There are a ton of videos on YouTube where people have high-speed time-lapse videos of themselves driving e.g. from like NYC to LA. I am not sure, what they are using?

Because the camera stays on overnight/when the vehicle is off. Also, the quality of the images is really good. Do you know how to achieve this? Besides, where do you find a memory card which can store 40-50 hours worth of video without any interruption?

  • Be careful of security if you plan to leave a camera in a car unattended
    – Rob
    May 2, 2012 at 6:49

5 Answers 5


My suggestion is a little bit involved, but in my experience in this field of photography is the way to go.

You need:

  1. A net book with a good battery life (get an SSD hard disk so the battery life is further improved) (mine lasts for 7 hours) you could get even more if you setup the power options and disable the screen
  2. A HD web cam
  3. A copy of http://www.nimisis.com/projects/flix.php
  4. A DC to AC car charger (charge in the day when the car is running)
  5. Plan the trip - if you want to get through the night and into the morning and sun rise - you need to drive into the night and then wake up before the power on the net book goes and drive through the sun rise
  6. Some sort camouflage to hide the cam and net book when the car is unattended (don't over heat the net book)

I know that’s a lot of kit for a time lapse but its all reusable and solves several of your problems

  • Space - not an issue with a hard drive really
  • Battery life - a laptop battery life far out guns a camera

This is one of the best guides on the net for time lapses.

If your interested What settings should I use for a timelapse of my wedding? is a time lapse I did of my wedding which was well over 15 hours of coverage

Good luck!


If you have an iOS or Android smartphone or tablet, then there are many apps that make these videos. Some apps generate a video that can go straight to youtube, while others leave the sequence of pictures that you then assemble into a movie using video tools on your PC. I would recommend the latter, as that allows you to work with the original high resolution stills, color correct them, add music, titles, etc.

If you have a Canon digital still camera you may want to check if your model supports either CHDK (for point & shoots) or Magic Lantern (for DSLRs). These are pretty cool hacks that install additional functions in your camera, and both can do time lapse sequences.

If you want to do a very long sequence you may need to find a way to keep your camera connected to power, or else you will be limited by battery life.

  • +1 for the Magic Lantern which allow you to have the intervalometer into the camera...
    – floqui
    May 2, 2012 at 6:34

We use a Canon PowerShot D10 photo camera with CHDK (it is a firmware enhancement that operates on a number of Canon Cameras ) and then stich images into video with TimeLapse Tool.

So you can use any Canon camera from CHDK list.

  1. Download and install CHDK for your camera.
  2. Execute intervalometer script.
  3. Install TimeLapse Tool and create movie from images.

Be careful when using CHDK since it may involve risks for your equipment.


You can get one of these: Brinno Time Lapse Camera. On a set of batteries it will take 1 frame per minute for 10 days. At 1 frame every 10 seconds it would go for about 72 hours.

Pretty good quality, waterproof and low cost if it gets stolen.

  • +1 That looks like a great pit of kit - Shame the max mem size is 8 gb and the resolution is not full HD
    – Rob
    May 2, 2012 at 11:03
  • brinno.com/html/TLC200.html - The TLC200 takes an SD card - but is less durable and the same resolution
    – Rob
    May 2, 2012 at 11:09

Oh this is not a real video actually, they shoot lots of photos and use software like Quick Time to create this video from these images. The used gear can be any camera, 2 batteries so they can shoot using one and charge the other in the same time, maybe 3 or 4 memory cards and Timer Intervalometer like this one which is the master piece for this technique. It's a shutter trigger that you connect to your camera and set it to take a photo each 1 second or 2 seconds or whatever you want for certain amount of time (an hour or 2 hours up to almost 100 hours I believe). Then you take these images and use a software that creates a time-lapse video (You can use Quick Time for Apple and Windows, I'm not sure what you should use on linux perhaps someone else can help here)

You can watch a video on how to create this on KelbyTraining website. Search the page for Shooting Time-Lapse Photography

  • 2
    You can use ffmpeg on Linux. On Windows and OS X as well, actually.
    – Miguel
    May 2, 2012 at 4:33

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