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Hideaway Media Ltd (Time-Lapse Systems) Conservation Projects

News Hideaway Media Ltd (Time-Lapse Systems) Conservation Projects

22 March 2022 Kate

Our cutting-edge hybrid technology camera systems, used for vital conservation work.

We are delighted to be working in partnership and close collaboration with the RSPB, Seabird Watch and the Department of Zoology at Oxford University to develop camera systems capable of capturing vital conservation activity in new ways. 

We were first approached by Dr Tom Hart, who is a Research Fellow and Penguin conservation specialist at Oxford University, to see if we could assist with monitoring of seabird populations in the Antarctic.  

Tom needed a camera system solution that would capture in far better quality than the simple trail cameras that he and his colleagues had been accustomed to using to collect vital data to assist with the conservation of seabirds. The task was a highly challenging one, as camera systems would have to operate off-grid for months, in extreme conditions.

But, thereafter we started to hold Tom’s requirements in mind through our ongoing development work. 

In 2021 we also began to hold discussions with Dr Ellie Owen, Conservation Scientist at the RSPB, for her similar requirement for monitoring and conservation work in Scotland. 

In February 2022 we were thrilled that this culminated in us installing the first camera system of its kind at a remote location on the East coast of Scotland. The system is a totally off-grid system that captures in unprecedented quality. Furthermore, this system can be monitored and controlled remotely – also with a live feed to our in-house developed Interactive Remote Imaging System (iRiS) portal, which allows Ellie and her colleagues to view still frames in real-time and collect the vital data they need to help with their work, in ways that would otherwise be impossible.  

Hideaway Media Ltd (Time-Lapse Systems) Conservation Projects
Above is the view that all parties can access online with some very special functions, including to zoom to stunning quality.

We are now providing an additional 13 camera systems to the RSPB for placement on remote sites around the British Isles, as far north as the Shetland Islands

Dr Ellie Owen describes, “We are constantly pushing to improve the ways we monitor the conservation status of the internationally important populations of seabirds that the UK is home to. This often requires innovation in the technological tools we use to gather data. Hideaway Media Ltd’s camera systems are allowing us to use technology normally used in time-lapse photography to record images of seabirds at colonies at regular intervals using DSLR Ultra High-Definition imagery. Because the images are such high quality we can now use camera systems like these even in places where the birds are quite a distance from the camera – which removes a major barrier to camera systems to monitor seabirds more widely across the UK’s struggling seabird colonies”

Our CEO Dr Gary Kelsall explains, “We have been evolving our unique camera systems for over 15 years for various custom applications, and slowly developing all our hardware, software and methods to not only capture in the very best DSLR-based quality but also to monitor and manage remotely through 4G networks and to support through off-grid power solutions. This is real cutting-edge; combining the use hybrid technology and methods. We usually employ these systems for capturing time-lapse and the monitoring of construction. But the fact that these adapted systems are being used for such important work as this is fantastic, and something we’re very proud to be associated with”. 

The next stage in our development of these camera systems involves our GabrielCam® system. This will be a ’next generation’ system that we hope to be sending to the Arctic and Antarctic later this year for deployment by Tom and his colleagues.

As Dr Tom Hart explains, “Remote monitoring of seabirds in the coastal UK all the way to the polar regions gives a huge insight into the annual cycles of these animals and the threats to them. However, it takes a substantial investment in making the camera system extremely rugged and easy to use in the field. Hideaway Media Ltd (Time-Lapse-Systems) have listened to our needs and produced something amazing!

Hideaway Media Ltd (Time-Lapse Systems) Conservation Projects
The ‘Team’ on the day of the installation of one of the camera systems.
From left to right Crystal Maw, RSPB Site Manager; Ivan Lang, RSPB Warden; Dr Tom Hart, Research Fellow, University of Oxford; Dr Gary Kelsall, CEO, Hideaway Media Ltd (Time-Lapse-Systems); Dr Ellie Owen, RSPB Conservation Scientist; Alice Edney, Polar Ecologist, University of Oxford; Andy Piekarczyk, Operational MD, Hideaway Media Ltd (Time-Lapse-Systems).

The development of these systems for conservation work, hopefully around the globe, is something to which we are now firmly committed, and we look forward to the months and years ahead working on projects that are of such importance to conservation, especially in such challenging times for the climate.  We also look forward to further personally supporting Ellie, Tom and all their colleagues as best we can. 

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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.