Create Time Lapse Movie with iPhone & iMovie

I have always been fascinated with time-lapse movies. Time-lapse photography/videography is a technique where in frames are recorded at a much slower frequency compared to how you normally would record and play a standard video. The output when played looks as if time moves faster.

The good news is that you don’t have to learn how to slow down your device’s recording frequency (whatever!) to do a time-lapse video. Creating a time-lapse movie doesn’t have to be complicated and time consuming. All you need is an iPhone 4/4S and iMovie installed on your Mac. The time-lapse video on this post is a rough sample I made using my iPhone 4S just so I can demo it to you guys. I didn’t even use a tripod or a mount to keep my iPhone steady haha!

What you need

  • iPhone 4/4S or any Digital Camera
  • Tripod or a base you can mount your camera
  • iMovie for Mac

Here’s how to do it

First you need to record a video of a view or an object. How long the video depends on what kind of action you would like to capture. For landscape, cityscape, skyline, sunset and nature, the longer the video, the dramatic and impressive it is going to be. As per my sample simple video, it took me just about 7 minutes to record it.

Import the video from your iPhone to your Mac using Image Capture.

Import photos from iPhone to Mac using Image Capture

Open iMovie and import your video (File > Import) and drag and drop it to the project library. Select the footage you want to include on your time-lapse video and drag and drop it to the timeline.

Create time-lapse movie using iMovie for Mac

Double click the clip. An inspector window will pop out where you can change the speed settings of the video. Adjust the speed slider to its maximum. You will notice that if you move the speed slider all the way up to the rabbit, it can speed up the clip up to 800%. Truth is, it can actually go all the way up to 2000%. The trick is to type in the value. For this particular sample video, I used 1200%.

Tweak the settings depending on your preference.

Create time-lapse movie using iMovie for Mac

Create time-lapse movie using iMovie for Mac

The next thing you want to do is to import the video and share it to your friends!

Happy time-lapsing! 😀

Create time-lapse movie using iMovie for Mac


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