Time-lapse videos are some of my favorite videos to watch. They’re just so fascinating, whether the video shows the passage of time in a desert or the workflow of a sketch artist. There’s just something about watching many hours crammed into a 2- or 3-minute clip that stimulates my interest and if you’ve never given much thought to time-lapse videos, you should really reconsider.
Making your own time-lapse video can seem daunting, especially because you need to record a long length of video before you can cut it down into an actual lapse. However, as long as you can spare the time to record for a while, the actual process of lapsing the resulting video is made really easy with a handful of tools that you can grab for free.
In this article, we’ll take a look at time-lapse apps and programs that you can find and use on various platforms, so you’ll have no excuse not to make one of these cool videos of your own.
Lapse It [Android]
Lapse It is a fantastic time-lapse video app for Android. Not only is it easy to learn and easy to use, and not only is it free, but it comes with a handy little video that explains how time-lapsing works and how you can achieve the time-lapse effect with the app. Don’t have the time to watch it? Basically, Lapse It takes a single snapshot every so often, then combines all of those images to play back at 30 frames-per-second. Done.
The Lapse It interface is both intuitive and responsive. It’s really fast and well-designed, which means you can focus on making the time-lapse instead of figuring out what does what. Some really cool features you can find here:
- Customize the capture speed and the frame rate.
- Stop Motion mode which lets you create – you guessed it – stop motion videos.
- Add various video effects to the final video.
- Insert soundtracks into the final video.
- Export the final video to MOV, MP4 and FLV formats.
- Upload the result directly to Youtube, Facebook, Google+, and more.
Lapse It has a Pro version for $1.99 USD that unlocks the front-facing camera on your device (if you have one) and lets you capture stunning images using the camera full sensor.
Timelapse is an iPhone app that lets you create professional-quality time-lapse sequences right on your iPhone. The app comes with two functions: Timelapse Classic, where you can snap individual photos that you will use later for professional post-production, or Timelapse Express, which handles all of the video creation right on the device.
To use Timelapse Express, all you have to do is set the shoot duration, the length of the final video, select an audio track that you want to use in the result, set up the device to frame your shot, then let it do its thing. By the end, Timelapse Express will have created a complete HD video that you can share with your friends.
Unfortunately, the free version is limited to 59 snapshots and 20 seconds in the final video. To remove those limitations, you’ll need to upgrade to Timelapse Unlimited for £1.99.
Timelapse [Windows Phone]
Now, Windows Phone isn’t exactly the most popular mobile device brand out on the market, but I know there are those of you out there who use it. It’s actually been making its presence known over the past few years, so if you’re using a Windows Phone and want to make a time-lapse video, give this app a try.
Timelapse is a simple app that does the following: set a time interval between shots, then let it go do its thing. You can enable or disable flash and focus and you can change the snapshot resolutions if you want. The video linked above was created using Timelapse.
Time-lapse videos on mobile devices are great and all, but a desktop time-lapse program can do so much more for you depending on what sort of videos you plan on making. If you want to record nature then go ahead and use your phone, but if you want to create tutorials or workflow videos, then you’ll need a time-lapser on your computer.
Chronolapse is the perfect tool for this. Check out the video above to see what it can do (Ludum Dare is a 48-hour game coding contest). With Chronolapse, you can define a specific time interval and the program will take snapshots regularly, then process them into a video file when you’re done. The best part? It can do screenshots, webcam shots, or both simultaneously.
Some other features that might pull your fancy:
- Support for dual monitor screenshots.
- Support for picture-in-picture snapshots.
- Support for scheduled captures, even when you aren’t there.
- Uses the MEncoder interface for encoding the final video.
- Add audio tracks to the final video if you want.
So there you have it: tools that will help you to take and create time-lapse videos. It’s a photography technique that’s rather simple in terms of technological difficulty, but it can produce some really awesome clips and effects. Give the apps above a run and tell us how they worked out for you in the comments!
Image Credit: Starry Night Via Shutterstock