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Time Lapse Photography Apps

Are you interested in time lapse photography or stop motion movies as an art form? Do you want to create beautiful films of clouds progressing overhead, a flower blooming, a claymation masterpiece, or real-object animation films? Or do you want to find out who’s been stealing your lunch every day, or find out what your dog is doing all day at home without you? Read on to learn about apps that easily allow you to reach these goals, lofty or otherwise. I have found some incredibly feature-laden yet bargain-priced apps in this area. You don’t have to be a talented filmmaker to produce really cool films. Yes, they are really just a bunch of still photos strung together to make a “movie”, and yet, the results can be downright stunning. Some of them create the movie for you right in the app, while others save as photos that you must string together yourself in a movie-editing app. And yes, you really can use your iPhone as an effective security camera if you are so inclined. A tripod is not at all necessary to use any these apps, but it is helpful if you are serious about your art.

Essential Apps

Timelapse Pro - Create Timelapse and Stopmotion Movies With your iPhone and iPod Touch

by dw-c

This beautiful and slick app lets you create time lapse movies limited only by your imagination. Choose the shutter interval, and then before rendering you can choose your Frames per Second. Too fast or slow? Go ahead and change it, no need to re-shoot. You can even edit your films frame by frame, re-ordering or deleting each shot as desired. Shoot in landscape or portrait mode. Lock or unlock exposure and focus. Add music from your iPod library and film effects (greyscale, sepia, old paper, invert colors, or hard colors) for professional results. Share your movie to your social networks, or to their communal gallery.

StopMotion Recorder

by graf

This app has a slick UI and some cool features. Choose from a variety of effects: lomo, yellowgel, vintage green, instant, noir, sepia, or mirror. Onion skin (ghost image) and a grid will help you align your shots. Select auto-shot (you set the time interval) or manual -- either tap the screen or clap to activate the shutter. Choose forward or rear facing camera, tap to focus, and flash (on, off, auto). You can watch your “movie” right in the app -- loop it up to 3 times, play it in reverse, rotate the canvas, delete certain frames within it, adjust the speed. Then save to your camera roll, email, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook or YouTube. With this app, you really can create artsy claymation, time lapse, or stop-motion movies with ease.

OSnap! Time-Lapse & Stop Motion

by Justin Cegnar

This cool app is simply packed with features. You can set photo-taking intervals anywhere from a quarter second up to 48 hours! Shoot portrait or landscape; lock the white balance, focus, and exposure. Choose from a variety of overlays including onion skins, brackets, and "eyes". Trigger the shutter with a sound. Add music and other audio. Edit your films after the fact; remove frames, duplicate, splice, and change the Frames per Second with a slider. There are many more cool features, and a free version you can try (linked below).

Notable Apps

iTimeLapse Pro - Time Lapse videos

by Laan Labs

iTimelapse Pro makes it very easy to create a time lapse or stop motion movie, from start to finish. Choose your shutter interval, to the exact second, anywhere from 1 second up to 24 hours. Or set it to take a shot whenever a sound is made. Choose the number of frames you want, up to 9,999. Or set it to stop on a certain date or at a specific time. You can set it up to overlay the previous fame (onion skin), useful for claymation or animation. Once you have your images, tap Render to make the magic. Choose your Frames per Second -- and if you don’t like the result, you simply go back and change it. Add music to your movie as well; choose from your iPod or from the selection of pieces provided in the app.



TimeLapse's powerful feature set includes the addition of music, an embedded title page, onion skinning, long exposure, and lots more. Unfortunately, I found the UI confusing and off-putting. I'd suggest trying the free version (linked below) first to see if it suits your style.

glimpse pro

by bedaronco

This app allows you to play back your photos (at the speed of your choice, looped or not) within the app, creating an instant “movie”, which in this app is a called a “glimpse”. It saves your time lapse photos in-app (rather than to your camera roll) for you to export to the location of your choice: your photo library (as individual photos), the Glimpse Cloud, or SyncDocs. The latter two store your photos as movies/glimpses; they are free but do require you to have an account. Unlike other similar apps, this one is location aware, so every glimpse you create is geotagged. Onion skinning, meaning you get a ghost of the last picture you took, so you can align your next shot as desired is a nice feature. You can add to your glimpse at any time. Glimpse Pro allows you to take an unlimited number of pictures, at virtually any speed interval, and store as many glimpses as you like until your phone runs out of space. Still, if you want to add music or other effects, you’ll need a video-editing app.

Motion Pictures

by Cosmonaut Software

This one is a very bare bones time lapse photography app. Simply set your parameters and start shooting. There are no editing features, no filters, and no music to add. Motion Pictures does have one cool feature that the others lack, however: you can take any movie you've already shot on your iPhone and speed it up or slow it down according to parameters you choose. Plus, the fact that it's free (and ad-supported) and universal makes it a great place to start playing around with this art form.

Decent Apps

Frame X Frame

by Joby Inc.

Stop motion photography is just one of this all-around awesome app’s many features. Frame X Frame allows you to take up to 2000 photos (manual or automatic shutter), anywhere from a second to a day apart. You do need to choose your Frames per Second before shooting, because that is not changeable after the fact. Results are shareable to major social networks.


by Nexvio Inc.

This easy to use app, compatible with the iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4, is designed specifically to create time lapse movies. You can zoom into your subject. Set your phone to take photos at a specific interval and playback at another specific interval. Choose carefully, because once the photos are taken, they are saved as a movie and you cannot change the playback interval after the fact. Save the movies you create to camera roll or email. Reel Moments will actually create HD movies, with a frame size of up to 1280x720. iPhone 3G and 3GS users, please note that you won’t be able to export HD movies directly, but rather you’ll need to use USB file sharing in iTunes to save HD videos to your computer. Or, simply film in a smaller frame size; the app gives you many options. You can set the shooting to end after a certain time, or just shoot until you run out of memory or battery power. But nothing sets this app apart or makes it worth the purchase price; even the free apps in this guide are just as good or better.

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