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Crane working over the Riverlight development at Nine Elms

News Save money on your major project by bringing in the experts

5 December 2014 Daniel Curtis

Remote site management is becoming increasingly popular in heavy industry across the globe. As the world gets figuratively smaller, the need for instant information no matter where you are is growing, particularly if businesses want to increase both profitability and continue current successes.

London based building site, from a viewer

Sites, such as this one in London, can be viewed anywhere in the world by our client.

Heavy industries – such as construction and house building – are worth a considerable amount of money, but companies also have to manage high costs. Budgeting can become very tight, with little room to manoeuvre, and that is potentially problematic for key players to stay involved if there is no scope for them to travel to site regularly.

Finding the happy medium
In the initial costing stage, make an inquiry with a site monitoring firm to see if the price fits into your budget. The earlier you inquire in your process, the more likely it is that you will be able to factor in the small expenditure. It probably does not cost as much as you might think.

Speaking to professionals will give you an idea of the plethora of benefits their camera systems can provide – everything from an online viewing portal to periodic time-lapse edits. The best service providers will use the best, professional cameras to ensure the images produced are of the highest quality – certainly not webcams! Take a look at their previous edits and compare the quality.

Just because a company might be cheaper than others does not mean the finished product will be as good as their competitors. For time-lapse to be as beneficial as possible and justify the small payment you need to be sure you will the best results.

Documenting progress
Camera systems will take pictures at whatever intervals you decide. If you are erecting a steel frame for a building, this could be every six minutes. Or for the longer parts of the build the interval rate might be better set at 15 minutes. This has two benefits.

Firstly, images taken will populate an online viewer at set intervals. The link or log-in details to the secure portal can be shared with anyone you chose, so they can see a construction or demolition project take shape from anywhere in the world. Images can also be e-mailed out or shared from the portal itself, making it a one-stop-shop for construction site monitoring.

This reduces your management costs. A one-time or fixed price for such services means on-going expenditure does not take such a hit, because you might require less site visits. From the online viewer you can also check deliveries and plant hire, worker efficiency and the project’s progress as a whole.

Secondly, the images are backed up in a secure online viewer, creating a time-stamped archive as your project takes place. At the end, these images will be placed onto a timeline and edited to the highest possible standards, creating a time-lapse sequence to your precise specifications.

Hiring is not easy
When you consider using time-lapse as a management tool, it is important to remember this is not a simple job. Every system placed on any building site will be created for it, bespoke to the job. The company installing will then have to monitor it consistently to ensure it continues to run smoothly from a technical standpoint, as well as adjusting exposure and intervals where needed.

In addition to these points, you cannot buy a “time-lapse camera” off the shelf (at least not one that will do the job to anywhere near the same quality). You might look to hire instead, or even build one yourself – DIY-style – but that comes with problems of its own.

The best option is always going to be bringing in a company with the years of experience and expertise in the range of components used – cameras, electrics and editing – which not only keeps costs to a minimum, but also keeps your team concentrating on their own vital work. No need to have them fiddling about with tricky computer systems!

This is what it is all about. Getting an experienced time-lapse team in means you are left to enjoy the benefits of such industry-leading technology.

The camera is built before arriving at your site and then installed in the most efficient, but safest possible way, reducing onsite impact (if any) to the absolute minimum. And once it is up, you’ll be able to access live images as they’re taken, from wherever you are.

Plus it is more than easy to make money off such high quality services. Make sure that, before committing to a service, the images taken will be yours once the project is finished. If they will be, you can use them as you please. Create a periodic slideshow of vital works as they take place or put a gallery up on your website. If you are building a new residential estate why not use the stills to keep buyers updated?

The fully post-produced edit you receive can be embedded onto your website or incorporated into a wider marketing strategy. Finished videos are eye-catching and give your venture a whole new perspective.

Whether it is for construction, demolition and house building, or even a little further afield like events management, time-lapse camera systems are a popular tool to help monitor projects on a budget. As well as the relatively minimal upfront costs, the final products have the potential to help increase your reach and revenue. And after all, you cannot put a price on the piece-of-mind that real time monitoring – anywhere in the world – could bring.

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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.