How to Time-Lapse a Video: The Complete Guide

Time-lapse is an excellent way to capture the essence of events that occur over time. It could be the sun's movement from sunrise to sunset, a flower blossoming, the movement of clouds in the sky, ice melting, etc. Time-lapse can also be used to capture a journey, such as travelling on a train or walking through the city streets. 

Time-lapse is a fundamental technique in videography and filmmaking. It allows the viewer to see progress faster without waiting the actual time, resulting in a stunning dramatic effect. Take construction projects, for instance. They take months and are pretty boring to see. But watching a building come to life in under a minute, that's pretty interesting. 

What is time-lapse software?

Time-lapse software is a tool that assists in the editing of raw time-lapse footage. Typically, it is used to make a video recording event go faster. It does this by manipulating how the frame rate or playback speed is captured. Besides enhancing speed, you can use it to perform exposure ramping, integrate music or animation videos. 

Can you make any video into a time-lapse?

You can take any video of stars in the night sky, sunrise, sunset, or movement of a busy street that you have filmed and turn it into a time-lapse. You don't even have to be a videographer to create the perfect time-lapse video. Learn more on how to time-lapse a video below.

You'll need a computer and video production software to turn video into time-lapse. You could use your iPhone or any other mobile device that you own if you want, but that's not ideal. Instead, using a laptop or a desktop computer with a lot of processing power is preferable. 

How to turn video into time-lapse

Creating a time-lapse video from scratch is an incredibly technical feat. In addition to all the specialist gear needed, there are numerous factors to take into account. For example, you need favorable weather conditions if you'll be shooting outside. But there's an easier way to do it. With capable video editing software such as Roxio Creator, you can take any video sequence and speed it into a time-lapse. 

You can take any standard video and quickly convert it into a beautiful time-lapse or hyper-lapse. If you don't have the specialist equipment, the hardware, or the time to create a time-lapse from scratch, go with converting. Converting video into time-lapse is cheaper, less time-consuming, and the results are just as good. 

The video editing software allows you to create time-lapse segments from your existing videos. Now that you've got everything you need to convert video to time-lapse, let's get into the how. Here are the steps you need to take to turn video into time-lapse. 

  1. Open the video editing software and import your clip.
  2. Drag your video to the timeline to adjust the speed. 
  3. Use the speed tool to increase the playback speed to your liking. 
  4. Add other effects to make your video more cinematic. 

We have a few additional tips to help you make awesome time-lapse videos. For instance, pay attention to what moves. You don't want the background moving in sync with the object or set of objects you want to speed up. Also, it's always a good idea to play around with different effects when making a time-lapse. 

The length of your time-lapse videos is also important. Shorter videos are easier to consume, so it pays to keep your videos short and engaging. Follow these simple steps to convert any video into a great, eye-catching time-lapse. 


Time-lapse allows you to capture events that occur slowly over time. You can use time-lapse to deliver a large amount of information in less time. Your viewers can witness day turning into night, flowers blossoming, and new life being born. Tools such as the Roxio Creator make it significantly easier to convert any video sequence into a time-lapse. 

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