Revealing the build story: construction and time-lapse

In the last decade, camera systems have become part of the everyday apparatus on construction sites, working to produce media in a genre of its own right: time-lapse construction.

As a leading provider of high quality time-lapse and site monitoring solutions, a large percentage of our services are utilised for contractors of varying sizes. Of course, the projects that we work on are incredibly varied but construction time-lapse is a product that we have extensive experience of capturing.

Here, we take a closer look at this burgeoning area of time-lapse application and its main components.

A detailed lens

Indeed, time-lapse provides a comprehensive and informative means of monitoring (as well as publicising) contracting and civil engineering projects.

Specialist technologies means that a professional camera system – including its components and the housing that it sits in – are built to withstand both indoor and outdoor conditions, allowing it to function at optimum capacity for the duration of the project.

Installing the camera system in the most advantageous of positions usually requires doing so at height, especially for external construction projects which are likely to require considerable visual scope in order to gather the whole picture.

Far from simply documenting all on-site activity, however, time-lapse can also work to emphasise, magnify and isolate particular parts of construction using certain tried & tested techniques.

Screenshot of iRis 3.0 viewer overlooking Salford Quays in Manchester
Above: our iRis 3.0 viewer – a useful application for construction time-lapse.

(Of course, site monitoring – the ‘other side’ of time-lapse photography – facilitates remote ‘live’ access to site via an online viewer, allowing contractors to view and micro-manage a project on-the-go.)

For peak periods of activity, featuring increased staffing numbers or concentrated plant activity, for example, increasing the rate of capture may be necessary so as to account for the change of pace. Equally, panning and zooming capabilities also provide an responsive way of honing in on such details.

Alternatively, or in addition to adapting capture rates, camera moves may need to be factored into the running schedule, as was the case to effectively document major London construction work at Riverlight for St James.

As part of our own professional service, we hold accreditations from several leading bodies, with all of our engineers fully harness trained and with years of experience between them – ensuring that the job is done safely and securely.

Time-lapse video

Time-lapse video is the perfect medium through which to quickly communicate construction narratives; from start to finish, a visual record of building progress can be represented in a stunning two-minute sequence (like the one below).

With a professional service, hundreds and thousands of images carefully selected and edited into a fully post-produced sequence.

These video sequences can be then viewed, shared and embedded across multiple platforms easily, making it a visually engaging (not to mention, efficient), way for contractors to advertise themselves to the world.

Worldwide web, global audience

In this sense, the increased application of time-lapse to track the progress of construction projects has helped to facilitate an audience that extends beyond that of the contractors and stakeholders in question.

Time-lapse is a technique best befitting the digital age. Breathing new life into marketing campaigns – presenting new and creative ways to render work from this industry – time-lapse construction is a genre with a growing audience.

Social media plays a big part in this, with platforms like Twitter functioning as a prominent platform for contractors to disseminate their work online. Whether it be time-lapse video, still images and other mixed media, Twitter is a popular site to share and build networks.

As we know from our own experience, Twitter can be an effective interactive intermediary between ourselves and our clients. While we provide the means for contractors to share their work, our clients often use social media to promote our services to their followers.


Time-lapse construction is continuing to grow in form as well as in popularity. With our own current projects, as well as those in the pipeline, we are looking forward to documenting more developments from this exciting genre.

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