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How to Capture Time-lapse Videos with Your Android Camera

November 22, 2011

Life just became more exciting when Android came around. Mobile computing became a fad. And, let’s face it–with those awesome and cool apps around, Android just rocks. These apps made people’s lives easier, more productive, and even more creative.

Creative will be a word we can closely associate with a cool app called Lapse It. Basically, it’s a video capturing app, though it’s specifically built to capture time-lapse videos. The fun of capturing time-lapse videos can now be done on an Android device.

Time-lapse Videos

Time-lapse is actually a video capturing technique where frames are captured at a very low frequency. The average frame rate of a typical video would run from 24 to 30 frames per second.

In time-lapse you will be looking at around 1 to 5 frames per second. And, you might be wondering, “Why should we do that?” This technique is intended to capture events and processes that will take a long time to complete and compress it into a short and very pronounced video which would be more interesting to view. Just imagine a sunrise or sunset, or probably the blooming of a beautiful flower, captured in a nice and short video.  To see is to know and believe:

Where to Get Lapse It

Lapse It is available for installation from the Android Market. The app comes in two versions, the Native one which is for free and the Pro which costs US$1.99.

The main differences between the two are the features. There are some that can only be found in the Pro version and can’t be accessed in the Native version.

One of the most significant features found only in the paid version is the ability to take higher resolution videos up to 720p (with 1080p support also under way). The free one only has 240p.

How Capture Time-lapse Videos

This app is hassle-free. It’s easy to install, and of course, very easy to use, as well. Lapse It comes with several useful features that you can quickly learn to configure. The app has been designed with users in mind.

  1. Launch the app from the app list on your Android device. If the app is opened for the first time, it will ask you to install Adobe Air. This prompt will not come up if Adobe Air is already installed. On the main screen of the app, you will see its logo and 3 options (Start a new capture, List captured, and Settings).
  • Before taking some footage you have to configure the app so you can get the best results you want on your video. To do this, just go to the app’s Settings menu and there you will have access to all the possible configurations. Below are descriptions of the various settings:
    1. Capture Settings
      1. Frame interval – here you can set the frequency of each frame to be taken on the footage.
      2. Time Scale – this will let you choose between minutes or seconds.
      3. Limit mode – the setting that will allow users to choose the method of stopping the footage.
      4. Frame – users can set the number of frames that the footage should capture.
      5. Time – this can be set so that the footage will stop after the number of minutes you set.
      6. User – the option will let users manually stop the footage by pressing the stop button.
      7. Resolution – lets users set the resolution of the captured video. This is only available in the Pro version.
      8. Geolocation – if this is enabled, the video you took will include geolocation information.
      9. Schedule – this will allow users to schedule a footage where one can specify date and time.
    2. Rendering Settings
      1. Encoder – this will let users choose the file type of the video. The available file types are MP4, MOV, and FLV.
      2. Quality – enables users to set the quality of the video.
      3. Frame per second – the frame rate to be used when the video is being played back.
  • It’s time to capture a video. To do this, you just have to tap on “Start new capture” from the main screen. This will bring you to the screen where you have a live view of what you are capturing. To start the footage, just press Capture.
  • The footage will be stopped through the method you have set earlier. This will be either the time you set, the number of frames you set, or the Stop button on the screen. Once the footage is stopped, the Preview screen will automatically come up where you have the option to save or preview the footage.
  • Additional settings that you can play with are also available. The app also gives you the ability apply color effects, as well as define scene modes and set white balance.

    Ever tried capturing time-lapse videos on your Android device? How did it go?

    Feature image credit: Craig Dugas (Flickr)