How to Make Long-Term Time-lapse Video for Construction Sites

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Time lapse videos have become a popular way to showcase the progress of construction sites over an extended period of time. By capturing footage at regular intervals and compiling it into a condensed video, viewers can witness the evolution of a project from start to finish in a few minutes.

Creating a long-term time-lapse video can be a challenging process that requires careful planning, technical skills and the right equipment. In this article, photoSentinel will provide a step-by-step guide on how to make a long-term time-lapse video for construction sites. From selecting the right camera and settings to editing and compiling the final product, we will cover everything you need to know to create a captivating visual record of your construction project.

You can find the video of our Ultimate Beginner's Guide on our website and we have added a transcript here for you also.

Title Image - Long-Term Construction Time-lapse Planning Tips

Planning your Long-Term Time-lapse Video Project

Long-term construction time-lapse planning requires thorough research and preparation to accurately capture every stage of the project. Photographers must determine camera placement, settings and equipment to mitigate issues like glare and distortion, and ensure sufficient storage capacity. Installation techniques must also be considered for optimal protection and energy efficiency. See our Top 8 Planning tips for more information.

How to Choose the Best Camera for Your Long-Term Time-lapse Video Project

Choosing the right time-lapse camera for your project can seem like a daunting task. With so many different models available, it’s hard to know which one is right for you.

Time lapse cameras are designed to capture images at intervals, allowing an entire event or process to be filmed in a short amount of time. When choosing a time-lapse camera, there are several key factors to consider including budget, resolution and frame rate.

For most projects, a high-resolution camera with a fast frame rate is ideal. The higher the resolution of the camera, the sharper and more detailed the footage will be. The frame rate should also be taken into account; this dictates how many frames are captured each second and therefore affects how smooth the final video will look. For slow-moving events like sunsets or star trails, lower frame rates are acceptable while faster-moving subjects require higher frame rates in order to capture all details.

Choose the Best Long-Term Time-lapse Camera System

When selecting a time-lapse camera, it’s important to think about what type of environment it will be used in and any special features that may be needed such as built-in Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity for remote access or control. Some cameras offer additional features like motion detection and night vision capability, making them suitable for surveillance applications or filming wildlife in low light conditions. You also need to consider battery life; some models come with rechargeable batteries while others require external power sources such as solar panels or car batteries.

Taking all these factors into consideration should help ensure that you choose the best time-lapse camera for your project and get the footage you desire.

Choosing a Lens for Your Long-Term Time-lapse Camera

Choosing a Lens for Your Long-Term Time-lapse Camera

The right camera and lens are essential in capturing the best time-lapse footage possible.

DSLR cameras are ideal for creating time-lapse videos due to their superior image quality and combination of manual control features. For a construction project, a wide-angle lens is recommended for capturing expansive scenes, if your project is focusing on one specific area of the site, longer focal lengths would be more beneficial for close-up shots.

More than one lens can be beneficial as it allows you to quickly switch between different views.

Shutter speed and frame rate are discussed, as well as how to maintain batteries and memory cards when shooting over long periods of time.

DSLR models and lenses may be suitable for long-term time-lapse recording. These include Nikon D750 and Canon 6D Mark II cameras, along with Tamron 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II VC HLD and Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM | A1 lenses among others. All these products have their own advantages depending on the type of project being recorded, budget constraints, or personal preference.

Choosing the best camera and lens for your project is easier with the right information.

The Best Time-lapse Settings for Construction


When shooting long-term time-lapse, aperture priority is the setting that will provide consistent results even with varying lighting conditions which can help with the raw end product and reduce the amount of time spent fixing problems in post-production.

Manual Focus

Setting your camera's focus to manual mode is one of the most important measures you can take when attempting to produce a successful construction time-lapse. Using auto-focus can change the focal length over the course of the time-lapse which will result in missing moments.

Time lapse mode captures all of the desired shots, it is essential to set both the lens switch and in-camera focus mode to manual.

A photographer prepares a Canon as a construction time-lapse camera

Shooting Intervals

Setting intervals incorrectly can cause a huge headache when it comes to post-production and also increase your data costs. It's important to ensure that you overshoot, as well as think about the type of service being provided (real-time monitoring, being mindful of data restrictions that might be in place and whether there will be access to AC or solar power on site. It is also important to keep your client in mind when choosing your intervals, their end goal will dictate your shooting regime.

The best time-lapse interval for construction is particularly important.

White Balance

As the light will change not only between day and night but dependent on weather and shadow from the construction site, setting the white balance to a manual option will help to maintain colour balance across all images.

Picture Profile

Your picture profile will be dictated by the end product, for a time-lapse video, you will want to flatten the profile to get a more dynamic image. For more information about the best long term time-lapse settings click here.

Saving the settings

It sounds basic, but with so much to consider when setting up your time-lapse, remembering to shut down the camera to save the settings prior to installing the set up is a must.

Calculate the Data Usage you Will Need to get the Best Long-Term Time-lapse Results

Calculating your expected date requirements will help in planning your project in terms of cellular plan, cloud service and budget. Use our time-lapse calculator to determine how much data you will need and what plan you will need from your cellular provider.

How to Edit Long-Term Time-lapse Videos

With the help of modern technology and software, creating a captivating construction time-lapse video is easier than ever before.

Choose the right software for the job

Depending on the complexity of the project, people may need different features from their software such as image stabilization, automatic cropping and merging of images, color correction and other advanced editing options.

Selecting the right content

The next step is selecting which clips should be included in the final video product. Assessing the quality of the images taken and adjusting where necessary. This can depend on the length of time people want to show within their video or what features they want to highlight during particular moments in time, and ensuring that the transition between night and day content is seamless.


After this, people can begin to fine-tune certain aspects of their footage such as adjusting exposure levels, tweaking chromatic values, and adding effects like sharpening or softening images. Additional editing can include adding audio publishing software and media.

We go more in depth into 'How to Edit Long-term Construction Time-lapse Video' on this link.

Pitching Your Long-Term Time-lapse Video Services to Clients

When pitching construction time-lapse equipment to clients, it is important to emphasize the advantages that this technology offers;

Cost reduction

Rather than hiring a photographer or videographer for extended periods of time, time-lapse photography can be put into place for the entirety of the project. Highlighting the accuracy and reliability of the type of equipment you will be using is a great selling point.

Construction Time-lapse: Pitching to Clients in
photoSentinel | The Ultimate Project Planner

Sharing with stakeholders and further promotion

Time lapse videos are easy to pass along to stakeholders, as so many companies can be involved in one construction project, and the video files can be an engaging and informative way to provide progress reports. The videos provide an excellent way of marketing and promoting a project before completion due to their visual impact.

Ultimately, when pitching construction time-lapse video services it is essential to demonstrate how this technology can improve efficiency and save money while still producing high-quality results that accurately document the progress of a given project. By emphasizing these points and highlighting any unique features that set your product apart from competitors you will be well on your way to successfully selling your product to potential clients.

What to Charge Clients for Long-Term Time-lapse Video Services

When providing long-term construction time-lapse services for clients, it is essential to consider all aspects of the job when determining what to charge.

A comprehensive plan should be put in place that outlines not only the standard rate for services but also any additional costs such as travel and equipment rental fees.

You will also need to consider post-production and if the client is wanting updates during the process. So, consider that extra services such as image processing and editing should also be factored into the final fee structure agreed upon with the client. By taking these steps and properly assessing all elements of a project beforehand, businesses can ensure they are charging a fair rate while still providing exceptional quality products and services.

In order to provide an accurate summary of the work, utilise our photoSentinel | The Ultimate Project Planner

Tips to Avoid Making Long-Term Time-lapse Video Mistakes

When setting up for any long-term project mistakes are par for the course. With good planning and design you can avoid a lot of these mistakes.

Choose the right equipment

Photographers need to make sure they use durable, reliable hardware such as weatherproofed cameras and lenses designed for this type of work. Consider factors like resolution, night vision capabilities, and frame rate when selecting an appropriate camera system. Other equipment such as mounting brackets, tripods, battery packs, and power sources should also be taken into account when making a decision.

A photographer prepares a Canon as a construction time-lapse camera


In terms of setting up the project, positioning the camera correctly is key for a time-lapse video as it will be exposed to many different elements and protection from the elements should also be considered. Consider the time of the project with regards to possible delays or other unknown variables that could cause unexpected issues later down the line. Ensuring that there is a clear line of sight sounds obvious, but as construction sites progress the field of observation may also shift and the placement of the camera may need to change.


Doing some regular check-ups on the camera to make sure that nothing is overlooked in terms of capturing every detail within each shot required throughout the entire project duration. Investing in additional cameras to mitigate potential data loss may be an additional protective barrier for the project.


It is essential to ensure that when setting up time-lapse equipment, it is placed in a secure area that is free from potential hazards. This includes avoiding any proximity to sources of electricity, such as power cords and electrical sockets, as well as any water pipes or other sources of liquid. Doing this will help reduce the risk of damage or physical harm to both the equipment and the people using it. Additionally, positioning your time-lapse equipment in an area with good ventilation can also be beneficial; this will ensure that the device does not overheat.

Making sure that all cables are out of reach and away from foot traffic is also important for preventing accidents.

Creating a long-term-lapse video of a construction site can be a powerful tool for documenting progress, identifying areas for improvement and showcasing the final product. By following the guide we have outlined, such as selecting the right equipment, choosing the best vantage point, the importance of adequate storage and carefully editing the footage, you can create a compelling visual record of a projects evolution. Whether you are a construction manager, architect, or simply someone who is interested in documenting the construction process, a long-term time-lapse video can provide a unique perspective and help you to better understand and appreciate the complexity of the work involved. So get your cameras ready and start capturing your project from start to finish.

The Benefits of Long-Term Video for Construction Site Monitoring

Remote construction monitoring is a technique used to record images of a construction site over time. It involves the use of specialized equipment, such as cameras and computer-controlled systems, which are installed on-site to capture photos and videos of the construction project. By using remote construction monitoring, it is possible to identify changes in the environment around the project, document progress, and monitor safety regulations.

Time lapse cameras are a key component of remote construction monitoring. They are placed at various points throughout the construction site to capture images at regular intervals. Images from all cameras are then merged together into one video that shows how work is progressing over time. This time-lapse footage can be used during the planning and design stages to help visualize the progress of an entire project or for specific elements, such as retaining walls or drainage systems. The footage can be used for tracking compliance with safety regulations as well as for tracking deliveries and changing conditions on site.

In order to ensure that images are captured accurately and securely, specialised software solutions have been developed which allow users to set up alerts when specific conditions or activities occur on-site.

Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project
Remote Construction Monitoring

This helps minimise human error during installation and maintenance of the system while also providing additional security measures such as secure data storage and access control.

They enable real-time collaboration between site supervisors, contractors and other stakeholders involved in a project by allowing them to access live data remotely via web interfaces or mobile apps. By using remote construction monitoring technology it is possible to streamline operations onsite while still ensuring maximum safety for workers and accuracy for projects that require detailed documentation over long periods of time.

As you can see the benefits of long-term video for construction site monitoring far outweigh any initial work to get the plan online.

Chat to one of our team for expert advice or to receive a free, no-obligation quote for your timelapse project.