How to make the best time-lapse video – Part 1

LA Media has been delivering professional time-lapse video since 2000 and now has 20 years of proven track record with construction, events, festivals, small companies and massive industrial enterprises, delivering for them a range of time-lapse videos that successfully covered days, months and years.

This is the first in a series where we will take you step by step through to finished product. So if you’re thinking about time-lapse ….let’s find out ‘some’ of what you need to know before you even start shooting.

 

First contact is critical to your success…. it’s the moment when you speak to a potential client and you need to convince them you are capable of doing the job while at the same time establishing some key information for yourself.

1. How long will the project last?

2. Where is it located?

3. Lots of other details

If you ask loads of questions you will always have a better chance of understanding what kind of project you are looking at and in turn this will help you determine the best way to approach your time-lapse.

Installation time-lapse

This is a traditional method normally used for projects lasting months – to years. It requires advanced planning, preparation, coordination with others and finally a remote monitoring system to ensure that observation of the unit can be done daily and that maintenance of the unit is immediate.

time-lapse box

 

Manned time-lapse

A much easier option to put into action and is often used for projects measured in days and sometimes even hours. It’s a self-contained, short term option that arrives on site with a trained professional and is then removed at the end of the day when the job is done.

time-lapse camera

 

Location?

The location of the time-lapse is likely to be Inner City or Countryside Remote and each brings its benefits but also its challenges. It’s important that you understand how each affects your time-lapse planning and preparation.

Inner City

The best thing about an inner city location is that mains power is often readily available to run the time-lapse unit and the WIFI access required to reach a static IP for remote monitoring is usually there as well.

The principal drawback to an Inner City installation is the security of any time-lapse unit. Theft and vandalism in the city is more likely to occur and nobody wants the implicit costs involved or the loss of client data (the project photos).

Countryside Remote

One key advantage about this type of location is that there is less likelihood of theft or vandalism.

However it is often the case that mains power is not readily available and wifi access can be very poor. This may result in having only battery power to run the time-lapse which also means no remote monitoring.

This is a situation which is quite nerve wracking as seconds after you start running the time-lapse the camera might stop and you only find out that its not been running when you next visit the installation a month later.

Time-lapse photo of water cascades

 

Lots of other details

Things you should ask your client about are:

Point of contact – who is the person on site that will coordinate with you to ensure you are a smooth fit into the overall project?

Health and Safety – When can you complete a health and safety induction so that you can legally operate on the site?

PPE – Will your personnel be required to wear PPE?

Power – Is there access to mains power to run the camera unit. Will it be an uninterruptible source and has it been approved and checked by a professional electrician before use?

Internet Access – Is there access to a Static IP address – required for a reliable connection if you are planning to monitor the unit remotely?

Point of View – what do they want your camera to see and might it become redundant as things develop over time?

Client Monitoring – Do they want to monitor the timelapse on their mobile phones and other devices?

Progress films – Will they want monthly update videos over the total period of the time-lapse?

Client Stills – Do they need high resolution stills for any social media campaign they may be running?

Duration – How long do they want the final ‘end of project’ video to run?

 

 

It might seem like a lot… but the more information you can get prior to starting your time-lapse project –  the better your final product will be. The next step in making a professional time-lapse is the equipment to use and how to build your time-lapse unit.

Keep an eye open for our Part Two in the series where we will get into all that…

Quiet road time-lapse

If you’ve enjoyed what you have read, give us a call on 0131 622 0220 or drop an email to louise@lamedia.co.uk. We are always ready to chat through your project.