Hyperlapsing with instagram’s new app


Filming a hyper-lapse is slightly different from a traditional time-lapse even though they are capturing a scene in the same way by compressing time.

I still have 2 spots available for my Moab time-lapse workshop on October 29- November 2.  While we are shooting time-lapses out in the desert we will be going over some apps and Hyper-lapsing techniques while waiting for our time-lapse cameras.  You can sign up here at the Muench Workshops site : http://goo.gl/8BozGD

The main differences between shooting a time-lapse and a hyper-lapse are the motion of the camera.  In a traditional time-lapse the camera is stationary or mounted to a pan and tilt motorized unit like the Emotimo TB3 Black or a rail like the iFootage Shark Slider.  When shooting hyper-lapses, the goal is to move the camera as far from the starting point as possible but to do it slowly  so the people and cars around the photographer are sped up.

This was my first test with the Instagram app.  It was a rainy cloudy day and the app warned me that there was not enough light so the quality is not the best.

Gondola ride down Ajax Mountain in Aspen CO.

The camera in my iphone is destroyed so the quality of this is very poor.  I am waiting for the new version to be released next week before buying another phone.  I think the drastic movement of the gondola also contributed to the poor quality, I will have to experiment with this in the future.  The app will crop the video more and more if there is a lot of camera shake).  Follow me on Instagram for move videos in the future when i replace my phone.

Here are a few tips for shooting hyper-lapse with the new Instagram app (you can download the app for free here)

1. Plan your shot and route that you will take.  Pre-visualizing a video really helps the finished product.  Just like shooting video or photos, composition is one of the most important aspects of a great shot.   Starting out with a low angle and moving to a high angle while walking with the camera will generally produce a more interesting shot than eye level walking down the street.

2. Move slower than the traffic and people around you.  Time-lapse and Hyper-lapse sometimes require a great deal of time and patience.  The more movement around the camera, the more interesting the shot will be.

3. Find a subject and move around it while keeping it in the same location of the frame.   By keeping the subject (a statue, building or person) in the same place in the frame while you move around it with the camera will produce some of the most amazing hyper-lapses.

4. Slowly pan and or tilt the camera during the shot.  Panning and tilting the camera will produce some of the best hyper-lapse results, but you must remember to do these types of moves slowly.  if you are playing the final product back at 1-12x normal speed, try to slow the panning of the camera down to match the final speed adjustment.

5. Try to keep the camera as stable as possible.  The software will stabilize the shot but you will achieve better results if you can keep the camera as stable as possible.  In order to stabilize the video the software will crop into the frame.  the more motion the more cropping needs to be done.

6. Try to avoid fast movements with the camera.  If you want to change directions with the camera ease into any move that will change the perspective.  Quick changes that are sped up are very jarring when watching footage.

7. Make sure there is plenty of movement in the frame.  Hyper-lapse is all about speeding up movement of the camera.  If you try to film static objects with a static camera the results will generally be poor.

The Instagram software will correct and stabilize some of these things but its always best to try to capture the highest quality possible.  I have shot a few of these with some pretty bad camera shake and what the software does is crop into the footage to stabilize it.  My resulting hyper-lapses from these shots were very low quality and very small resolution.

About thomas o'brien

Thomas O'Brien is a visual artist living in Aspen Colorado.

He is primarily a photographer. but has been shooting video and time-lapse since about 2008. Thomas is also available for consulting and personal instruction in photography, digital processing, retouching and photo tours/workshops. All of the images are available for sale (both fine art prints and licensing).