How to Create Time-Lapse Videos on the iPhone

Time-lapse and stop-motion are two creative video styles made popular by a wide range of media including the old stop-motion animation Gumby and prominently featured in videos focusing on the growth of plants. You can recreate this movie-making technique using an app for the iOS called iMotion HD by Fingerlab.

iMotion is a time-lapse and stop-motion app available on a wide range of iOS devices including the iPhone 3G, 3GS, and 4 along with the iPad 2 and iPod touch 4th generation. With it, you can set up your device to capture images in four modes (time-lapse, manual, Wi-Fi remote, and microphone) in either a portrait or landscape orientation. There is no limit to the size and/or length of your movie; so as long as you have the space you can keep going.

How to Create Time-Lapse Videos on the iPhone720p HD captures and exports are supported, giving you the ability to make high-definition videos out of still images within the app itself. Capture tools including an onion skin, grid, manual focus, and more are also available.

Where iMotion really comes in handy is through its remote controller app called iMotion Remote. This controller app allows you to preview and remotely activate the iMotion capture on another iOS device using Wi-Fi. This means you can have your iPod touch set up in another room staring at a plant and activate the capture from your couch. This is especially useful in cases where you’re making a time-lapse of a crowd and your capture device is mounted up high where you can’t normally reach it on a regular basis. This feature doesn’t work with the iPhone 3G and 3GS, but is available on the latest-generation iOS devices.

You can set it to take photos automatically at a given interval (two seconds to one day) and have the device run all by itself. This does mean that you’ll need to keep it where it is until your movie is complete, so for lengthy videos, this is best done on an extra iDevice you have laying around.

One downside noted by several users on the iTunes App Store is the requirement to pay for a full version in order to export your movies. The full version of iMotion HD costs $1.99 and if you’re really in to creating stop-motion and time-lapse movies, it’s well worth the asking price.

Article Written by

Ryan Matthew Pierson has worked as a broadcaster, writer, and producer for media outlets ranging from local radio stations to internationally syndicated programs. His experience includes every aspect of media production. He has over a decade of experience in terrestrial radio, Internet multimedia, and commercial video production.

  • glenn tan

    never seen how 1080i looks when there is motion but i would stick with 720p to be safe