Remote photography: How we manage construction projects

How we manage Construction projects

A specific feature of time-lapse photography is its remote capability. There are a number of benefits to this, particularly for those in the construction industry.

Time-lapse construction has developed into a genre in & of itself and its main components are incredibly resourceful for contractors of any size.

Construction projects can vary in duration but typically these are long-term works. Having a means of showcasing progress of up to several years using Ultra HD photography & video is ideal. These mediums provide a unique record of construction which contractors can use to market themselves and their work on various platforms.

A time-lapse video reveals the story of the build, from beginning to end in a matter of minutes. This narrative can then be viewed, shared and embedded in various places at once, making this an efficient and visually engaging way for contractors to communicate themselves to their customers.

This is not only useful as just a way of rounding off a completed construction project. Progress time-lapse edits, which are periodic sequences that capture a particular period of time (whether weeks or months at a time), are also a valuable method of reporting progress while construction is still ongoing.

Our work for 125 Deansgate – the Grade A BREEAM ‘Excellent’ office development in the heart of Manchester – provides a great example.

125 Deansgate readily utilise the periodic edits that we provide as a way of marking specific milestones in their progress, like the completion of the demolition phase of their project (shown above).

Remotely does it

Time-lapse photography not only works to emphasise, magnify and isolate particular parts of construction using tried & tested techniques, it also facilitates a ‘live’ view of site via remote means.

Here is a breakdown of remote capture and the benefits that it reaps for contractors:


The beginnings of a construction project are often complex and require extensive planning. Positioning a time-lapse camera system can mean anything from erecting scaffolding or using a cherry picker to reach a suitable securing position, to attaching to a winch-able pole or fixing to the roof of a building/ stable structure.

Professional time-lapse providers hold accreditations and training qualifications to carry out such work safely and to ensure that the camera system remains securely in place. Even with this level of skill & experience, however, it would be impractical to constantly keep accessing the camera system once it is out in the field.

This is where professional time-lapsers come into their own with sophisticated systems set up to remotely capture at regular intervals without the need for manually pressing the shutter button.

Images can capture at set intervals and varied shutter speeds, and can be adjusted as required. Not only is this a more viable solution where health and safety is concerned (keeping on-site access to a bare minimum), but this can also be an extremely cost effective method for contractors who wish to monitor site quickly from any location.

In addition, professional time-lapse cameras can function indefinitely when connected to a mains source of power. This means that a project is not slave to limited battery life and so capture can be maintained for however long is required.

Site monitoring via online networks

Remote access to the camera system is only possible through online networks which link camera system with computer back at base.

Thus, remote time-lapse also refers to the incorporation of network connections which enable both transfer and back-up of images taken by a camera system to be secured online in regular succession. High quality images populate a secure server in real-time offering an up-to-date visual record of progress on site.

This facilitates continuous management of the camera system by the provider. Via a sophisticated online viewer, professional providers can carefully monitor and micro-manage vital elements of a project such as image quality, shutter speed, interval rate, exposure and other external factors that may effect capture.

Remote management of the camera system is what gives time-lapse its adaptability, offering control and careful, cost-effective monitoring of the construction environment which can facilitate easy solutions to the intricacies involved in projects large and small.

Secure viewing portal

Laptop displaying a major construction site through the iRis 4.0 viewing portal
Above: view of a major construction site via the iRis 4.0 viewing portal.

This component of construction site monitoring is also beneficial to clients.

A secure online viewing platform – like our own iRis 4.0 – provides clients with an up-to-date visual record of their project’s progress, to any device, from any location.

Screenshots of iRis 4.0 viewers embedded onto websites
Above: iRis 4.0 viewers embedded onto client websites.

This software gives a comprehensive archival documentation of site progress: organised by year, date and time, which can be used for reference, posterity, or however necessary. Viewing platforms are also generally fully responsive and available to use on any device – PC, Mac, tablets, smartphones & more.

Images and time-lapse videos of construction progress can be made available publicly, embedded onto external websites, or shared via email and on social media. Alternatively, this can be done more internally among colleagues and stakeholders. The beauty of construction monitoring is that it can be utilised privately, publicly, or in both respects depending on the nature of the works.

The viewing platform, then, functions as an interactive intermediary between provider and client. All parties can remain in-the-loop at all times regardless of how remote they are from site itself.

Remote monitoring is an offshoot of traditional time-lapse capture, delivered successfully only by the most experienced and skilled providers.

Helping with workflow, marketing, archival documentation, internal & external communication, remote capabilities open up doors for all kinds of construction monitoring in numerous domains, even including less traditional projects.

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