Time-Lapse Trends: demolition

“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.

Watching buildings take shape in a matter of minutes is perhaps the first thing to spring to mind when thinking of time-lapse photography. But processes of demolition are portrayed just as effectively with this kind of capture.

Pre-construction activities in both urban and rural environments can be just as fascinating to watch as the building of a stylish new office block in the center of a big city.

Demolition work, for example, is rigorous and incredibly detailed. Although time-lapse gives the illusion of time moving faster or ‘lapsing’, the complex nature of this work is not lost when rendered through this kind of photography.

Multi-media capabilities

Professional demolition companies use time-lapse and site monitoring solutions to showcase their work across various media platforms.

Time-lapse is essentially the stuff of images; captured at regular intervals, each image freezes progress and activities on site. When viewed and shared as a series (as above), it is clear to see how much has changed over a period time. ‘Then’ and ‘now’ comparisons are also a popular means of communicating demolition progress to the public.

Along with time-lapse capture comes an archive of such ‘before’ and ‘after’ images, which preserve the memory of what is being replaced. In this way, time-lapse offers a view of a building, site, or location that can never be viewed in the same way again.

When put together, images form a high definition time-lapse video and can be used in a professional capacity as a way to market and promote demolition services. As well as being informative, pre-construction works are a fascinating process to watch unfold in the form of a fast-paced visual sequence.


Emphasised in the above video is the strategic nature of this work. Capturing the demolition of Molson Coors’s Burton brewery, every movement of heavy machinery appears exact and deliberate, unfolding in carefully planned phases.

The shifting perspective allowed for by the moving camera system also means that the full scope of the project can be captured. Time-lapse is the ideal mode to document each detail.

Multiple perspectives facilitated by different fixed camera positions achieves a similar effect. As in this time-lapse video documenting the demolition of a lifeboat station, there is a comprehensive view of very complex works taking place above water shown from various angles and perspectives.

DIY demolition

As well as professional companies, demolition time-lapses are also a popular theme on YouTube among hobbyists, and those who want to share personal projects.

BenjaminNelson used time-lapse to document the demolition of his garage. In the same way that professional companies can highlight their rigorous methods, time-lapse works well to isolate demolition work carefully carried out by hand.

A DIY fireplace remodel from Creative Spiral captured by time-lapse shows what extensive measures need to be put in place before any demolition and renovation works can begin. As these videos illustrate, demolition is not all bulldozers and wrecking balls!

Indeed, time-lapse capture can also be used to demonstrate how ‘man and machine’ can work seamlessly together to complete complex processes. This video does just that, showing the rigorous movements of the machinery, which must then be assisted by the more precise work of its human operator. Revealing the resurfaced patio at the end of the sequence also demonstrates how time-lapse can be incorporated as part of a longer narrative.


Often more commonly associated as a way of mediating construction projects, time-lapse photography can also effectively represent phases of work that take place before this. As this handful of examples has shown, demolition is a complicated process at any level, offering as much visual appeal as other industrial processes; watching a building be taken down is just as fascinating as watching one go up!

Share this:
SMAS accreditation logo
Constructionline accreditation logo
CSCS accreditation logo
Achillies accreditation logo
PASMA accreditation logo
IPAF accreditation logo
SSSTS accreditation logo
Asbestos awareness icon
Fire safety icon