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Time lapses are a growing trend online for construction companies and they absolutely should be for multiple reasons. They are entertaining to watch and to show off your process as to how a project comes together. Whether it is posted on Instagram or on your website, it helps to show off a project from start to finish.
If you want your business to grow its online presence whether it is on social media or a video-based platform, time lapses are a great way to incorporate footage that shows more about your business in a small amount of time. Plus they are easy to create with the right equipment set up by choosing the settings and clicking a button.
There are a lot of different types of cameras to choose from when it comes to outdoor time lapse cameras. This even includes something as simple as your phone. However, having a dedicated time lapse camera for construction is likely going to provide you with the best results and flexibility for a variety of reasons.
Time Lapse Construction Video
A time lapse is a series of photos that are stitched together to make a video. These photos are taken at a preset interval on the camera and are stitched together by the camera to create a seamless video of the action that is going on in front of them. It beats having to take a video of the scene for multiple reasons:
- Time lapses require less storage than video.
- Time lapses require less battery power than video.
- Time lapses create small consumable clips of action over a long period of time.
- Time lapses are visually stunning and entertaining.
Time lapses will help you expand your reach online and appeal to your ideal customers. They can be used on your social presence and on your website to show off your professionalism on a job site, to break down the process step-by-step for a customer, or to provide a basis as to what their project will look like from beginning to end. They provide an excellent branding opportunity for your business.
Not to mention they are enjoyable to watch and are likely to be shared on social media because of this, further expanding your online presence reach with their potential to be seen by many viewers.
Construction of various projects typically take a long time. In our industry specifically, you are going to be on site for days, weeks, if not even months. If you want to capture all of the action during that time span in a video format, you likely are not going to have the battery life in your camera to sustain a lengthy video or the willingness to want to watch that afterwards. If you would not be willing to watch that video, just think about your viewers.
Time lapses take a single frame shot over a predetermined interval before starting whereas a video takes 24 frames per seconds as a benchmark. This is why time lapses work best for construction projects. With the camera not working so hard, you will get more battery life out of it allowing you to capture more action for a longer period of time.
Setting up a time lapse is as simple as setting up the camera at a good vantage point to view the area you want captured. Typically this is a place of higher elevation than your action and where a tripod or an attachment to attach itself to an object will come in handy. In the settings, you would need to set the interval time period to suit your needs for the capture. These are typically intervals of seconds up to minutes on the camera. If you are leaving the camera there for a day to record, start at around 5 second intervals. If you want to leave it there for a longer project, get into the minutes. Ultimately this requires a little bit of playing around with to get use to what the best intervals are for your intended use.
A time lapse will gather snapshots over a long period of time and compress it into a small segment that is easy to watch and edit. This makes it consumable for your online audience. Additionally, that camera is not burning through storage like it would with a full length video. This allows you to store more on that camera and not burden your computer hard drive with massive files.
The downside is that time lapses are photos stitched together and therefore do not have any sound attached to them. So you are likely going to want to get some royalty-free music or even yourself talking over the footage to provide context as to what is happening during that time.
Construction Time Lapse Cameras
There are several different devices that you can use as a construction time lapse camera. You likely already have one in your pocket and on you at all times. That does not mean that it is the best device for you to use, but it is definitely there at your disposal whenever you may need it.
Besides having a dedicated time lapse camera for construction or outdoor use in general, you do not need much else to get you going in taking time lapses other than having a tripod. Tripods have a standard screw on the top of their mounting table that will attach itself to most cameras allowing an easy way to set your camera up anywhere and everywhere.
A tripod is important to have as you can get a better vantage point of your project without having to worry about being creative while on the job site. Not to mention that it will stand out to the guys on the job site and it will be less likely to get hit, mixed up in some material and disposed of, or just covered up and lost. Not having a tripod is possible, but not the best option.
Once you have your time lapse completed, you will need to edit it removing the part where you start it and are in frame and the part at the end where you walk up to it and turn it off, as well as anything else you want to remove in between. Additionally, you likely want to add additional clips before and after to provide context for the time lapse to create a full video to be shared where you want to.
Remember that time lapses have no sound. So you will likely want to access some royalty free music to clip over the time lapse portion of the video or be prepared to have a voice over during the time lapse to provide additional context as to what is happening. You can also have both music and your voice over at the same time, as long as the music is quiet enough that the audience can hear you speaking.
iMovie is an easy software to learn and implement if you are looking for some basic editing of your videos. Personally, I love HitFilm Express as it is free and extremely powerful allowing you to do basic and complex edits. If you want a paid option, then Adobe Premiere Pro is also an excellent choice for the same reasons as HitFilm is.
The most important component of creating time lapse videos is the camera itself. Here are various options for your time lapse creation, their pros and cons, and ending with our choice of time lapse camera you should invest in for your construction and outdoor time lapses.
- Everyone has one
- No wide angle lens
- Dirty camera lenses blur image
- No use of phone will capturing time lapse
- Battery life
- Wide angle lens
DSLR or Mirrorless Cameras
Dedicated Construction Time Lapse Camera
Everyone has got one of these in their pocket at all times. Did you know that your phone camera has a time lapse function? On iPhones, just open up your camera app and swipe until you get to the time lapse function. Alternatively, there are time lapse apps that you can install on your phone.
This makes it really easy for you to start taking time lapses easily with something that you already have. Additionally, if you just want to get a time lapse out there you can easily post it online right from your phone on your chosen social media platform. You can even download a video editing app and start your edit right on your phone.
Though this is extremely handy and allows you to get started right away, your phones camera may not be up to the standard that you would expect to release. Phone cameras have come a long way and if you have a newer phone, the camera is probably impressive. But if you use that phone outdoor often in a dusty environment, that camera lens likely gets dirty and can fog up your image without you knowing. The camera lens for time lapses are likely not the wide angle that you would want it to be to capture all of the action in the area.
Finally, the worst part of using your phone to capture a time lapse which is meant to be a long period of time is that you cannot use your phone during that period which is exactly why you have a phone in the first place. Not to mention the draining of your battery while it is capturing the action. Though it is a good choice for those just starting out or wanting to learn how to take a time lapse, it is nowhere near the best choice for the long run.
The GoPro construction time lapse is a beautiful thing. These little action cameras provide incredible image quality along with some great customization settings for anyone looking to get into time lapses or any video capturing of the sort.
If you want a camera that is small and does it all well (sound quality needs some improvement), then the GoPro is likely the way to go. Not to mention that they are waterproof and weather resistant. If there is a rain storm that comes in, then you wont have to worry about it being out in the elements.
There are so many attachments available for this camera that you can use it for a variety of applications beyond just being a time lapse camera on your construction site or outdoors. So if you have other hobbies that you think this could be handy for, then this is likely the right choice for you.
Still, it never hurts to have a camera that is dedicated to time lapses for a variety of more reasons. One being battery life. The GoPro does not have poor battery life, but it does not hold up to dedicated time lapse cameras and this may be a problem while you are on site. You may need to invest in several GoPro batteries along with it.
These cameras are really specialized cameras for the professional or those that want to learn more about photography and video-making. If you are not willing to learn more about photography as this may not be a passion or something you are even remotely interested in, then I would not recommend either of these for your time lapses.
However, if this is something you want to explore and you want to learn to take incredible shots of your projects especially in the early morning and late at night, nothing beats these cameras. The downside is that they are the most expensive option on this list.
DSLR cameras and good quality mirrorless cameras require the purchasing of the body of the camera along with the separate purchasing of various lenses to suit your needs. You also want to make sure that you are purchasing one of the models that have the ability to take time lapses. This means that you are purchasing a camera on the higher end of the cost scale.
They will provide you with some incredible results and will provide you with better results and versatility than the GoPro, but there is a greater learning curve to them. Not to mention that they are not waterproof out of the box, so you would need to invest in some housing to keep them protected from the elements. If they are stolen or broken on a job site, that may be difficult to swallow.
There is something to be said about having a specialty tool for a specific task. Having a dedicated time lapse camera to take time lapses is that specialty tool. It does everything you would expect it to do for you and it accomplishes it well. It also frees up your other tools, in this case cameras or your phone, to do what you want them to do.
If you have a phone, this will allow you to be able to still use your phone while capturing your time lapse. If you have a GoPro, this will allow you to be able to capture your time lapse while you film video with your GoPro. This is meant for one thing only. To take time lapses. It needs to be an outdoor time lapse camera, so a dedicated camera for time lapses that is able to withstand the elements where the battery life is going to last is incredibly important.
So in a post where we are discussing time lapse cameras for your construction based business to be able to show off stunning visuals of how your projects come to life, it just make sense that these types of cameras are on our list and are out recommendation for you when it comes to capturing time lapses.
Best Time Lapse Camera for Construction
Having a dedicated construction site time lapse camera will allow you the flexibility to use your other camera equipment or phone the way you should while you are on site to either take phone calls without disturbing your time lapse or to take video for the remainder of your content.
Here is what you should be looking for when purchasing a time lapse camera for outdoor use on a construction site:
- 1080p Time Lapse
- Wide Angle Lens
- Weather Proof
- Rechargeable Battery
- Long Battery Life
Brinno time lapse cameras have all of these covered with additional features depending on the model. Ultimately if it is going outdoors and is going to be on a construction site, you want it to be able to withstand the elements and to be durable. With a compact design and cases that can be added to their cameras, Brinno has you covered on this front.
Their cameras have wide angle lens to capture all of the action on a job site and many different customization options that are available to make your time lapse easy to capture.
The battery life is the most important thing when it comes to time lapse cameras and it is the biggest reason why you need to get a dedicated time lapse camera as opposed to any other camera on this list. Their cameras will last for days, some up to 16 days on a single charge.
This specific model will connect to your phone and allow you to control the Brinno camera right from your device. This makes it easy to start and stop a time lapse on site where you do not need to walk up to it to start and back to it to end the time lapse causing you to have to edit off those parts. You can customize various settings right from your phone and share right from your device.
Not enough can be said about the use of a dedicated time lapse camera on a construction site to help build your online portfolio and to show off what makes your business unique and stand out against all others to your clients. This things is worth the investment to start that process.