Although I have been shooting time-lapses since 2004, long before it was a built-in feature of a camera or before the iPhone was invented with time-lapse software, this is a relatively new area for me as well as many photographers and the industry in general. New features in cameras are making time-lapse easier and more popular.
Because this is something new to the program, you need to do some research of your own. Most of my samples are things that I like. Find things that you like.
Sun events (sunrise, sunset) - start about 45 minutes on a nice partly cloudy day
Plants growing, flowers opening - may take hours to weeks, with numerous TYPES of plants
Activities - people showing up to an event, enjoying the event, then dispersing
Nature in progress - Ice melting (or freezing), water evaporating, rain storms coming and going.
Fortunately, Time-lapses have gotten a LOT easier. I recommend a DSLR camera with an Intervalometer built in. You may need to get together with a friend who has the feature. I also have a couple of remotes that work with Pentax, Nikon, and maybe Canon that have an Intervalometer. If you use a device that DOES NOT have an Intervalometer, YOU must be the Intervalometer. This means that you must press the capture button based on a time YOU determine using a stop watch. If you do not have an Intravelometer, then you should at LEAST use a WIRELESS or WIRED Remote Shutter Release. If TOUCHING the camera, you must take EXTRA care so as to not shift the camera even .01 mm.
Also, there are MANY SmartPhone programs that allow for time-lapse. The key to choosing a SmartPhone Timelapse App is to make sure that it allows High Def images, and even possibly FULL Resolution images. NOTE: IF YOU ARE GOING TO USE A PHONE to do a time-lapse, you MUST HAVE A WAY TO KEEP THE PHONE PERFECTLY STEADY BETWEEN THE SERIES. IOW, you can move the camera to a different view, but each sequence must be
One of the things you are going to need to experiment with is the interval in which you take your pictures. One consideration to keep in mind is CAPTURE speed versus OUTPUT speed. INPUT is how often you snap the interval. OUTPUT is the frames per second. I am no expert on this, and it varies greatly. I usually snap anywhere from 5-10 seconds to once a week. For the Cho-Yeh video below, I used 20, 40 and 60 second intervals.
Interval Suggestions (partly as recommended by TopCamera...an iPhone App):
Traffic - 1 Sec
Clouds - 1-10 secs (Avg is 3 secs. But, if they are moving very slowly...5-10 seconds, or very fast 1-2 seconds.
Sunset - 10 secs
Shadows - 30 secs
Instructions for Manual Capture:
Place camera on a sturdy Tripod.
Consider the resolution of the capture...it is NOT necessary to shoot a 24mp camera on 24mp. ANYTHING over 2mp will exceed the capability of consumer TVs as of 2013.
Frame the picture with the entire sequence in mind. This means, allow enough time for things to expand, grow, dissolve, melt, etc.
Put camera on Manual Focus if at all possible
Set the exposure manually if at all possible.
Decide how often you want to capture.
Start a stop watch and press the shutter button based on the interval.
Put a sign on your project if lapsing a span of days to avoid disturbance.
Instruction for SmartPhone:
If you want to use SmartPhone, you will need 2 things:
1. Use a Tripod. You MUST (MMMMUSSSSSTTTTT) have a way to keep your camera PERFECTLY still. No tripod...NO GO! If you are doing a timelapse for your school project, I will not even grade a timelapse not on a tripod. If you really want to use your phone, you can always CLAMP your iphone.
2. A PAID APP! You will need to get some $2-3 app. The builtin app does not allow enough control. And free apps do NOT generally allow for high resolution capture.
LapseIt - this is my current go to timelapse app but it does NOT allow for 4k video. So, the search continues. It also has an annoying glitch that you HAVE to turn the camera vertical to access some settings. Since a timelapse HAS to be done on a tripod, this makes it a bit awkward to get to one key setting to update an existing project. You can open the project, preview it, etc. but you can add on to an existing project.
OSnap - Like Lapse It, a pretty good app, but does not allow for 4k.
Lapse HD/R - this is a SIMPLE app, but it allows for two key features over the built-in. 1. HDR Processing of every capture. 2. You can set the interval.
Skyflow - Really nice first impression. For one, it is a try before you buy. So, free. Export 540. If you decide you like it, you can do an InAPP purchase. UNFORTUNATELY, you can't share InApp purchases. It is only $1 to upgrade.
1SE - A way to assemble timelapses on your phone from across different days.
iTimelapse - WAS at one time one of the
best TimeLapsers in the AppStore. Unfortunately, it COMPLETELY DOES NOT WORK!
And the screenshots below are for that app. The app even had a sound trigger.
Unfortunately, this still did not help me capture a mouse in a mouse trap
despite several attempts and thousands of pictures being taken, but it was fun
Apple Camera iOS Timelapse - If you insist on using the built-in app, here is how:
Slide to the camera mode that allows for capture. Refer to this article, http://www.studioneat.com/blogs/main/15467765-how-does-the-ios-8-time-lapse-feature-work, for more info. Specific, review this cart, but read the explanation at the link.
Limitations - YOU can't control the capture rate. You can't continue a project from one session to another. And you can't control the export rate.
NOTE: The following screen shots are for the now DEFUNCT iTimelapse. I have left these screens shots as a reference only. What ever app you use will have a similar interface and may take some getting used to.
This next screen shot shows several OUTPUT versions the variation you get. The INPUT is the same (i.e. same capture rate, same total number of pictures). The difference is the OUTPUT to 4 FPS (frames per second) vs. 15 and 7. The size of the video (approx 78mb) is the same. The difference is the length (36 secs vs 74 vs 120).
Technically, I would only use the output from this program as a DRAFT version. Export the images and take to Premiere for more control.
Assembling a Timelapse in Premiere:
Clamps for phones:
I have one of these for a short checkout:
Here is one I bought for my personal use. (Sorry...too flimsy and experimental for student checkout.)