Documenting infrastructural developments with time-lapse

There are numerous elements of infrastructure that are integral to the fabric of a city. Time-lapse photography is an effective way of marking important changes to a cityscape.

Office blocks, shopping centres, car parks, public sector builds, as well as other major infrastructural developments such as railways, bridges, roads & transport; these are all pertinent to the public.

Time-lapse capture is a means by which civil engineers, councils and contractors can inform the public about certain improvements to a city while also using this as a method of showcasing the work to an even wider audience.

Here, we include some examples of our own involvement in capturing infrastructural work.

Construction & demolition

Most city-based developments involve demolition & construction work.

We have time-lapsed numerous projects which involve either or both of these processes. Whether these are for educational facilities, residential builds, leisure centres, office blocks or car parks, time-lapse has proven to add a unique visual perspective to such projects.

Cranes working on a teaching facility construction project in Cambridge
Above: cranes working on a teaching facility construction project at Cambridge Biomedical Campus.

The panoptic view of developments on-site provided by the eye of the camera shows the big picture – ideal when thinking about the impact of such projects on a city’s growth.

Developments in the education sector provide a useful example, particularly when thinking about infrastructure; school and university builds are integral to the operation and prosperity of society.

We have provided capture on some 40+ education projects in various locations.

Our time-lapse & video solutions have also been used for works across other public sectors, including military & government facilities, as well as various kinds of pre-construction works up and down the country.

Road & rail

Our involvement in civil construction work – another necessity for a fully functioning city – also extends to improvements on major road and rail networks across the UK.

For contractors working in these sectors time-lapse is an invaluable photographic technique. It is becoming an increasing part of workflow, which tracks and publicises these endeavours, often funded by the government.

News paper screenshots from Black Dam Roundabout
Above: our capture of Black Dam roundabout improvements featured in local news reports.

We have provided time-lapse for government bodies such as Highways England, following their work to improve the UK’s roads and motorways. Often such projects are long-term, like our time-lapse of the redevelopment of the M3 Black Dam roundabout in Basingstoke.

Our time-lapse video was featured in an article by local news outlets in which Highways England recognised the potential disruption that long-term road works can cause for the public. Not only did our work function as a form of documentation, but it was also used as a means of validating the value of the work being undertaken.

Visualising the work of contractors, civil engineers and other infrastructural developers has also been useful to a wide variety of other road-based projects across the UK.

Other transport infrastructure

Our time-lapse capture of road & rail works also extends to other transport infrastructure such as bridges, bus stations and tunnel repairs.

Making improvements in these areas requires very rigorous, detailed labour. Time-lapse provides an accelerated rendering of progress but is still able to isolate and emphasise the complexities involved with rail works.

 

In our collaboration with Aerial Images (above), we captured a vital electrical upgrade to Farnworth Tunnel (part of the Manchester to Preston route via Bolton). Network Rail, responsible for the improvements, commissioned our services to help inform the public of their work.

Remote time-lapse capabilities enabled sustained capture throughout this project, even in delicate circumstances in which image clarity was threatened by changing lighting and weather conditions. We also added text descriptions and computerised imagery detailing particular phases of development.

Sequences like this help to build stronger affiliations between public bodies such as Network Rail and the people who use their services.

Utilities

Another useful function of time-lapse is site monitoring. Regular high quality images produced by a bespoke camera system also facilitates full coverage of the site in question, allowing both client and provider to monitor and manage everyday workflow – even from a more remote location.

This is useful on infrastructural projects concerning public utilities, particularly when works are ongoing for long periods of time.

One of our time-lapse camera systems provided optimum coverage at Trafford Park for United Utilities, who were carrying out a major £90m clean up of Manchester’s Ship Canal.

Manchester Ship Canal sewage works
Above: digging begins at Manchester Ship Canal.

Through our online viewing portal, they were able to monitor each phase of this project, which involved the 140 tonne tunnel-boring machine – Gloria – that would dig 700m below ground.

We have also provided time-lapse & site monitoring for FCC Environment and Lincolnshire County Council to capture the development of their Energy from Waste facility, and for Essar documenting their large-scale engineering works at their Stanlow refinery.

 

Infrastructural efforts are fundamental to the everyday workings of a city or region. Time-lapse helps to communicate the level of significance of these works at both local and national levels, and could even help to instil more confidence and investment in certain service providers by the public.

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