A while back I wrote a guide about making time lapse videos with your Android. There, I showed you the basics of time lapse, and gave a small review of two apps: Tina Time Lapse and TimeLapse, both very capable applications. Lapse It would have been on my list, but at that time it was built for the Adobe AIR Platform, which my phone doesn’t support.
Lapse It has since been redesigned from the ground up as a fully native app. This means it’s faster and more robust than any previous version. Naturally I had to give it a try, and in this article I’ll give you my thoughts.
I’ll spare you the technical geeky stuff about the application and the basics of time lapse photography – you can read about all that in my previous article.
Like most apps, Lapse It is available on the Android Market in two versions: one free, with some limitations, and one paid, with tons of cool features.
The user interface is pretty simple. When you launch the application you are presented with three options:
- New Capture
The New Capture screen lets you dig right in. Just set up how often to take a shot and the resolution of the capture (720p, 480p, 320p, or 240p, or Full Sensor, if you look in the Settings). You can also add some film effects, but I recommend you add them in post.
Here you can find all of your projects (rendered or not) and take a look at the online gallery provided by the application. That’s right, it lets you post your rendered time lapse in a public online gallery – more on that later on.
Naturally, right here you can set different options for your time lapse videos. The thing I particularly like about Lapse It is that you can schedule videos. This comes in handy when you want to start to shoot a sunrise, but you don’t want to wake up early to set up your phone. Just set the shot up, edit the options you want, schedule it and you’re ready to go. When you wake up, you only need to edit it.
Be sure that you have enough battery, or leave your phone plugged in. Time lapse eats battery like there’s no tomorrow.
So far we’ve barely scratched the surface of Lapse It. We’ve learnt that we can schedule our time lapse videos so that Lapse It will start recording for us automatically. And, if you want, you can easily set up an end time right from where you schedule your shot as well. If you don’t set up an end time, it will take as many pictures as you want – depending on the Limit Mode. That’s pretty simple and convenient.
But now you might say to yourself: “Okay, I’ve scheduled it, but now how do I control the time interval?” Everything you need set up when you schedule a time lapse is done in the Settings menu. Here’s an in-depth analysis of each option:
- Frame Interval: the time interval between two consecutive frames.
- Time scale: this can be either minutes or seconds.
- Limit mode: you can set this to Frame, which will stop recording when a certain number of frames is reached; Timer, which will stop after a certain amount of time; or User, which will record until you manually stop it.
- Initial delay: this should be set to 500 to allow the camera to focus (if auto-focus is enabled).
- Resolution: 720p, 480p, 320p, 240p, or Full Sensor.
- Brightness level: you can set a brightness level for the screen while it’s recording. It will keep the screen turned on at the brightness for the duration of the shoot.
- Shutter sound: you can enable or disable the shutter sound. Personally I think this should be removed entirely. Why you would need it I don’t know.
- Schedule: to set up your time lapse recordings in advance.
- Output folder: where to save your projects.
That’s all for the main Settings menu, but there are extra settings for rendering as well…
Once everything is done and you’ve finished recording, you can edit your final video. You have the ability to trim it, add video effects and music, and adjust the final frame rate of your video. This is pretty much it. This menu is divided into tabs so you can easily get access to each feature.
You can also review how your end video will look and, depending on the frame rate you have selected, determine its duration. Actual rendering times depend on the performance of your phone.
If you don’t want to render your time lapse with the application you can connect your phone to the computer and navigate to where you’ve set up to save your projects on your SD Card. There you will find all of the pictures, as with Tina Time Lapse.
This is where the application saves all of its projects, rendered or not. If the project is not rendered you can select it for editing; if it is, you can share it on LapseIt.com. You’ll need an account, but that’s no problem.
Lapse It is by far one of the best time lapse applications I’ve come across so far. You can add video effects to your shots, trim your videos and post them online so that anyone can see it.
(Incidentally, sharing is not limited to LapseIt.com. You can also upload it to YouTube or any service that handles the video share intent on your phone.)
Overall I give it nine out of ten. Why only nine and not a perfect ten? Well I’m not quite satisfied on how it organizes its projects: when you start a new capture, I feel it should prompt you to give it a name. Other than that, Lapse It is perfect for all the hobbyists out there.