How to define lapse

Such videos cover a certain period of time – hence the name "lapse" – and can have any plot.

In addition, the technique of lapse shooting also has subgenres. Let’s take a look at them!

What is stop motion

The name of the stop motion subgenre sounds like a definition of photography in general. And for a good reason, because these are videos in which the effect of movement is achieved by combining photos together. Each of the images differs from the previous one in that the object in it was slightly shifted or changed its position. You may have seen this before without knowing the name – stop motion animation is used in such famous movies as Coraline or Corpse Bride.

Stop motion animation

How is stop motion made? Actually, the process is quite simple, and, in general, consists of five steps:

  • assemble the scene (put the background, decorations, puppets made for stop motion, etc.);
  • take a picture of the scene;
  • make a small change;
  • take a picture of it;
  • repeat steps 3 and 4 until you get to the end of the script.

The most important part of shooting stop motion is preparing the equipment. It’s critical to make sure your camera stays still throughout the process. Any extra movement will blur the picture, and you will have to start over. Therefore, it is advisable to work with a tripod or other means of stabilization.

What is time lapse

Another well-known subgenre, time lapse really emphasizes the meaning of “time” in its name – it can be a video of several minutes in length, in which the whole night will pass.

Time lapse photography

Time lapse is usually a panoramic fast-paced recording, and it can be quite difficult even for amateur performance as it requires a fair amount of effort from the forearms and patience in general. It is because you need to take a comfortable position and stand like this for at least 2-3 minutes, because 1 minute of time lapse gives only 4 seconds of the finished video. At the same time, full concentration is needed so that the frame is stable and does not jump anywhere. In this case, it’s better to use a tripod too, especially if you want to make a few time lapse videos in a row.

For an engaging time lapse, you need some kind of movement, which will be accelerated, otherwise there is no point in recording. It can be clouds, sunset, movement of people or vehicles, waves on the sea, etc. But truly wonderful results are created from time lapse photography. The photos have better quality and they can capture the scene for a longer time with less resources.

What is hyperlapse

Hyperlapse vs timelapse – which is better? Some ask this question, considering them to bear identical results, but that is not entirely true. Let’s look at the main features of both to define the difference between them:

  • In timelapse, the camera is positioned in one place, takes a picture every few seconds, and then the result is edited into one video. In particular, 25 photos can be viewed in one second, so several hours of shooting can fit into a very short video. Such videos are often made with photos of the clouds or the starry sky.
  • So then, how to make a hyperlapse video? It’s similar, as the camera takes a photo every few seconds too, but at the same time, it constantly moves. However, you should not pull the camera up or down – this will significantly affect the quality of the hyperlapse video, and the mesmerizing effect will disappear. Stabilization partially corrects this problem, but it’s better to use such tools as camera sliders for a smoother movement.
Hyperlapse city view


Lapses are a fun way to diversify your passion for photography. If you’re interested in the aforementioned subgenres, remember that each has its own challenges. Stop motion typically requires creative scene building and takes a lot of time, which makes it almost impossible to work with live models.

As for time- and hyperlapse, some advanced cameras and smartphone apps have assistive features for such shooting, but the result is not always as expected. To get the best quality, sometimes you have to do everything manually. The process of creating a lapse from photos can seem quite complicated and confusing, especially at the beginning stage. But, after doing all this once or twice, you will get comfortable and will be able to repeat all the actions with your eyes closed!