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Want To Save Your 2021 Memories? Make A Video-A-Day Time Capsule

Everything you need to know about making a daily clip to document your year.

If the past year wasn't thoroughly weird enough, the next few months — while we're waiting, fingers crossed, for the pandemic to subside — will likely be just as strange. A humble suggestion: Create a time capsule by taking a one-second video every day to document how you're spending this, uh, unique period in human history. Learning to crochet a giant sweater? Growing out your hair for a mohawked glow-up? Take the opportunity to record it for posterity — your future self will thank you.

Luckily, you don't have to hire a big-shot video producer to create a good hyperlapse. You can use editing apps to put videos and photos into one seamless production for your favorite social media platforms, or even make a 60-second creation on TikTok using its built-in tools.

Although compressing day-to-day shots of your new pastry-decorating hobby might seem like a lot of work, some say it's worth it for the memories. "Oftentimes a month of work is made into one 30-second video, so it can feel like a lot of pressure on one little video," says Shay Rose, a costume designer who goes by @crescentshay on TikTok and posts viral work-in-progress videos of her designs to her 2.9 million followers. "Finally being able to share it, to see how people react, how they feel about it — it’s really rewarding!"

Her pro tip: Edit, edit, edit. "The editing process is when I really reflect on what I make," adds Rose — 30 seconds is short, after all, so a lot has to be left out. Editing helps you focus on the elements that are necessary for the audience, not just the shots you like. Read on for everything else you need to know about creating a time capsule.

How To Create A Video Time Capsule On TikTok

If you want to use TikTok for a basic hyperlapse, take multiple photos or videos on your phone over time; you can use the app's timer or your phone's camera to help film yourself in the correct poses and positions. Once you've captured all the content you need, click the Plus sign on the bottom and hit Upload. You can then add multiple videos and edit the length, sound, order, and pacing in the in-app editor.

TikTok's Sound Sync tool allows your videos to line up to the beat of your chosen song. Popular options include the ubiquitous "You Got It" (technically, "Renee" by Sales) for hyperlapses, or a mashup of Harry Styles' "To Be So Lonely" and Justin Bieber's "Confident" for glow-up clips, but really any sound that strikes your fancy will work.

If you want to add a song or particular audio to your time-lapse that isn't already in the TikTok library, have it available as an MP3 on your phone. You can't upload your own tunes to TikTok directly (thanks to the app's crackdown on the use of copyrighted music that's not part of its library), but with free editing apps like InShot, you can upload original sounds alongside your videos, sync them like you would on TikTok, and make your 2021 adventures really pop. (Just be aware that if your uploaded sound violates a copyright, your video could get taken down, or your TikTok account suspended.)

The Best Apps To Edit A Video Time Capsule

Editing apps — preferably free ones — are your best friend when it comes to packing multiple photos and clips into one post on Instagram, Reels, or elsewhere. Rose uses InShot for her TikToks because she finds it has the most features and is easy to use: It has a range of audio and visual effects, lets users upload audio that isn't in the TikTok sound library, and combines multiple videos into one with ease. "I do all my editing on my phone, just for convenience," she says. Another free editing app, BeeCut, lets you combine many images into one short video — important if you want a 2021-through-the-weeks slideshow.

TikTok has so many transitions, but you might want more for your specific vision. Funimate has a lot of options and also allows you to make video loops, so you can go back over that winning free-throw on the driveway basketball court again and again.

If you have a more complicated idea — a hyperlapse involving a large number of photographs, perhaps, or a sophisticated video edit — external editing software like Adobe AfterEffects may be the way to go. It's $20.99 a month and may require some fiddling before you figure out how to use it comfortably, but it's a good tool for complex projects.

Rose says sharing a time-lapse feels "exciting and a little nerve-wracking." But the end result is awesome to watch, whether you're doing a photo-a-day of ordinary activities or recording yourself singing songs about your cat for the next six months.