I reviewed over 50 time lapse related smartphone apps. Here are 5 that I think will be super helpful for getting awesome results.
In years past, the art of making time-lapse photography has been largely constricted to high-end cameras such as DSLR’s and mirrorless systems. That said, it’s 2018, and the cameras in our pockets are becoming more and more advanced with each passing year. Now, it’s entirely possible to capture and process mind-blowing time-lapse videos using nothing but your smartphone.
In today’s post, we’re going to take a look at five of the most essential time-lapse apps available for both Android and iOS devices. Each of these come with unique features and workflows that make it more accessible than ever before to jump right in and start creating, so let’s dive right in.
1. Lapse It
We wanted to kick this list off with what we consider to be the essential time-lapse app for both iOS and Android, so here it is. Lapse It is one of the most comprehensive, fully-featured apps dedicated to time-lapse photography that we’ve ever seen, and regular updates have kept it both fresh and highly flexible. The bulk of the features that make this app shine are locked behind the “Pro” version of Lapse It, but at $3, we feel it’s a no-brainer regardless. That said, the free option still allows you to jump in and get familiar with the interface if you’d like to start slow.
- Full 1080p video rendering/exporting
- Comprehensive settings panel to control variable zoom, time-lapse speed, exposure, and more
- Tons of additional functions like reverse mode, filters, trimming, timestamps, and more
- Incredibly fast and responsive
- Available on both iOS and Android
- Can be a bit overwhelming for beginners due to the sheer number of options available
- Best features locked behind a paywall (but again, we feel it’s a steal at the current price)
2. Hyperlapse From Instagram
Instagram is without a doubt the most popular visual social media platform in the world today. The company has been making strides in recent years in terms of the tools they provide content creators, and the Hyperlapse app is a direct reflection of this concentrated effort. Though it can easily be used to take traditional, stationary time-lapse videos, you can also use the Hyperlapse app while in motion, hence its name. The app features extraordinary stabilization abilities, allowing you to capture a bumpy run or walk with your phone and still somehow have the end result look silky smooth.
Sadly, it’s not currently available for Android as of this writing, but fear not, alternatives such as Microsoft Hyperlapse provide much of the same functionality if you fall into this camp.
- Insanely powerful stabilization is better than just about anything else for motion shots
- Allows for incredibly easy uploads directly to Instagram
- The simplistic and minimal interface is easy to pick up, and hard to put down
- A bit limiting in terms of settings compared to other apps on this list
- Not available for Android devices
Let’s get one thing straight right out of the gate; SkyFlow isn’t really geared for beginners who are just starting out. The app features some serious pro-level functionality, such as manual exposure, focus, and white balance control, and well as a dizzying array of other settings, effects, and modes to choose from. While not quite as intuitive as Lapse It in our opinion, the two stand neck-and-neck when it comes to pure flexibility. As with Lapse It, a free version is available, but interestingly, no features are locked when it comes to actually capturing the footage itself in this version. Instead, exporting is simply limited to 540p, which is still a very good reason to upgrade.
- Plenty of depth for experienced users to explore
- Works with DJI Osmo devices
- Excellent noise cancellation
- Not quite as intuitive user interface as Lapse It
- Not available for Android
- Potentially a bit overwhelming for beginners
4. PicPac Stop Motion & TimeLapse
PicPac is a unique app, even to this list, as it is not only a fully-fledged time-lapse app, but also a stop-motion one as well. While a bit more niche than time-lapse photography in general, stop-motion is still a very intriguing form of expression, and many of the techniques behind it have been used in the media world for decades. The app is Android-only, and also features a Hyperlapse mode, so for anyone feeling a bit left out by Instagram’s Hyperlapse iOS app, this may be another solid alternative. You can easily export HD video, add your own recordings or music, and trim videos in the pro version, though all of these features are restricted in the free app. (Beginning to see a trend here?)
- Stop motion and time-lapse combined into one convenient app
- Clean interface makes navigating the various functions quite easy
- Easily add custom text to your finished videos in-app
- Not as many settings to choose from as Lapse It
- Not available for iOS
5. Time Lapse Camera
Time Lapse Camera feels more complete–despite being free–than many other “paid” apps available in the Google Play store. This is a complete time-lapse suite similar to Lapse it or SkyFlow, meaning it has all of the custom settings you can think of, such as exposure control, custom interval timers, and far more. The app allows you to create both video and photo-based time-lapses, giving it an edge in terms of flexibility, and you can even do multi-day captures with photo mode seeing as there is no limit to how many you capture.
- Fully featured without being totally overwhelming
- Allows you to create both photo and video-based time-lapses
- Completely free with no ads at all
- Not available for iOS
So there you have it. With so many options to choose from, you’re bound to find an app that works for you. So get out there, start exploring and creating, and if you come up with something awesome, let us know about it! Leave a link in the comments below, we’d love to check out your videos.