Here are my steps for Drone Time-Lapse.
1. Make sure everything is legal where the proposed drone operations will take place and get all necessary permissions.
2. Establish (usually with the client) the best vantage point for where the photo is going to be taken ever time the site is visited as well as the time of day it’s going to be done. I usually do midday because we’re dealing with a year round process, so midday light helps to keep it more consistent.
3. This one is critical. Allow plenty of extra room around the area of the photo. Unless you’re using a drone with RTK GPS, chances are you’re going to have variance in every flight due to the inexact GPS positioning in most drones. Also it’s best to use a drone with a very good camera, because you’re going to need to crop the images to get them to align.
4. Use Litchi to set a Waypoint where you want to go back to every time and save it as a mission in the app. Note: Litchi doesn’t set just one way point for a mission, it needs at least 2. So I always set a way point from where I want to fly and then back up my drone another 20 feet and set another way point. The second way point is the actual one for my mission. Note: you are not allowed to set way points too close together in Litchi, so allow at least 15 feet between way points.
5. BE SURE TO SAVE YOUR MISSION! So you can use it over and over again.
6. Once all the images have been collected, I use Adobe Bridge to select all of the images and then go to the menu Tools > Photoshop > Load Files into photoshop Layers. Once the images are nicely in separate layers in photoshop, I then go to the menu at the top and select Edit > Auto Align Layers. Now if I have done my image capture properly over the last several months, my images should align well with minimal cropping.
7. Now I load the layers into a timeline and export them as either a gif or a .mp4 video file.
With great care and planning dynamic Drone Time-Lapse photography is an impressive tool to have as an image creator.