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How to Use Hyperlapse, Instagram’s New Time-Lapse Video App

Alyssa Bereznak
National Correspondent, Technology
Yahoo Tech
Hyperlapse video of a dog digging a hole at the beach

This dog loves time-lapses. And digging holes. (Instagram)

Your Instagram feed is about to be flooded with a cutesy new gimmick.

The retro photo-sharing company announced the release of a new app called Hyperlapse on Tuesday. It allows you to automatically transform recorded footage into a time-lapse video and share it on Instagram or Facebook, Instagram’s parent company.

For those unacquainted with the time-lapse, it’s a photography technique where the frequency at which your film frames are captured is much lower than the time needed to view the footage you recorded. So when you play a time-lapsed version of a busy street corner, the cars, people, and clouds will all seem to be moving at a hyper-fast speed.

You’ve likely seen time-lapse videos used to show off beautiful beach sunsets or relentless snowfall. But this style of filming dates back to French works from the late 1800s — giving it just the kind of old-timey artsy cred that Instagram aims for in its general aesthetic.

But unlike Instagram’s original app, which allows you to snap a photo, choose a filter, and post it to your feed within a few minutes, Hyperlapse requires you to invest a good amount of time in your creation. It takes a whole six minutes to record one minute of footage at the app’s highest speed. And though Hyperlapse promises that its “built-in stabilization technology” will bring a cinematic feel to your recording, it’s a challenge to stay still with your phone for that long, especially considering all the notifications our phones receive on a minute-to-minute basis.

That being said, Hyperlapse brings a fun photography technique to the masses, which opens up an opportunity for both unique and mundane creations. Yes, you’ll likely see one too many 15-second clips of otherwise unimpressive city intersections (see my example below). But chances are you’ll stumble upon something exciting, too.

Here’s a quick run-through of how to use it:

1. Download the app here. It’s currently available only for iOS. 

2. You don’t have to sign in; just allow the app to access your camera, microphone, and photos.

3. You’ll immediately be thrown into recording mode. Just press the white, rainbow-lined button. You can film either vertically or horizontally. If you’re just sharing on Instagram and plan to crop it into a Polaroid shape, it won’t matter which you choose. But if you plan to share your video on YouTube or Facebook, I beg you to keep things horizontal (as demonstrated below).

Image of parking lot seen through Hyperlapse app

The West Coast office’s gorgeous view of a parking lot. (Alyssa Bereznak/Yahoo Tech)

4. As you record, you’ll see two time stamps below the Stop button. On the left is how much time you’ve recorded. The right shows you the time that translates to once you’ve sped up the frames at the highest rate (12 times).

Image of parking lot seen through Hyperlapse app

When you’re satisfied with the video you’ve taken, tap the Stop button.

5. Now that you have some footage, you can choose the rate by which you want to speed it up. Your options range from 1x to 12x and increase by intervals of two. Just slide your finger along the white circle on the bottom of the screen to see a preview at each speed. The length of your footage will vary for each and is displayed on the bottom-left side of the screen. 

Hyperlapse screenshot

After you’ve settled on the speed, tap the green checkmark in the upper-right corner.

6. Depending on how long your video is, it might take some time to process. Once it’s done, the video will automatically be saved in your photo library, and you’ll have the option to immediately share it on Facebook or Instagram.

Hyperlapse screenshot

7. If you do choose to share it on Instagram (and I’m sure they hope you do), it’ll automatically bring you over to the app, where you can trim and add filters to the video.

Hyperlapse screenshot

8. And here’s my final product.

As I predicted, my mediocre footage of a parking lot is not made any better when transformed into a filter-tinged stop-motion video. In other words, the usual rule of Instagram applies: No amount of special effects will save you from being a boring photographer or videographer.

Follow Alyssa Bereznak on Twitter or email her here.