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3 Week Time Lapse?

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Chris Mason3 Week Time Lapse?
by on Apr 7, 2011 at 8:40:30 pm

Hi Gang,

I have a client that wants to produce a time lapse video of the setup process for an upcoming event. They are going to extreme lengths to build an outdoor concert venue and want to document the entire process from a single overhead point of view.....for 3 weeks!

I am thinking I could put a weather proof web cam of sorts on a tall pole and use some type of software to capture a picture ever X number of minutes and then stitch them together later.

I can't think of anywhere else to ask this, so this seemed as good a place as any.

Anyone have any suggestions on what gear to use or how to set it up? Anyone ever done this before?

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Mark SuszkoRe: 3 Week Time Lapse?
by on Apr 7, 2011 at 10:16:15 pm

Yes, we did a couple of these. There are other ways to go but personally I highly recommend the Axis webcam, which has a built-in web server in it that will store and forward the stills grabs to you anywhere in the world, and you can manage it thru a simple web interface as well. About as idiot-proof as you can get, long as the idiots don't unplug your power to plug in their floor waxers at night:-) You need un-interrupted AC power for that, and a Pelco weatherproof/theft-resistant housing.

There ARE setups available that use cell phones and solar panels to do this kind of job completely off the grid. But I'm thinking you will have power access at your site.

You CAN also just hang up a DSLR running intervalometer software, with enough storage space in it and uninterrupted battery power, and get a quality result. However, doing it that way, you have to wait to see if you got everything, with no way to catch a problem and correct it in time to matter. With a webcam like the Axis or similar brand, you can set how often the camera dumps shots to your home base, you can see problems live in real time with time to fix them. If the camera gets stolen or destroyed, you already have all or almost all the pictures up to that point. That was a lifesaver for us, when those janitors turned off our power one night, we only lost a couple hours of shots, since the rest were already safe in our internet computer. You can even be working along on the time lapse edit all during the job, as the shots come in, instead of waiting until the end to get started. So that's why I like the webcam method.

Siting the camera has lots to consider, especially if you only have one shot at this.

You have to check and plan for the sun angles, the exposure. Weather and how it affects the shot. Security and resistance to theft or tampering. The frame rate or interval, versus available storage. How wide a lens you need. What the overall framing needs to be. If you have access to CAD renderings of the building, maybe you can match the drawing perspective to the time lapse perspective and do nifty blends of bluprint/rendering and real steel.

Consider that most buildings rush to complete the outer skin very early in the process, then the rest of the work moves inside and out of sight for months afterwards, not looking like much to the outside camera any more, except the landscaping, so you'll want alternate angles and a few one-day setups of interior views during key events, as well as the overall outside shot. The one-day cut-away deals can be covered with a DSLR and intervalometer.

That's just off the top of my head.

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Brent DunnRe: 3 Week Time Lapse?
by on Apr 11, 2011 at 3:55:44 pm

Thanks for that info. I haven't done one of these yet, but had an inquiry about a year ago. Do you have a link to your timelapse?

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Films
Video Marketing

Sony EX-1,
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 7D
Mac Pro Tower, Quad Core,
with Final Cut Studio

HP i7 Quad laptop
Adobe CS-5 Production Suite

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Mark SuszkoRe: 3 Week Time Lapse?
by on Apr 12, 2011 at 7:49:53 pm

Sadly, no, that was some time ago and the new web site dropped it.

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Glenn GrantRe: 3 Week Time Lapse?
by on Mar 9, 2012 at 8:01:48 pm

Hi Mark,

What model Axis web cam did you use? I have a client that wants to do a four day outdoors time lapse and I am trying to figure out what my best option would be.


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Mark SuszkoRe: 3 Week Time Lapse?
by on Mar 9, 2012 at 11:55:50 pm

Gosh, Glen; that was so long ago now, even if I could look it up, it's long ago been replaced by something better now.

How about this one?

Something on that site will work for you, I'm sure.

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grinner hesterRe: 3 Week Time Lapse?
by on Apr 17, 2011 at 10:33:49 pm

a good ole 5D with manual setttings woud work fine. I use to do simular time lapse stuff for Jimmy Buffett back in the day but I was never tied down to anything... much more freedom. Still, I'd just snap as I wish for the 3 weeks and call it done.

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