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News How do you use time-lapse photography?

8 January 2019 Kate

Time-lapse photography is fast becoming an essential tool in various sectors of business and fields of photography. We take account of some of the ways in which this extraordinary technique is put to work.

Why use time-lapse video?

A time-lapse video is a sequence made up of photographs of a particular subject, captured at regular intervals. As they playback at a faster frame rate than was used to capture them, time in the video appears to ‘lapse’.

This technique can serve a wide range of purposes, the most popular of which include:

  • to monitor construction progress,
  • track developments in specialist environments such as rail, road & other infrastructure,
  • provide a visual narrative for indoor work, activities & events,
  • document plant growth & behaviour,
  • landscapes & celestial motion,
  • weather formations,
  • art & sculpture.

Although some of these subjects are incredibly varied and share very little in common with each other, they all benefit from the ways in which time-lapse visually accelerates the speeds of change.

Micro-management & marketing for any genre

The highest quality of time-lapse photography can only be achieved with professional DSLR cameras. The clarity of still images – viewed individually or edited together as part of a sequence – lend themselves well to the mediation and inspection of progress.

Even the subtlest, most incremental of changes captured by a time-lapse camera can be fascinating to see, thus making for some compelling content.

Regardless of the genre you are working in, time-lapse videos provide a perfect means of drawing attention to and showcasing your work to potential clients and stakeholders.

Time-lapse construction

Take construction; one of the largest global industries.

A robust camera system that will operate at full capacity with remote assistance (meaning no hands-on is required besides installation and de-rig) will retrieve a set of images that capture a segment of time in a truly dynamic way.

The brand new iRis 4.0 time-lapse photography and site monitoring portal, displayed on a laptop

Above: the iRis 4.0 online viewing platform by Time-Lapse Systems, facilitates a comprehensive view of your construction site using chronologically archived time-lapse photographs. Both still images and time-lapse video make for dynamic marketing materials, for print, web & broadcast.

Additionally, you can appraise even the smallest of incremental changes on site using an online viewing platform. Ultra HDR images are captured and then archived chronologically as part of a secure online interface, viewable and sharable at any time and from anywhere.

Otherwise known as site monitoring in construction, as well as other sectors, such equipment is able to facilitate an informed, comprehensive view of one or more projects at a time. Individual log-in credentials allow archives to be accessed safely and securely, helping individuals or teams to track site progress using visual comparison tools, log activities with specific time and date information, which can also be downloaded and shared both internally and externally.

This helps to keep lines of communication open with co-workers, other invested parties and the wider public. Images and video provide a snapshot of time in an easily accessible and eye-catching way, perfect for social media in all its various capacities.

This level of micro-management is also part and parcel of a full end-to-end service from professional providers, which includes time-lapse video.


These are meticulously put together and crafted to individual specifications – featuring various branding finishes, such as logos, tag-lines, other images & text – ready for commercial use. The length and the speed of the video may also shape the finished product depending on where and how it will be used; time-lapse is suitable for anywhere on the web and for broadcast.

Time-lapse documents, informs and entertains all at the same time, making this an ideal marketing and PR tool. Meeting with project stakeholders? Need promotional material for a public development? Unveiling a new structure at a public event and want to show the construction work that went into it? Time-lapse can meet all these needs.

Other uses of time-lapse photography

This mode of photography can also function in any conceivable environment, making this a highly accessible and adaptable medium.

Time-lapse works just as well indoors; it can be applied to events from a host of different genres, for example. Live concerts, special one-off occasions, popular sporting events are all within the remit of time-lapse solutions.

While regular interval photography provides sustained capture of the event itself, there is also scope to record the preparatory works and the clean-up in its aftermath. Time-lapse is also often utilised to capture footage of crowds entering and leaving an event in a fraction of the time; an efficient yet more entertaining visualisation of this element of an event.

The video (below) includes all of the above, documenting an incredible ‘Year in the Life’ of the Royal Albert Hall: one of the UK’s most iconic venues and one of the most prestigious projects from our time-lapse UK portfolio.


Structural improvements and renovations taking place at particular venues also benefit from time-lapse capture. Embedding footage on their website can help a venue to communicate such developments to the public. The same can also be said for sports venues; time-lapse also provides an alternative to the more traditional visualisations of sport.

The qualities of time-lapse photography can also be enhanced using other photography and video solutions, such as 360-degree technology, drone & other aerial photography and video.

Aerial vantage points achieved using UAV or ground-based mast solutions are important for projects of considerable size and scale. 360-degree technology can also bring that something extra when capturing from above, combining elements of interaction and play.


In its relatively short history, time-lapse photography has become a staple of marketing & PR strategies in various sectors. It provides an extraordinary mode of capture which is both compelling and entertaining, and easily utilised in combination with other media solutions, adaptable to almost any environment.

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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.