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Time-lapse Calculator app now available for iOS

time lapse app

Time-lapse Calculator

99¢ iOS app for iPhone & iPad

time lapse calculator app

Available in the App Store for only 99¢: Time-lapse Calculator app for iPhone & iPad

A quick and easy time-lapse calculator with three modes. The default mode allows you to determine the shutter interval (time between shots) that is required to achieve a desired video clip length for a given recording duration.

  • Calculate shutter interval, event duration (recording time), or target duration (video clip length)
  • All standard NTSC, PAL, and film frame rates (FPS): 15, 23.976, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 48, 50, 59.94, 60, or 120
  • Memory card data estimator
  • Home screen quick actions using 3D Touch: Shutter Interval, Event Duration, or Target Duration mode
  • Copy to Clipboard with one touch (inputs and results)
  • Maximum event duration (recording time): 999 days
  • Clean, intuitive interface is easy to use while offering features for professional photographers and videographers
  • Universal app for iPhone and iPad
  • Responsive layout optimized for all device sizes and models, from iPhone SE through iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, and iPad mini up to iPad Pro
  • No advertisements

The Time-lapse Calculator can also be set to calculate the necessary event duration (recording time) or target duration (video clip length) based on the other variables.

Most time-lapse utilities only allow you to enter the recording duration and shutter interval. Then they calculate the duration of the video clip that would result. That is rarely useful.

If you know how long you would like the final clip to be, your video frame rate, and how long you plan to continue capturing exposures to cover the event, then it is the shutter interval variable that you need to calculate. If you know what shutter interval you would like use and how long your video clip needs to be, it is the recording time that you need to calculate.

In addition to the intervalometer functions, the Time-lapse Calculator estimates the memory card storage capacity that will be required for RAW or high-quality JPG image files, based on the megapixel count of your camera.

Update May 14, 2018

New in version 1.8.1:

  • Improved compatibility with iPhone X
  • Fixed an issue that could prevent settings from being saved between launches

Time-lapse tips and example: New York City Marathon in 4K Ultra HD

The example above captures runners passing through Brooklyn at the 10 kilometer checkpoint of the New York City Marathon on November 3, 2013. The participants are headed north on 4th Avenue along the western edge of Park Slope towards Downtown Brooklyn, and, because the D and R subway lines “run” underneath 4th Ave, there are even more people traveling this corridor beneath the surface!

I shot this time-lapse video with my Panasonic Lumix GH3 using my calculator tool to determine the time between shutter activations. In the GH3’s time lapse mode, I set the Shooting Interval to every 15 seconds and recorded for 7 and a half hours. The result was a clip that was about 1 minute long when imported into Adobe Premiere Pro as an image sequence at 30 frames-per-second.

I recorded all 1800 stills in RAW format (.RW2 on the GH3). Thanks to the storage estimator, I knew that I could fit the necessary 36 GBs on my 45 GB SD card. The RAW image format allowed me to really maximize the dynamic range of the photos in Adobe Lightroom before importing them into Premiere. Even though I used aperture priority mode so that the shutter speed would automatically adjust with each exposure, it was still difficult to predict how the light would change over the course of a day. So having flexibility in post was crucial.

Here’s an important Adobe Premiere Pro CC tip for importing image sequences: The frame rate of an imported image sequence is determined by the Indeterminate Media Timebase setting in Preferences > Media. It is not determined by your current sequence settings. (By the way, I bet you read that as Intermediate Media Timebase. Take another look.) I wish Premiere would simply allow you to select the frame rate during import, but I have no shortage of gripes about Premiere Pro.

And finally, with the full 4:3 aspect ratio of the Micro Four Thirds sensor and a resolution of 4608×3456, I had extra pixels to play with, particularly in the vertical direction, even when cutting the video as an Ultra HD 4K sequence. This allowed me to animate the position of the frames to give the appearance that the camera was craning up throughout the shot.

Discussion

14 comments on “Time-lapse Calculator app now available for iOS”
  1. James Billett  

    This tool is really useful! I have been looking for exactly this for ages because I had the same problem as you – I knew how long I wanted the final video to be but didn’t know how frequently to make an exposure. Nice one!

    • Dax  

      Great to hear! I’m glad you find it helpful.

  2. Eva  

    Thanks for this. It is a very helpful tool. I often do time lapse images with my kids. They love seeing them on youtube.

  3. Jerry Davis  

    This is hands down the best time lapse calculator I’ve found on the web. Thank you so much for sharing it!

    • Dax  

      You’re welcome, and thanks for the compliment! I’m happy to hear that.

  4. Philip  

    Do you worry about shutter activations? Do you think any of the newer DSLRs have a maximum lifetime shutter activation limit?

    • Dax  

      I do not worry about shutter activations. In the case of my GH3, I don’t believe Panasonic has ever published a shutter “life expectancy” based on actuations, but shutter failure seems to be pretty rare among modern DSLRs. Then again, maybe that’s because so many photographers buy the latest model before the previous model wears out! So maybe I should worry about it, but I bought my camera to use it. And I like to use it for making time-lapse videos!

  5. Tony G.  

    Hey Dax,
    This is really a great tool and a crucial online find for anyone starting out in the time lapse world. Frankly, I’ve been shooting stills and video for more than 40 years professionally and like everyone else out there I’m sure, struggled with the math when it came time to actually press the button on location… so thanks. It’s been a great help and huge time saver when your trying to maximize your shooting time rather than calculating time!
    I’m headed out to shoot some time lapse tonight so I’ll have this tool at the ready. Keep up the great work!
    Tony

    • Dax  

      Thanks, Tony!

  6. Jason Y.  

    Nice calculator. I wish it had a provision for multiple days with a “blackout” period. Say for example, a construction project where the duration spans multiple days, but photography only occurs during daylight hours (presumably when the construction is occurring). Otherwise, very handy.

    • Dax  

      Thanks, Jason. I’ll keep that in mind for the next version.

  7. Dax Roggio  

    New version 1.6 of the Time-lapse Calculator for iOS is now available in the Apple App Store: Time-lapse Calculator app iPhone iPad

    This version requires iOS 9 or higher and includes many new features:

    • Responsive layout for the newest devices, from iPhone SE through iPhone 6 Plus, and iPad mini through iPad Pro
    • 3D Touch Quick Actions: Go directly into Shutter Interval, Target Duration, or Event Duration mode
    • Copy to Clipboard with one touch (inputs and results)
    • Maximum event duration (recording time) increased to 999 days
    • Improved camera resolution selection
    • Tapping status bar scrolls back to top
    • “Rate this App” links directly to Reviews tab in App Store

  8. Mike  

    Thank you very much for this calculator but what means speed … x ?

    • Dax Roggio  

      That’s how many times faster playback will be compared to real time. In other words, 2x means playback will be twice as fast as the actual event. 3x would play 3 times as fast, etc.

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