Tips and Tricks for Great Instagram Hyperlapse App Videos

Instagram Hyperlapse

Introducing Instagram Hyperlapse App

The cool new Hyperlapse app from Instagram lets users shoot smooth handheld time-lapse videos with their iPhone or iPad. The app is free and doesn’t require an Instagram account. Today, I’m going to show you three ways to make impressive videos with this app and a few tricks for getting the best results.

Handheld Time-Lapse

The promise of the new Hyperlapse app is that you’ll be able to take handheld time-lapse videos. It does this by stabilizing your footage and cropping it to keep the center area stationary. This type of stabilization has been available for years in post-production products, such as After Effect’s warp stabilizer, but this easy-to-use app means the stabilization is done entirely on your phone. Instead of simply analyzing your videos for stationary objects, the Hyperlapse app uses the iPhone’s movement sensors to reduce shake.


Stationary time-lapse has already been possible through other apps but the promise of this new app is smooth hyperlapse videos. A hyperlapse is a time-lapse where the camera is moving while unmounted to a track or dolly. These movements are often toward an object or building. Because the shots are usually lined up and stabilized in post-production, circular movement can be difficult because the software can’t identify stationary objects. This is where the iPhone sensor stabilization method used by the Hyperlapse app excels. Circular and tangental motion flow into smooth videos with this app because the software doesn’t have to rely on identifying specific features of an object. While moving too fast can induce motion sickness in your viewers, using a slow speed can show off an object in an interesting new way.

Smooth Pans and Tilts

Perhaps the most interesting feature of the Hyperlapse app doesn’t involve time-lapse at all. By using normal speed camera movements such as pans and tilts and then playing back the footage at 1x speed, you can add professional looking shots to your home movies. The Hyperlapse app lets you export to Instagram but it also saves a copy to your videos folder. Because of this, you can use these clips as part of a larger video that you assemble on your phone.

Getting the Best Video

The number one way to get the best shot is to keep your phone as stable as possible while shooting. This not only keeps the video stable but lets the app use the largest area of the screen possible. Try resting one side of your phone against a lamppost or tucking your elbows into your stomach. When shooting hyperlapses, pick one spot and try to keep it in the same part of the screen. For the Conservatory of Flowers video, I tried to keep the top finial of the conservatory in the upper middle of the screen.

What You See Isn’t What You Get

When you first open the Hyperlapse app, you’ll notice the image size is much smaller than the same image in the regular camera app. As long as you’re able to keep your phone from moving too much, the final video should be bigger than this first image.

Fixed Exposure

To prevent flicker, the Hyperlapse app needs to set a fixed exposure throughout the recording. This means if you start recording in a dark area, the final video will be overexposed. You can prevent this by choosing an object or area you want properly exposed and then touching that spot on the screen until a lock symbol appears.

Recording the Right Amount

By default, this app chooses a 6x playback. That means if you want a ten second time-lapse you’ll have to record for one minute. A counter will appear during recording that shows the actual time elapsed and the 6x time. The playback options go from 1x to 12x, so it’s important to consider the final length and desired playback speed before you begin.

Lighting Conditions

The Hyperlapse app doesn’t seem to work as well in low light conditions. If you try to record where it’s too dark, you’ll get a warning message. You can override this by tapping the record button a second time but the results probably won’t be good.


Those are my quick tips for using the new Instagram Hyperlapse app. If you make a time-lapse video using any of these tips, please feel free to share a link in the comments.

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