So, you want to make a cool hyperlapse video with your Android device or DSLR/mirrorless camera?
If you wanted to make something simple, you could possibly use Microsoft Hyperlapse Mobile app for Android. Now, if you wanted something with higher quality and something you could actually use for professional-quality videos, you will want to used the advanced method of taking the photos individually/manually then post-process them using Adobe After Effects and Photoshop or Lightroom.
This tutorial isn’t for everyone obviously because it is very time-consuming (takes me about full 5 hours to make a 15 second video) but it is definitely what the pros use and you will get the best hyperlapse videos with the highest quality.
Step 1. First, how do you take a hyperlapse? Basically, you need to have a target point in your shots. For example, if I was to do a hyperlapse around the wireless charger below, I would pick the center of the star as my target point. For aiming, you can use a grid and use a part of the grid as aiming point. For example below, I am using Nexus 6 and Camera FV-5 Pro, which has a grid called “crosshair” and will allow you to easily aim at your target point. Also, if your smartphone supports RAW images, I highly recommend to use RAW images. For Nexus 5/6, OnePlus One, and Galaxy S6/S6 Edge, you can use Camera FV-5 Pro app to enable DNG raw images in settings, this will result in two files for each of your photos, one JPEG and the other DNG.
As for taking the absolute best hyperlapse videos, you can use a tripod or monopod as it is much easier to get cleaner shots. But I wanted make this tutorial so you could also do it handheld like I did.
In the example below, I pick out one of the points in the Golden Gate bridge as my target point. After every shot, I take a half-step back then repeat this until I get the number of shots I want.
For 5 second hyperlapse, you need 150 shots if using 29.97 frames per second for your final video. You can also take 120 shots if using 24 frames per second for your final video.
Seconds x Desired Frames Per Seconds = How many shots you need to take.
As far as taking steps in-between shots, I find anything between half-a-step and a full-step works well but this may be different depending on where you are shooting.
Also, when taking hyperlapse shots, try to find a straight path or a circular path around your target object. I found out that trying to do hyperlapse on an object that’s far away is much harder to stabilize later down the road, especially if panning from left-to-right or right-to-left. You may want to stick to walking in straight paths toward/away from your object if that’s the case.
As for camera settings, try to set everything manual including your focus, white balance, shutter speed, and ISO. This is because if the light changes during your shot and you have it on auto, it will cause flickering in your final rendered video. But if it’s your first time doing this, you can just try using auto.
Step 2.So, once you have taken your hyperlapse shots, you will want to transfer them into your computer. Make a new folder for each scene and copy all of your images there.
Open up Adobe After Effects then start a new Composition. You can name your composition to whatever you like, set the width and height for your final video.
For 4K, use 3860 by 2160 like I did below and for 1080P, use 1920 by 1080. Then set your frame rate to 24, 25, or 29.97 depending on how you want your final video.
Step 3. Once you have a new composition, you can now import files, go to File->Import->File.
Then choose the first image file in your hyperlapse sequence. In this example below, I will be using JPEG files so I chose the first file ending in JPG.
If using RAW file, choose the first DNG file instead like below:
Step 3B: (Skip this step if using JPEG files) If using RAW files, After Effects will open up Camera RAW where you can make changes to your image to your liking before importing. You can also do this with JPEG files but you will have to do that with Photoshop or Lightroom before this step (which is not covered in this tutorial but you can find a bunch of tutorial online by searching for “batch edit jpeg files photoshop/lightroom” on YouTube.
Step 4. Once you have imported your image files, you will have a hyperlapse video that you can click-and-drag into your composition like shown below:
Step 5. Click-and-drag the workspace bar to fit your hyperlapse video (you can hold down Shift while doing this), this will set your total video workspace.
Step 6. Click on the RAM preview button on the top right to preview your hyperlapse video. If you didn’t use a tripod/monopod, it will obviously be very shaky and unusable.
Step 7. This is where Warp Stabilizer comes, in. Find “Warp Stabilizer” under Effects & Presets->Distort on the right hand side.
Simply click-and-drag this to your composition and Adobe Effects will start stabilizing your hyperlapse video.
Step 8. When that’s done, do a RAM preview again and see if the stabilization has worked well. If it did, you can export it out to your favorite video format. I personally like to use Adobe Media Encoder but you can use the Render Queue option if you don’t have it.
Step 9. Hopefully, your final result came out well. As for me, my results weren’t exactly what I was looking for but it was satisfactory.
When I was making this hyperlapse, it was a very cloudy day and I felt I couldn’t get the best shots. Smartphones have come long ways but they are still nowhere near the performance of DSLR/mirrorless cameras, especially in low-light. With that said, you can still get some excellent hyperlapse but do have good lighting or when there’s sunlight. In full sunlight/great lighting conditions, I do believe you can get just as good hyperlapse videos from an Android smartphone so that’s my advice.
If you do ever make your own hyperlapse videos using this tutorial, don’t forget to let me know (e-mail me at zedomax [at] gmail.com) as I would love to see it, thanks!
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