Time-lapse photography is an ingenious technique that can make an otherwise dull shot more interesting. A time-lapse video is a series of still images taken at different intervals, but played back at the same speed. These shots can be used to express how beautiful and rapid the passage of time is.
You can create the same effect at home by using your smartphone. There’s also no need for expensive gear or expertise in video editing. You can use one or more of the photo editing iPhone apps listed below to take incredible time-lapse photos like an expert.
iMotion’s interface is a bit old-school, but surprisingly powerful when it comes to creating time clips. First, the app allows you to shoot videos in 4K, while other apps lock this feature behind a paywall. Even the native camera app on the iPhone can only shoot time-lapse video at 1080p.
You can use another iPhone on the same Wi-Fi as a remote control to take still photos. This is a nice feature because the image stabilization function will not be affected. In addition, you can delete individual frames, set time intervals, shoot manually, and change the playback frame rate of the final video.
The free version is impressive, and the pro version gives you different manual settings for exposure, focus, white balance, and more.
Download: iMotion (Free, premium version available)
The built-in camera app in iOS is the easiest way to shoot a fast time-lapse video on iPhone. It shoots time-lapse video at 1-2fps, depending on the length of the video. If you shoot for less than 10 minutes, your iPhone will capture two frames per second.
By default, if you shoot longer than 10 minutes, the app will drop half of the frames. This means that the longer you shoot, the faster the time-lapse video will be.
Time-lapse playback on the iPhone is 1080p, 30fps. So, a still shot speeds up to 15 times. You can trim a time-lapse video in the Photos app, but that’s about it.
So while the native iPhone camera app is generally good, the time-lapse part doesn’t give you a lot of control, and you’ll have to do it with other apps. However, if you somehow remove the default camera app from your iPhone, you can easily reinstall it from the App Store.
Download: Camera (Free)
6. Lapse It Pro
Lapse It Pro is an impressively technical and complex shooting time interval app. It has the usual tools like setting automatic intervals, stopping at a certain frame limit, adjusting lights and focus, and much more.
The pro version of the app is where it gets serious. You can manually adjust exposure, ISO, and shutter speed. In addition, you can create 4K time clips, shoot in RAW format, adjust the depth of field, and much more.
Lapse It Pro also allows you to import/export clips and save presets for your favorite settings. There’s a lot to explore with this app, and it’s great for creative time-lapse projects.
Download: Lapse It Pro (Free, premium version available)
OSnap！ Has many similar features to Lapse It, but has a friendlier interface. You can shoot time-lapse manually or with a timer, but an interesting feature is that you can also use a microphone. If you put your phone in a stable position and then clap your hands, the microphone will pick up this message and shoot.
If you’re creating a stop-motion video, this works pretty well. You can add or remove individual frames, loop back, and import/export frames from one project to another.
The only caveat is that the free version has a watermark at the end of the video. Of course, this can be eliminated by purchasing the paid version. Therefore, especially if you like to use this app, it is worth considering.
Download: OSnap! (Free, premium version available)
Splice is a powerful video editor that is much more than a simple time-lapse tool. It provides an easy way to add text to videos and AI-powered speech-to-text for subtitles. In addition, Splice lets you merge or combine multiple videos with clever transitions, making it one of the best time-lapse apps.
While you can simply speed up or slow down the video to adjust the time-lapse effect, you can also add a speed ramp to make the effect smoother. This is also known as the time remapping technique.
On top of that, you can adjust the lighting, and overall volume, add custom music, etc. However, you need to subscribe to a premium version to get its maximum efficacy.
Download: Splice (Free, subscription available)
Much like Splice, FilmoraGo is more of an all-in-one video editor. You can trim clips, merge them, or cut them out from longer videos. It also has built-in sound effects, layers similar to Premiere Pro, and a huge royalty-free music library.
Although the app doesn’t have a built-in camera, you can import clips to add a time-lapse effect to them. Use dozens of transition effects to make time-lapse footage feel natural and more stable.
If you want to add time-lapse footage to a longer video, FilmoraGo is great. The app lets you merge multiple clips seamlessly, making it the best choice for creating stunning time-lapse photography.
Download: FilmoraGo (Free, subscription available)
2. Life Lapse
Life Lapse stands out among the many apps because it’s one of the few apps that teaches you time-lapse and stop-motion photography. The app has built-in video tutorials that walk you through various features and teach you how to edit better videos.
In addition, the app also feels more intuitive than others. For example, you can take a bunch of still photos and it will automatically stitch them together to create a time-lapse video. With the premium version, you can also use timers.
On top of that, you can lock the exposure, adjust the white balance, and even shoot short videos and let the app stitch them together to create a fun time-lapse video.
Download: Life Lapse (Free, subscription available)
Skyflow is designed for professionals. Its shooting interface is not much different from the display of a professional camera. You’ll find auto exposure, autofocus, white balance, and other settings all on one screen. The app also shows your remaining battery and tells you what codec and resolution you’re shooting in.
Other advanced features include noise reduction, aggressive low-light enhancement, and the ability to shoot with extended exposure. The Long Exposure feature makes it easy to create light trails and adds a motion blur effect to your time passes.
The only problem is, you need the pro version to export videos at a higher resolution.
Download: Skyflow (Free, premium version available)
Create incredible time-lapse projects with these apps
These apps show how smartphone photography has evolved over the past few years. It’s also interesting to note that each app is different, from the interface to the features. This shows that photography apps are evolving as fast as the cameras on our phones.