We’ve all seen them. The magical time-lapse videos of snow piling up in an an instant. Now you can make a “Snow-Lapse” with one of the many cameras likely laying around your home.
Tips Before You Begin
- 15 SECONDS. The video you shoot should be about 15 seconds when it’s done. Why? People get bored. And if you want to share it most social media sites (Instagram, Twitter, Vine, Snapchat) allow for 15 seconds of video. Many of the apps listed here will prompt you at the beginning to figure out the timing for you. However, if you have to do it manually, heres a handy calculator to help. Use tools like iMovie, Windows Movie Maker, Quicktime, or YouTube to cut your video down to length.
- PLUG IT IN. No matter which device, try to have it plugged in. Batteries die very fast when shooting photos.
- KEEP IT WARM. If you leave your phone or camera unplugged near a cold window, or even outside, the battery can die very quickly. If you wanna get crazy, and aren’t worried about your device being outside, try using sealed chemical handwarmers to keep your devices batteries warm.
- GREEN MODE. Leave exposure on automatic. If the sun sets, or falls behind a mountain or building, your image will become very dark in manual mode.
- LOCK IT DOWN. Make sure your iPhone/Camera/GoPro cannot be bumped, knocked around, or fall from wherever you’ve placed it.
- AIRPLANE MODE. If you are using a phone, set it to airplane mode. Some calls, texts, etc can disrupt time-lapse recordings. Also answering the phone will disrupt your pictures.
- STORAGE SPACE. Make sure you clear up atleast 1–2GB on your phone, or have a minimum 8GB of memory on your camera when starting a time-lapse.
With any iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, you can capture great Time-lapse video. Try these apps:
iOS Camera’s Built-in Time-lapse Mode
(iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch, iOS 8.0 and above, Free)
Dead simple time-lapse method, no app download required. Swipe over to the “TIMELAPSE” setting within the iOS camera, and hit the big red button. It automatically figures out the intervals the longer it records.
Hyperlapse by Instagram
(iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch, iOS 7.0 and above, Free)
By far the simplest time-lapse app to use. Just make sure to free up space for all the footage it records.
(iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch, iOS 6.0 and above, Free)
Simple user interface. Gives more control options than Hyperlapse.
(iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch, iOS 8.3 and above, $4.99)
More advanced. Set your desired clip length in the beginning, and it will automatically adjust settings to hit that desired 15 second mark.
Microsoft Hyperlapse Mobile for Android
(Android Tablets and Phones, Android 4.4 and above, Free)
By far the easiest time-lapse app to use for Android.
Framelapse for Android
(Android Tablets and Phones, Android 4.0 and above, Free-mium)
Simple user interface with a few more options for control.
Lapse It for Android
(Android Tablets and Phones, Android 2.2 and above, Free-mium)
Older device support. Paid options to add more control.
Built in Timelapse Options
Many Android phones have built-in timelapse options directly in their camera. Check your native camera first to see if it has a time-lapse setting.
Most GoPros have a Timelapse (or “Interval Recording” setting) built in. Best of all, you can leave them outside in their case for a unique point of view.
The biggest hurdle with GoPro recording is setting your timelapse interval correctly. For an 8 hour period, try to set your pictures to shoot every 1 minute.
To set your GoPro to shoot time-lapse:
- Determine which GoPro you own by date OR Determine which GoPro you own by serial number.
- Find the manual, follow instructions.
- PLUG IT IN. GoPro batteries die fast. They die faster when cold. Try running an extension cord from inside to your shooting location. Then use a standard Android or iPhone power brick to USB to plug in directly to your GoPro to keep it powered up. Keep your powerbrick in a ziplock bag with small holes to prevent its heat from melting the snow around it, thus shorting it out.
There are 100s of models of DSLR cameras out there. Most models, especially those made after 2013, have “Interval Recording” modes built into them. This list and article written by Lonely Speck is a great starting point.
The best way to figure out if your camera is capable of this is to use this formula on Google:
Point and Shoot Cameras
Many point and shoot cameras built after 2012 have time-lapse settings integrated. Again use the Google formula:
Hacked Point and Shoots and DSLRs
There are also now ‘hacked firmwares’ which allow you to load new software onto these cameras to add time-lapse capability that wasn’t originally in the camera. Check out Magic Lantern and Canon Hack Development Kit for more information.
IMPORTANT! Using these firmware hacks can mess with your camera’s brain if not installed correctly. DO SO AT YOUR OWN RISK!
Dropcam Timelapse Instructions:
- Aim Dropcam near window
- Follow these instructions
Nest Timelapse Instructions:
- Aim Nest Camera near window
- Follow these instructions:
Typically with a Phone or Camera you’d use a tripod, suction mount, Gorilla grip or other device. However, I find that simply using books, cups and other household items to lean and shim your camera into the right position is good enough if left indoors.
Hopefully these links and tidbits should be a good starting place for anyone trying to make their own Snow-Lapse of the upcoming storm. Happy filming!