Lightroom: Ability to batch process Photo Merge (HDR and panorama)

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Now that we have HDR inside Lightroom, with virtually no user input, the next step is surely a batch facility for a folder full of bracketed images.
Please!!!!
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Colin McDonald

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Etienne Tremblay

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photographer-skensldikfnwerli

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I have already switched my workflow to use SNS-HDR which has batch processing and gives much better results than Lightroom's HDR merge because SNS-HDR has more control of specific parts of the exposure.  The highlight recovery slider really works well.  First you shoot your brackets in RAW.  Use lightroom to adjust the middle exposure to what it should look like, set white balance, set -50 highlight, +30 or +40 shadows, add your sharpening and NR, CA correction.  Vignette optional but recommended. Do not set clarity as this will add noise.  Copy settings and paste to all. Export to TIFF.  Bring 1 set of TIFF into SNS-HDR, make your adjustments.  Save to a profile.  Use batch tool to merge all sets using your saved profile.  Ghost removal is optional, but works very well.  Alignment optional if you did not use a tripod.  Although you are bringing the photos out of LR to another software, the result will look much better and everything is batched.  The amount of processing time will be about the same because LR HDRmerge and exporting the resulting DNG will be the same amount of time as Exporting the brackets to TIFF and using SNS-HDR to merge.
(Edited)
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Thomas

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Batch Processing for HDR's.

I Wisch to have Batch Processing to make HDR's in Lightroom. When does it comes? Shift cmd H ist Not the same....
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Jacob Hutson

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Can we please get a response from Adobe on this. Even a manual assignment to the queue and then press go to start it would be enough to start with. Come on adobe., when is it coming.
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Jordan DiCaprio

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Adobe please acknowledge this. I would wager that there are thousands upon thousands of photogs that dream of this feature. I have no desire to add 3rd party software, thats why I pay $50 every month to Adobe instead of buying something else in full. I personally do 3 to 4 homes per day and each of those has between 8 and 12 HDR merges. 

Instead of babysitting lightroom for 48 minutes a day just waiting for progress bars to crawl from one side of the screen to the other, let me make better use of my time.
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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> Adobe please acknowledge this.
Just to set expectations, they rarely pre-announce until a feature is ready to ship.
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seanhoyt-dot-art

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Can photomatix do the batch merge into 32-bit and then you bring those files into LR?
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seanhoyt-dot-art

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Yes, I just tested this. You can batch raw files into 32-bit unprocessed .hdr radiance files. You then select all of them and open in Preview. In Preview, you select all thumbnails and export to file. Choose TIFF. Import the new 32-bit TIFF into LR and do your perspective corrections and paint out the windows. 
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seanhoyt-dot-art

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UPDATE: While the process I describe just above does give you quick 32-bit TIFF files, there's considerable color shifting going on. This batch method can't touch the native HDR to DNG in LR. Adobe just needs to implement the batching like Photomatix: Select all shots you want to use as sources. Choose to allow LR to discover how many bracketed shots there were or force it to be within two numbers (for me it's either dual or triple shots), choose the time between each bracket set just like auto-stacking does currently, let me choose how many simultanious HDRs are processed (or auto because LR can see how many cores I have, right?), choose to auto-generate a smart preview for each and then click [GO]. 

LR >needs< HDR and PANO decal stamps on thumbnails for quick ID when mixed among other raw/jpg/etc master files. 

I also need a waaaay more aggressive shadow and highlight slider in Develop. I can take down the windows a bit, but when I paint them out I can drop them several stops back into blue skies. Beef up the shadow and highlight sliders when they detect an HDR image. 
(Edited)
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Jarno P.

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+1 for HDR / Panorama batch processing. Needs to be automatically determine which shots are bracketed even there are more than 3 photos in the bracket. 
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Charlie Fuzz

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@JarnoP.
You can try using stacks to help group your images together by capture time. 

After you select "Auto stack by capture time"  you can adjust the capture time to fit within your time between shots. I find this helps me when doing HDR panos as well, as other hdr shots. I would really like them to get on the ball with pushing a better automated features for us regarding batch processing. For now stacking and quick keys is all we have. Hope this helps! 
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Elijah Parker

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Please add HDR support to the plugin SDK API!  I would particularly love to see the ability to create an HDR through the plugin API -- this will allow users to create plugins with more advanced batch processing control, even automatically detecting and grouping HDRs.  I'll make a plugin for this as soon as it's supported. 

This seems like the least effort for the Lightroom team as well -- just add the ability to call the headless mode HDR system with a list of photos to merge, a table with the settings, and a callback that reports the resulting image.
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Bill Ray

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I have recently purchased AuroraHDR 2018. The latest version works on Windows. The MAC version already supports batch processing and the software vendor has promised batch processing on Windows by the end of the year. The results are really quite good and the software works well with presets. It also has detailed controls for photographers that like to drill down into the advanced settings.
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Dennis Frost

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I think it is time I tried it on my Mac
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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This is now implemented in LR 7.  According to Lightroom Queen Victoria Bampton,  "Multiple merge operations are now added to a job queue behind the scenes to avoid impacting UI responsiveness."  

This lets you initiate many merges -- dozens or hundreds -- and LR will process them one at a time.   LR will show you the progress of the merges when you click the progress bar in the upper left corner:



To prepare a large batch of merges using the last-used merge settings:

1. Stack each set of photos to be merged.

2. Do Photo > Stacking > Collapse All Stacks.

3. Select each stack in turn and do Shift + Ctrl + H ("headless merge").

Unfortunately, you can't select all of the stacks and do Shift + Ctrl + H -- LR gives "An internal error has occurred".    You have to select each in turn and start the merge.  

Sigh, it seems like whoever designed this improvement didn't stop to actually think how it might be used. But overall, it's a considerable improvement for doing large batches of merges.
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Snowchimp Creative

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I noticed this as well. It would be nice if there was a setting for us to set how many merge operations we would like to perform at once. I don't mind doing headless merges for now but if we could at least set it to do x amount at a time it would be a big step in the right direction.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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I filed this bug report on the internal error when trying to initiate multiple merges simultaneously: https://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/lightroom-internal-error-when-initiating-mult...  Please add your me-too vote and detailed opinion.
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photographer23424

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It still means having to possibly press ctrl+shif+ H one thousand times. But theoretically it won't crash or slow down because of the simultaneous jobs.  The AutoHotKey may actually work now without the lag and having to put in an exponential delay in the script.  But I switched to SNS-HDR for my merge a while ago because it has a good batch function and gives much better results than Lightroom.  I think the cost for SNS-HDR was low compared to what you get.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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"It still means having to possibly press ctrl+shift + H one thousand times. "

Right -- I filed a bug report on that (see above).  Maybe they'll fix it in LR Classic 8 :-<
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Thomas Gerber

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I was hoping for an HDR batch feature in new Lightroom Classic but again I'm disappointed :(
Doing a lot of HDR images is a painful procedure - pressing ctrl-shift-H a hundred of times is annoying. 

Is this really so difficult to realize? "Open folder "xyz", take the first 3 images - merge them to HDR - take the next 3 images ...
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Stidi

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This better HDR batch handling is good, but please create way to add directly many stacks to HDR batch.
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Jeremy Pollack

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Just tested, quick and dirty AutoHotkey script with 1 second between key presses successfully queued up 588 stacks. I started at the end and moved towards the front so the files that finish processing wouldn't bump anything down and screw up the pattern. 

It's slow as all get out, tho, as noted above it would be nice to run them in parallel, I think it is going to take like 6-8 hours to process. The same job to 32bit EXR only using Photomatix would take maybe an hour, max, especially as these are only 5.5MP sRAW. 
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Jeremy Pollack

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Just tested, quick and dirty AutoHotkey script with 1 second between key presses successfully queued up 588 stacks. I started at the end and moved towards the front so the files that finish processing wouldn't bump anything down and screw up the pattern. 

It's slow as all get out, tho, as noted above it would be nice to run them in parallel, I think it is going to take like 6-8 hours to process. The same job to 32bit EXR only using Photomatix would take maybe an hour, max, especially as these are only 5.5MP sRAW. 
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Dennis Frost

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One thing I really missed when I moved to Mac was AutoHotkey. I have not found anything quite as easy to use on the Mac.
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Skuma Man

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Could I get your autohotkey script please
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Jeremy Pollack

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+1 (times 1000x!) for HDR batch processing please. I do hundreds and sometimes thousands of batches in Photomatix at a time for timelapse, real estate, and drone photos. Outputting to EXR w/ Photomatix is okay, but if I could stay in 32bit DNG I'd be far far happier. 
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Dennis Frost

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Don't hold your breath. It has taken over 3 years to get to this stage.
I know dozens of commercial photographers who have to go to all sorts of idiotic work arounds to get what should be a simple batching operation done. Aaaaagh! Frustrating.
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Jeremy Pollack

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I've got a pretty optimized and relatively automated workflow setup with Photomatix and some powershell scripting to workaround the limitations, so I'm not holding my breath. :) But, yeah, it would be nice to be able to stay in floating point DNG instead of EXR/HDR format.
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Dennis Frost

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I may have to chase you down one day to see what scripting you are doing.
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Mike Kingdon

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Batch Process HDR.

I have been doing a lot of HDR work recently, mostly interior photography for hostels.  Is there a way I can tell Lightroom to HDR every 3 photos in a folder?  A script or something?  Rather than having to manually select every 3 photos and pressing Shift+Ctrl+H?
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Stanislav Vasiliev

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Hi colleagues. Got link to this thread at Adobe Forums. Here is my original post from there:

I'm using LR Classic for merging HDR DNGs from multiple RAW files (for commercial interior photography, landscape photography etc.) and current tools consume to much of my time for simple tasks. It's not a question of engine performance - it's a question of how it works. Let me explain in detail:

 1) Auto Stack by Capture Time - does not work well because the total exposure time may vary greatly and "Time between stacks" isn't reliable for stacking because of it. It can take the camera 1 second or even less to capture all 5 frames in a 3EV bracketing (1/8000s + 1/1000s + 1/125s + 1/15s + 1/2s), or it can take 90 seconds and more when I do bracketing in low light, while shooting evening landscape or interior using low ISO. With current version of LR Classic I can't simply ask the app to "stack HDR exposures" and need to do it by myself, losing tons of time. I think a feature like "Auto Stack by time between captures" needs to be added and it has to use the time it took the camera to do the capture based on EXIF data. If the time was <1s (including exposure time in EXIF) than it means the photographer used HDR mode or continuous drive mode. I mean that if the 1st frame was taken on 18:55:01 (1/125s) next one on 18:55:01 (1/15s), next one on 18:55:02 (1/2s), next one on 18:55:03 (4s) and the last one on 18:56:07 (60s) they all need to stack together because it was one HDR 5x3EV capture. The LR engine has to include exposure time together with time between captures for stacking. This also definitely will help when stacking reportage photos when I used fast continuous drive mode like 10-20-30-60FPS on my Sony A7R3 and A9 or my Olympus EM-1 Mark II and there can be more improvements in future LR versions for reportage photographers to help them faster cull series.


2) HDR merging - I often use the Ctrl+Shift+H shortcut to merge a stack to HDR. The problem is that there is no delayed queue and the merging process starts immediately. This slows even my powerful desktop PC, and on my MacBook Pro results a great slowdown. Right now I do need to select every stack by myself and press the shortcut to start merging - when the CPU is overloaded with merging even the selection with the mouse works really slow, and I have to spend lot of time simply sitting with the computer and pressing, pressing and pressing the shortcut, waiting few seconds every time because the system is overloaded with calculations. My idea is that it would be great to have an option to add all merges to a queue and later execute it when I do not need my computer. Also an option "Merge all stacks to HDR" would be great. This also applies to panorama merging - batch/queue and sending all stacks to merging will improve photographers performance. For most of photographers merging a lot of work into a big batch, starting it and leaving a computer calculating for few hours is better then siting in front of the display with sluggish interface when the computer is overloaded with rendering.

 

P.S. Options like "Automatically create Smart Preview for merged photos" and "Automatically create 1:1 preview for merged photos" would be great too.

 

BTW, most things in LR could benefit from a batch/queue feature. If somebody in Adobe is interested in a feedback from users who use LR for working with hundreds of thousands of photos every month you can contact me for detailed explanation :-)

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Dennis Frost

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What Stanislav Vasiliev describes when it come to "Auto Stack by Capture Time" drives me crazy too. I agree that we need a way to stack things by >xxx seconds between shots. I too have to go back through hundreds of stacked photos and manually make sure they are stacked correctly. It is such a time wasting pain.
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Michelle

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Exactly with the auto stack. Honestly, it would be easier if we could choose a stack by a set number of images like other programs. Allow us to select 3, 5, or 7 images and stack by number of images vs time as it can greatly change depending on environment. 
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seanhoyt-dot-art

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They can skip the capture time and skip the "every 2" or "every 3" or whatever. They need to just run the photo set, ID features, look at the exposure values and then quickly identify and process the brackets. Then they can have an [HDR] stamp that I can see on the result in the Grid and Filmstrip. 
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Stanislav Vasiliev

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It's also a question for camera manufacturers, who could add special EXIF tags for HDR (HDR frame X of Y) and continuous drive modes (frame XX of YY total captured) so processing software don't use any calculations based on time but simply uses EXIF data for stacking. Unfortunately camera developers are even slower than Adobe when adding some new features is required :-) I will try to discuss this with officials from Canon, Olympus and Sony in Russia, but it's hard to reach the Japanese guys who can really help. And even if they implement it may take ages for Adobe to support new features (like we see with Canon 5D Mark IV dualpixel and Sony A7R III highres)
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Keith Bennett

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Lightroom Bulk HDR Batch execution in one go using a Tag applied at grouping stag....

Lightrooms HDR is the best in the business, however it still remains a clunky and time consuming process to group effectively and execute in a time efficient fashion. For a long time now users have been asking for a way to Execute Multiple HDR groups in one go after firstly creating the bracket groups. Currently there are two ways to bulk batch HDR groups and both are frustrating and time inefficient. You either group your bracket shots followed by Shift+Cntrl+H each time you group. Or you go through an entire shoot grouping all the brackets together and then go back one by one and hit Shift+Cntrl+H on each group one by one. Either way is slow and clunky because the thumbnail bar at the bottom keeps annoyingly jumping each time you set off a hdr process. The only way to make this a time efficient and enjoyable process is to firstly create all your bracket groups and for each bracket group you tag for HDR Batch Execute much like rating a file. Once all your bracket groups are created and every shoot I often have 30 or more, the HDR Batch can be started for all groups that have been tagged for HDR Batch. At the end of the batch all HDR tags on grouped images would be cleared. Please seriously consider this function, it would save us a lot of time and frustration. Whilst the batch is in process, we can take a break and make coffee coming back to a job well done to continue editing the hdr's
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Keith Bennett

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Why does Adobe consistently ignore user requests for batch hdr (over 3 years in this forum alone) whilst at the same time implementing silly low use features.. the latest preset preview is a joke not being able to disable.. batch hdr is a fundamental workflow feature.. please Adobe.. heads up on this one
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Alan Wicks

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Bulk HDR processing..

Bulk HDR processing. There are times when I have a large series of landscape photos that I want to process as HDR. Doing them one set at a time is a drag.  There are times when I will have 50+, and then I want to turn some of the sets into panoramas.  Photomatix Pro has bulk processing but they end up as JPG or TIFF images, not DNGs.
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Evan Melgren

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I'm also desperate for batch HDR. Forget all this time capture stuff- just initiate with a dialog box asking how many shots are in each bracket, then automate by grabbing the first three (or 5, or whatever) then the next three, and the next three, etc.
All we'd have to do is make sure our source folder doesn't have any extra shots, and we'll be golden. 

I just did some basic math.

I do 3 brackets for all our real estate listings. Every merge in ACR (okay, not LR, I know, but I love ACR so much, and I can merge with a single keystroke) takes about 31 seconds. I'll need to do anywhere from 70-120 merges per listing, with a median around 90 merges.
So if we multiply it all out, it comes to a total of just over TWO STRAIGHT WEEKS of my life I've spent over the last year and half's 107 listings just sitting waiting for that sweet, sweet, .dng file. 
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steve hunt

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I am a professional (30+yrs) photographer. Mainly architectural, landscape and real estate. I have used Photomatix, Aurora HDR, Photoshop and a few others I won't mention - LR is BY FAR the best pro photography software I have used. Most realistic and natural looking but with a special "pop" that I just can't achieve with other software. I shoot nothing but HDR. A typical day means about 1000 - 1500 bracketed shots. Resulting in 300 - 500 HDR photos. For each day I spend shooting I spend at least another full day processing HDR. Then another day or two grading those shots. So a one day shoot requires a total of about four days to finish the photos. CRAZY!!!! But business is very good.
Batch processing would free up at least a full day of my time for each day of shooting. It boggles the mind that Adobe has not addressed this. Right now I can HDR process about 5 or 6 three photo stacks at a time. Takes about 10 minutes...  I do this all day and play my guitar in between - lol
Please Please Please Adobe Please fix this problem it's ridiculous.
I also edit video on Premiere Pro - which has a program called Encore which will batch process video production into whatever format I want - I can stack as many video productions as I want into Encore and hit "start" and I'm off doing something else. It's great! We obviously need the same thing in LR!
Sorry for the rant.
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Reginald Francklyn

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Batch mode merge to 32 bit.

Merging to 32 bit is a good option for creating HDR images without processing artifacts. Adding this as a processing option as a batch woudl be extremely helpful to me.
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Joe Torma

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+1 for LR HDR batch processing.   The fact that it does not exist is baffling at this point.  Truly baffling.  Any group of stacks should be able to be processed (HDR or Panorama).  I routinely use photomatix pro and ptgui just because of the batch capabilities.  Just bought Luminar and Aurora HDR just to try to get away from Adobe's lack of volume workflow for panoramic and HDR photography.  Sooooo much ground to make up in these areas.
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HannesKa

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I hope Adobe will listen to us! A batch processing for HDR (and Pano's) would be great an a big time-saver!
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Kristian Karaneshev

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Feature request: Auto merge HDR!.

I am making timelapses on a regular basis. Quite often HDR timelapses from day to night. They consist of around 800 hdr images, (800x3). So I have to select 3 images, click shift + ctrl + h to merge an hdr and repeat this 800 times in order to merge all the hdrs. Sometimes I have up to 100 operations in progress. It would be of great convenience if there was an option automerge HDR. I select the folder, click automerge HDR, then go to sleep and in the morning all of the images are merged, without the need to click 800 times. This will be a huge timesaver! 
  
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Chauswe

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I'm usually not using this functionality of LR but what comes into my mind when I read about your issues: have you ever tried with mouse recording tools? As these are iterative tasks (and probably always the same clicks) that could work. It's just a poor workaround, of course - but may work over night... Just give it a try.
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Andreas Halder

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I see, I'm not the only guy with this problem of missing batch processing...

BUT how it is much more ergonomic: With macOS I've easily created a shotcut for the "HDR"-command, so now I've to push shift&ctrl&Y instead of shift&ctrl&H like before.
(Edited)
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Pat Cassity

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Another vote for a batch process for HDR. I am also a real estate photographer and would love to be able to completely separate myself from Photomatix and use LR exclusively.