Time lapse videos are incredible. They combine photography, cinematography and video editing into one new great art form that really shines with its unique approach. Although they may seem really difficult to do, they are now fairly simple to create. Let’s get started.
Things You Will Need to Create Time lapse:
Device capable of capturing a timelapse (Smartphone or DSLR)
A modern PC or Mac with decent specs
Adobe Creative Suite or any other editing software you prefer
Video sped up to twice the original speed (or more)
Photos stitched into a video
Method 1 – Video sped up – Use a DSLR or other camera
The easiest way to create a time lapse is to put your smartphone or camera on a tripod and record a video, which you will afterwards speed up on your computer.
If you have a DSLR or any other kind of still-image camera that can also record video, you most likely already have a tripod. If you don’t, you can always improvise by putting the camera on a flat and stable surface.
Once you’re all set with your composition and recording settings, simply press record and leave the camera for a few minutes! (Note – DSLR cameras usually have a time limit of up to 20 minutes per video)
When you’re done with the video, just upload it to your PC and use video editing software of your choice to speed it up. For the purpose of this tutorial I’ll show you how to do it in Adobe Premiere Pro, since it’s one of the most widely used programs.
Start off by launching Premiere and creating a new project with your desired dimensions. I’ll make a 720p timelapse this time.
Now import your clip and drag it onto the timeline and speed it up with Right Click > Speed/Duration.
From the “Clip Speed/Duraton” dialog, either input the playback speed in percentage (for instance – 2 minutes played at 200% is 1 minute) or input the desired clip length to have the percentage automatically calculated for you.
You can then preview the result by going over to where your sequence program is located and pressing the play button. Note that on slower computers you may experience frame drops, since the sped-up playback is quite hard to process in real time.
If you’re happy with the final result, you can export your masterpiece by going to File > Export > Media. From the dialog you can choose many different formats and presents. My favorite is exporting an H.264 MP4 file with one of the HD presets.
Method 2.1 – Photo stitching – Option 1 use Lapse it Pro for Android or iOS
For those of you who don’t have access to DSLR cameras with intervalometers, there’s Lapse It – a great application for making timelapses on your mobile phone, available for iOS and for Android. To access the full version, capable of recording high quality timelapses, you’ll have to set yourself back with $2 bucks, but you can still check out the free version if you’re not 100% sure if this is for you.
First off, start the app and go to Settings to configure everything capture and export related.
Go to the Capture option to have a look at your composition and to check out a few additional settings, such as Exposure, ISO, Flash, Focus and even a dedicated compatibility mode for older devices.
After finishing your time lapse you can apply various effects, trim to determine which frames get used in the video and even add music to it. Once you’re done you can click the render button to export your masterpiece in a format of your choice.
Here’s what my quick time lapse looks like after a bit of extra tweaks in Adobe Premiere Pro: