Instagram’s new video-oriented ‘Hyperlapse’ adds to the iPhone’s arsenal of creative apps. Without the need for tripods, steadicams or editing software, the app creates smooth, professional-looking timelapse videos.
The clean, minimalistic interface doesn’t even need a registration or login screen.
At startup, the app is literally one button.
Similar to video apps such as Instagram or Vine, Hyperlapse just takes the push of a button to start recording. When you’re finished, you can then choose how much you want to speed up the video (x2 to x10). Depending on the length of the recording, Hyperlapse will then render and save your video in minutes.
Leave it on your desk for a timelapse of someone studying, or rest it on a windowsill for a smooth video of the day’s transitions. A popular Hyperlapse on the official Instagram page features rush hour traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge.
The app has even been used for “selfielapses,” where the user would spin around with their phone held in front of them for a moving selfie. Made famous by internet makeup gurus such as Michelle Phan, “selfielapses” are clogging up Instagram’s news feeds.
On my first day with Hyperlapse, I strapped it to my dashboard and went for a drive.
While my phone was secure in a dashboard mount, it shook from the bumpiness of Galesburg’s cobblestone roads. Despite the shaking, the final product is a smooth, 10-second mini-tour of Galesburg from Water to West Street.
Hyperlapse, unfortunately, is a bit more difficult to use while walking. Though the final product is still smooth, the frame nauseatingly shifts up and down due to the unstable movement. Despite the app’s use of the phone’s gyroscope to steady and measure out movement, it still needs to be secure in one location (either standing still or strapped to some sort of mount) or going in one direction.
After much experimentation, it seems that the best Hyperlapse videos are the ones where movement is focused and stabilized.
Hyperlapse is also missing automatic exposure. When moving from sunlit to low-light areas, Hyperlapse doesn’t automatically compensate for the change in lighting, and the low-lit areas can turn out completely dark. This is remedied by a smooth manual focus (tap on the darkened area to fix the exposure), but this can be a hassle when you’re not in a position to use your phone.
Apps like Frameographer, TimeLapse and Lapse It are Hyperlapse’s only major competition on the iOS market, but each lack the simplicity and quality of the new app. Each one has multiple menu and video options with its own editing process, but the amount of customizations needed in order to make a decent video renders the apps unusable. The first two listed are both $5, while the latter is free.
Unfortunately, the app isn’t available on other platforms. Instagram plans on releasing the app for the Android marketplace soon, but right now, only iOS users have access to the timelapse app. The major alternatives are the apps listed above.
Despite the issues of the app, I’ve taken to the simplicity of Hyperlapse, and prefer it to my bulky DSLR and time-consuming editing tools when it comes to making timelapse.