Photo vs Video Time-lapse

Most of the Action Cameras offer two modes of shooting time-lapses: Photo and Video Time-lapse.

In this blogpost I want to show you the advantages and disadvantages of each method. I also plan two more time-lapse tutorials on:

  • Editing time-lapses
  • Tipps & Tricks for time-lapse shootings

If you have more suggestions, please add them in the comment section below!


Video Time Lapse

Video time-lapse is the feature where the camera automatically creates a video file of your time-lapse. And that is the biggest advantage of this method. In most cases you just have to set the interval and start the camera. For the Xiaomi Yi Action Camera you can also set an end time in the app.

So why is there even another mode?

The settings – actually the results – for video time-lapses are often limited. If possible you can select the framerate for your video and the resolution is limited to the video resolutions. For most cameras you’ll end up with a max. 1080p video.
You also have less options in post production, so let’s take a look at photo time-lapses:


Photo Time Lapse

With photo time-lapses not a video file is created but several individual photos. When you want a video as result, you have to combine them and render a video in post production. More on that later.

In photo mode (and when set) the camera uses the highest possible resolution. The following picture shows a photo taken during a photo time-lapse where the red square marks HD resolution:

Photo taken during a time-lapse with Xiaomi Yi Action Camera

Photo taken during a time-lapse with Xiaomi Yi Action Camera


This means you have the possibility to reframe your video afterwards and still get 1080p HD resolution. Of course you can also zoom out to get the whole picture into your video frame. But there is more, now the white square marks 4K resolution:

Photo taken during a time-lapse with Xiaomi Yi Action Camera

Photo taken during a time-lapse with Xiaomi Yi Action Camera


The picture taken is even larger than 4K resolution, so you still have some space around to reframe your 4K video! This technique offers you even more possibilities as you can do zooms & pans during your time-lapse to add additional movement.

As I mentioned before the disadvantage is that you won’t get a video out of the camera, but several photos. You have to combine the individual photos into a video. There is plenty of software available to do so. In my next blogpost I’ll show you some software options – not only to combine the photos – but also to edit the individual photos as a batch. Stay tuned!



If you want the latest action camera news right to your inbox, I’d be happy if you subscribe to my newsletter:

Share this post:
Related Posts

YI Technology just released a new Action Camera: YI Discovery which seems to be their new low price...

YI is about to announce an new drone which is capable of 4K recording and will take 13 MP photos.

Why do action cameras with micro USB port not allow the use of an external microphone?