How To Make a 360° Time Lapse

Have you ever watched a sunset and thought, I wish mother nature would hurry it up, I can’t look away, but I’ve got things to do. That’s when you need to do some time lapse photography. But that’s not where it ends.

Have you ever tried to take in a beautiful vista and thought, this would be even BETTER if I could spin my head 360°, like an owl?

Same here.

That’s why we’ve put together a few quick notes on how to reach your spherical time lapse dreams. Learn how to take in a scene at super speed … with a twist.

Say there, what is a time lapse?

A time lapse is the combination of many photos, taken over an extended period of time. These photos are combined into one easy-to-watch video that plays back super warp speed fast.

Time lapses allow the viewer to take in a huge span of time, in a blink.

I’m in. Now, what should I take a time lapse of?

Some of the best subjects for time lapses include weather, traffic, large groups of people, plants in bloom, concerts, dancing, lots of dancing  really anything that shows movement or change over time.

Here’s a moving time lapse of the city of Madison shared with us by photographer This Means War. (Keep reading to see how to make yours spin, too!)

How can I make one with my phone?

The process for making a time lapse used to require measuring out intervals and taking perfectly timed photos to ensure you got a final product with the right effect.

But those days are IN THE PAST  now it’s simple to capture them right on your phone.

Most smartphone cameras have a time lapse setting, which takes the photos and combines them into a video with no effort from you except for a start or stop.

If you want to take a bit more control over your video’s length and the like … there’s an app for that  many time lapse-specific apps actually.

Our favorite is Hyperlapse. Hyperlapse lets you take more control of that final playback speed but still does all the hard work.

Now tell us more about making ours 360° Spinners

With all 360° time lapses, you’ll want to use the built-in time lapse or a time lapse app, so you can set it to spinnin’ and let the camera take over.


Camalapse  The simplest way to get a full 360° time lapse is with the Camalapse Mobile. It’s a device for your phone that is made for making circular cinema magic.

You can make circular time lapses for either 90 degrees (takes 15 minutes), 180 degrees (takes 30 minutes) or the full 360 (takes a full hour!).

You just open your time lapse app, pop in your phone, wind the Camalapse back to how much of a circle you’d like it to cover and let it run.

We found it was really challenging to not touch your phone for an entire hour, so maybe have some sudoku ready to keep you busy while you wait.

Lazy Susan  The second way to make a 360° time lapse would be with something like a lazy susan. Just place your phone on a tripod and send it spinning.

Office Chair  Don’t have a lazy susan? Try an office chair for a different perspective. We know you’re looking for something fun to do at your desk today, so just hold your phone and use your feet to slowly spin you around.

Taking It Further