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How to use the Time-lapse mode on your iPhone


With the Time-lapse mode you can make a video that is played fast. The video is recorded at a speed of 2 frames per second and played back at 30 frames per second. Slow movements of, for example, clouds become more visible. People move in a crowded location like in an old slapstick. 


Recording speed

The number of frames per second depends on the length of the video. If the video is shorter than 10 minutes, the recording speed is 2 frames per second. That is an acceleration during playback of 15x. If the recording is longer, the recording speed will decrease and the acceleration of playback will increase. With 20 to 40 minutes of video, the recording speed decreases to 1 frame per 2 seconds (acceleration 60x) and with more than 1.5 hours the recording speed is reduced to 1 frame per 8 seconds (acceleration 240x). The video will therefore usually be 20 to 40 seconds long.

How to use the Time-lapse mode

The time-lapse mode can be reached by swiping to the right in the iPhone Camera app. Tap the red button to start and stop recording. There are no setting options; everything is automatically arranged. You can use the EA / AF lock to focus on an object. With the AE/AF lock on the camera will not continue to focus on for example people who pass by during the recording. If you have an iPhone with a dual camera, you can use the optical zoom.

How to shoot a Time-Lapse video on iPhone

A few tips

  • For the best result, I recommend using a tripod. You can place your iPhone with a smartphone holder on a normal tripod or use a smartphone tripod. I myself have a mini-tripod, which I can easily carry in my inside pocket.
  • Wait for quiet weather. An iPhone on a tripod catches a lot of wind and vibrations are clearly visible in the video.
  • Make sure the battery is full. The screen is on during the recording and the camera also uses a lot of power. And in cold weather the battery performs less. You can also purchase an external battery.
  • You can achieve great results especially when the moving objects come your way, so that you get a sense of dynamics.

I made this video with my iPhone 8 Plus and the Time-lapse mode of the iPhone Camera app.


Hyperlapse app

In the App Store you can find Time-Lapse apps with more setting options. I’ve tried the Instagram Hyperlapse app. With this app you can set the recording speed manually and the video is stabilized, so you can film without a tripod. I have made the following examples while I walked and the Hyperlapse app is indeed more suitable if you are moving yourself. It can also be clearly seen that the Hyperlapse app standard accelerated 6 times (adjustable) and that is considerably slower than the 15x of the iPhone time lapse mode. Furthermore, the Hyperlapse video is HD and that is less sharp than the Full HD video of the iPhone time lapse mode.


Hyperlapse samples


Hyperlapse app App Store

Read also my blog about HDR iPhone photography or go to the overview with all iPhone photography blogs.

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