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Lightroom

5 Steps for Syncing Timestamp Metadata in Lightroom 4

By Pye Jirsa on March 6th 2013

It’s definitely a good idea to have multiple photographers during an event to capture each moment in the best way possible. Having multiple photographers also ensures that each moment will be shot at different angles, have a different composition, etc. Multiple photographers means multiple cameras, therefore it’s important to prepare your cameras by syncing the timestamps between them in order for the images to be organized accordingly in post production.

Synced timestamp metadata allows for a much quicker post-production workflow as you can compare all the angles at the same time. But, what happens if you forget to sync the cameras prior to the shoot? Well don’t worry, in this article, we will go through fixing out-of-sync timestamp camera metadata within Lightroom in five simple steps.

Watch the Video Tutorial

The following video is from the SLR Lounge Lightroom 4 A to Z Workshop on DVD, a 14-hour workshop covering everything in Lightroom from file management to advanced artistic processing techniques.

Step 1. Select the Lead Camera

To find the lead camera, a general rule of thumb is to select the Camera Serial Number containing the most images. Generally, the camera with the most images was the one used by the Lead Photographer (unless you happen to have trigger happy second shooters, haha). When filtering metadata, filtering by camera Serial Number will also prevent same-model cameras from being grouped together. To change the category images are filtered by, click on the drop-down menu from one of the filter criteria options on the Filter Menu and select “Camera Serial Number”.

camera-serial-number

Step 2. Locate a “Moment”

While most weddings/events have thousands of images, to keep this simple, we narrowed it down to just a handful to keep this tutorial more simple. The lead camera, which we will call Camera A, has 17 images as shown below. Keep in mind that each subsequent camera will be synced to the current timing in Camera A.

filter-metadata-camera

While the Filter Menu filters only for images taken by Camera A, find a moment during the event that is easily recognizable across all other cameras used. The moment you choose should also be a moment when all cameras were shooting simultaneously. During a wedding, for example, the easiest moment to pinpoint is usually the couples first kiss as shown below.

first-kiss

Step 3. Record the Timestamp Information

As you locate an image from that particular moment in Camera A, look at the Timestamp Information by using the shortcut [ I ].

timestamp

In Camera A, this particular image was shot at 11:46:09 AM. Record this exact time because you will need to use it later.

Step 4. Select an Image from the “Same Moment” on Another Camera

Next, go to Grid View using the shortcut [ G ] and filter for another camera, which in this case we will call Camera B.

another-camera

Find the exact same moment that was selected on Camera A and select it on Camera B. Make sure that no other Filter is turned on other than the Camera Serial Number.

same-moment

Step 5. Edit Capture Time

While that image is selected, hit [ Ctrl + A ] to select all of the rest of the images as well.

select-all-images-camera

As you can see, the image selected first is slightly more highlighted and represents the “Key” image of the selection. Next, in the Library Module, go to Metadata > Edit Capture Time.

edit-capture-time

Within the Corrected Time Box, type in the time of the moment from the previously selected image of the same moment from Camera A. This is the same time that was recorded earlier. Make sure that the time is correct and select “Change All”.

type-same-time

Because the Key image on Camera B was shot at the same moment as Camera A, the Camera B timestamp is changed to be identical with Camera A. All the images in the Camera B selection that came before or after the Key image, are then adjusted in relation to the Key image. When you are finished and the changes have been made, turn off all Filters so that all the images can be viewed together.

all-images-synced

Conclusion

If you did this correctly, the timing should match up according to the time and moment the images were actually taken.

Of course, this process is unnecessary if the time was already synced correctly in camera. In general, it will save you time to just sync them beforehand, but if you forget to sync them in camera, use this tutorial as a reference to fix any timestamp issues that may occur otherwise. Stay tuned for the next article.

If you are interested in owning the Lightroom 4 A to Z DVD, it can be purchased in the SLR Lounge Store. Stay tuned for the next article.

Purchase the Lightroom 4 A-Z DVD Guide

The Lightroom 4 A-Z training DVD will turn any Lightroom novice into a complete master of Lightroom 4 in no time! The DVD which can be played on a Mac or Windows PC includes the following:
– 130 Video Tutorials and nearly 14 hours of content!
– Over 6 hours of tutorials dedicated to developing techniques
– Full Menu System for easy navigation through the tutorials
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About

Founding Partner of Lin and Jirsa Photography and SLR Lounge.

Follow my updates on Facebook and my latest work on Instagram both under username @pyejirsa.

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  1. Akil Madan

    Haha this is so ironic. I spent last night syncing images between two cameras that were off by an hour. My solution was horrible (manually re-arrange). Wish I had read this beforehand because in the back of my mind I suspected lightroom had this feature!

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