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A Kier crane overhangs the completed Project Capella Building at the University of Cambridge Biomedical Campus

News Back to school – time-lapsing the education sector

13 September 2019 Kate

The month of September brings about a feeling of the summer passing, obligations gathering, new books and a new academic year ready to begin. We go “back to school” in this blog and explore our time-lapse projects in the education sector.

As a leading professional time-lapse company, we time-lapse UK projects all over the country by top contractors who implement a variety of works to develop all kinds of educational facilities and institutions.

Construction of specialised university buildings, college campus developments and other school projects are part of the work we are commissioned to capture.

The whole story

One benefit of time-lapsing projects for the education sector is the panoptic view of the construction environment that can be achieved with the installation of camera systems in optimum positions over site.

When covering large-scale builds, or the development of entire campuses, this is an effective means of staying “on top” of progress.

Our dual camera system set-up at South Essex College in Grays covered each phase of a £45 million improvement to their Thurrock Campus, including demolition works, construction of brand new buildings and even captured the new students upon their arrival back in September 2014.


Our short, one-minute edit (above) of this development shows two years worth of work by contractor Skanska to bring this Higher Education facility to fruition.

The change of camera angle throughout this time-lapse video helps to communicate the scale of this undertaking and the significance of each new building as it takes shape.

Validating investments in Higher Ed

Part of the public sector, educational projects are backed by millions of pounds worth of investment from government and council bodies. As a result, there is a lot riding on the successful completion of such developments.

By visualising progress over time as part of a faster-paced narrative, time-lapse photography can assist in validating a project and the money that has been put into it.

Professional providers produce time-lapse edits specially tailored to specific instructions from clients. These videos can function as a unique documentation of the transformation of a project in its entirety (as above), or they can be delivered incrementally to mark certain phases of work.

Publicising project milestones – like the above which marked the topping out of construction at City, University of London’s new City Law School – is also a valuable use of time-lapse video.

Long-term projects can consist of months of work but the regularity of images provided by a time-lapse camera can also be utilised for short-term, more immediate purposes as things develop.

Micro management in the education sector

Time-lapsing progress from an exterior position means that camera systems are at the mercy of changing outside conditions.

Sophisticated remote technologies built-in to a professional time-lapse camera allow remote access to crucial settings which ensures consistent, high quality capture in spite of all fluctuations in weather. This means that time-lapse companies can exercise 24-hour control over their camera systems.

Feeding images from the camera to an online viewing platform – such as our iRis 4.0 – makes the images accessible to clients too.

These remote capabilities has allowed us to provide faultless capture in locations as far north as Stornoway in the outer Hebrides of Scotland. Time-lapsing construction of the Nicholson Institute, these external works were part of the wider Western Isles School Project scheme.


As a flagship build with a lot riding on its completion, we delivered a time-lapse video (above) documenting the entire construction element of the Nicholson Institute; an edit that was made possible by the consistent high quality of capture despite the challenging weather conditions on site.


This month will see many students returning to some of these institutions and benefiting from their facilities. Time-lapse provides a dynamic record of the intricate and rigorous work that goes into bringing such educational projects to fruition.

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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.