Instagram’s ‘Hyperlapse’ App Lets Anybody Create Super-Smooth, Cinematic Time-Lapses

Instagram is shaking up the mobile photography/videography sphere in a big way today with the release of Hyperlapse, a brand new app that transforms shaky videos up to 45 minutes long into super-smooth, stable and cinematic feeling hyperlapses/time-lapses at the press of a button.

Started as a side project on nights and weekends by a small team at Instagram, their first build spread like wildfire through the Instagram offices, immediately proving its appeal. From that point on, the project was kicked into overdrive, eventually leading to the simple, functional, fun app scheduled for release just minutes ago.


The app’s most compelling feature, as you can see from the videos above and below, is just how smooth the final time-lapses end up being. So smooth, in fact, that it reminds us of Microsoft’s extremely advanced stabilization algorithms we wrote about a couple of weeks ago.

This, however, doesn’t use anything nearly that advanced. Instead, the app taps into your phone’s gyroscope to determine its position in space and stabilize the footage accordingly. It’s the same tech built into the stabilization feature of Instagram’s main app, and the results are downright cinematic in nature.


We spoke to an Instagram spokesperson about the app yesterday, and one thing they were keen to emphasize was just how easy Hyperlapse would be to use. This is the everyman (or woman) time-lapse app. No need to create an account, no need for special settings, no need for special equipment, just open the app and start shooting.

You can capture as much as 45 minutes of footage (iPhone 4 users are limited to 10 minutes), which can then be sped up (and smoothed out) in intervals up to 12x speed and shared to Instagram or Facebook straight from the app.

The hope, as we understood it, is that people will use this not just to capture standard time-lapse fare like sunsets or cars flying down the freeway as seen from an overpass. Instead, it’s everyday activities like making dinner or your commute to work that Instagram wants to see filling up its users’ feeds now that Hyperlapse is live.

Speaking of live, users of iPhone 4 and above can head over to the iTunes App Store right now to download Hyperlapse for free and give it a try!

As for the Android faithful, Instagram’s spokesperson told us that, “We really want to bring Hyperlapse to Android, but unfortunately the requisite APIs are not currently available on the Android platform.”

  • Samuel Ashdown

    holy crapola! how does it match up to Microsoft’s crazy 4d stabilization you featured a few days ago?

    tbh even if its crap its convinced me to get an instagram account, i guess it worked

  • skurge2144

    No Android yet?!!!! WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!! :'(


  • Samuel Ashdown

    what! oh ffs instagram why?

  • http://www.wa Warren Paul Harris

    When they come up with a release for Android, let me know. Until then I could not possibly care less.

  • zascar

    Seriously considering Android devices far outnumber iphones, this is dissappointing. More Apple cercle jerk wankery

  • Matthew Neumann

    Lol @crybaby Android users. Instagram was initially developed for iphone. Why is it so upsetting that a new development like this would be for iphone first?

  • Maay

    Does it really compare with what Microsoft introduced ? MS claimed they could take pretty much any video, and turn it into a stable hyperlapse stream. The one of the mountain climb was quite impressive. What instagram presents here is based on videos that are already quite stable to start with. Either way, I’m eager to try them both when available !

  • OllieOh

    Kind of lame that it doesn’t pre-crop the video to compose your shot for Instagram sharing.

  • Matt

    It’s not circle jerk wankery (by the way, how does developing a photography/video count as wankery, and how is it circle jerky in the slightest?).

    Instagram (and their parent company Facebook) would love to have this app on as many devices as possible, but, as the article says, they are simply unable to develop it on Android at this point. Don’t blame all the “wanker” Apple users – blame Google and all the Android handset makers who make it very difficult to develop an app for so many screen sizes, processors, and other hardware. If it was easy to make the exact same app work well on Android at present, they would have. They’re not leaving Android users out just because they want to circle jerk onto their iPhones. Get a clue.

  • Matt

    Yeah I find it very odd that it a) allows vertical video (gasp!), and b) doesn’t have a square option so it’s all set for Instagram sharing.

  • Tim

    It’s not really a proper time-lapse though is it? Just sped-up video.

  • Bryan Haywood

    what I would like to know is…what API’s does the iphone have that android doesn’t that would allow them to build for them and not android. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me…

  • Matt

    Not sure. I am wondering if it has to do with the motion sensors, accelerometers, gyroscopes, etc.? But if the Android Instagram does video and has the shake reducer feature, shouldn’t this app work, too?

  • Joe Justice

    The iPhone has a very narrow set of APIs to program for, because there is only one line of iPhone (and I assume iPad will be included). iOS is easier to program for because there isn’t a vast range of different manufacturers’ software and hardware like Android developers face. It’s about numbers of programmers to develop APIs for a really huge number of different devices and OS versions.

  • Max Pinton

    Well, but what’s the difference? Video is time-lapse at 30 frames per second.

    The key is the stabilization. Regular sped-up video is a shaky nightmare.

  • Nadia Skay

    Pft, laughing so hard at that comment, Apple devices require each individual size to be coded for so not sure how android is more “difficult”- fyi android’s system for app coding is actually simpler- you code everything once and allows android itself to scale it to the device in question. Notably the only reason companies develop for Apple first is because they like yourself do not fully understand how to properly code and how it works- which equates to a) an app that is unnecessarily bloated in size b) Difficult to update due to spaghetti coding etc. Otherwise I’d imagine zascar has a valid point- it seems Apple users tend to be somewhat egocentric about getting an app first/ #iphoneonly so they can “boast” (and since iPhone’s primary market these days are teens and tweens it’s hardly surprising).

  • Tim

    I suppose it does look similar but real time lapse looks at global patterns and because it might be one frame every 10 seconds it cuts out small distractions. If you just run a video at high speed you record the movement of everything and not just movements measured over long periods of time. I doubt whether Instagram (or phone battery) will allow you to display a video long enough to show glacial movement or sunflower heads following the sun. Good for short videos though

  • Fullstop

    Android users are the biggest bunch of whiny babies that I have ever come across in my life other than Panasonic GH3 & GH4 users.

  • Dylan Cyr

    Because while it may have been for iPhone first, it’s now for both. Android phones outnumber iPhones so it’s a larger user-base, and because their excuse of Android not having the proper API’s is BS.

  • hansmast

    If GoPro is worth its salt, it’s in talks with Instagram right now to exclusively license this tech and add gyroscopes to its next version of the GoPro.

    (If Instagram is smart, it will ask for insta-publish to Instagram from GoPro, as part of the licensing package.)

  • Mike

    The Wired article says “Instagram hopes to develop an Android version soon, but that will require changes to the camera and gyroscope APIs on Android phones.”

    Matt is the most right in this thread. From what I read the app depends on certain gyroscope/orientation data. It has nothing to do with Apple fanboyism or cutting out Android. It is a technical issue. Android cut it itself out.

  • Leif Sikorski

    The Android App is much likely to be released when Android L is available. With this upcoming release Android gets a new camera Api that’s completely new from the scratch with raw support and more neat stuff. It wouldn’t make sense for any developer to release a new camera app for Android at this time when a much superior API is so close.

  • Edgar Allan Bro

    The whole ‘android phones outnumber iphones’ thing is a pretty silly argument, given that 80% of their userbase is brokeass third world peasants running 2.2

  • Edgar Allan Bro

    What about Pentax shooters?

  • ♜Donzzy™

    Due to fragmentation. Good thing I have an iDevice as well for me to test it out. :D

  • Mike Everton

    Android users ruined Instagram with thier 3rd world garbage, can’t wait to see what they do with this in a few years.

  • ♜Donzzy™

    Actually these features are already native on Galaxy and other Android devices: Smooth Motion mode (60fps) and Fast Motion mode (up to 8x only, though.) The only thing lacking is the integration to instagram app which prolly needs special updates for the specified devices.

  • Mike

    The definition of hyperlapse can address your concerns. If you saw the Microsoft demo, one of its features is exactly to smooth out the split-second distractions and camera shakes so that you can more easily see the global patterns and overall movements you are looking for. That was in fact a major part of their research and innovation. It was not the simple high-speed playback that you say it is, and neither is Instagram’s. They are heavily post processed (as many time lapse projects are too).

    While a video might be the source, the final output of the Instagram app is the same as a time lapse. By adjusting the Hyperlapse speed slider, you are telling Hyperlapse how many frames to throw out, because although you shot a video, you only get to show 30 frames a second. Meaning the end product leaves out exactly as much time as if you had shot it as a “purist” time lapse from the beginning.

    So on the post-procesed output side there is no difference. The only difference is that you shot a lot fewer frames in the beginning and therefore have much less elastic flexibility in your frame rate than the Hyperlapse app.

    Also, if you are serious about this, the battery is not a concern. High MWh USB power packs are common now, and you can leave one of those plugged in to provide long runtime. In fact one of the side effects of apps like this is to give people a use for their old smartphones. Empty the storage, attach a USB power pack, and you can record several gigabytes of HD video for time lapse or hyperlapse processing!

  • Mike

    The difference is that the Microsoft way needs heavy post processing, which for now is not phone-friendly, while the Instagram version is something you can use right now and doesn’t burden the phone as much because it is stabilizing using capture data.

  • RegisterNoThanks

    Anybody out there still think you can make money creating hyperlapses? You can forget about it now!

    Technology and convenience win, as usual. Congrats to the creators!

  • Bill Binns

    You should take a walk through the Google Play store and read some developer comments. “Known issues on Sony Xperia”, “Does not work with Galaxy S5″ etc etc. How many IOS devices are out there? Ten if you go all the way back to the the OG iPhone? How many Android devices? Thousands, all with different processors, screen sizes, sensor packages. Not to mention the retarded software layers manufacturers still insist on tacking on top of Android. I’m an Android user and fan but I understand why IOS gets almost all major app releases first.

  • Matt

    Hopefully you’ve read some of the other comments, as well as quotes from the developers themselves, that concur with my comment: “there are no low-level APIs to access the gyroscope and camera frames.” That makes it pretty difficult to develop an app such as this.

    I understand how apps are coded, but it’s pretty ridiculous that you think all of these companies are developing for iOS first because they “don’t fully understand how to code and how it works.” If you’re laughing at my comment, then I am absolutely pissing myself reading that. What an ignorant, moronic statement.

    I have seen exactly zero people “boasting” about getting Hyperlapse first on iOS. What I HAVE seen are Android folks, who are JUST as egocentric about their choice in phone by the way, complaining to the nines about it and somehow making fun of Apple users for Instagram’s difficulty in developing the app for Android.

    Also, if you think only teens and tweens buy iPhones, you are delusional. 500 million phones. 500 million. Teens, college students, professionals, 99% of Fortune 500, governments, soccer moms, scientists, movie stars, etc. – they all buy iPhones, just as they buy Android phones. Get a clue.

  • Carmen Constantinescu

    andoird, LAPSE IT app so u can use time lapse editing.

  • JamesSB

    Actually the big difference is that the Microsoft version works on already recorded video. Instagram’s version works by recording hyperlapse video. So with Microsoft’s version I can take GoPro video and create a hyperlapse video. Instagram’s version can not do this.

  • Samuel Ashdown

    Yes but android’s user base is expanding all the time into new devices, manufacturers etc, Apple have stagnated managing to convince their users that $600 every three years for a slightly different shaped fragile piece of glass is at all sensible.

    Also who wouldn’t like to see hyperlapses from “third world” countries?

    Hyperlapse of how far someone has to travel to get water, Hyperlapse of a day in a life of a refugee came … they’d probably be pretty powerful especially if made by “peasants”

    You’re link with developing countries – no requirement for artistic capabilities and potentials is disturbing.

    But i did just realise you’re username is edgar allan bro and i commend that … i bet you own at least 3 fedoras

  • Edgar Allan Bro

    No, dummy. The point was that Android development lags iOS because
    – a huge proportion of users are on old hardware, with limited capabilities
    – a huge proportion of users are on old versions of Android, meaning you are usually only developing for a small subset of users
    – a huge proportion of users aren’t going to spend money on apps, which is why piracy is such a big problem for Android at the moment.

    That *that* is why you see apps developed for iOS first. Homogeneous hardware, a single (or, at worst, very small range) dev environment and a userbase who actually pay for things.

    Missed the entire point pretty badly, didn’t you? Awkward. But good work making dumb assumptions and running with them, champ. Keep struggling.

    (pro tip: learn the difference between ‘your’ and ‘youre’ when trying to lay down sweet burns on the internet)

  • Samuel Ashdown

    Oh my lord you can point out typos, alert the media, call yale, line up the diplomas.

    Anyhow i cant be arsed with a crappy flame war, it appears you dont actually understand coding or you’d know that coding for android is not limited by device as the SDK auto scales where applicable, as such they all roll out fairly nicely and dont even show up in your play store if its not compatible. Apple meanwhile threw together a crappy api and let anyone create the bloatiest apps they could that are impossible to update properly from dev end due to ridiculous tangled up spaghetti coding, may as well make apps in BASIC.

    re piracy, i laughed. We’re talking about instagram here, any developer with half a brain has given up trying to charge for apps and moved to in-app purchases to make money…. who on earth buys apps anymore, wake up and smell 2014.


  • Da-veeeed

    It’ts still 80%. ISheep peeps NEED the latest hardware right? Mostly because Apples running out of new ideas (prolly cause tge head-honcho is dead) so all they can do is add 100 more pixels to the camera and make it 3 grams lighter. That certainly warrants a 300 buck upgrade, right? One word… iSheep

  • Edgar Allan Bro

    Yeah, not everyone can be a rule-breaking, trendsetting rebel who plays by his own rules and uses a Samsung mobile telephone.

    You are like the James Dean of portable electronics. Teach us your badass ways.

  • Winston M. Walker

    I’ve had very weird videos when trying to use this app, with the phone attached to a tripod. The videos have a weird wavy motion to them. It seems to really only work for hand held footage. It’s like the app is trying to stabilize something that doesn’t need stabilization. Has anyone else had this issue?