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A newly completed Hull Venue (aka Bonus Arena) after Hull's UK City of Culture year in 2017

News Time-lapse capture for special venues

17 July 2019 Kate

Time-lapse photography is commissioned widely across various scenarios, which are not limited to construction. For special event venues, for instance, there are many ways to utilise this method to great effect.

Sports, music, conferences, outdoor and indoor concerts; venues may accommodate some or all of these events.

Both venue and event are unique in terms of their specifications and requirements so, for time-lapse specialists, it is vital to be equipped to capture every detail.

Why time-lapse capture?

But why should you choose time-lapse to document special events and other venue specific developments?

Firstly, capturing high quality images at regular intervals – say, more frequently than 15 minutes, for nine hours, five days a week – means that you have plenty of content at your disposal. Using still images on social media can be an effective way to target your audience. Showing progress rather than simply telling people about it can be a great way to ramp up anticipation for a future venue or upcoming sports event.

Equally, a time-lapse video which tells the story of a particular concert through each phase of activity – stage construction, crowd movement, the concert itself and stage de-construction – can be an excellent retrospective to an event.

Secondly, the various tools and specific features at your disposal when utilising a professional time-lapse service are varied and entirely flexible to your particular needs.

Installing time-lapse camera systems for site monitoring purposes, for instance, means that you have live images throughout the duration of your project, plus an up-to-date time-lapse archive via an online viewing platform.

Plus, with the best time-lapse companies, you also have the benefit of remote capture, which allows changes to be made to the camera system without manual handling. This is perfect when sensitivity is needed for lighting fluctuations at indoor venues, or those unpredictable weather conditions during outdoor events.

For the remainder of this blog post, we look at some examples to show how these tools have facilitated successful capture and dynamic creative output for special events.

Time-lapse for various event scenarios

In the world of sport, venues are usually of considerable size. Working in this kind of environment can be a challenge but if utilised properly, time-lapse can be an effective means of representing large spaces.

Commissioned by UEFA in 2012, we captured a special time-lapse project at Arsenal’s home ground of Emirates Stadium in North London.

For sense of scale, we needed multiple camera systems installed in various locations around the stadium to capture – which holds a capacity of over 60,000 and with a pitch of 65 meters long. We spent four days at the grounds and captured over 90,000 images in total.

Our job was to time-lapse various phases of activity, including a Champions League game between Arsenal and AC Milan, crowd movements in and out of the stadium, complete set-up and de-rig, as well the hospitality and press rooms.

Arsenal's empty Emirates Stadium ahead of a Champions League game vs. AC Milan

Above: for this project, we needed a variety of angles to capture the sheer size and scale of the venue. Thus, we used a mixture of lenses in locations all over the stadium, wide-angle panoramas from gantries, pitch-side close-ups and camera systems fixed to fork-lift trucks.

As well as our work at UEFA, there have been many other projects which have required both internal and external capture of venue locations.

For one such project, we were chosen to capture the first ever time-lapse at the Horse Guards Parade ground near Whitehall.

Lemon Drop Events feature imageWe installed two camera systems at this historic site from privileged vantage points: one on the balcony of the former office of the Duke of Wellington to capture construction of a temporary venue, and the other to capture developments from inside said structure.

Working with Lemon Drop Ltd, who were responsible for the delivery of this prestigious event and temporary venue build in the Horse Guards Parade grounds, we were granted special permissions by the security services, 10 Downing Street and the Armed Forces to film on location.

Both of our camera systems were also privy to the parade itself, as shown by our fully post-produced time-lapse edit. Together with the exterior construction of the event venue, our time-lapse also covered the work that went into building the lavish interiors, the special evening event and the site restored to its original form.

These short-term projects, including intensive windows of activity, often come with quick turnarounds but still require the same amount of precision and creative labour as long-term jobs.

To finish with, one of our most elaborate time-lapse projects from our back catalogue involved capturing for a whole year at the Royal Albert Hall. Situated in South Kensington, London, this iconic venue commissioned our time-lapse solutions to document its full programme from July 2012 to July 2013.

Despite being well equipped to operate and manage our camera systems around the clock, this was an incredible feat due to the huge number of events we needed to capture. From the Royal Variety Performance, Swan Lake, BBC Proms and Masters Tennis, all 390 events were all variably different, all occurring under various lighting conditions.

The project required very close monitoring of our camera system for the entire duration, so as to do justice to the subtlest of changes happening internally – which resulted in one of our most popular time-lapse edits to date.


Our involvement with these projects means that we are equipped with the skills and knowledge to deliver the highest quality time-lapse for special events at venues across the UK.

These successful edits are also testament to the sheer potential and dynamism of time-lapse photography, which is a method that can reap results in all manner of event locations and environments.

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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.