iOS 8 Time Lapse

iOS 8s new Time-lapse video capture mode is a lot smarter than it sounds on first blush. Instead of taking individual images at predetermined intervals, it instead snaps photos at “dynamically selected intervals,” according to Apple’s website.

But what exactly does this mean?

As discovered by Dan Provost of Studio Neat, this under appreciated iOS 8 feature doubles the speed of the Time-lapse and takes half as many pictures per second as the recording duration doubles.

This ensures that any Time-lapse you capture ends up being between 20 and 40 seconds long, “an ideal shareable length,” Provost writes. It’s just one of the many ways the power of iOS 8 software makes you a better photographer.

Provost took it upon himself to examine just how Time-lapse video capture in iOS 8 determines the dynamically selected intervals so he did a couple tests shooting Time-lapse videos for various durations.

You can check out his findings in the table below.

iOS 8 Time-lapse (recording durations)

For instance, recording a Time-lapse for five minutes generates a 30FPS video about twenty seconds long, as evidenced by the unedited clip below.

He then went about recording another Time-lapse for 40 minutes and ended up with a 20-second clip seen below. For those wondering, the Time-lapse below is eight times faster than the previous five-minute video, and a whopping 120 times faster than the original version shot in real-time.

Again, thanks to iOS 8’s clever handling of Time-lapse video capture, you always end up with optimal results in the form of a video between 20-40 seconds — perfect for sharing online.

Apple is obviously taking into account attention span stats here.

According to a survey conducted January 2014 by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, the average length watched of a single Internet video is 2.7 minutes.

In a true Apple fashion, iOS 8’s Time-lapse feature lacks any option to play with. If you find this annoying, there are always third-party apps.

For example, Studio Neat’s own $4.99 Frameographer software (seen below) lets you adjust the speed and frame rate for Time-lapse videos after all the frames are shot.

Frameographer 1.52 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 001)

And of course, you should also check out Instagram’s Hyperlapse (pictured further below), a free iPhone app solely dedicated to capturing beautiful Time-lapses.

If you’re serious about boosting your photography skills, you won’t mind me reminding you about our exhaustive iPhone photography guide.

So, how do you like Time-lapse video capture in iOS 8 so far?

Instagram Hyperlapse (iPhone screenshot 001)

Is it something you’ll be using sporadically or just a marketing gimmick that will soon wear off, do you think?

I’ve always liked Time-lapses, but don’t think I’ll be creating them because best results are achieved by using a tripod, which I don’t own.

[Studio Neat]

  • Armen Momejian ®

    Great article. However, I would like to see a comparrison clip iOS8 time-lapse vs Instagram’s Hyperlapse with pros and cons etc…

    • Fanboy 

      iOS 8’s time-lapse is simply a video that gets sped up. Instagram’s Hyperlapse is how it should have been done! It offers amazing stabilization, allowing you to do things such as record while you are moving, walking, driving (in the passengers seat!) riding a bicycle, etc. and it then stabilizes it beautifully into a smooth time-lapse video with no camera shake. With iOS 8’s Time-Lapse you better stay perfectly still and try not to breathe too hard…

      • MaxCox

        Instagram’s Hyperlapse app doesn’t record true hyperlapse videos. You can record a video using the Hyperlapse app and record a normal video using the camera app then speed up/slow down both videos and you will get the same result. It’s not the real thing when done properly using a normal dslr camera, but it’s the closest thing for an iPhone app.

      • Fanboy 

        Wrong… You can record a normal video and speed it up, or use iOS 8’s “Time Lapse” feature and get the same result. But using Instagram’s Hyperlapse, they do more than just speed up the video. Their software stabilizes the video so you can do things like record walking down a busy street, and the final video will be smooth video with no camera shake.

      • James Gunaca

        Fanboy is totally right here. Instagram’s Hyperlapse is an incredible piece of software that isn’t just about recording video and speeding it up to 12x. The stabilization technique is incredible!

      • RarestName

        Now they just need to allow importing to the app. I’ve tried doing it manually but the app simply crashes with the imported video.

      • ins0mniac1

        Importing footage wouldn’t work. A hyperlapse video is created by using the iPhone’s built in accelerometers while filming, which then combines the gyroscope data with the video using fancy algorithms, in order to smooth out the motion so well. If you want to learn more about how it works, Instagram put up a blog post with some interesting info (just google it to find). It’s very clever.

      • RarestName

        Ah, so that’s why it didn’t work!

      • James Gunaca

        Video captured outside of the app doesn’t have the gyroscopic metadata that Hyperlapse uses for processing the video and making it look smooth/stable. That’s why you can’t import videos.

        That’s just my guess, but it sounds logical based on how the app’s stabilization method was described.

      • RarestName

        I didn’t realise that it used the gyroscope while recording.

      • JT

        Hyperlapse is incredible but Apple does stabilization now as well. Almost as good as hyperlapse.

    • Sean Cua

      Hyperlapse has a software based stabilization, so that the video will not be moving up and down a lot.

  • justme

    offtopic….iCloud doesn’t store all of our healt data yet, I made a restore a few days and I lost my health data..hope they will add it to cloud storage.

  • Jeffrey Feuerstein

    Of course it’s just a gimmick… Who actually uses this day to day?

    • Jay

      Just because you don’t/ won’t use it does not make something a gimmick.

      Only by a stretch of the definition could this be considered a ‘gimmick’

      • Jeffrey Feuerstein

        Well in my vocabulary this is a gimmick.

  • Adan

    Avoid Hyperlapse like the plague!!!
    Its ‘image stabilization software’ will add some movement of its own if there isn’t any (if you put your iPhone on a tripod). Proof on youtube, search for “Instagram’s Hyperlapse FAIL”

  • Starman_Andromeda

    Tripods are cheap–you can pick up mini ones for $5 and 4-6′ high regular camera ones for digicams for $20-30.

    Of course, you’ll still need a way of attaching the iPhone. OTOH, wouldn’t just propping the iPhone up against something work?