Video Tips

How to Make a Time-Lapse Video (In 3 Easy Steps)

Megan O'Neill


A time lapse video is a fun way to show the passage of time—and it’s also a nice way to grab attention in the social newsfeed. In this article, we’ll show you how to easily create a time lapse video of your own.


We’ll show you how to create a time lapse movie on your phone in a couple different ways. First, we’ll show you how to use the “Time-Lapse” function on your iPhone or Android device. Then, we’ll show you how to create a time lapse with photos from your phone and assemble them using the Photo Burst feature in Animoto.

How to shoot a time lapse movie straight from your phone

Most smartphone cameras have their own time lapse feature built in. To shoot your own time lapse video, simply open up the camera on your phone and select the "Time-Lapse" feature. Here’s what it looks like on an iPhone device:


Place your phone in a secure spot where it won't move around a lot. Then, tap the record button to start recording your time lapse. When you’re done, tap it again. Your video will play back compressed into a shorter time period for a time lapse effect like in the example below, recorded during set up for a holiday video we created with Cait Timmins.


PRO TIP: If you're planning to make a landscape video, turn your phone so your time lapse video is wide instead of tall.

When your video is done, it’ll be saved to your Camera Roll. You can easily upload it to social media to share, or upload it to Animoto to include in your next video.

More time-lapse camera examples

The time lapse function on your phone camera can be fun to use in public spaces where there are a lot of people. The hustle and bustle of activity creates an energetic feeling. This time lapse video was shot in The Oculus at the World Trade Center in NYC.


On the other hand, time lapse can also be used to create a feeling of relaxation. Sunrises and sunsets are popular time lapse subjects. This example features a serene view of the ocean.


How to make a time lapse video in Animoto

Creating a time lapse video using photos, rather than shooting an entire video clip, can be fun too. Take a series of photos over a period of time and stitch them together to show the passage of time in a way that almost appears like stop motion.

In this section we’ll show you how to create a time lapse video like the one below, using a Photo Burst in Animoto.

First we’ll show you how to create your time lapse video with Animoto on the web. Then, we’ll show you how to use the Photo Burst feature in our iOS app, Animoto: Social Video Editor.

Step 1: Take your photos

First things first, you’ll need some photos! Take a series of photos over a period of time to showcase an event, activity, or the goings on at a location.

PRO TIP: If things are moving really fast, you can use the burst function on your phone to take a bunch of pictures in succession. Check out the video below to see how a photo burst can be used for a time lapse or stop motion effect.

Step 2: Add your photos to a Photo Burst block in Animoto

Log in to your Animoto account and start a new video. You can start from a template if you’d like, but we’ll be starting from scratch for this example.

Once you're in, add a photo burst to your video. you can learn more about that in our Photo Burst guide. Drop your photos into the burst in order to create your time lapse.

Step 3: Add the finishing touches!

Once your time lapse is done, add the finishing touches to your video. Add text if you’d like, to help tell your story. Plus, choose a song from our music library to help set the mood. The song in our video is “All About Your Heart (Instrumental)” by Mindy Gledhill.

Looking to make a time lapse video on mobile?

If you’ve taken pictures on your iPhone, you can also create a time lapse video for Instagram Stories entirely on mobile.

Launch the Animoto: Social Video Editor app and start a new video. Add a "Burst" and tap to select the images you’d like to add.


Learn more about our easy Instagram Story editor app on the blog.

Have you created a time lapse video? We'd love to see it! Join our private Facebook group, the Animoto Social Video Marketing Community, and share your video making tips with fellow creators.