Time-Lapse Trends: sporting events

“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.

Mass crowds, high stakes competition, and plenty of action – sports are an incredibly popular genre of entertainment. There are many aspects of sport that can be represented visually, for which time-lapse is often instrumental.

With the more popular sports especially, there will be a high level of public investment. Time-lapse can be an effective means of communicating to large numbers of people.

Home improvements

Improvements and redevelopments of stadia – the home of many high profile sports – may be followed with interest by fans of a particular club. Using these facilities on a regular basis, these places are home to a great number of fans each week and of the utmost importance to their sport.

Our site monitoring services for GL events at Watford FC’s Vicarage Road, for example, facilitated access to construction of the then brand-new Sir Elton John Stand via our secure online viewing platform.

Our finished time-lapse edit includes thousands of high quality images of uninterrupted capture showing the construction of Watford’s new East Stand, which was received well by fans and shared widely on social media.

Main grandstand at The Open 2015
Above: the main grandstand completed in time for The Open, 2015.

Elsewhere for GL events, we have utilised off-grid methods to track other one-off developments like those at St Andrews for the prestigious Open championship in 2015.

Combining both long-term and rapid interval time-lapse, we produced a stunning video of the first ever two-tier grandstand taking shape, which was completed in time for eager spectators to take their seats overlooking the 18th hole of the Old Course.

The grandstand held almost 2,000 people and included an additional platform for televised cameras. While only temporarily in place for the golfing championship, our time-lapse video has helped preserve this special moment in sporting history.


Time-lapse photography is also an interesting way to document the added extras of a sport and take a behind-the-scenes look at particular events in the sporting calendar.

Wimbledon often feature time-lapse videos as part of their social media output during peak periods of competition.

Their time-lapse of the happenings at Centre Court, for example, provides a glimpse of this famous space as you’ve never seen it.

Indeed, showing long-term periods of time in short snippets is especially suited to the transient nature and fast pace of sports and their coverage, but time-lapse also renders such things in a way that offers a different perspective than that provided by more traditional visual means of representation.

Looking at sporting events from above can help emphasise details that can go unnoticed if you are amongst the action or watching coverage on TV.

As this time-lapse of the 2016 Super Bowl at the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California shows, you get a much better grasp of the sheer size and scale of this event when overlooking the entire stadium.

Firework displays as well as the movements of the crowds can more easily be discerned through this all-encompassing perspective.

The changes in the surrounding skies also add an important layer to this narrative, as this gives some indication of the timescale of this event and shows that the world goes on in spite of the excitement inside the stadium.

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