How to calculate the approximate data usage for a long-term construction timelapse.
If you don’t calculate the expected data usage before starting the new project, you may experience a shock during the process.
Fast forward into the future to your first payment invoice for data transfer – your costs will be for a number or two more than you expected.
This is a situation that can really reduce your profits and that no photographer wants to be in.
Therefore, save yourself from the trouble by calculating your possible amount of data usage.
The equation itself is very simple:
photo file size x number of photos uploaded per month + 10% in buffer
= monthly data requirement
To make it even easier, we’ve done a meaningful job with the calculator below for you.
Just enter your numbers to calculate your estimated monthly data usage.
More information about planning data usage can be found below.
Photo file sizes.
Current size of JPEG files varies depending on the camera, image settings, and the complexity of the scene.
Better to check the file size during testing before installing the device at the shooting location.
To determine the size of a JPEG file, just take a few photos with the appropriate settings and check the file size.
If you cannot take photos of the actual construction site, take photos of a number of scenes and use the largest file size as a comparison item.
A few words about shooting RAW: we do not recommend uploading RAW photos, as they are usually large files that will significantly increase data costs.
You also cannot view RAW photos on the online web gallery, so downloading them does not do much good.
If you want to shoot in RAW format, the best way is to save the RAW files on the internal SSD for periodic manual upload.
Uploading photos and client expectations.
The frequency of taking and uploading photos is something that needs to be discussed with your client.
Will less frequent downloads for example, every thirty minutes or an hour, satisfy your client?
Or does he expect to see his construction site more frequently, every ten or even five minutes?
Your client’s requirements will affect the cost of your data, so make sure that you reflect this in the cost of your services.
Consider charging a higher monthly fee for shorter download intervals.
This will lead to the fact that data costs will vary depending on the frequency of their use and will not bring you losses.
If possible, you can also connect the timelapse system to a local network, and you will not have to worry about the cost of data transfer at all.
Shoot only on business days.
Definitely you will need to discuss with your client what days of the week the construction site will be active.
This is usually five days a week, but some projects can be active for six or even seven days a week.
In the Timebox settings portal, you can choose which days to shoot and which days the device will be inactive.
Clear the check box for non-working days so that you the item will not upload photos when nothing happens at the construction site.
Rely on the reserve stock.
After you have calculated your data usage, do not choose a plan that includes only the minimum requirements.
For example, if you estimate that your data usage per month will be about 4.8 GB, you would better consider a 5 GB plan.
Avoid the temptation to reduce the plan to a minimum: unexpected variables can dramatically increase the use of your data, so you need to «add a number as a precaution».
Because one day, a client may come to you wanting to increase the frequency of photos.
Or the period of busy activity at the shooting location will require shorter intervals to cover the entire action.
The Network interruptions can also lead to multiple attempts to download before the picture will be successfully loaded.
We recommend you to give yourself 10-20% of the buffer (reserve stock) on your data plan, so that you do not have to worry about exceeding the planned figure.
(The calculator above adds 10% of the buffer.)
With Timebox, you can choose to upload only certain photos by setting the upload frequency to a lower parameter than the shooting frequency.
The Timebox device’s large SSD storage also provides flexibility in managing files and data transfer costs.
You can upload photos at shorter intervals, saving some or many photos directly to internal storage for later upload.
You can also remotely change the download frequency at any time, depending on how your data usage is tracking.
Confidence in data budgeting.
You should set aside the time to calculate the usage of your data.
Double-check that you have not forgotten to “add in your mind just in case” to the main calculations.
It’s a simple process, but we often see photographers caught off guard by a huge cellular bill.
Take a few minutes to calculate your data requirements and your budget, and save your end result from unforeseen circumstances.
Find out more information.
To find out how to avoid other common mistakes in a long-term timelapse, click on this material: