Using time-lapse in news reports

Time-lapse sequences feature increasingly in broadcast news and current events programming.

Whether representing a long-term or short-term narrative, a time-lapse sequence suits the visual mode of television. Time-lapse also offers added benefits to the traditional relay of information indicative of news reports.

We have already considered the viability of time-lapse with television. Being ‘broadcast ready’, time-lapse not only appeals to what audiences already enjoy but can arguably further enhance their viewing experience.

Time-lapse has the ability to represent progress at a faster pace than it unfolded in reality. This rapid pace is ideal as part of short pre-recorded segments that make up televised news.

For a magazine chat show like BBC’s The One Show, for example, where time is limited, a time-lapse sequence is an important tool. Our time-lapse footage – which tracks the construction of NHS Northumbria’s Specialist Emergency Care Hospital – was the perfect visual supplement for a colourful, entertainment report on the matter.

An extension of reporting

Of course, headlines in the public sector can cover a variety of subjects.

Some of our time-lapse footage capturing the construction of Alton Towers’s 14-loop roller coaster, The Smiler, was featured on another BBC favourite: Blue Peter.

Our footage aired several times during Blue Peter’s coverage of this project as part of one of their episodes in May 2013. As well as being able to show the roller coaster in action, our time-lapse footage supplied Alton Towers – and the BBC – with an alternative perspective to the story.

Similarly, the incredibly intricate process of removing the infamous ‘Hot Box’ at the Mary Rose Museum provided another dimension for news reporters.

Featuring on BBC One’s headline programme – News at Ten – the finished time-lapse video helped to show publics of the extensive operation that was undertaken during the final changes to the flagship’s modern home.

Our time-lapse footage of the Mary Rose on the BBC News at Ten

Going beyond the traditional reporting

With media in general now being available at a moment’s notice, but, similarly & to its own detriment, being equally forgettable, time-lapse can help to bridge the gap between traditional news and more modern reporting tools.

Although the original Mary Rose report was only available online for 24 hours, the images behind it (such as those above) live on. Time-lapse has a life beyond ‘instant’ media, both in the finished videos and the still images captured during its creation.

One of the main channels for this is social media, where content can be shared more easily than ever before. A click of a mouse or a touch of a button can send content worldwide, with particularly thought-provoking pieces likely to spark the interest of the masses.

So, with both more traditional reporting and more modern methods, time-lapse videos are both ideally suited and an integral part of news reporting, for both professionals and independents.

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