Why Time Lapse Cameras Make Sense for Construction

Document your project from start to finish with compelling and engaging time lapse camera footage. It's easier than you think.

The Construction Of A Home Shown Through Time Lapse Photography | Construction Pro Tips
Courtesy of Josh Banks

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Why time lapse camera?

Time lapse video is a great way to showcase your work or retain your memories. However, long term time lapse can be elusive. Many cameras and smartphones have time lapse camera capabilities; however, recording beyond a few hours can be a challenge.

From new construction to remodeling, contractor to sub-contractor, time lapse shows your entire story. People watch time lapse videos just to see the action unfold. From your web site to social media to trade shows or client gifts, consider adding time lapse as a component of your service. We asked the TimeLapseCameras.com team how they consistently create a variety of unique time lapse videos. Here are some tips and tricks to successfully capture your next project with a time lapse camera.

Time Lapse Camera | Construction Pro Tips

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What's the best time lapse camera for you?

Courtesy of Josh Banks

Many cameras are capable of time lapse, including DSLRs, action cameras, and smartphones. Battery life is the biggest issue, as going beyond two hours can be challenging, costly and complex. There is one simple and inexpensive camera solution, the Brinno TLC 200 Pro, a camera dedicated to long term time lapse work. Specifically designed for time-lapse shooting, a Brinno camera is the only solution offering months of battery life.

Various Time Lapse Equipment | Construction Pro Tips
Courtesy of Brinno

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What other equipment do you need with a time lapse camera, and how much will it all cost?

If the time lapse camera is meant for outdoor use, you will want to store it in weatherproof housing. You will also need a clamp or mount and AA batteries. TimelapseCameras.com offers an essential component bundle for $285.00. which includes the camera, housing, larger SD card and a versatile clamp. For once in a lifetime projects, we recommend purchasing two camera bundles. You can run two cameras outdoors for the major exterior work and move one camera indoors once interior work picks up. Having two cameras outdoors offers redundancy in the case of a natural or accidental failure. Two cameras also gives you some variety and allows you to show the story from a different angle.

Time Lapse Camera Placement | Construction Pro Tips
Courtesy of Brinno

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Where should you place the time lapse camera relative to the sun?

If avoidable, we don't recommend having the sun in the frame of your time lapse camera, so shooting north is always the best option. We recommend avoiding sunrise and sunset transitions. Played back quickly, dark to light and back to dark again can be difficult to watch. Using the camera's timer feature, sunrise and sunset can usually be avoided. Bad weather, non-working days and holidays can easily be removed using programs like iMovie or Windows Movie Maker. The TimeLapseCameras.com team is able to assist polishing your final video.

Weatherproof Time Lapse Camera | Construction Pro Tips
Courtesy of Brinno

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What about bad weather?

For outdoor work there is a weather resistant housing which works very well in all climates. We recommend wrapping the housing seal with tape to prevent driving rain from contacting the seal. The housing is also useful indoors as it allows you to remove the time lapse camera, change batteries and replace the camera without changing the camera position.

Placing Batteries and Memory Card into Your Camera | Construction Pro Tips
Courtesy of Brinno

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What are ongoing maintenance requirements for a time lapse camera?

We recommend getting into the habit of checking your cameras regularly. For a long term project every month or two is adequate. The batteries will last a long time... the main thing you have to worry about is strange, unavoidable occurrences randomly affecting the camera. We have seen cameras knocked down, covered with paint and we won't even mention how a bird is capable of wrecking your footage. 

Unpredicted events, although rare, are the most common reason for time lapse camera project failure. Again, for once in a lifetime captures we always recommend two cameras. This is part of the reason why for building construction we run two cameras outdoors until the structure is sealed. The cameras can be side-by-side or in different locations for multiple angles. Once interior work ramps up we move one camera inside for variety.

Workers positioning a Time Lapse camera | Construction Pro Tips
Courtesy of Josh Banks

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Will it make workers nervous?

Cameras are a part of everyday life and most often a time lapse camera is out of sight and out of mind. We have had contractors state there is less theft at a job site with cameras and illegal dumping becomes almost non-existent. Occasionally workers will have to remove a camera to complete their work. Ask them to contact you so the camera is not left sitting upside down on a job box for a month. For indoor projects, once the windows are in place we like to use a suction cup mount on the window. The cameras may get covered for painting but once glass is in, typically it doesn't get touched until final cleaning.

Editing Time Lapses Footage on a Computer | Construction Pro Tips
Courtesy of Brinno

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Is editing easy?

Editing can be easy if you utilize the time lapse camera's timer function. The timer allows you to record working hours only (8am to 5pm) and creates a separate video file each day. Editing may only entail removing weekends, non-working days and bad weather days which can easily be accomplished with iMovie (Mac) or Windows Movie Maker (PC). Editing can get more complex if you have multiple cameras, stills, drone footage, etc. to work into your video. The TimeLapseCameras.com team are experts at editing Brinno time lapse footage and turning your project over to us would save some time and potential frustration.

Showing off time lapse footage across the internet | Construction Pro Tips
Courtesy of Josh Banks

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What is the best way to show the end result to clients?

The great thing about time lapse is people watch just to see what happens. If kept short, time lapse videos are great for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Embedding YouTube videos into your web site is very easy and a great way to engage customers. Time lapse video really stands out at shown on trade show booth screens. At at trade show, time lapse cameras work as a great ice breaker with booth visitors often asking the first questions.

Meet the Expert

Josh Banks is a name synonymous with long term time lapse, having created 100s of videos and worked for BrinnoUSA for the past three years. Josh has been to Brinno's headquarters in Taiwan and represented them at major trade shows, including the International Builder's Show. Early this year Josh started TimeLapseCameras.com, a site dedicated to education and customer project support. From camera settings to editing the TimeLapseCameras.com team is ready to help you as the only exclusive Brinno retailer in the US.

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