used a lot to do this in After Effects. It's a little trick to set the settings right, but the results then are great. A great tip is : you got different results with motion blur and frame blending on/off. Upvoted! Funny video test!
    – H_7
    Sep 30, 2011 at 19:24

One solution to the jerkiness of stop-motion animation was developed for some Star Wars sequences, termed "Go Motion".

Basically the idea is that you leave the shutter open a little longer than necessary, and move the objects a bit, to create some motion blur.


I suspect that the technique is to take images at a smaller interval that you need, then when building your movie, to selectively add additional images for the people motion and smooth moving you mention.

So, if you want one frame per minute, take 2 or 3 frames per minute. When you come to a scene with people moving, rather than one frame per minute, insert 'interstitial' frames to effectively slow down the scene and smooth it out, later returning to the one frame per minute speek.

  • 4
    What about making each frame be a long exposure?
    – mattdm
    Sep 16, 2011 at 13:18

For a landscape with people walking across shot, making each exposure quite long, maybe quarter of a second, can help - the background, sun transit and clouds etc will not be affected, but people will be a lightly moving blur.


Drag your shutter, by using an ND filter on your lens by exemple or simply closing your aperture and you'll get this effect =)

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