How to Make a Time-Lapse Video
You’ve probably heard of time-lapse photography. This technique is an interesting hybrid of animation, still photography, and videography. You can use it to create videos in which time is compressed so that everything seems to move much faster than in real life.
To make a good time-lapse video, you’ll need a still camera or a video recorder and good video software. We recommend Movavi Video Editor – it’s an easy movie maker for both PC and Mac. If you would like to know how to do time-lapse with Movavi Video Editor, download the program and follow the tutorial below.
To inspire you, we’ve also prepared a demo video made
with Movavi’s time-lapse software. Check it out!
Click the links below to view that section of the tutorial:
Choosing a Subject
There are some subjects that are commonly chosen by fans of time-lapse photography. Here’s a list to start you thinking about ideas for your own video:
City lights at night
Plants and fruit growing
Drawing or other creative processes
Opening of flower buds
Any beautiful natural landscape
Choosing a Device
- Can shoot high-resolution photos in RAW format
- Adjustable settings, interchangeable lenses
- Buy an intervalometer (a device that presses the camera shutter at preset intervals)
- Turn off auto focus and focus manually
- Recommended shutter speed: 30-50
- Recommended aperture: F4-F8
- Always on hand
- Use the built-in time-lapse tool (available in Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, LG G4)
- Download a time-lapse app (e.g. Hyperlapse, Lapse It)
- Accessibly priced
- Compact and convenient
- Select Multi-shot mode
- Use Time-lapse mode (if available)
- Reduce resolution to 7 megapixels to save space
Choosing a Method
Method 1. Shoot a Video and Speed It Up
Making a time-lapse video with this technique is as easy as it sounds: record a long video, then open it in a video editing application and speed the footage up 5 times or more, depending on how fast you want the objects in your video to be moving or how long you want your finished video
Method 2. Create a Video from Photos
This approach is more difficult, but can also be more rewarding: assemble a time-lapse video from hundreds (or thousands) of still images. You may ask: “Why should I bother with taking so many photos when I can just record a video using the first method?” Well, there are at least three good reasons:
- Quality. Your final result will look good even if made with consumer grade equipment because of the high resolution of the photos. With video, your resolution will be lower.
- Size. Videos can be space hogs, especially if you’re shooting in 4K for a long period of time (3-5 hours). Still photos will need less space on your memory card and will demand fewer computer resources for post-production.
- Fun! There’s some old-school magic and mystery in stitching photos together to produce a spectacular video. Why deprive yourself of this experience?
No matter which method you choose, Movavi Video Editor can help you.
Check out our guide below!
How to Make a Time-Lapse Video
with Movavi Video Editor
1. Record Your Footage
First, here’s a list of general recommendations on shooting a time-lapse video:
- Use a stable tripod that won’t wobble.
- Use large-capacity memory cards - you’ll need a lot of space.
- Think about battery life beforehand if you’re preparing to shoot a long take.
If you chose the first method mentioned above, just set your camera or other device on the tripod and shoot your video.
If you chose the second method, you should take photos at predetermined intervals (e.g. every five seconds). To do this, use an intervalometer or the corresponding built-in function in your device.
It’s best to record/make photos for at least 10-20 minutes. Remember that your final video will be speeded up, so 20 minutes of your footage will turn into a 10-second time-lapse video.
Note: The following steps relate only to the second method. If you use the first method, go straight away to our guide on how to speed up a video after you’ve finished filming your footage.
3. Upload Your Material to the Program
Plug in your video recording device and transfer your photos to your computer’s hard disk. Then click Add Media Files in the Import tab of the Video Editor, locate the folder with your photos and upload them all to the program.
4. Create the Time-Lapse
All your photos should be automatically selected on the Timeline. If they are not, press Ctrl + A to select them all. Click the Clip properties icon and locate Duration in the Tools menu. Manually change the duration of your frames to 00:00:00.100 (change the milliseconds first, then the seconds).
5. Add Music
A successful time-lapse video always has an appropriate soundtrack. Go back to the Import tab, click Add Media Files and choose some atmospheric audio for your soon-to-become time-lapse video. The audio you’ve added will appear on the separate Audio Track. Alternatively, you can also choose one of the built-in tunes: to open the collection, click Music and then drag the desired audio onto the Timeline.
6. Save Your Video
You’re almost there! Now, here’s when the magic comes in: all that’s left to creating a time-lapse video is to convert the sequence of still photos to a video format. To do this, click Export, choose the video format you want, and hit Start. Et voila! You’ll be amazed when you see the results.
Movavi Video Editor
Creating videos has never been so easy!
- Edit video clips, images, and audio on a timeline
- Add transitions, filters, titles, and callouts
- Use special effects like Chroma Key and Slo Mo
- Export videos in any popular format