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Steel erection at The West Brom building society headquarters build in West Midlands

News What place does a time-lapse camera have on your construction site?

5 June 2015 Daniel Curtis

Time-lapse videos are certainly an eye catcher. Seeing a process that usually takes multiple years sped up into a concise and attractive minute-or-two-long sequence is quite extraordinary.

Processes that are not visible to the human eye in real-time suddenly reveal themselves in a matter of seconds. Clouds pass overhead as construction takes place below. Skyscrapers rise from the ground and plant moves about as if powered by jet fuel. The scene is ever changing.

And this is fantastic as both a marketing tool and for scrutiny at a later date. But what if you need to check progress in real time, rather than waiting for years for a video?

The cameras are, after all, a fly-on-the-wall look at a construction site. They are becoming increasingly popular amongst companies big and small because they are perfect for any size job, can help save money and, in turn, increase profit.

How does this work?

Firstly, a company that provides live images to a viewer is the only way to go. It takes years to develop a system that transfers images securely to an online portal as they are taken, so it’s best to get the professionals in for this part. Go Pros and other similar devices are a cheap alternative, but they lack a few critical functions.

  • They are not sturdy: Despite built-in time-lapse functions, the majority of them are designed to be as small as possible and to be worn on a person. They are not designed for dusty projects with giant plant driving past regularly.
  • They are not monitored: The battery dies. The lens breaks. It goes missing. There are many scenarios for this bit, but at the end of the day if something goes wrong, how do you know?
  • They are not guaranteed: if something goes wrong (and you are in a position to actually realise), you will need to replace it – out of your own pocket or budget.

It is also important to make sure the camera system is positioned to capture the best shots possible. Getting the right intervals between shots is yet another factor to consider, to avoid missing any of the ‘best bits’.

The idea behind all of this being that you need not wait for the final video; you can view images immediately. This will help you to…

Manage your site

The camera is set up and it is snapping away. There is an important difference from webcams – this is a time-lapse camera system. So rather than a live video stream with grainy images, you instead get an Ultra High Definition image populating a secure online viewing portal every 15 minutes.

This image can then be panned, zoomed, scrutinised and even e-mailed to either yourself, a client or a stakeholder, meaning everyone can have eyes on the site whenever they need to.

This makes monitoring your construction site from anywhere is also possible. Whether it is from a PC, Mac, mobile phone or tablet, from the site office, somewhere in Europe or outer space, as long as there is some sort of connection to the Internet, you will be able to see a live view of the site.

Or if work has stopped for a period, access a fully backed-up archive of images day or night.

Moving forward

So the time-lapse video is just one small element of what a professional media company will produce for you. A major element is the full image archive that is produced. Images are far easier to browse than a video and are brilliant as individual marketing shots.

They are also useful for future planning. If things did not quite go to plan, they can be helpful in identifying processes that could be improved or help cut out mistakes going forward.

The finished sequence

Of course, there is the time-lapse edit as well. Make sure you check the quality before bringing a company in. This is a great measure as to the quality you can expect from them as time lapses (if you will excuse the pun).

You will also want the video to be of the highest quality, as, if you use it in your marketing material or for internal communications, your project needs to be shown in the best possible way.

We are happy to talk to you about any time-lapse requirements you have or if you would like to discuss the benefits in more detail. Please visit our contact page or phone us on 08450 943 707 for a chat.

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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.