Review: TLC200 simplifies time-lapse videos

Mar 29, 2013 by Jim Rossman
Review: TLC200 simplifies time-lapse videos

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." Or so says Ferris Bueller. If you'd like to keep track of life and play it back at your leisure, you're probably a fan of time-lapse videos.

We've all seen time lapses - those videos where an entire day is condensed into a three-minute video.

Until recently it was not cheap or easy to shoot a good time-lapse video. Brinno is aiming to change that with the TLC200 Time Lapse camera that makes shooting those cool videos dead simple.

The TLC200 is a self-contained camera, a bit smaller than a can of soda. It runs on four AA batteries or from a cable and stores its videos on an .

The resulting videos are high-def () and look really professional.

After you put the batteries in and power it up, the first thing you'll need to do is set the interval of the time lapse - ranging from a shot every second to a shot every 24 hours.

Then you set the frames-per-second of the resulting video file. Smooth video is 30 frames-per-second, but the videos will be shorter. A 10-fps video is choppier but plays longer. You can play with the different choices to see what you like.

Warning: There are a bunch of numbers in this section.

The AA batteries can shoot 300,000 frames before they need changing.

Using a five-second shot interval, the TLC200 can shoot for 17 full days on a fresh set of batteries, although you'll fill up your long before you run out of power.

The TLC200 ships with a 2- SD card, but it can handle a 32-gigabyte card.

At a five-second shot interval, the of a 32-gigabyte card is just over 150 hours (six days) of video.

The avi video files have a maximum size of 20,480 frames, so you won't get one six-day-long video. At a five-second interval you can get just over 28 hours of video in a single file. Playing back that 28 hours of video at 30 fps, you'll get to watch a time lapse that lasts just over an hour.

That's just an example. Nobody wants to watch an hour-long time lapse.

The TLC200 is a fun gadget to play with, and you'll really enjoy trying different shot intervals and playback rates until you find the combination you like. All it takes is time.

The TLC200 has a 35 mm-equivalent lens (wide angle, but not crazy wide). It can shoot at resolutions of 1280x720 or 640x480. The minimum focus distance is 29 inches. There is a rear 1.44-inch LCD screen to frame your shots. The LCD turns off after the capture starts.

There are some pretty cool optional accessories including weatherproof housing ($45), a wide-angle lens ($79), a motion-activated shutter sensor ($49) and a stop-motion shutter line adapter ($20).

The shutter line adapter turns the TLC200 into a stop-motion camera, so you can shoot your own animated videos. I tested the shutter line adapter, and it was easy to create cool-looking animations.

I was hoping to shoot a nice time lapse of clouds zooming by while I was off on vacation last week, but there wasn't a cloud in the sky all week. Maybe next week will be better.


-Pros: Pretty limited in what it can do - time-lapse and stop-motion videos, but makes it so simple anyone can do it.

-Cons: Wish the wide-angle lens was included. Rear LCD is pretty low resolution.

-Bottom line: This is one of the more fun gadgets I've played with in a while. I just need to find more interesting subjects.

-Price: about $180 on

-On the Web:

Explore further: Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Canon Introduces New PowerShot Superzoom

May 08, 2007

You'd think 23 models of PowerShots would be enough. But today, Canon announced two more, including the S5 IS, a 12X, 8MP superzoom with optical image stabilization and a hot shoe.

Gadget Watch: Samsung lens flips from 2-D to 3-D

Jan 07, 2013

Cameras that can record in 3-D are usually pretty complicated, sporting two lenses instead of one, to mimic human binocular vision. Samsung says it has a more elegant solution: a single lens that can go from ...

Latest Flip is bigger, but better

May 06, 2009

Since its debut in 2007, the Flip video camera has turned millions of people into filmmakers by providing a foolproof way to shoot videos and upload them to the Web.

Recommended for you

Sony's PlayStation 4 sales top seven million

21 hours ago

Sony says it has sold seven million PlayStation 4 worldwide since its launch last year and admitted it can't make them fast enough, in a welcome change of fortune for the Japanese consumer electronics giant.

Study: Samsung phone durable, but iPhone has edge

Apr 14, 2014

Samsung's new Galaxy S5 smartphone is more durable than last year's model and other leading Android phones, but the iPhone 5s outperformed all of them in part because of its smaller size, a new study finds.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

( —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...

Chronic inflammation linked to 'high-grade' prostate cancer

Men who show signs of chronic inflammation in non-cancerous prostate tissue may have nearly twice the risk of actually having prostate cancer than those with no inflammation, according to results of a new study led by researchers ...