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How to Hyperlapse

How to Hyperlapse

How to Hyperlapse Guide – Shooting

Before reading through this, you should have some experience with timelapse and/or read the previous part of this guide: How to Timelapse

PART 1: How to Timelapse: 

Part 2: How to Hyperlapse: You are reading it.

Part 3: Timelapse and Hyperlapse Post-Processing in Lightroom

Part 4: Timelapse/Hyperlapse post-processing: Adobe After Effeects: 

What is Hyperlapse?

Hyperlapsing is a Timelapse technique in which the person moves the camera each time they take a picture. When played back, this creates an effect more dynamic than traditional timelapses.

Why timelapse? What is so hard about it? It’s the same thing as taking a video and fast forwarding it.

  • Using photography to create a video in motion allows for
  • Better and higher resolution and quality than video allows
  • Ability to process RAW files if you make mistakes
  • Video recording isn’t as great at capturing low light as photograph stills
  • Fast fowarding makes everything look jumpy, proper timelapse allows movement flow
  • It’s just so much more damn cooler

Seoul Timelapses from noe alonzo on Vimeo.

Hyperlapse Technicalities

If you want your hyperlapse to “flow” properly, then you will be using these guidelines.

  • Shutter speed of 1 1/3 of a second for flowy movement (Or something slow)
  • Invest in a ND filter
  • Timelapse interval of 2-3 seconds for people
  • Video editing output playback of 24 frames per second.
  • Any information provided in the previous How to Timelapse Guide
  • Remember, at 24 frames a second, you will need at least 72 pictures for 3 seconds of video.

Before the Hyperlapse: Preparatory work may be necessary before shooting. Envision or know where your hyperlapse will end to ensure proper final framing. Last thing you want to do is go through all the hard work  only to get crappy framing near the end.

Find a flat surface: Hyperlapse on a flat surface, otherwise your hyperlapse will appear extremely jittery. Its possible to do it on ununiformed surfaces, but it will be a hastle & shaky, especially if you are using a tripod.

Shoot more than you need: Start further away than you think, and up further away than you think. At 24 FPS or more, you will end up with alot shorter video than you think.

Marking your pathway: Its not terribly essential. In fact it will not always be possible, especially in public places or touristy areas.  I use water soluble chalk and measuring tape to mark the path that my tripod will follow. This ensures consistent movement in my hyperlapses. Otherwise the tripod may fall too long or too short, similating changes in speed. Ex – Video appears to speed up/slow down.

Me marking hyperlapse 200x300 How to Hyperlapse

Me marking the ground before a hyperlapse. Photocredit: Alvin Wong

Look for floor patterns: You might not have to mark the floor at all. Most of the time, the ground has consistent marks on the sidewalk, bricks you can count, or patterns that help you achieve consistent movement.

Tripod Movement: Ideally, you shoud move your tripod 20-40 cm between pictures.

Get a tripod: Hyperlapse involves moving the camera between intervals. The final product is meant to show smooth streamline motion (which will be achieved later with software). Therefore, getting a tripod is essential to prevent as much jitter and shake as possible.

You can do hyperlapse handhelp, but expect alot of postprocessing. In fact, in some cases you will not be able to use a tripod – it’s fine, with practice.

Use a level: Some Cameras come equipped with an electronic level.  It is essential that you maintain the camera level through the hyperlapsing. Between each pictures you will adjust the camera to maintain it level. It will not always be perfect, but that can be fixed in post processing.

My camera has a built-in level but I found it harder to adjust than a bubble level. With a hotshoe bubble level, you can adjust the camera much faster imo. I got mine for $5 dollars. If you are in Korea, you can buy one on gmarket.

level How to Hyperlapse

수평계 a level

Timelapse interval: There will be alot of thing that you have to do between each picture taken like leveling the camera, moving the tripod, finding the focus point. Some people may be faster, but if you are a beginner, an interval of 15-18 seconds will give you enough time to do all 3.

*Actually, I found the interval doesn’t always matter too much, just take a picture as soon as you are focused on the point and have the camera leveled*

Find a focus point: This is they key to maintaining smooth movement. Find a spot on the building or your main subject will be, and ensure that each time you move, your camera’s center (or 3/4ths lines) is targeting it. Consistently. If you are using a DLSR LIVE viewfinder, you can Zoom in and concentrate on that point while you move. This works great at night since the camera with give you a preview with a high ISO to see in the dark.

  • Don’t forget to do the twist cap method if you have a DSLR! Otherwise it would suck to go through all that trouble and be left with a flickery timelapse.
  • If you don’t have a liveview, you can try your best with your viewfinder.
  • Some people attach gun scopes to their cameras for this

Shooting RAW or JPEG: This is entirely up to you, if you are a perfectionist and will be post processing in lightroom, like me! Then shoot raw. It helps with higher quality exporting.  Otherwise shoot JPEG, it will save you alot of time and camera buffering between intervals will be faster, but you can’t fix very many mistakes.

Using Wide Angle Lenses: It would be better to use Lenses wider than what you expect to use. Post processing may make your images smaller, depending on how jittery your final results were. Additionally, wide angle lenses allow for more leway. When you are editing, you will have a huge image, around 5000 resolution, and if you are maing an HD video, you can compose it better/ scale it smaller or bitter – it’s your choice.

But remember polarized lenses don’t work as great with Wide angles. You may be left with blotches of dark and light blues.

 That is it for shooting a hyperlapse! Congratulations, you are 1/3 of the work complete. Next comes post processing in lightroom/photoshop – or if you don’t have it or wish to skip post processing, you will use Adobe after effects to make it smoother. You do not have to, you can make a video with a picture sequence without AE, but it will be bumpy and jittery.

The next post will focus on perfecting the hyperlapse through post processing with Lightroom and After effects.  Be sure to follow the information here, as well as the information in the previous How to Timelapse post.


Thanks for reading, please share this guide with others and like my facebook page! ROK On! Life in South Korea

PART 1: How to Timelapse: 

Part 2: How to Hyperlapse: You are reading it.

Part 3: Timelapse and Hyperlapse Post-Processing in Lightroom

Part 4: Timelapse/Hyperlapse post-processing: Adobe After Effeects: 


  1. Hi,

    Thanks so much for this.

    I was given your site, as I thought I stumbled onto a novel concept, but a editor informed me that the technique is called “hyper lapse”.

    After reading your instructions, I went out for a test shoot. I had some issues, and also many observations. Sorry to give you so much to read.

    1. the twist method, worked fine at home when testing, but out on location though (and still now), when I do it, I get a error 01 message, communications between camera and lens is faulty. I am shooting on a 5D mark iii with a canon 16 – 35mm L series lens. I don’t understand why it worked earlier when testing, but not on location. I should point out, I am a cinematographer, not a photographer, so there are many things in the cameras menu I am unaware if what they do.

    2. Just with the twist method, are you saying you have to do that before every shot? Otherwise, the image on the LCD is too dark to compose the next frame. Considering, the tripod was too high for me to use the viewfinder, but this also rules out the zoom in “magnifying glass button” ability.

    3. Once again, not knowing the exact terminology, but the magnifying glass (zoom button for checking focus), does not stay zoomed after taking a shot, are you suggesting that after every shot, you zoom in to ensure you have your camera orientated to the correct spot? It took me over a hour tonight to do one shot, and that was keeping the camera wide and just framing from that.

    It seems to me, the camera needs a theodolite attached to quickly see the x y z angles, and even more, a height so the camera head stays consistent. I mainly really see a necescity for keeping the camera pointed a consistent angle when tracking sideways. In saying that, if you were to do a rotation around a object, something else is required (maybe a gun sight like you said). I may be wrong, I am not a post person, so they may come back to me saying everything is fine.

    I just feel like the great pointers you mentioned, such as the twist method and the live view zoom in don’t all seem to work together. Am I doing something wrong?

    Thanks so much for your efforts here.

  2. How come the videos are taken away? I’d really appreciate it if they were available thanks

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