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BFI Embankment Garden Cinema internal shot

News Quick turnaround time-lapse – when time is tight

24 March 2017 Kate

The benefits of utilising time-lapse capture are various and wide-ranging. Regardless of duration – whether long-term or short-term – time-lapse can be an asset for communication, as an easily marketable piece of media.

Events, jobs with invested public interest, or projects that would benefit from immediate attention, for instance, are all examples where time-lapse can be used effectively within the associated time constraints – thanks to ‘quick turnarounds’.

Public interest

Work across all sectors – rail and roads, construction, events and leisure, utilities, among others – all involve some level of public interest at some point during progress and in its aftermath.

As we have considered previously, time-lapse offers a multitude of benefits for each stage of long-term and short-term ventures:

  • providing monitoring of activities on site
  • relaying information consistently to clients, stakeholders, and other invested parties,
  • and/ or incorporating an edited sequence for marketing campaigns and branding strategies.

Projects relative to any size and scale may benefit from the multiple ways that time-lapse can visually communicate information regarding developments to the wider public.

Intertextual by default, time-lapse capture threaded together with information in text and audio form, builds a comprehensive narrative about important developments.

By way of example, this detailed time-lapse edit shows rail improvement works at Bromsgrove accompanied by text slides narrating the purpose of these developments and the specific timescales involved.

Infrastructure contractor VolkerRail, in partnership with Network Rail and Siemens Rail Automation, completed the works over the course of a 12-day window, bringing a new platform at Bromsgrove Station into effect.

Documenting works carried out in October 2016, this time-lapse sequence gave an up-to-date account of works that immediately benefitted the public. This can also be beneficial as it gives an idea of the improvements that are yet to come as part of a wider, more elaborate rail scheme.

Exclusive events

For work in the events and leisure sectors especially, the applicability of time-lapse capture may be relative to a specific event or project.

Of course, time-lapse can document all stages of an event, from preceding preparations, monitoring the event itself, and work subsequent to its resolution. But time-lapse can be a great way to extend the exclusivity of certain projects.

A prime example of this kind of advantageous application is this commissioned time-lapse edit for GL events.

The Open Championship in 2015 was hosted at St Andrews, one of the oldest golf courses in existence. A two-tier grandstand was constructed for the first time at the venue to mark this prestigious occasion.

Continuous time-lapse capture of the stand construction was accomplished – despite no access to mains power – via off-grid solar-powered solutions.

Overlooking the 18th hole of the Old Course at St Andrews, the stand held 2,000 people for the duration of the championship.

This extraordinary achievement was recorded through time-lapse, allowing it to be remembered despite the impermanence of the structure and the occasion.

Enabling the temporary to become timeless

Special events are defined as such by their infrequency and immediacy.

Short-term projects of this nature usually require streamlined communication and full understanding between the professional time-lapse provider and their clients to assure that solutions can be put in place within tight timeframes.

This is also relevant to the editing processes following the completion of capture, as it is often most effective to capitalise on the relevancy of an event as part of its marketing.

This was the case for the British Film Institute, whose celebration of the 60th anniversary of the London Film Festival in 2016 involved the construction of a temporary cinema venue at London’s Victoria Embankment.

With only a short window between the venue’s completion and opening its doors to the public for 11 days, it was imperative that a high quality time-lapse sequence was edited in time for the grand opening, in line with the film festival itself.

Uploaded on the second day of the festival, the BFI shared the video on their Facebook and Twitter pages as well as with the national news media, to encourage a buzz about the special event.

Promoting the event while it is most current and newsworthy is beneficial, but the uses of this material outlive the event itself. The video itself was watched thousands of times on Facebook alone during the event, but still continues to accrue views.


Online content can appear transient in terms of its circulation on social media but time-lapse provides a permanent record that can be re-used, revisited, and referred to continuously.

So projects may be short-term in terms of their relevancy and how quickly they need to be ‘turned around’, but the long-term uses of time-lapse means that what has passed can be timeless.

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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.