Good time lapse videos capture cities, wildlife, and other long-running events in a way that normal photos and videos just can’t. With the iPhone 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro or 12 Pro Max, time lapses can look even better thanks to the night mode. But it is not exactly intuitive or even clear how to turn on the feature because unlike video mode, you cannot find a night mode icon.
Here’s the secret: it’s all in the stability of your iPhone. If iOS 14 detects that your iPhone is not moving in low light, it will go into night mode for the duration of your recording. That means you’ll need a tripod, stand, gimbal, or some other method to stabilize your iPhone for your time lapse. Without it, iOS will not activate Night mode due to too much movement resulting in a default time lapse.
You can see the difference in the GIFs below.
- Left GIF: When you start a time lapse in low light on a stable iPhone, Night mode is activated. If you then move it, you will see a lot of motion blur caused by the slow shutter speed of the Night mode. You can even see the image get brighter once you start the time lapse. And if you move the camera too long, iOS will turn off Night Mode in the middle of the time lapse.
- Correct GIF: When you start a time lapse in low light while holding your iPhone, that is to say, there is some motion going on, the motion seems smooth, and that̵
Unfortunately, these are the only indications that your time lapse is in night mode or not. Like Time-lapse mode itself, you can only control the exposure compensation value, so you have no control over the shutter speed, time-lapse speed, or frame rate.
This function continues to work all iPhone 12 cameras, including the selfie TrueDepth camera.
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