Capturing a Construction Time Lapse Video

Months of construction captured in just minutes of footage!

Time lapse photography is an excellent way to document how a unique construction project is executed, the critical processes of a particular building construction, as well as provide a unique visual element in the production of a documentary.

Whether you’re new to the technique of time-lapse or already have some experience, these tips will be very helpful when planning and implementing your construction time lapse sequences.

Selecting the activity frame

Identify the critical elements of the project and the timing of these activities.

Similar to still frame photography, the key elements of the overall activity should take centre stage in the time lapse sequence. The key difference in the filming of a time lapse sequence is, the element of time.

Understand the extents of the activities throughout the construction process and where the focus points should be. Note that there could be multiple points of activity and these points could shift around constantly.

An experienced construction project manager will often have the best input to the critical processes that will occur during the project. Being involved during the project planning stage with the project manager is a good way to ensure that all critical elements of the project will be identified.

Choosing the right location

Find a good location to place the camera so that all the key elements of the project activities can be captured. Take a walk around the area, imagine the frame, take a look at the scene, and try to find the best location and composition.

Note that you may have to select more than one location if there are multiple angles where the activities are occurring. In this case, it may also be required that multiple cameras shotting from the various angles be set up.

On any construction site, the primary objective is to choose the best location to record the action. However, unlike shooting a still frame photo, the best location may not always be the most ideal over time.

Unfortunately, it is very common to have such activities taking place in the most optimum camera location. In such situations the only other choice is to find another location that is out of the way of the activities. It is better to get an average activity frame that spans the entire construction period, than to get a few weeks of great footage, only to have the camera moved to another location after that.

Another thing to note is the angle of the sunlight and also the location of the shadow throughout the day. It is best to select and trial a filming location for at least a full day first before the activity starts to make sure that the frame will not be affected by environmental factors.

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