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Topic # 84862 9-Jun-2011 17:59
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I've got a client who builds houses.  He wants to do a time lapse of his next build right from the foundations being laid, to the house being completed.

I'm wondering what the best way to do this is.  Obviously would need to be some sort of camera with a memory stick in it, and power.   I'm wondering whether it's worth having the internet installed in a separate box on his builder's temp pole, just so I can remotely monitor it.

Ideally we would set the camera up, it'd take a photo every hour, and we'd remove it once the house is complete.

Any ideas of hardware/setup would be great.

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  Reply # 479448 9-Jun-2011 18:43
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You can buy compact cameras with interval timers, that shoot every 30 seconds or so, then build a box  with a glass window and a hood to keep rain off the window.  Inside the box you should be able to connect the camera to a tripod mount type screw, to keep it firmly in place while it captures photographs.  Make sure it does not fire the flash, as that will give sub par results and drain the battery quickly.  You'll probably need 2 large memory cards (8GB+) and shoot on a medium-low jpeg resolution.  Add to that about 3/4 camera batteries that are charged and ready to swap out every half day...

Or use a Netbook+Camera set up with a program that will allow remote capture, plenty of software that will do it, google around 

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  Reply # 479497 9-Jun-2011 21:35
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It might be worth having a look at CHDK. I had a bit of a play with a couple of months ago with some time lapse and lightning capture scripts and it seemed reliable enough to be a pretty set and forget solution as long as your camera has external power and a weatherproof enclosure.

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  Reply # 480117 11-Jun-2011 18:20
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It comes down to: 

What are you going to do with the finished video?

What is the clients budget?

How much post production are you willing to pay for?

Anything is possible, but it is very very easy to mess it up if you approach it without full testing, and redundant systems.

Your best bet is to employ a professional to set this up and manage the project for you.

I am a professional cameraman, and I film a lot of timelapses. The longest duration construction project that I shot was a 20 month duration.

For that one I used a housing, custom fabricated to be solid on a building nearby, I used a SLR, exposed it so that the traffic below was blurred out, and so the focus was on the building. I framed it so that we could move in and out of the timelapse virtually in post. We took one frame per hour over daylight, dawn and dusk. Shutdown overnight. Power was mains power with a battery backup and also a solar panel trickle charge backup. Site was visited once per week for downloading and checking.

There are so many ways of doing a construction timelapse, in the end, as with most things, it comes down to budget.

Ben Ruffell
Director of Photography 

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