Falling in love with Chicago: an overview of Hyperlapse


When I caught wind on Tuesday that Instagram was releasing a new video editing app, I was intrigued. As a person whose job security depends pretty heavily on Instagram, it only made sense that I try to be one of the first to check out what the app was all about. When I began playing around that day, I thought I would enjoy the app, but only in a technical sense. I can’t tell you how many “revolutionary” apps I’ve downloaded that failed to hold my attention past day one. I expected I would write a blog post about the high speed capabilities and the stabilization technology and go on with my day. I was wrong.

The Facts

Before I get ahead of myself, I will explain some of the basic details of the app. As stated in the Guardian, “Hyperlapse is a standalone app that shoots videos at a lower frame-rate than normal, but then plays the videos at a normal frame rate of at least 14 frames per second.”

By accelerating video footage between 2x and 12x, you are able to capture and share events over long periods of time, in the palm of your hand. You no longer need to set up a tripod and take thousands of photos to document a single time-lapse. Unlike shooting a normal video clip on your iPhone, the app uses the internal gyroscope and accelerometer for digital stabilization.

Currently, after over 48 hours of digital life, the app is sporting a rating of about 4.5 stars. To users who are experienced videographers, this app may not seem revolutionary, but to everyone else, this app makes it possible to create unprecedented video footage.

The Test Run

As a photographer who has recently taken a liking to the world of cinematography and videography, I had preconceived ideas about an app of like this. Sure, there are cream-of-the-crop video-snobs that most likely hate this app because it allows “normal” people to create something in minutes that usually takes them hours, days—heck, sometimes months. But pretentious opinions aside, Hyperlapse gave me the opportunity explore a place I didn’t realize I had forgotten.

Chicago, with a population of 2.75 million, is third most populated city in the U.S., and probably has one of the worst reputations. When people think of Chicago, many outsiders only see the negative, and I feel that, without intending to, the video I created with Hyperlapse while testing out the app gave a glimpse into the positive aspects of Chicago living. Walking around downtown while shooting, I became engulfed in crowds of happy tourists, and I thought to myself, “People travel across the ocean to visit my neighborhood.” Scattered among the tourists are the locals who are proud to live in a place where their children can run around and play and live. It is so easy to sit inside my apartment going through the daily motions without realizing that I live in one of the most visited cities in the world. There’s a reason people come here.

The Verdict

To put it simply, this app wowed me. 360 degree view of the Buckingham fountain? Done. Slow pan of the lakefront? You got it. The sunset disappearing behind the skyline? In minutes. With every video I captured, I was surprising even myself at how this technology could make me feel like a professional videographer. What was interesting in person became breathtaking on my iPhone screen, and the ease of it all was what kept my curiosity and interest in the app alive. Unlike all my other apps, I didn’t want to put my phone down.

In a world gone social, Hyperlapse is going to be a front-runner in the race to keep people connected. In my video, I chose to focus my 24 hours with the app on the beauty of the place that I call home. But who's to say that apps like this one can’t be used to raise social awareness. To leverage a business. To connect us with the rest of the world. The possibilities are out there, and people are going to find them.

Regardless of who you are, or what you do or where you reside, living in a world where you can tell a story with the tap of a button is a world worth living in. Hyperlapse is helping chart society’s journey to a more intriguing tomorrow, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Don’t believe me? Try it out for yourself.

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