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[Tutorials] MIUI Photography Classroom Lesson 5: Make a Timelapse video with your Smartphone

2014-09-09 23:27:35
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This post was edited by allakazoo at 21:06, Sep-14-2014

Making a Timelapse video
with your Smartphone

Yes, it is time for another installment of MIUI Photography Classroom! What we want to talk about today is, How to make a Timelapse Video using your Xiaomi Smartphone. I have decided to make my timelapse video using the Redmi Note. However, before we proceed, let's talk about what we need to do/prepare to make a timelapse.

Equipment needed
  • Redmi Note (smartphone*)
  • Tripod
  • Mobile phone bracket (see photo)

* I need to point out, that on our Xiaomi phones, there is a timelapse function that allows us to take photos at regular intervals and stitch them into a video directly (idiot proof). I'm no expert in phones, so I'm not sure if it is a feature on other phones. But hey! This is a MIUI forum, so I'm assuming most of us here are Xiaomi phone users?

Some things to think about
Although a timelapse typically lasts a few seconds, maybe a minute or two, the time you need to prepare and then execute is typically quite long. For example, a video is typically 30fps. So, you need 30 photos to make 1 second of video. Now, if the timelapse video setting requires a photo every 3 seconds, then you need 90 seconds to make a 1 second video. Now that you have an idea how tedious making a timelapse video is, you will appreciate it better.

The next thing you need to consider before starting to make a timelapse is power. If the phone needs to be on video camera mode for two hours, you better make sure you have enough battery power. I can guaranteed you that with the screen on for the next two hours, the battery drain will be severe. Don't say I never warn you...

Having said that, I will also make sure that the phone's setting for Display - Sleep is on Never sleep. I know, it will continue to capture frames even if the screen goes to sleep. But somehow, I just feel more secure when I can monitor the video capture process. Anyway, I usually make sure I have more than 50% charge on my phone. If not, I'll charge it before I begin.

Is that all? Nope. Don't forget that this is a phone you are using. Is the phone you are going to use, your primary phone? Will someone call you midway thru the video session? Now that's definitely gonna mess up your video for sure. So, do remember to turn ON Aeroplane mode before you start!

Ok, you are almost ready to start shooting. I have on a few occasions, been slightly irriated, when the video camera hunts for focus. Turns out, the Focus mode on the video camera is at CAF (Continuous Auto Focus). So, before you begin, go into settings for the Video Camera and change the Focus mode to Tap. This will ensure that the focus is fixed and will not change during the entire session. But if your timelapse is of a flower blooming and you need to go close up, then CAF is a better bet. Try it out and give your comments here.

Post editing
So, the video is done and you are ready to show the world your work. What's next? To make your video more appealing, you need to edit the video you have a little.  

Anyway, the file my Redmi Note outputs, is a video file. As it is a timelapse, there's no sound recorded. Only photos stitched together. But, to make it nicer and more appealing to others, transfer the file to your computer and use an video editing tool to add music and stuff like titles, captions, credits, etc. I'm a Windows user, so most of the time, I use what's freely available. The Windows Live Movie maker is perfect for what I need.  

All said and done, the following is a typical product of what I take. Scenery timelapse. I'm planning a sunset or sunrise timelapse soon. I've also been very impressed with flower timelapse videos. Will definitely do one too. :) I'm still feeling around and learning. So do give me some pointers if you have any to share. Thank you!

Since this article was published, many have commented that they would like to do the same on the Mi 3. So having updated my Mi 3 this evening, I decided to make a timelapse using the Mi3. I'm no longer running the MIUI 6 Beta ROM, having moved to the MIUI 6 Dev ROM. The version I'm running is 4.9.14. So here goes.

First, you need to make some settings on your Mi 3.

In the video camera, Slide to the right for Options and tap on Fast-motion. Go back to the Video camera, and tap on the gear at the top for Settings. Select your Time lapse interval. OK! You are all set and ready.

Here's what I did just now after dinner. Enjoy!

Join MIUI Photography Classroom to win Mi Bunnies!

Reply to this thread with a Timelapse Video made by you by Sept 17, 2014. We will select one best video to give out a gift package.

Prizes include 5 Mi Bunnies World Cup Version + Xiaomi Camera Lens + Mi Portable WiFi + Mi Key + Xiaomi T-Shirt.

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Find more MIUI Photography Classroom lessons

2014-09-09 23:27:35
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This post was edited by Kellaw at 10:17, Sep-17-2014


One Night In Penang

On the Move

On the Move 2 (by popular demand and this morning it was raining thus gone is my plan for Penang Hill sunrise timelapse)
2014-09-10 15:19:40

Malaysia MIUI Fans Facebook
Join Here!
2014-09-10 15:25:36
wowww amazing post{:m006:}
2014-09-10 15:25:43
This is definitely cool!!
2014-09-10 15:25:44
Good post...........
2014-09-10 15:36:42
Thank you very much for your preciuos informations, this is really an helpful thread!
2014-09-10 16:08:16
This post was edited by Linkbustr at 17:41, Sep-15-2014

Taken from mi3 ........clouds Timelapse

Another of night
2014-09-10 16:22:20
nice tutorial.  thanks
2014-09-10 16:44:08

Rookie Bunny

443925683 | from mobile


now I know how to timelapse. usually using camera only
2014-09-10 16:47:06
Very good article ... I am also learning ... Recently I have gone for picnic and recorded two videos ....which I am attaching here


2014-09-10 17:22:38
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