Time-lapsing is a trick of technology to get rid of our limited perception of time. By recording shots and playing them back at a different speed, one can reach to the other timescales, namely, the slow ones for time-lapses and the fast ones for slow-motion.

Our input


we currently work (as of 30 December (2013)) on time-lapsing of the Plaza Mayor from our vantage point at Mayorcita.

  1. The Little People, our first timelapse of the Plaza Mayor at one image every second was so successful—although with cuts, irregularities and poor image resolution—that we uploaded it to the Internet, along with an interpretation of Alfonsina y el mar by Elena.
  2. 17 hours in the life of a Plaza Mayor and its faster version, our second timelapse of the Plaza Mayor, this time at a reduced repetition rate (one image every 10 seconds) but for 17 hours, with the sounds and rythms of Zyryab from Paco de Lucía and his sextet.
  3. Sunset over the Palacio Real de Madrid, zooming on the Palacio Real as the sun sets somewhat on the left of the captured frame. And Atardecer del Sabado Santo (with some flickering at the beginning).
  4. Ruido, a view of our azotea during a dinner at home (so we make frequent appearances).
  5. Procesiones del Viernes Santo 2014 en Madrid [1], with a bit of hyperlapse and real-time footage.
  6. De Madrid al cielo [2], featuring the eastern (our) tower of the Casa de la Panederia of the Plaza Mayor.
  7. Blooming, showing the Puerta de Gerona in the morning (when sunshades blossom) with 1s capture of 11303 frames, by Tina Time-lapse.
  8. Del cielo a Madrid, showing what happens when a star falls into the clouds.

Carlos Sanchez's input

Our friend Carlos is also exploring time-lapsing and once in a while releases some publicly. Notable are:

Over time-lapses of interest

Of Madrid

There are many mind-boggling timelapses of Madrid.

  • Luis Caldevilla is a reference in timelapsing, and released various outstanding works on Madrid (see this or this for instance).
  • Madrid. Timelapse. Advertising of the city that gives an overview of many important locations.
  • Un día en Gran Vía, a nice tribute to this major axis of the capital, with a nice match to the soundtrack.
  • Madrid desde el aire, a great compilation of various places, by Ryan San. The Author comments "Agradezco desde aqui a todos los porteros que no me han dejado subir a los respectivos áticos y comentarles que abran bien los ojos porque volveré."
  • Paco Castilla released timelapses of Madrid's big sky (see also here) with interesting patterns of creation/vanishing of clouds.
  • Bringing it to the next level: Hyperlapse through Madrid 2013 (pithy it's so short, but one can imagine the unbelievable amount of work). Note the dolly zoom on the Fallen Angel!
  • El cielo de Madrid, seis años en cinco minutos, on the "cuatro torres", featured in El País.

Technical bits

We work both with our Nikon D40 camera and our HTC smartphone.


We started with LapseIt (the nonfree Pro version), which however is buggy as it freezes or crashes completely if the repetition rate is too high.

There is a list here of other applications to try. To remedy the shortcoming of lapseit, I'll try them all in order until I find one that works well enough.

  1. 23 March (2014): TimeLapse!
  2. 30 March (2014): Tina Time-lapse

TimeLapse! looks good but does not save frames but exports the movie directly. We used it to capture the Sunset over the Palacio Real de Madrid.

D40 Photo camera

The D40 has no built-in feature, so we recourse to gphoto2~[3].

The following is a basic setting to capture (here every 30s):

gphoto2 --capture-image-and-download --filename "%Y-%m-%d..%H%M%S.jpg" --interval 30

Turning the frames into a movie

To assemble the frames into a movie (15 fps):

avconv -f image2 -r 15 -i imageSequence0000%04d.jpg -vcodec libx264 output.mp4

To add the timestamp on the image itself (say at position 10x760), use this script:


timestamp=`date -r $1 +%H:%M`
echo $timestamp;
convert -fill white -pointsize 20 -draw "text 10,760 '$timestamp'" $1 $1.jpg

and then, calling this, say, stampit:

for f in tostamp/*; do ./stampit "$f"; done

See also