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Can I Convert A Video Into A Time-lapse Video On iPhone?

iPhone video editing apps

So you’ve recorded a great video of something happening over time, but the video is just too long. Maybe there’s a way to speed it up. So you’re wondering, Can I convert a video into a time-lapse video on an iPhone?
Yes, it’s entirely possible to convert any suitable video into time-lapse using an iPhone app.

If you don’t have an iPhone, perhaps you have a PC instead, then our full Turn a video into a time-lapse guide will provide a range of options.

On an Apple iPhone, there are many ways to create a time-lapse from an existing video. You will have many apps to choose from, I am just going to go over a couple.

First, you need to understand what time-lapse is, before you learn how to create one on an iPhone.

The essential element of a time-lapse sequence is the effect of accelerated movement or the speeding up of time. A video is shot at a specific frame rate, likely 30 frames per second. On playback, that video is also viewed at 30 frames per second, so the video possesses a natural rate of time progression.

“This is fundamentally how the ‘speeding up’ of time happens – you are literally playing the frames back at a faster rate.”

In time-lapse however, you are capturing maybe 1 frame per second; maybe 1 frame per minute; maybe 1 frame in an hour, but you are using the playback frame rate of usually 30 frames per second. This means if you use 1 frame for every second, and play at 30 frames per second, 30 seconds of real-time will have elapsed during the 1 second of the time-lapse viewed on playback. This is fundamentally how the ‘speeding up’ of time happens – you are literally playing the frames back at a faster rate.

In order to create a time-lapse from an existing video on an iPhone, you need only to find a program you like that will allow you to speed the video.

Options for creating your time-lapse from video on iPhone

In order to turn your video into a time-lapse, you will first need to install an app to your iPhone. We found that the first app did the trick, but we have listed some others in case it becomes available or if you find it doesn’t meet all of your needs.

iMovie for iOS would be a natural choice for taking a video sequence and speeding it to a time-lapse. iMovie is a well-featured video editing app for iOS, and it includes the ability to increase the speed of video. It also has the ability to select individual frames to extract from your video and create a still image. If you were so inclined, you could use this feature to select the individual frames of your time-lapse.

Lapse It LogoLapse-It is another option. Lapse-It is a tool for capturing time-lapse sequences as well as for editing them. You can import into Lapse-It and adjust the playback speed and frame rate settings in order to get the speed and aesthetic you desire.

Slow Fast Slow is yet another program to increase the playback speed of video on iPhone.

SpeedPro is yet another program which will give you control over the playback speed of your videos.

Another great app for time-lapse is iMotion. iMotion has good import and export options, and give a lot of control over playback speed and frame rates.

The bottom line:

In conclusion, I would say iMovie for iOS is the best place to start. iMotion is another app that seems to have good features for composing time-lapse videos, whether from stills or existing videos. If you find the apps will not allow you to increase the speed adequately, you may render or export the video, then apply speed adjustments to the video after re-importing it. In other words, if you adjust the speed of a video, export it and rename it, then import the newly created video, you can adjust the speed yet again and export.

I hope this was helpful!

Other Ideas

As well as choosing the right app, you might consider some hardware and accessories helpful for creating better time-lapse videos on your smartphone.

Perhaps the accessory I use often is this [amazon text=Smartphone camera lens kit&asin=B07K8CRWJK]. It’s universal, meaning it fits pretty much any smartphone including all iPhones. You can switch out the lenses to achieve some great effects. I use the wide-angle lens mostly for some stunning footage of landscapes.

If you’re serious about shooting top quality time-lapse footage on your iPhone, then this [amazon text=Smartphone tripod&asin=B07WRLK7MF] is a must-have. It’s just as good as a DSLR tripod, but you can clip your phone in. It also includes a Bluetooth remote for wobble-free shutter firing.

If you’re just looking for a tripod you can slip in your pocket and shoot the occasional impromptu time-lapse footage, then consider this cool little [amazon text=pocket tripod&asin=B01NGTBA3E].

5 Essential Time-Lapse Apps

Smartphone time lapse app

Looking for the best Time-Lapse app? 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 Apple iOS devices. There are loads of great time-lapse apps for Android. Most of these are available for iOS too. 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. PhotoPills

PhotoPills AppThis trusty app is packed full of tools and features to assist both the amateur and professional time-lapse photographer alike. Not only does this app contain time-lapse specific features, it also contains a load of general photography and astrophotography tools that are absolutely essential to getting the best results.

Whilst this is a premium app, it is a one-off cost and worth every penny in my opinion.

Pros:

  • Packed full of tools and features
  • Powerful and accurate data

Cons:

  • Premium app costing a few dollars
  • Quite a high learning curve, but user guide is available

Lapse It Logo

2. 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. It’s available on both platforms -Lapse It Android and Lapse It iPhone.  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. Lapse It is a time-lapse camera app like no other. The bulk of the features that make this app shine are locked behind the “Pro” version of Lapse It, but at $3 for the Lapse In Pro app, 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.

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • 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)

Hyperlapse App Logo

3. 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.

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • A bit limiting in terms of settings compared to other apps on this list
  • Not available for Android devices

Sky Flow App Logo

4. SkyFlow

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.

Pros:

  • Plenty of depth for experienced users to explore
  • Works with DJI Osmo devices
  • Excellent noise cancellation

Cons:

  • Not quite as intuitive user interface as Lapse It
  • Not available for Android
  • Potentially a bit overwhelming for beginners

Pic Pac App Logo

5. 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. As well as the free version, there’s also PicPac Pro. 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?)

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • Not as many settings to choose from as Lapse It
  • Not available for iOS

Other Apps and Tools

Whilst researching the best time-lapse applications, we found a huge number of great apps and tools that didn’t make it into our top 5.
Perhaps the most versatile and powerful is our time-lapse calculator. This is actually three tools in one, and can run in any web browser so there is no app to install to your device.

Latest Time-Lapse Apps

New apps are being launched all the time, so it is worth having a look in the Google Play store or the Apple app store to see what’s the latest and greatest apps available. A lot can change in a very small amount of time when it comes to technology and especially software.

If you’re of at least a slightly technical nature (let’s be honest, you have to be with photography!), then you may find that Magic Lantern is worth checking out. It runs on your Canon camera, adding a load of extra features and tools. including a few really nifty time-lapse related features.

The best bit about Magic Lantern is that it’s open-source and totally free, with quite a big community built around it.