Here’s how I did a 365-day time lapse with the iPhone and two simple shortcuts.

Today, I just completed a one-year Time Lapse. My tools? An iPhone and two shortcuts. With the greatest simplicity, I photograph the view from my house for 356 days and the result is a video of the changing of the seasons, from spring to spring.

Every day at 3 p.m.

Today, I just completed a one-year Time Lapse. My tools? An iPhone and two shortcuts.

Here’s how I did a 365-day time lapse with the iPhone and two simple shortcuts

You can find a detailed guide at @SamaGame. pic.twitter.com/I5sLTF7V05

– David Bernal Raspall (@ david_br8) May 19, 2020

Here’s how I did a 365-day time lapse with the iPhone and two simple shortcuts

Simplicity and ease have been key to carrying out the projectSince I wanted to avoid having tripods, dedicated cameras and other mounts around the house. So after several tests and trials, I established some simple rules and followed them for a whole year. The objective of the exercise was to photograph the view of my house every day at three in the afternoon, a favorable time for me and well lit.

The first challenge that was presented was storage of photographs. Of course I could just take the photos and save them in the app Pictures, but the idea of ​​having so many photos mixed together seemed messy, so I decided on a shortcut.

Here’s how I did a 365-day time lapse with the iPhone and two simple shortcuts

Thanks to the app Shortcuts I immediately knew I could do two things: save photos outside of Pictures easily and automatically edit the video without any intervention on my part. So I put get down to business and I created two shortcuts.

Shortcuts, my main tool

The first shortcut is very simple. Take a photo, rename it, and save it to iCloud. Let’s see in more detail how to create this shortcut:

Here’s how I did a 365-day time lapse with the iPhone and two simple shortcuts
  • We open the app Shortcuts on our iPhone (or iPad).
  • We touch To create a shortcut.
  • We are looking for Photo and we add To take a picture, our first step.
  • We are looking for Last name and we add Set the name.
  • We are looking for record and we add Save file.

We have the three basic steps of our shortcut, now let’s adjust the details:

  • We locate Rename the photo to and we touch in the section Last name below.
  • We touch Variables.
  • We choose Current date.
  • In the third step, that of savings, we deactivate Ask where to save.
  • In Destination path, behind / Shortcuts /, we write the name of a folder.
  • We are pressing following.
  • We define a name, for example TimeLapse Photoand click OK.

Shortcut created. We went one more step.

  • We open the app Records.
  • We enter the file Shortcuts in iCloud Drive.
  • We create a folder with the same name as the one we wrote in step 5 of the previous paragraph.

Ready. We can now start to photograph. To remind us to take photos every day at the same time, we have several resources, a reminder can be a good option, but the best option is automate Shortcuts. With this system we can receive a notification every day at a specific time and with a simple touch the system will launch the shortcut for us with the camera ready. Let’s do it:

Here’s how I did a 365-day time lapse with the iPhone and two simple shortcuts
  • We open the app Shortcuts.
  • We enter the tab Automate.
  • We have hit the « + ».
  • We choose Create personal automation.
  • We touch Time of the day.
  • We choose the precise time.
  • We are pressing following.
  • We touch Add action.
  • We are looking for Shortcuts and we add Run the shortcut.
  • We touch Shortcut, which appears in blue on a gray background.
  • We select our shortcut TimeLapse Photo.
  • We are pressing following.
  • We are pressing Okay.

And do I photograph like that?

The short answer is yes. Along has a few recommendations. One of the least enjoyable things about time lapse videos is shaky video. It goes beyond everyone’s aesthetic taste, he can get giddy to see it. For this reason, photographs in a time lapse must be cropped, straightened, etc. This, yes, with some recommendations we can avoid a lot of post-production work:

  • Let’s go down always in the same place Take the picture. If it’s at home, you can even count the tiles or use a specific reference.
  • Let’s put the camera more or less at the same height, for example around neck height and a few inches away from us.
  • Let’s focus and frame all the photos in the same way. It may sound complex, but it is simple. Once we have followed the previous two steps take two points as a reference. The first one we will use to determine if we are focusing up or down, the second for the right or the left. In my case, for example, there was a floor lamp, the top edge of which still allowed a millimeter to be seen at the bottom of the photo. In addition, he also used the door of a specific house which still only allowed a millimeter to be seen on the far right of the photograph.

Through these steps, we will get the photos almost ready to produce the video without having to make any other adjustments. Every day when we decided, simply we run the shortcut and take the picture, we examine it, we repeat it if necessary or we touch record consider it good.

Postproduction, the other shortcut

After taking all the photos we consider appropriate, we will move on to post-production. I mean, for create a GIF or video with everyone. Again, we’ll do this with a shortcut. We will create it like this:

Here’s how I did a 365-day time lapse with the iPhone and two simple shortcuts
  • We open the app Shortcuts on our iPhone (or iPad).
  • We touch To create a shortcut.
  • We are looking for Archiver and we add Recover File.
  • We are looking for Filtered and we add Filter files.
  • We are looking for GIF and we add Create GIF.
  • We are looking for View and we add Quick overview.

As before, we will adjust some details:

  • In the action of Recover Files we will activate Select multiple.
  • In the action of Filter files we will touch sort by and we will choose Creation date.
  • In the GIF converting action, we will discuss Show more et en Seconds per photo we will write 0.1. In Width, we will write 2000.

According to my tests, a speed of 0.1 is most suitable, although we can test with 0.2, in which the video will go at half the speed, or other values. Once finished, and as with the previous shortcut, we will touch following, we will write a name then Okay.

To create our GIF, just run the shortcut, in the file selector find our photo file and select all files. When we see the GIF on the screen, we can use the share menu to send it or hang it on our social networks.

How to create our first iOS shortcut step by step

Here’s how I did a 365-day time lapse with the iPhone and two simple shortcuts

The steps might seem a bit complex, but they’re really straightforward, especially if we know something about the Shortcuts app, which we saw an introduction to a few weeks ago. Once the habit of running the shortcut and photographing has been created, the rest is very simple. Ideas? A daily photo of a factory or a building under construction can give very interesting results.