Timer for timelapse video?

Hi all! Haven’t been on this forum since May 2019…

I’m currently creating a timelapse video edit and would like to put a timer that indicates elapsed time depending on the timelapsed video. The current timer filter… well, can just do normal timing and I can’t change the speed it seems.

How would I go about this in Shotcut (or another software if necessary)?

Hi, this may not be quite what you’re looking for but I quickly made a short demo with a countdown timer from Youtube.
My steps:
Downloaded a timer video from YT (searched 60-second countdown timer), plus an egg video (!)
Egg vid on V1, timer on V2, size/position, crop, chromakey out the black (crank up the slider to full).
Add silly kid’s music. Done!

However from your post I think you want a timer that speeds up/slows down? You could try my method but changing the seed of sections of clips perhaps? Hope this helps in some way anyway.

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If you don’t need to count days, one other way would be to create a timer clip yourself in Shotcut and overlay it on your time-lapse video. Then you’d change the speed of that clip to match your video.

  • Create a new project with two tracks on the Timeline
  • On track V1 put a color clip. Black or green. Make this clip as long as you need.
  • On track V2 put a transparent clip. Same length as in track V1
  • Apply a Timer filter on the clip of track V1
  • Ajust the filter’s parameters to your needs.
  • Export the clip to your preferred format.

You can then use this video file in your time-lapse video. Put it on top of the timeline, adjust it’s size, position, speed and length and apply a Chroma Key filter to remove the black (or green) background.

I realize that if you need a 24h timer (for example), it would take a long time to export and would create a huge file. But if you often do time-lapse videos, you will be able to reuse this file over and over. And you don’t need this timer clip to be 1920x1080 by the way since you’ll need to downsize it anyway when you use it.


EDIT of my previous post : You can see that I used the Bahnschrift font in the example above. This was not a good choice since the characters don’t all have the same width and the timer will change size as it counts time (See capture bellow). Lucida Sans Unicode or Lucida Console would be better choices. Or any other monospaced fonts you like.


OMG I didn’t even realise there WAS a timer filter. Cool! That is so helpful, @MusicalBox!

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@MusicalBox beat me to most of this… Create a timer of your font/color/size preference.

My approach is a bit different though.
No need for multiple tracks for the timer video.

Timer project

  1. Determine length of clip to be sped up.
  2. Set Video Mode to exact FPS of the source clip to be sped up.
  3. V1: Transparent clip set to exact length of clip to be sped up.
  4. Export, select VP9 (with alpha channel) [Creates a transparent video clip]

Main Project

  1. V1: Source clip
  2. V2: Timer clip
  3. Adjust both clips at the same speed.

1.0x Speed - 2 second mark of actual video

2.5x Speed - 2 second mark of actual video


I just tested, and on the old and slow computer I used, Shotcut estimates it would take about 2h00 to export a 3h00 long timer clip. Not as bad as I thought. Maybe worth the wait if you can use that file on other time-lapse projects in the future.

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@Hudson555x that is a better and more practical way of doing it :+1:

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Guess I can’t mark two best replies (or one best, one helpful) here…

@Hudson555x and @MusicalBox Look at that… it’s that simple and looks exactly like something I’ve done before for something different. Wish I had thought of that… thank you!


I tried to avoid the export part by using just the timer mlt as Open other > Import mlt as clip , but got stuck as the mlt has no frame rate properties and can’t be sped up.

Would it be a big problem to allow the Timer filter to accept more general format string, including any kind of characters, something like format in the date command?
It could also also allow to specify speed multiplier, ideally with the default matching the clip speed.
This would make it straightforward to put right time without separate track, and also count frames in a high speed video.
Is it sufficient to put a request here or is there a separate tracker for enhancement requests?

Format strings are not convenient for most users. I am not against adding it. But if there are just one or two formats that are missing for common use cases, I would rather add those specific formats. What formats do you need for your project?

There is a separate topic category for suggestions. It would probably be good to break out into a separate suggestion conversation since the OP’s problem has been solved in this thread.

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