See a Partially Transparent Previous Frame While Shooting the Current Frame


New time-lapser
I am looking for an iPhone camera app, or potentially a combination of apps which would allow me to take a picture while seeing a partly transparent previous frame superimposed on the preview of the current shot in the viewfinder/screen.

This feature would seem more useful in stop motion animation, which is actually similar to the time lapse I want to do.

In a nutshell, I want to take one picture per day using a cellphone from a specific place using a fixed bracket to ensure that I am taking the shot form the same place each day. Since each picture will have lots of plants in it, there is opportunity for wind, debris or other variables to be present from day to day. By being in control of exactly when the shot is taken, I can wait until the wind passes, wait until the light is the same after a cloud finishes going by, actually physically adjust a twig or branch to put it right if some debris has knocked it out of place.

The objective is to capture *perminant* changes from day to day, not the transient once. I want to capture growth of plants, erosion of soil or lack thereof, the changing of stream banks, the blooming of flowers, the growth of leaves and many of the other delightful details.

If you have another software which would allow me to easily superimpose the picture I just took over the one from yesterday or the day before, that would also be a workable option if it does not take too long to use with some practice.


Hi Justin
I have not used smartphones too much for this kind of photography and I do not know of any app that have this feature. I have used QDSLR Dashboard on my tablet connected to my camera for a lot of various timelapses. Perhaps try and check out this app if you havn't.
Allthough I have used my DSLR to create seasonal change timelapses over 6 months to 1 full year.
I used the grid display in my camera LCD to allign the frame each time I visited the location.
My DSLR has the function to show the grid when images are played back as well on the Live View function. Thereby its quite easy to allign the frame each time.
If more interested, you could check out
Perhaps this could help you somehow


New time-lapser
If more interested, you could check out
Perhaps this could help you somehow
I have a question for you on how you aligned the shots. Two questions actually:

1. How did you align the shots from the previous season with the current season when you were in the field? For example, in the Summer, you took timelapses at the tree. Later in the Autumn, you set up the tripod directly over the same pipe where you had placed the camera tripod the previous Summer, and adjusted the camera to the same height. When you were aiming the camera at the tree, did you alternate taking pictures, comparing with last season's pictures and making adjustments to the camera's orientation until they matched as nearly as possible? This question is important for me, because for my process I must do this alignment every day. I have built a bracket that allows me to align my phone correctly. It is almost 100% working, except that I am having troulbe with one axis. I believe I'll have to modify the bracket so that I can reliably get the same orientation every time.

2. Is there any alignment you do in postprocessing? If so do you do this manually in lightroom?

I am very interested in these techniques, because they are fundamental. I am planning to do a practice run of 90 days. I will process the pictures into a timelapse as a proof of concept. If this works then I can apply the same techniques to the project I want to do to watch the effects of native grasses on habitat and wilderness restoration.
Last edited:


New time-lapser
Search for "onion skin". This app looks promising:
But I did not try it!
This does *exactly* what I was asking for and also allows you to adjust the transparency on the previous frame against the current camera preview.. There is another feature where you put in two photos, a before and after, into a viewer vertically divided by default. You can slide the vertical partition left and right to compare the differences in the photo taken before and after.

The only problem is that it cannot rotate the transparent onion-skinned photo to do landscape. There are some other useful pictures, and you can play several pictures to see what an animation might look like. It does not create a video and does allow you to organize the pictures taken in the app's storage area as files, or you can elect instead to take pictures directly to the Photos app.

Good tip!


New time-lapser
What I learned through experimentation today is that the onionskin feature was not as needed as I thought it would be. With a special bracket I made of some wood scraps, I'm able to place the iPhone SE in the same position with some precision. Also I found an app called ProShot which not only allows saving as RAW and adjustment of ISO, shutter speed, white balance and focus; but it also allows saving these settings as a preset so that I can use exactly the same settings with successive shots. I cannot attach pictures of all this as the forum says they are too large.

about us

Time Lapse Network is the Worldwide community dedicated to time-lapse photography.

Learn the technique, share your experiences and master it watching the best videos for free!

© 2013-18 Time Lapse Network - Created by Marco Famà

submit your video

Follow every single step in this tutorial and get your video straight to the home-page