Zombies. That's the first thing that comes to mind when I see footage of a once heavily populated area turned completely desolate. Either that or you stumbled across a Ke$ha concert...BURN.
Popular television shows like "The Walking Dead" and big-budget movies like 28 Days Later pay huge sums of money to shut the streets down in order to get those great abandoned city shots. But if you don't live in Hollywood, you can still create some awesome post-apocalyptic effects using Adobe Photoshop, Premiere, and After Effects, like Ross Ching did in the first of his "Empty America" series, which shows the bleakness of a deserted San Fransisco.
By using well-placed cameras and tons of time-lapsed footage, Ching was able to basically erase all of the people and vehicles and then layer the new "empty images" over the actual footage. Since time-lapse film is basically a ton of pictures, certain objects can be altered without effecting the non-edited footage as a whole.
To see exactly how Ross Ching erased all of the inhabitants of San Fransisco, watch his quick behind-the-scenes video.
He also created a video prior to this Thrash Lab series (produced by Ashton Kutcher) for the streets of Los Angeles—one place I might not mind a zombie outbreak to occur in.
If only the streets were ever this empty, I might actually get to work in less than an hour (I live 8 miles away).