How to make a webcam timelapse


Nowadays timelapses are used everywhere. No matter if in ads or cinema movies.
They let you forget the time and let you see the world’s evolution a tiny bit faster as normally.

You can make Timelapses with DSLRs, Video cameras, normal cameras, smartphones and also with Webcams. (Please don’t use any cheap or crappy webcams, because the quality will be very bad. Use a Microsoft LifeCam or a new Logitech HD webcam.)

But the question was: HOW?
In this post you will learn how to make a timelapse with a computer.

To make a timelapse with a webcam you of course need a laptop or another USB recording device. I recommend using a laptop with a long battery life. (Lenova and Apple devices have a good battery)

Now of course you could record the whole journey as a video file, but the file would be very big or the quality very bad. We don’t want that as result. We need a program, witch is able to take pictures in an interval at a good quality.

Mac OSX:

It’s much easier on Mac, than on PC. You just have to install a self explaining app. It’s called “Webcam Timelapse”.
You can find it on the app store or here.



For Windows there are many programs. Some are free and some cost.
The best free program in my opinion is chronolapse. It’s a very small and good program. The only contra point is, that there isn’t a live preview. If you want to have that option, you can buy (or just use the 30 day trail) “Debut Video Capture Software” made by NCH. It’s only $39,95/€29,59. You can purchase it here.
But here I’m going to show you, how to use Chronolapse.

First you have to install the program. You can download the program here. I took the 1.0.7 version and it works fine for me.
Once you have extracted the .zip file, you have to run the application. Don’t worry about the rest.

The home screen should look like this:







To make a webcam recording simply connect your webcam to the computer and check the checkbox “Webcam”.
Set the interval time in seconds in the “Time Between Captures” box and set the amount of pictures in the “Frames” box.

Now you still have to select the output folder. To do that, press the “Configure” button next to the webcam checkbox. There will pop up a windows, that says something about streaming. You don’t have to change anything, except the output size. Just select your format. (1920 x 1080 = Full HD, 1280 x 720 = HD, …)
I usually take 1080 x 1920 for the best quality.

Now press OK and another window will pop up. Here you can test the webcam and say, if it should show a timestamp on final image. You can’t remove the timestamp anymore, when the recording has started. So I recommend unchecking the “Show Timestamp” box. Next you can set a prefix. This is optional.
Now select the output folder and set the file format. I use .PNG, because it’s quality is the best. For very long recordings (24h+) I wouldn’t use is, because your hard drive would fill up very fast.

Now just press OK and you’re ready to go.

To start the capture, press the “Start Capture” button. We will discover later how to link the pictures to a video.


Click here to learn how to convert the images to a movie.


Tim is the founder and owner of He likes to make 3D animations with Blender, edit and make pictures with PhotoShop and of course likes to write Blog post's.

Posted in Photography/Videocreation, Timelapses
33 comments on “How to make a webcam timelapse
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