Review of Hyperlapse, by Instagram, Part 1

Posted By: gypsy on Sep 09, 2014 in App Development, Photography, Post Production


hyperlapse-logoI love time lapse photography. I’ve been doing more and more of it as I explore creative ways of taking advantage of my DSLR on client projects—beyond traditional stills and video. So in addition to things like cinemagraphs, HDR photography, and 360º VR photography, time lapse has become a skill I’ve been working hard to develop. So you can imagine I was psyched when I heard about Hyperlapse, by Instagram.

Admittedly, I’m not a regular Instagram user. But I do find myself resorting to my iPhone for all kinds of photo/video tools like Triggertrap, Plastic Bullet, and Filmic Pro. And what the hell, Instagram are giving the Hyperlapse app away for free, so who am I not to download it, play with it, and review it for you! This is Part 1 of 2 reviews.

HL_recordFirst Impressions

It’s super simple to use. You just launch the app and begin recording just as if you were using the video camera on your phone. Hyperlapse will tell you if your light is good enough to record with, and you can choose to override any warnings.

After you stop recording the app gives you a preview of your footage in time lapse, at different speeds (1x, 2x, 4x, 6x, 8x, 10x, and 12x). Once you choose the best-looking speed of your clip, you can select whether to process and save the video, or delete it.HL_process

You can then share it to social media sites including, of course, Instagram. Presumably, you can apply all sorts of desaturated filters to your video and crop it to square dimensions for that really retro, really Instagrammy look.

Simple as that. So… below is my first little Hyperlapse project:


The end result is really impressive. Without too much cropping, I found that the stabilization of the end product is pretty damn sweet. Walking around the block just holding my iPhone in my hand (no steadycam-type rig or anything) I assumed the final product would look awful. Granted, my footage won’t be winning any awards, but it gives you a pretty good idea of how good the stabilization is, especially when the camera is in motion. So yeah, it’s really good. You can see some more examples here.


You should know that the term “hyperlapse” was blatantly poached from an existing photo/video method: one by which a photographer will take a still shot, move the camera about a foot or so incrementally, adjust angle and focus in order to maintain a consistent focal point, take another shot, and repeat this process until Kingdom Come. Then, as with any time lapse project, the photographer stitches the shots together into a video. It’s basically the evolutionary result of traditional time lapse, in which the camera is typically mounted on a tripod —> meets motorized time lapse, whereby the camera is on a relatively small motorized slider and moves very gradually over time —> meets long, multiple-city-block distances that can only be captured by the tedious method I just described. But I suppose it’s worth it;  a great hyperlapse looks like this:


XL-1_751No, this isn’t what your iPhone is going to accomplish. And the question I still have for Hyperlapse is: is this time lapse photography or time lapse video? That is, is the iPhone taking still shots incrementally? Or is it shooting small bits of video incrementally and stitching those together (the way the old Canon XL1 DV camera does it?) For that, I’ll have to investigate a little further and do another review.

Stay tuned…

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