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A high-angled perspective over the HS2 Euston site in London.

News Capturing the bigger picture with time-lapse

24 May 2019 Kate

Time-lapse is often applied to lend a broader perspective on developments of significant size and scale.

A camera system securely fixed atop buildings, cranes or artificial solutions, yields an ideal view of overall progress to be photographed at regular intervals.

This results in a professionally produced edited sequence, which provides a compelling document of extensive, long-term works from and across various contexts.

The bigger picture: time-lapse construction

Major contractors are among industry bodies who benefit considerably from time-lapse photography. In an increasingly competitive industry, it has become incumbent on contractors to distinguish themselves from the rest by widely showcasing their work.

Not only this, the nature of what they produce – be it residential builds, commercial properties, statement skyscrapers – require hours of work and take up large amounts of space.

Time-lapse provides a solution that caters to all of these industry factors, as well as being flexible towards other specifications which may arise.

Construction works can involve many different materials, equipment and personnel. Within a large amount of space this may be difficult to account for. Photography can assist with this as it provides a snapshot of a particular moment that can be scrutinised closely.

Time-lapse has a similar utility as it provides high quality images captured at regular intervals. But this is coupled with its ability to represent movement, change and an overall vision of progress when images are arranged in sequence and then played back as a time-lapse video.

Such audio-visual narratives provide a retrospective on a construction project; visualising the full scope of works in just a few minutes.


This compression of time is engaging to watch but is not the only advantage of seeing progress unfold in this way.

It is rare that we get to see the vital parts, like steel beams, bracketing, insulation, cladding, that make up a building. Its outer shell is what becomes a permanent marker of a building but time-lapse incrementally unveils the vital phases that otherwise might not be seen.

Even bigger narratives

Pulling back the lens, time-lapse is also used to capture entire developments, including the expansion of cities and other phased works taking place in various locations simultaneously.

In major UK cities like London, works are widespread and are always ongoing. A large percentage of our own camera systems currently out in the field are based in the capital city. When all these various projects are considered collectively, our time-lapse is providing a portal to progress happening on a very large scale.

For example, our time-lapse solutions have been commissioned for a number of HS2 projects in London and other locations across the country. Via sustained capture at numerous key sites – with more to come – we are providing National Rail and government services with the tools to monitor several projects at once.

This also helps facilitate open lines of communication with the public about these important ongoing works: time-lapse images and video provide visual evidence of individual projects and make it easier to understand the level of progress being made across certain time periods.

The same can be said for our work across the UK and Europe more broadly.

Pulling back the lens further still, government agencies such as NASA, as well as corporations like Google (and their Google Earth Engine), utilise time-lapse to illustrate concerning environmental changes happening at global, atmospheric levels. It is only through time-lapse that these slow changes are clear enough to comprehend – along with their devastating consequences for the planet.


So, time-lapse can be applied flexibly to a myriad of scenarios to help isolate progression.

At an individual project level, the photographic medium facilitates a comprehensive overview of works on the ground. On a much wider scale – whether capturing numerous projects at once, or tracking change from a global perspective – time-lapse is an ideal visual tool for exploring the bigger picture.

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Time-Lapse Systems are a part of Hideaway Media Ltd (est. 2007). World leader in the provision of bespoke time-lapse capture and site monitoring solutions. UK and Worldwide.