The Time Warp Scan Filter Is the Newest TikTok Sensation

TikTok’s Time Warp Scan filter freezes time and takes a snapshot as a scan line passes by, and people are using it in a bunch of very clever ways.

Abi Travis - Author

Sep. 25 2020, Updated 3:05 p.m. ET

time warp scan filter tiktok
Source: TikTok

It’s honestly pretty difficult to pick our favorite part about TikTok, but suffice it to say that the popular video-sharing app truly has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for parenting advice, dance moves, or prank ideas, TikTok is definitely a one-stop-shop for your entertainment needs. And don’t forget about the filters! TikTok’s various filters make it possible to create all kinds of awesome videos, and the ways people use them is inspiring.

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One of TikTok’s favorite filters right now is the Time Warp Scan filter. You may remember back when the Time Warp filter was a thing — this new filter takes the Time Warp effect and adds another layer that makes it even better. Here’s how to get the filter, plus a look at some ways people are using it.

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Here’s how to use the Time Warp Scan filter on TikTok.

As with most TikTok filters, it can be a little tricky to find the Time Warp Scan filter among the many TikTok effects (seriously, when is TikTok going to make it easier to search through all of those effects?!). Luckily, you can use a little trick to make it much easier than scrolling through the “Trending” effects and trying to guess which icon applies to Time Warp Scan filter. Just search the #timewarpscan hashtag on TikTok, then tap the effect at the bottom of the video.

The Time Warp Scan filter works by adding a scan line that moves either from the top to the bottom of your screen or from left to right. Basically, the filter takes a snapshot as the line moves by, sort of like taking a panoramic photo with your phone camera. And just like the many ways that panoramic photos can go wrong (or right!), the opportunities to use this filter are pretty much endless.

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Unfortunately for TikTok users in the U.S., the Time Warp Scan filter is not available to them at this time. We know. Total bummer! But that doesn’t stop you from enjoying the many hilarious videos that people are making with the effect. 

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People are using the Time Warp Scan filter in many clever ways.

Since the video freezes after the scan line passes by it, you can use the filter to create all kinds of clever and hilarious effects. For instance, you can use the filter to make it look as though something is floating in midair between your hands. To do this, simply select the top-to-bottom scan line and then hold something in your bottom hand. Once the scan line passes your (empty) top hand, transfer the object to your top hand. The ending result is a magically floating object!

People are also using the effect to make silly faces. Basically, you just move your face around a bunch as the scan line goes by and see what the result is. Or, you can use the effect to “stretch” various body parts. Like this one, where the TikTok user turns into a horse (sort of):

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One final use for the Time Warp Scan filter is to test whether you’d be a good surgeon. In order to do this, use the top-to-bottom scan line and hold your hand out, trying to keep it as steady as possible. The more stable your hand, the less distorted it will appear after the scan line goes by.

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There’s essentially no limit to the many creative ways people are using this particular filter. In fact, it seems like the only limitation is on which countries have the filter available! We’re definitely hoping it gets added to the U.S. version of TikTok soon, but in the meantime, there are plenty of videos to keep us entertained.

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