Timelapse of the construction: searching for the best shooting intervals. - Timebox Camera Write to WhatsApp

Timelapse of the construction: searching for the best shooting intervals.

This guide is your lifesaver for finding the best shooting intervals for a construction timelapse.

Poor interval settings can make it very difficult to work with post-production or dramatically increase your data transfer costs.
Before setting on the intervals of shooting, you will need to think about the following details:

  • What are my client’s expectations?
  • How many photos will I need in post-production? (You will want to overshoot)
  • What services will I provide? The real-time monitoring, the final video in a timelapse, or both?
  • Will it be necessary to change the intervals для for periods of low or high activity on the construction site?
  • What are my restrictions on cellular data?
  • What power options will I have at the construction site? Electricity? Solar?

We have divided this guide into several parts, step by step, so below is all the information about the best intervalmeter settings for construction timelapse!

The expectations of the client

Your main factors to consider should be the service and value you provide to your client.

Some clients may want to get an incredible video with a timelapse of their construction project, which they can show to interested people and future investors.

In this case, when only the final video is important, you may not need to shoot as often to get enough photos.

Other clients want to receive a constant stream of photos for timely observation and monitoring of the construction site, which may require more frequent photo uploads.

Many customers want both-beautiful timelapse content and monitoring of the construction site to see progress and work online.

In this case, you will need a shooting mode that will help you achieve both of these goals.

The key conclusion is to take the time to clearly observe your customers expectations, and do everything possible to make them happen.


In a long-term timelapse, you will take a large number of photos that you will not be able to use in your final sequence formed in the video.

There will be long periods of rain, bad weather (especially in Russia, which is not so often makes us happier with the dazzling sun), as well as moments when something interferes with your camera (for example, fog, crane or web).

Some photos in the early morning and late evening will have yellow or blue hues, or long shadows with high contrast will make other photos unable to use.

For these and other reasons you will probably need to reject a lot of photos in the post-production process.

In the construction timelapse, you will need to come up with the lowest common denominator: good lighting, stable colors, and some change in activity from photo to photo.

So, the best chance to get a sequence of good photos is to have a lot of photos to choose from.

After one of our sponsored projects, we found that out of more than four minutes of photos, we only got 60 seconds of video.

That is why, when there is doubt, it is always better to err on the side of cautionand shoot more photos than to undershoot material.

After all, with a large number of photos for creating a complete picture, it is not so important if a certain number of photographs are taken in conditions of insufficient visibility or simply are not suitable for work.

If you take fewer photos, you may find that you do not have enough photos to create a full-fledged timelapse movie, especially after you clear the material of unusable photos.

A lot of photos will add more work to post-production, but it is much better than not having enough images to create your content at all.

However, the principle of overshooting should also be balanced in accordance with the usage of data, sources of power and customers’ expectations.

Limitations: data transfer costs and power consumption.
Two large restrictions prevent shooting at lightning-fast intervals; cellular data usage and power limits.

The cost of using data can be difficult to be paid off. If you upload at short intervals, this can significantly increase your data costs.

We have made calculating expected data usage simple with the easy-to-use timelapse data calculator.

As for power, the faster your device takes photos and the more data you upload, the higher are the project’s power requirements.

If electricity is not available for the construction site where you are shooting the timelapse, then either solar energy or our external battery pack remains.
Both options force you to be more economical in terms of frame rate than when using electricity.

The actual power limits depend on a number of factors (amount of sunlight, cellular reception activity), so take a few test shootings on the spot to find out how fast you can tap the system to capture a frame.

Standard Intervals

If you are shooting a short-term timelapse, you know for sure that faster intervals ensure smooth video.
But since construction is slow in most cases, the shooting should not be so frequent.

The movement of workers and vehicles on the construction site is interesting, but secondary to the main history of the object: the construction of building itself.

This is why it is better to choose slower intervals, that will show a gradual change of the building over time.

If electrical work is carried out or there are problems with workers, nothing will change for a few weeks!

Generally (and make sure you take other factors into account), an interval of 10 to 30 minutes is a good fit for a typical construction timelapse project.

Rapid intervals

Imagine a concrete pouring process with workers swarming like ants, or a crane neatly laying beams.

Such events are very interesting to watch, and you will want to catch all the action on the camera.

Here, your intervals will be closer to those in the short-term timelapse; they can be as fast as every 60 seconds.

That’s why do not forget to speed up the shooting mode for high activity and special actions at the shooting location.

JPEG against RAW: choosing the best photo format for long-term timelapse?

Upload just some photos.

Please note that the number of uploaded photos may differ from the number of photos you took.

With Timebox Camera, you can shoot and upload in different modes, allowing you to selectively upload some photos while saving others in local storage.

This way you can upload files at a frequency that is convenient for the client, but the same time reducing data transfer costs by saving additional photos in local storage.

Thiswill give you creative freedom in the form of a large number of photos, while your client will receive online monitoring of the construction site at a fairly cheap cost.

One thing – you will need to personally upload additional photos from your hard drive. But if this is not a problem, this is a great way to reduce production costs.

Setting the correct intervals.

To sum up, when choosing intervals, consider the following:

  • What does my client want?
  • How much more photos can I take so that it does not affect the process cost?
  • What are the costs of cellular data transmission that I can handle?
  • What power options are available for the device at the construction site?
  • What is the activity level of the construction site?

Find out more information