The multiple benefits of time-lapse images

Typically a time-lapse photography service includes HDR images taken at regular intervals, which are then skilfully edited together to form an enticing video. But the benefits of a time-lapse image archive do not stop there.

Part of a traditional time-lapse offering from a professional provider includes an online archive which is populated with images captured by the camera system.

This takes place remotely: as the camera system captures an image, this is fed back to remote servers via wireless technologies. Each image populates a secure online archive which the client can access on any device, from anywhere.

At the end, or following specific milestones over the course of a project, the image archive is typically used to create a time-lapse video. This, in itself, can serve multiple purposes for businesses in various sectors.

But for what purposes and in what contexts can time-lapse images be beneficial in addition to becoming part of an edited sequence?

Why ‘live’ images?

Firstly, the use of ‘live’ images – images that show immediate, up-to-date progress via a viewing portal – means access to your site at all times wherever you are, so that you never miss a thing.

As a result, remote capture facilitates effective ‘site monitoring’; what can be regarded as the ‘other side’ of time-lapse photography. When a camera system is in-situ, on a construction site, for example, progress of the build can be overseen and documented at every stage.

In addition to forming a time-lapse video, then, ‘live’ images can be a valuable tool whether conducting business on a company or individual level.

Acting as a portal to on-site progress, a time-lapse online viewing platform can help link different departments and invested parties together. Images can be shared easily via internal and external channels – using email, web, and social media – allowing all those involved to stay in-the-loop about particular project milestones.

Above: our own online viewing platform – iRis 4.0 – which enables clients to see and study HDR time-lapse images of their project on numerous devices. Such an online archive can be useful for marketing and PR purposes, as well as facilitating effective site monitoring in various contexts.

The practicalities of work on site, such as deliveries or movements of particular personnel, can also be followed remotely, which means visiting site is not always necessary.

If you are working alone, it may be hard to see your progress. Time-lapse images help to pull back the lens and provide a wider perspective on your work. Plus, the archive function enables you to conduct comparisons between different dates and times, therefore acting as a key utility to assess and reflect on progress at any stage.

Time-lapse images as PR materials

A professionally edited time-lapse video is a major asset to businesses trying to make themselves noticed in their sector. It can demonstrate skills, knowledge and experience, helping to secure contracts and further develop their business profile.

Breaking time-lapse down into its individual parts – its still images – can also be used to help companies sell themselves.

Press releases and other public engagement exercises are enhanced with visual imagery. PR materials are often very text-based and so HDR images are a useful asset to help adorn this kind of communication. Time-lapse images captured by our camera systems are often used in this way by our clients.

Crest Nicholson chose one of our images of Campbell Wharf Marina to header a recent press release about ongoing developments at the Milton Keynes site, now acquired by the Parks Trust. As demonstrated by this example, the photograph helps to add context to the news.

In this sense, our time-lapse images function as press photography for our client; sent out to all invested parties and news outlets along with the official press release.

All companies benefit from this kind of output, but for large companies and organisations with global profiles, image and visual content is important. Our time-lapse images have, and continue to be, an important tool for such professional bodies to help them tell their stories.

This BBC article repurposes our image of a key Stoke-on-Trent business development to help illustrate news about a local historical event. This serves as a great example of how time-lapse images are useful beyond the context in which they were originally created, thus making the medium timeless in terms of use and application.

Similarly, having captured Osborne’s Northern Road Bridge replacement in Portsmouth, our images have helped to illustrate developments for an official press release, but are also still circulating on social media.

Above: the top right image was captured by our camera system while tracking the first phase of HS2 works at Euston Station.

Indeed, platforms like Twitter have become a frontend for public sector work. We are currently providing time-lapse solutions for HS2 across various key points in the UK, who readily use still images in their online engagements.

 

As this blog illustrates, still images taken by a time-lapse camera grant a stunning snapshot of progress, the details of which can be showcased in a variety of ways. Besides their primary function, forming a narrativised edited sequence, such high quality images can be purposed in many more contexts for our clients – and to great effect.

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