As I continue to look for ways to make my iPad useful beyond being a lightweight web browser / game console, I came across a handy app for creating timelapse videos: the aptly named Timelapse Camera HD. This elegant and simple app lets you set an interval between photos, the frame rate, choose front or rear camera, and several other settings. You put your iPad in place – this is actually the trickiest part, as you can’t zoom and may find that even a light breeze will jiggle the iPad – and simply tap the “record” button. While it’s recording, you can occupy yourself calculating how much footage you’ll be getting (by knowing how many frames per second you’re recording, and calculating how many seconds you’ll end up with based on your interval). When you’re done, you tap “stop” and in just a few seconds, the app will render a finished video which you can immediately review, and then save.
Since you’re likely to want a video that’s landscape-oriented, it’s important to turn your iPad on its side. The stills will show up sideways during the recording process, but in the end everything turns out fine.
The down side of the app is that you can’t export it to Windows Movie Maker for further editing. I also tried Adobe Premiere Elements, and while the file seems to import successfully, it ends up corrupted within the editor. I assume it works seamlessly on iMovie or other mac-based editing programs. So to string together a series of short clips (and edit out the parts where I might have inadvertently moved the iPad) I used the separate iMovie app for the iPad. iMovie has its own limitations, but for $4.99, it’s hard to complain.
Also, it makes a difference whether you’re using the front or rear camera – one records in wide format, while the other records in standard. I assumed they’d be the same, and used front or rear depending on whether it would be easier to lean the iPad toward, or away from the scene being recorded.
I recorded a few scenes in and around Washington, D.C. and here is the result: