Everything You Need to Know About How to Create a Time-lapse Video

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Timelapse videos are a great way to show the passage of time in a short, engaging video.

If you’re new to creating timelapse videos, then this tutorial will teach you how to create one from start to finish.

We’ll cover everything from setting up your camera to adding music and effects.

By the end, you’ll be ready to share your timelapse masterpiece with the world.

Let’s get going.

What is a Time-Lapse Video?

A timelapse is a type of video where the duration of an event is compressed into a much shorter amount of time. The name “timelapse” comes from the fact that it speeds up the perception of time. Timelapse videos are often used to capture long periods of natural phenomena like sunrise or sunset

A lot of people love watching timelapse videos. They can help you learn new things, like how to draw, paint, or create other artwork. Timelapses can also be used to show the creative process behind making a website, product, or service.

Video is so far-reaching that in 2021, reports show that online videos reach 92% of worldwide internet users.

Viewers like variety and timelapse videos give them that. Creating a timelapse video is a great way to document and share your work with others. It’s also a fun project to undertake, whether you’re new to videography or a seasoned pro.

How to Create a Time-Lapse Video on an iPhone

You don’t need a special camera or professional skills to produce quality timelapse videos. You can take advantage of your phone’s built-in camera and software to create stunning time-lapse visuals.

Video editing apps like iMovie are great for creating time-lapses from videos. Another great app for time-lapse is iMotion. These tools allow you to capture a series of images over a period of time and edit them together to form a timelapse.

How Time-Lapse Works on iPhone

Using your iPhone to take a timelapse photo or video is easy thanks to what’s called time-lapse mode. It’s found right in your camera settings, near the settings to change from taking a photo to a video or using slo-mo.

Showing an iphone ready to take a timelapse.


Once you select time-lapse then your iPhone will automatically shoot photos every set amount of time. For instance, it will take photos every minute if you set the interval to 1 minute.

Time-Lapse Speed on iPhone

To create a timelapse video on iPhone, you must set the correct settings before recording. The default setting is that for every 6 seconds of recording, you get one second of video, but depending on the version of iPhone you have, you can change the speed of a time-lapse video.

Other than selecting time-lapse and clicking on record, all you need to do is stop the recording when you’re ready by clicking on record once again.

When you’re done, you can take a look at the video. Note that a timelapse video plays back quickly, even if you take a very long time to shoot. There are many ways to edit these videos including adding filters or overlays.

Editing a Time-Lapse Video on iPhone

Some editing can be done directly in the Photos app. If you want to do more advanced editing, iMovie is a great option. It’s free to download and use, and it’s packed with features.

How to Crop a Time-Lapse Video on iPhone

You can crop your time-lapse videos right in the Photos app. To do so, open the video that you want to edit and tap on Edit in the upper right corner.

Next, tap the Crop icon at the bottom of the screen. You’ll see a grid appear over your video. Drag the edges of the grid to crop the video. When you’re happy with the new framing, tap ‘Done’ in the upper right corner.

Screenshot of cropping a timelapse video.

You can also rotate your video by tapping on the Rotate button. This is helpful if your video is rotated incorrectly.

How to Add a Filter to a Time-Lapse Video on iPhone

You can choose a filter from the Photos app to apply to your time lapses.

To add a filter, open the video that you want to edit and tap on Edit in the upper right corner. Scroll down and tap on the Filters button. You’ll see a preview of each filter at the bottom of the screen. Tap on the one that you want to use.

If you want to adjust the strength of the filter, use the slider. When you’re done, tap on Done in the upper right corner.

Shooting a Better-Quality Time-Lapse Video

Although you can create a time-lapse video with an iPhone, you may want to shoot an even more professional time-lapse, and for that, you’ll need more expensive tools. To shoot a high-quality time-lapse video, you’ll need a DSLR camera, a tripod, and an intervalometer.

Time Lapse Camera

There are a few things to consider when choosing the best DSLR camera for time-lapse videos.

For one, you’ll want to make sure the camera has a high megapixel count so that you can create large, high-quality prints.

You’ll also want a camera with a fast shutter speed. That way you can capture a lot of frames in a short amount of time. And finally, you’ll want to make sure the camera has a good autofocus system so that you can keep your shots in focus as the scene changes over time.


You need a tripod to keep your camera still while shooting. This is important because you’re shooting over an extended period of time and any movement will be captured in your video. A standard-sized tripod will work well for most situations.

However, if you’re shooting in a low-light environment or want to capture very long exposures, you may need a heavy-duty tripod. Compact tripods like Joby are great travel companions.


An intervalometer is a piece of equipment that allows you to take pictures over a short period of time. This is important because you want to be able to capture a lot of frames in a short amount of time.

The intervalometer will attach to your camera and will take pictures at regular intervals. If you don’t have an intervalometer, you can use your camera’s built-in timer.

How to Make a Normal Video into a Time-Lapse

There are lots of tools available online to create time-lapses out of videos.

We’ve found that one of the best ones to use is Flixier.com. Flixier.com is an online tool that allows you to upload a video and change the speed.

Screenshot of Flixier.com.

Once you’re happy with the speed, you can add motion titles, cut it, and make any necessary adjustments, then download the new video to your computer.

You can also create a time-lapse in iMovie or Adobe Premiere Pro if you want a more professional quality time-lapse video.

Ideas for a Time-Lapse Video

Timelapse videos are great for capturing something happening over time. Some ideas for a time-lapse video include:

  • The construction of a building
  • A flower blooming
  • The changing of the seasons
  • Traffic
  • A sunset or sunrise
  • Clouds moving across the sky
  • Stars in the night sky
  • Documenting projects

Selecting Good Music for Your Timelapse

There are many different kinds of music licenses available through storyblocks.com, which makes them an ideal solution for anyone looking to add licensed music to their timelapse videos. They offer a free trial period where you can try out all of the features before committing to a paid membership.

Royalty-Free Music is the simplest and most cost-effective option. With a royalty-free license, you can use the track as many times as you want, for as long as you want, without ever having to pay additional fees.

Tips for Shooting a Time-Lapse Video

Here are a few tips for shooting a time-lapse video:

  • When shooting a time-lapse, pay attention to framing and exposure.
  • Don’t shoot too much footage or you’ll end up with enormous file sizes.
  • Choosing the subject of your time lap is key to making an effective time-lapse video. Choose a subject that is visually interesting or that will document something interesting happening over time. Be sure to choose something that will move during the duration of the clip.
  • Make sure to include motion within the frame.

Flower up close like it could be for a timelapse.

FAQs for Time Lapse Videos

How do you know how long a timelapse is?

If you’re using a DSLR camera, you need to set the interval timer. This will determine how often the shutter opens and closes, and therefore how many frames are captured.

For example, if you set the interval timer for one second, then the camera will capture one frame every second. When you play back the footage, each second of footage will represent one minute of real-time.

So, if you capture 60 seconds of footage, that will represent one minute of real-time. Of course, you can also change the playback speed, so that 60 seconds of footage could represent two minutes, or even an hour, of real-time.

Can you pause a time-lapse?

You can pause a time-lapse video. In fact, pausing a time-lapse can be really helpful if you want to create a sense of suspense or tension in your video.

By pausing the video, you can single out a particular moment and make it last longer, which can help to build up anticipation before revealing the rest of the time-lapse. Of course, you’ll need to make sure that your camera is stable when you pause the video, as any movement will be magnified when the video is played back at normal speed.

What is the difference between hyperlapse and timelapse?

Hyperlapse and timelapse are both techniques for speeding up time.

Timelapse is created by shooting a series of still images and then stringing them together to create the illusion of motion. Hyperlapse, on the other hand, is created by filming a video and then using software to stabilize the footage and speed it up. This results in a smoother, more fluid final product.

Because hyper-lapse videos are filmed in real-time, they can be much shorter than time-lapses, which are typically limited to around 10 minutes. Hyper lapses also have the advantage of being able to capture moving objects, something that is very difficult to do with timelapse.

Is a hyper lapse a time-lapse?

A hyper lapse is just a specific type of time-lapse that involves combining multiple images to create the illusion of a very smooth camera movement. Time lapses are typically used to compress a long period of time into a shorter video, but a hyper lapse can be used for both long and short periods of time. The effect is often used to add an extra sense of scale or movement, such as when filming a cityscape from a moving car or train.

What’s the difference between a time-lapse video and a timelapse photo?

Many people confuse time-lapse videos with timelapse photos, but there is a big difference between the two. Time-lapse video is a series of still images that are put together to create the illusion of motion. A time-lapse photo, on the other hand, is a single image that has been exposed for an extended period of time.

How do I edit a time-lapse video?

There are a few things to keep in mind when editing time-lapse videos. First, you’ll want to make sure the video is stabilized. This can be done in most editing software by using the ‘warp stabilizer’ tool. Second, you’ll need to add transitions between each clip to help the video flow smoothly. Third, consider adding a soundtrack to the video – this can really help to set the mood and create a more engaging experience for viewers.

Wrapping Up

A timelapse video is an easy way to capture motion over a period of time. Sometimes all you need is a camera or even just an iPhone. In professional instances, you can use a DSLR camera, a tripod, and an intervalometer (or you can use your camera’s built-in timer).

With a little bit of practice, you can create beautiful timelapse videos that document everything from the construction of a building to the changing of the seasons.

About a third of all online activity involves watching videos. Get some of those users with your next time-lapse video.

Give it a try!

Lisa Parmley
Lisa Parmley

Lisa Parmley is the founder of coursemethod.com. After gaining a Master's degree, she worked in research for about seven years. She started a training company in 2001, offering a course helping people pass a professional exam. That course has earned multiple 7 figures. She created SEO and authority site building training around 2007 which went on to earn well into the 6-figure mark.

She has 22+ years of experience in the trenches creating and selling online courses. Get help starting and growing your online course business here.

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