A time lapse video is created by taking a sequence of photos or videos over a period of time and then playing them back at a faster speed. This allows a video to display slow changes that usually take a long time in a much shorter period.
In more technical terms, a time lapse is a sequence of images captured at a lower frame rate than the playback rate. When these images are combined and played back in a continuous video, the passage of time appears to be sped up. Hours, days, and even months can be shortened and compressed to just a few seconds (or minutes) of video footage.
Why would a video producer or content creator consider making a time lapse video? Well, there are several unique advantages to showing footage via a time lapse:
1. Share change or progress: How has a specific location or thing changed over a longer period of time? Time lapse videos are great for answering this question. The bustling movement of a mainstreet, the construction of a new building, the blooming of a flower; all changes too slow to observe in real-time, but that can be seen clearly when compressed to a time lapse video. They provide a compelling visual representation of changes that are usually too slow to observe in real-time.
2. Creative expression: Time lapse videos are a unique visual effect that enhance storytelling and can produce compelling footage in films, documentaries, or commercials.
3. Observe in great detail: Time lapse videos are often used in scientific research to observe and analyze slow-moving processes.. However, they're also generally valuable for making mundane motion feel more dynamic—since long actions are hyper-condensed in a time lapse video, they're a great format for distilling footage for noisy platforms like social media.
Anywhere you need to dramatically shorten footage to show the passage of time, a time lapse video can help. And anytime you need to make one, Kapwing's time lapse video maker has you covered. Get started in just a few clicks.
Kapwing's time lapse video maker is integrated into our primary video editor in the form of a speed changing tool that allows you to speed up videos—or apply slow motion. That means the only thing you need to do to create a time lapse video is upload footage that's suitable for a time lapse and then turn the speed dial way up. From there, you can make other changes from right inside of Kapwing to apply polish: trim sections, add music, applyvideo effects, or adjust brightness to ensure your time lapse video looks picture-perfect.
Kapwing's free time lapse video maker lets you get started for no upfront cost; you don't even have to create an account. Get your time lapse video made and try our video editor for no upfront cost. If you want to take your videos further, you can upgrade to Pro to unlock a full creative suite of tools that can automate video production and speed up your content creation process. Auto subtitles, silence removal, background noise removal, and a brand new AI video editor is available for Pro users.
Time lapse videos are just one tool in your toolkit. Kapwing is also a best-in-class video editor for a number of other popular types of formats, styles, and video sections. That includes animated videos, explainer videos, music videos, video ads, and even video intros for YouTube. Any video across any use case is made better with Kapwing.
Kapwing is free to use for teams of any size. We also offer paid plans with additional features, storage, and support.