Shoot time-lapse videos with your phone

Time-lapse photography — when done right — can reveal the beautiful, imperceptible slow movements of an otherwise mundane scene. By speeding up time, a sunset plunges into the horizon, and the slow crawl of cars in traffic take on a look of blood pumping through asphalt arteries.

Capturing scenes like this used to take a lot of money, time, and special equipment, but today you can get professional quality results using just your smartphone.

Choosing the scene

Time-lapse photography doesn’t lend itself well to every situation. When you’re picking a scene, make sure you’re capturing something where there will be some action — even if it’s subtle. Waves on the beach, trees in the wind, cars on the road, people walking by, that kind of thing.

And even though the end result looks quick, these things take time to make — 10 to 15 minutes minimum. Because of that, make sure you’re in a location where you can relax for awhile or be able to leave your phone unattended. Placing your phone in a window works well, or perhaps the patio of your hotel room if you’re on vacation with a nice view at your disposal.

Setting up

When it comes to setting up your smartphone camera to capture a time lapse, the most important thing is to make sure that your phone isn’t going to wobble around, since that will break the spell that these videos can cast. Unfortunately, with today’s thin smartphones, it’s nearly impossible to rest these things on a table or prop them up on their own.

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