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Construction progress on Albert Embankment from across the Thames, central London.

News Time-Lapse Trends: construction

31 July 2017 Kate

“Time-Lapse Trends” is a video blog series which draws attention to some of the many exciting trends in time-lapse production. We feature a new trend in each instalment, to demonstrate the scope of the medium and the various ways in which it is applied, ranging from the popular to the more obscure.

Tracking the evolution of a construction project is a classic subject for time-lapse. A complex structure can appear to be built from the ground up in a matter of minutes, as part of a time-lapse video.

The specific needs of capture are unique for each project but time-lapse provides various ways of ‘telling the story’.

Day-to-day operations on-site can be captured at regular intervals using bespoke, highly functional camera systems. Construction time-lapse can also utilise a multimedia approach to revolutionise the narrative of progress.


Sometimes more than one camera system is necessary to accurately render the full size and scope of construction projects. The example above, showing the development of a new school campus, utilises different perspectives as the project progresses.

Remote time-lapse is also a vital tool when capturing construction work.

For large-scale projects like this, the ability to control the camera when away from site has several benefits. Construction sites are heavily congested areas so micro-managing the camera system and its settings without having to be on-site reduces risk and can be carried out efficiently.

Building bricks

Of course, it is not just large-scale industrial builds that are the subject for time-lapse construction videos. Construction is also not a process that is always documented externally.

This time-lapse video from Jacinta Leong tracks the progress of a film set under construction at Fox Studios, Australia, between June and August in 2012.

Yashida’s Estate, appearing in the Marvel superhero film The Wolverine (2012), begins as a mere skeletal structure. The video highlights each important phase of the process, beginning with personnel mapping out the base of the structures, with heavy machinery later utilised to build them up, followed by the more detailed aesthetics finishes.

Structures made of Lego pieces also require much time and effort to erect, especially those that are built to go on display at Legoland Discovery Centres around the world.

Hours of labour play out in this video which captures the remarkable construction of this Lego model replica of the Tokyo Sky Tree – the world’s tallest tower! While the build itself took place at Legoland Windsor, the completed model of the Sky Tree was later shipped to Tokyo to feature as part of the city’s then new Legoland Discovery Centre.

Lego-builds are just one example which keep the construction genre of time-lapse fun and interesting for potential audiences.

Building business

Mediated documentation of construction projects is now big business, with time-lapse offering contractors and companies new and dynamic ways of showcasing their work.

Video marketing campaigns provide fresh and exciting perspectives, bringing perhaps formally industry-specific content to new audiences via websites, blogs, and social media platforms.

Construction of new residences, facilities, venues, restaurants, and bars, can garner intense interest from the public. Sharing time-lapse videos on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook captures the imagination and interest of a worldwide audience almost immediately.

This tweet by @TheAlchemistUK, for example, shows the construction of their new branch at Media City UK, Salford Quays.

In just a short space of time, it received many likes, retweets, and replies, which reflects how highly anticipated this venue is among locals and non-locals alike.

Creating ‘a buzz’ around certain events is also important and something that time-lapse can encourage.

Structure of BFI's Embankment Garden Cinema being erected

Above: construction progress at Embankment Gardens.

Time-lapse footage of the construction of a temporary cinema at Embankment Garden for the London Film Festival, 2016 was shared widely on social media platforms helping to spread the word about this impressive venue and its creators – the BFI.

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