Make Time Lapse Videos on the iPhone with Motion Pics

I’ve always been a huge fan of time lapse photography. I recently came across a phenomenal time lapse video called Asylum by District 7 Media and got inspired to experiment with time lapse on my own. I am researching options for a good remote for my DSLR with the timed interval function (if you recommend one, please leave a comment) but in the meantime I was looking for a time lapse app for my iPhone and iPad to make quick videos and decided to go with Motion Pics by Cosmonaut Software.

Motion Pics is very easy to use since it automatically calculates the settings based on the set number of frames, frame interval and playback frame rate, but a little knowledge on the fundamentals of time lapse photography is very helpful. Once the settings have been made, just hit record and Motion Pics will take the photos in the intervals specified. When it’s done the video will be automatically exported to the Camera Roll.

For an initial experiment with Motion Pics, I made 2 ice cubes from water I dyed red and blue with food coloring and placed them in a glass full of cooking oil. For some reason I was obsessed with the effects of mixing oil and water when I was a kid and memory popped in my head when I was trying to think of something to record.

I take my son on bike rides around the neighborhood almost every day and using my iPhone tripod mount, I can attach my iPhone to the handlebar of my bike to make time lapse videos of our rides. It’s really cool to see our entire hour to hour and a half ride condensed down to a couple of minutes (Warning: if you’re prone to motion sickness, I recommend that you skip this video).

Finally, I wanted to get some smooth panning shots and I saw that modifying kitchen timers was what the cool kids who dabble in time lapse were doing. I picked up a cheap kitchen timer and some hardware and made a very ugly but functional 360 degree panning mount for my iPhone. This was the test video I made using the kitchen timer mount.

Eventually, I came across the Camalapse from which is essentially the same thing except much  more ascetically pleasing.

I have several more time lapse videos that I’ll be sharing soon. If you have any time lapse videos that you made with Motion Pics, or any other iPhone app, or any time lapse videos at all, leave a comment with the link, I’d love to check them out.


3D Pan and Zoom Effect

The other day I was watching a documentary on The History Channel about a conspiracy theory surrounding the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Throughout the documentary they would show old photos and as they panned across or zoomed into them, it created the great 3D effect where the subject seemed move separately from the background of the photo. I thought it was really cool and since I fancy myself as an occasional creator of picture slideshows, I wanted to learn this method.

My initial thought was to do a Google search for “how do you do that thing to a photo where the background moves separately from the foreground,” but decided to go with “videography picture pan zoom 3D effect.” The actual terms I’ve been able to find for this particular effect are the 3D scan and pan effect, the 3D zoom effect and the 3D Ken Burns effect (if you know the official name of this effect, please leave a comment). A few scrolls and a couple clicks later I came across an amazing video tutorial for creating Virutal 3D Photos at

Here is a photo I took of the steeple at St. Raphael Catholic Church in my hometown of Springfield, Ohio that I used to experiment with:

Steeple of St. Raphael Catholic Church in Springfield, Ohio

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Movie Mount for the iPad 2

The iPad 2’s HD video capabilities and gorgeous display make it a great all-in-one video capturing and editing device. Unfortunately, I find using the iPad to record video very awkward because of it’s size so I actually never use it for that purpose. I do a lot of video recording of my son and of various scenes for making cinemagraphs and rely solely on my iPhone for capturing video. Mobile software company, Makayama, has developed a product that might allow me to starting using my iPad for making movies. The Movie Mount is an accessory that allows you to mount an iPad 2 to a tripod for smooth and stable video capture. Check out the video above to see all of the great features of the Movie Mount, which includes the ability to use lenses and a directional microphone. If you are the proud owner of a Movie Mount, please let me know what you think of it.


How to Make a Tripod Mount for the iPhone

Making cinemagraphs has become my new favorite thing to do. I work in the downtown area of Springfield, Ohio where there’s a lot of activity and scenes for me to record and turn into cinemagraphs. I was in the market for a tripod mount for my iPhone 4 so I could leave a tripod in my car in case I was in the mood to capture some video at lunch or after work. There were several on ebay and Amazon but I wanted one STAT to record some live music at the City Hall plaza. Luckily, I had some parts left over from a kitchen renovation that I used to make a simple tripod mount and I went to Lowes for the rest of the material I needed.


The parts to make your own iPhone Tripod Mount

  • One 1.5 inch corner bracket with quarter inch holes
  • One 3 inch T bracket with quarter inch holes
  • One quarter inch machine screw, the one I used was a half inch long
  • Two quarter inch wingnuts

Finally, I used an old Incase Snap Case as the housing and Advanced Formula Krazy Glue. Depending on the type of case you use will depend on the type of adhesive. The Incase Snap Case is made of hard plastic so the Krazy Glue bonded the case to the metal bracket perfectly. Also, if you don’t have a spare case and need to purchase one for this purpose, I recommend going to somewhere like Walmart or Marshalls where they typically have inexpensive cases.

Now on to the construction: Read more


Cinemagraphs – Still Photographs That Move

Watch as I perform feats of magic with this picture of a Jack of Spade…
Playing Card Animated GIF

The awesome folks at posted a tutorial on creating your own Cinemagraphs like the one shown above. Cinemagraphs are essentially animated GIF’s minus the nineties flair. The idea is to have a still photo with minor elements of motion. I recently purchased my first my first DSLR camera (a Nikon D3100 which I absolutely love) a couple of weeks ago and came across this tutorial when I was trying to find out what apeture was.

Cinemagraphs are a lot of fun to make. All you need is a video recording device, a tripod, video editing software (maybe), Adobe Photoshop (I use CS3), some imagination and a little time to kill. Once you have these things, just follow the steps listed here and you’re ready to get your GIF on.

Here are a couple I made in my hometown of Springfield, Ohio:

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