Time-lapse videos are the type of artistic recordings that make you stop and think about the beauties of life that we often don’t notice – the slow movement of clouds in the sky, or the way our planet rotates in the vastness of space, surrounded by countless stars.
Often cast off as gimmicky, time lapse photography can actually be mesmerizing with the right subject. And as mobile phone cameras grow in quality and the storage capacity of devices increases, it’s possible to make a decent sequence with just what’s in your pocket, plus a small tripod.
I went out on a recent evening and gaffer-taped my iPhone 5 to the top of my Canon 5D to double shoot some video of the recently launched Bay Bridge lights in San Francisco so I could test out a few apps. One hour and a few easy settings later, I walked away from the pier pleasantly surprised with what the phone’s camera could do.
Here are a few apps that can help you get a cool little keepsake that you can also quickly share:
Available for iOS and Android: $1.99 in the App Store or $1.99 from Google Play
Lapse It is probably the best one apps there for its intuitively designed pre-settings and its plethora of options for editing. It will allow as much shooting as the device can hold, and if you experience some shake or unexpected interruptions like people waking in front of the shot, you can simply keep going and trim out the time leading up to the problem.
You can shoot as fast as 10 frames per second, although that’s not recommended for longer periods, as the sheer amount of data creates a longer rendering process with little advantage, and has a tendency to create confusion on playback for the device. Along with trimming, Lapse It allows a few nice light filters to enhance the image and allows multiple exports of your original image batch so you can fine tune and get the desired result. It even can add music from your collection.
Note that a free version is available for trying out the app, but it shoots lower-resolution images.
- Easy to use!
- Awesome functionality!
- Nice user interface!
- Shoot at up to 1080p full HD resolution!
- There’s a spot I found (to the left of the screen) that is hidden when filming, but appears in playback, like a ‘blind-spot’.
TimeLapse is a solid app, but bare bones for post-shooting editing features. Like other time lapse apps, it offers great options like locking the exposure and white balance to avoid lighting and color jumps over the course of the chosen time lapse period (especially important at dusk, for example).
This app’s interface focuses more heavily on selection of the total shooting time, the shutter’s shooting interval and a stopping point, which is defined by either a specific number of shots up to 9,999 or an amount of time up to 24 hours. If you’re unsure of how long you want the the time lapse to go, you can always select a high number and then stop it when satisfied.
The advantage with this app is that it constructs the time lapse as it goes rather than storing hundreds of images to be processed later. It therefore doesn’t require as much of the phone’s storage capacity as some others. So this is a good option for photographers with less than 32 GB of storage, depending on what else is on your device. If you’re planning on shooting over the course of 30 minutes, it should be fine to set the camera to shoot every half-second or full second. At half-second intervals, you’ll end up with a 25-second video at 72 times the normal speed of your subject.
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Available for iOS, Android and Windows; Apple App Store , Android Play Store And Windows Phone 8
- Supports recording at low and high resolutions.
- Provides integrated player and gallery.
- Still have some bugs which may cause rare force closes.
Will be available on all 3 platforms.
Microsoft has its own powerful time-lapse software in the form of Hyperlapse, though the Android app is only at the beta stage at the time of writing — you’ll need to join the Hyperlapse community on Google+ before you can become a tester and download the early preview of the app.
Once you’ve jumped through those various hoops, you’re going to find the app is fun and straightforward to use. It really is a question of pointing and shooting and at this early beta stage there aren’t many options to play around with; still, it’s worth keeping an eye on for the future.
- Nifty time-lapse effect.
- Good video stabilization.
- Simple interface.
- Can’t apply effect to existing video.
- Only shares directly to Instagram or Facebook.
For a free(mium) app, Framelapse has a lot going for it — you can set all of the key parameters for your time-lapse video before you get started, and there are some nice additional features such as a self-timer, white balance and exposure adjustments (although some of these are in-app purchases).
As far as the interface goes, the capture screen is the main screen for the app, with all of the various settings and modes appearing as extensions of it. If you like the feel of the app then the upgrade to the Pro version is probably worth it considering the extra features you get (like a sleep timer function).
- The app doesn’t keeps the images used to do the time lapses which gives two major outcomes: saves memory space and you won’t get your gallery full of images.
- The process is very fast making your time lapse available almost immediately.
- All is done within the phone.
- The Free version allows you to make Time Lapses with already many options available.
- The Pro Version adds some important extra features, like battery save mode and exposure options.
- The fact that it doesn’t save the photos, makes it impossible to delete selected frames that, for some reason, you wish to remove.
- No options of video editing.
- The Pro Version is a bit expensive and above the price average of the market.
Overlapse promises “time-lapse made easy” although the idea has never seemed all that complicated to begin with. It works slightly differently to the other apps in that you take one photo at a time manually — it’s more for recording objects or buildings over many months or years.
To that end there’s a helpful overlay feature so you can frame up your shots accurately again when you come back to whichever spot you were standing in before. Pictures are neatly arranged into sets, and the app might work well for you if you have a specific long-term scenario in mind for it.
- Easy Interface
- Almost Bug Free
- Some Very Handy Features
- While trying to make it easy and quick they had to skip on some useful features like good gallery, etc.
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I am great fan of create memories with dear one and those place where I visit, and so these time lapse camera apps, served out the best output, as per my requirement. From the above slot my favorite pick is Framelapse and recommend this app to others too, who love to give a personalized touch to their time lapse video. Well, all the apps are best in their own way, so just try them and let us know your feedback in the comments below.