Time-lapse photography and time-lapse video is a brilliant way to tell a story. With great stories being so fundamental to good marketing, the benefits of a time lapse can be massive. Outside of the marketing mix, a time lapse can also provide great insight into the progress of a project. Read on for our guide on how to make time lapses work for you...
Time-lapse photography has been around for longer than you may think. According to most historians, the first instance of a time lapse was in 1877. The man credited with pioneering the concept is the Englishman Eadweard Muybridge, who was trying to settle an argument about whether all four legs of a horse could ever be off the ground at the same time. Thanks to an intricate series of tripwires linked to the shutters of 24 different cameras, Muybridge was able to prove his point: all four legs did indeed leave the ground!
Muybridge's The Horse in Motion, 1878
Fast-forward to today’s era of mass media, and a time lapse is one of the most effective marketing tools you can have. A time-lapse video can tell a great story with minimal production costs, and just as important: it can be consumed by the audience relatively quickly. To understand the story of a time lapse requires very little time and concentration, which is a great advantage in today’s crowded marketplace.
We use time-lapse video with many of our clients. This is a time lapse we created for Johnson Tucker
A time-lapse & hyperlapse in homage to our home city of Newcastle
We used this time-lapse to show some of the property that Johnson Tucker handles on a daily basis. This has proven to be great marketing material for Johnson Tucker, as it shows their scale and ability to handle property of any size.
A time-lapse video is a great way of capturing information to help organisations make key decisions. It is especially useful when used over a long period of time, such as on a construction site. From just one camera it is possible to track the progress of a project, without having to visit the site themselves.
We did a case study for the Highways Agency to help them understand the use of one of their junctions.
After the study, the Highways Agency was able to gauge the habits of drivers who use the junction, i.e. how many went left when they were supposed to be going right, and how many cars use the junction at busy times.
Time-lapse photography and video requires less manpower than an all-singing all-dancing production. You can capture literally years’ worth of footage and tell a compelling story without the need to go to town on production costs. Most DSLRs these days have interval features built in, but even if your camera doesn’t there are many time-lapse accessories you can buy at a relatively low cost.
The last thing you want is to discover something is wrong with your capture at the end of the process. Just imagine waiting a year to discover that most of your footage is unusable? The aim of the game is to be able to smoothly edit together the footage, and while the natural light will change each day, you want to avoid any other changes to the picture that may make an image/video stand out from the rest. Disabling auto settings is a good start here. More generally: check, double check and triple check that your setup is going to work in the long term!
We like to use a 3-axis motion time-lapse technique that allows us to tilt, slide and pan our device in order to give different perspectives of the scene. By using a time-lapse video app we are able to control this ourselves as and when we need to, with no need to visit the site. Combined with a few of our favourite techniques, we can create time lapses that even the guys at Planet Earth would be proud of!
A hyperlapse is a variation on the above where there is a longer distance between each shots in the piece. Normally this is achieved by mounting a camera on a tripod and then moving it a few feet to take a different shot. Here is one of our favourite hyperlapses:
This was to mark our visit to London for the prestigious FSB Awards ceremony.
Why you need a time lapse
We used time-lapse to show the monumental task of moving a crane safely onto a quay with only 40 minutes of high tide available in the day. This has proven to be great marketing material for Port of Blyth, as it shows their ability to complete a complex operation without the need for a technical explanation. The footage speaks for itself.
A time-lapse is a cost-effective and simple way of telling a great story with images or video. You can promote your cause to the masses, analyse the progress of a project, and do a whole host of other great things with the minimum of manpower. If you want help creating your time-lapse project, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.