Time-Lapse Trends: LEGO-builds

“Time-Lapse Trends” is a video blog series which draws attention to some of the many exciting trends in time-lapse production. We feature a new trend in each instalment, to demonstrate the scope of the medium and the various ways in which it is applied, ranging from the popular to the more obscure.

The word ‘construction’ often calls up images of tall cranes, bulldozers and personnel in hi-vis and hard-hats – an environment that is often the subject for time-lapse photography. But time-lapse can also be used to document construction with any material – even that as small as Lego.

With the brand having undergone a major reinvention in recent years – becoming the world’s most powerful brand in 2015 after a concerning slump – Lego is now at the centre of innovation and fun. What better subject for time-lapse capture?

A versatile medium, time-lapse provides a unique lens through which to track Lego-builds in all their detail.

Brick by brick

Like the product itself, Lego-build videos are high in terms of their reception value online, offering bitesize content that can be enjoyed and easily shared on social media platforms like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

Having worked extensively with Merlin Entertainments, we have provided time-lapse capture for many Lego-based projects. One of our most popular video edits to date, featured below, shows a replica of Boston’s Fenway Park built entirely from the much-loved plastic building blocks.

 
The brand often use time-lapse videos like this to mark the opening of their Legoland Discovery Centres in major cities, making replicas of iconic buildings associated with that particular place. Following its construction in the Model Builder’s Studio at Windsor, this Fenway Park model eventually found its home at Legoland Boston, Massachusetts.

It took a whopping 450 hours to design and put together, and was constructed from about 28,000 bricks.

Utilising time-lapse, then, is particularly effective for communicating this sort of work as it can be shown in a fraction of the time without scrimping on any part of the process.

For projects of larger scale, like the construction of whole Lego ‘Minilands’, a time-lapse video is a fun way of rendering even more hours of work – brick by brick.

Our time-lapse edit tracking the construction of the Star Wars ‘Miniland’ at Legoland Discovery Centre, Manchester, shows 250,000 bricks, 2,000 minifigures and 2,000 man-hours assembled in less than 60 seconds. The attraction was only open for a limited period, but the build can live on and be remembered through our time-lapse video.

Team building

Of course, Lego-themed videos are equally as popular for non-professional time-lapsers, too.

Carrying on with the Star Wars theme, this Go Pro time-lapse from Derek Woods shows 7 hours worth of work to build an imperial shuttle Lego model.

 
An activity that provides hours of fun among friends, involving intricate work and incredible attention to detail, can be preserved and relived in this way.

Similarly, this time-lapse video by band shows how Lego can be a collective activity on a large scale.

An interactive instalment at the Hastings City Art Gallery, time-lapse is effectively utilised to show the comings and goings of eager Lego-builders. This example also demonstrates how Lego brings us together – a fun activity for people of all ages.

Minifigures

As we have touched on in a previous blog, Lego is a versatile material and is often used as the subject for visual narratives of many kinds.

In recent years the brand has expanded considerably since introducing tie-ins, such as Lego-themed video games, films, and minifigures. These figures – 4cm tall yellow people – come to life on screen through a variety of methods as well as time-lapse.

Hundbrax LEGO Movies, for example, use minifigures to retell one of the most epic stories in history – the sinking of the Titanic. Unlike time-lapse which requires a fixed camera position and photographs to be taken at regular intervals, this video uses stop motion to force inconsistent breaks between frames which are not limited to one position.

With stop motion, each moment of this film is captured separately and then threaded together to weave this unforgettable story. This unique visual technique means that the facial expressions and movements of the minifigures can be manipulated as appropriate as the narrative progresses (from bad to worse as the story goes!)

So whether using time-lapse or another method, there are many ways in which to showcase Lego in its various capacities, proving the enduring popularity of the material itself, as well as the techniques that are used to visually render it.

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