Cloud Surfing

I recently posted about ReelMoments, an iPhone app that makes time lapse movies. Now I’m going to show you my favorite use of it, movies shot from planes!

If you try ReelMoments you will quickly realize that you need accessories to make it work well. In the previous article I mentioned a Gorillamobile tripod and battery. Here is a movie made with that setup. Note that all of these movies are significantly lower quality than the originals because of YouTube’s compression.

A suction cup takes it even further! You can then make movies out of any window. I got one that is made for mounting a GPS to a car windshield. I clamp the Gorillapod to it. My favorite views are from planes. You need a new clean window and it is hard to clamp the gorillapod tight enough to deal with vibration, but when it works it is rewarding. Here is a picture of my rig in action.

iPhone mounted to an airplane window

And here are some of the movies I made. I didn’t apply any of our filters to them, but if you’d like to know how then watch our tutorial.

This next one is over the Alps. I don’t have room to show it at full resolution on this page, but you can go to YouTube to see it larger and more detailed.

One last suggestion, warn your neighbor and flight attendant first so they don’t think you are doing something suspicious. Offering to show them a previous movie usually puts them at ease and starts an interesting conversation.

About the Author:

Jeff Butterworth is the founder of Alien Skin Software. He used to create the products, but now he does marketing and gets coffee for the programmers.


  1. […] it mixes product info with interesting bits about photography, design, and more (e.g. one involving iPhones, suction cups, and plane windows).  I look forward to bogarting their finds like it’s my job. Posted by John Nack at 3:26 PM […]

  2. Adam November 13, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    Genius! I spend most of my flights taking photos out of the window already but the stop frame movies look great. I find a touch of fake tilt shift can look work nicely too…

    • Jeff November 15, 2010 at 9:36 am

      Thanks for the tip on using fake tilt shift. I of course have a zillion photos shot from plane windows and Bokeh is great for that effect.

  3. […] really get a feel for my obsession with airplane window photography, read my time lapse movie […]

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