iPhone Time-Lapse Apps

I love time-lapse, there’s just something so cool about seeing images move in time in a different way. I not only use them in productions, I shoot them all the time just for fun. The cool thing is now you can do them cheaply and easily, plus there are some pretty cool tools out there to help you.

Here’s a few iPhone apps I use when doing time-lapses. The first one is a time-lapse calculator called Time-lapse Helper (available in the app store). Time-lapse Helper allows you to select and calculate all the the aspects of a time-lapse shoot. You can select intervals, shots, FPS (frames per second), shooting time or playback time. As you change any of the variables Time-lapse Helper automatically changes the others.

photoFor example lets say you want to know how long a 10 second shot played at 24 FPS, shooting at a 2 second interval will take you to shoot. Simply enter “10” seconds in the playback field, “24” in the FPS field and “2” in the interval field, time-lapse helper automatically fills in the shooting time (8 minutes, 240 shots). Change the interval or any of the fields and they all update automatically. It’s a very simple, effective and easy to use app.  I use it all the time. It even lets you email your calculations so you’ll know what they are and you can review them in the edit bay. The best thing about this app is it’s FREE!

Another app I use a lot is Time-lapse Pro ($1.99 from the app store). This one does time-lapses on your iPhone.

It’s a bit confusing at times but it works pretty good. I mainly use it to do fun stuff for my kids. I used it to take a time-lapse of one of my flights because my kids wanted to know what it was like to fly. I gaffer taped my iPhone to the window and set it and let it do it’s thing for the entire flight. I did talk to the stewardess and pilot before I shot, after explaining everything they were fine with it. You can see that time-lapse and a time-lapse of my studio set up in my video section under the “Just For Fun” drop down.

photo-8 It does HD but it only plays HD on the computer, if you watch it on your phone the resolution is lower. It’s also available for the iPad. I plan on testing it out on that as soon as I can pry my iPad away from my kids.

The last app isn’t really a time-lapse app but you can use it when you’re doing a sunrise/sunset time lapse. Sun Seeker provides a 3-d view of the solar path, it uses the GPS in the iPhone to tell you exactly what time the sun sets and rises in your location. This helps so you know what time to set up your camera and when you will be able to take it down. I also use this app when I am at a location and I don’t know where the sun will be. For example when I arrive at a shoot in the morning it’s hard to know where the sun will be latter in the day, let alone at 3:15 pm when the talent arrives.


photo-3Sun Seeker gives you a 3-D view of the suns path so you can set up and plan accordingly. It’s an expensive app ($8.99 app store) but you can get the lite version like I did for .99 cents. There’s another app called Sun Scouter (.99 cents app store) that does the same type of thing, I haven’t used that one though.

These Apps are cool, cheap and very helpful, not too bad for few bucks.


  1. Peter

    I usually know how long I want the final video to be and how long the event I want to cover is. So the only variable I need to determine is the shutter interval. I tried the Time-lapse Helper, but for me, finding the interval was more complicated than it needed to be and the interface is crude. I recommend this one: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/time-lapse-calculator/id884547063?mt=8&uo=4&at=10lGxj

    • Matt

      Cool Peter, thanks for the link, I’ll check it out. Intervals are the big thing, it will really determine the look of the time-lapse, if I have fast moving subjects I use a quicker interval, if they are slow, I use a longer. But it really depends on the look I want.
      I’m planning on making a video on intervals soon, if I can get the time.

leave a comment