Be it indoors or out, demolition, grading or construction, when I’m hired to produce your time lapse film, there are two things on my mind: data collection and data management.

Granted there are four sub-sections inside the two and that’s the purpose of this article, to flesh out exactly what needs to happen to do it right:

1)     Fixed Camera
2)    Aerial Video
3)    Rover Days
4)    Post-Production

As I flesh out the big four for you, keep in mind that aerial and rover days are flexible by design and that the amount of days devoted to aerial and rover days is driven by the specifics of each job and package price selected by you. Hmmm…I sense another article soon about the Big Two of pricing.


Fixed Camera

Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project. Port of Long Beach, CA.

This is the master shot. Much like a movie, it’s set in place to capture as much context as possible. Ideally is shows the relationship of the project site to its’ environment. This is the shot I come back to often when editing (post-production) as it cements the story to a familiar and already established point-of-view. (POV) It is almost always used as the opening shot. A thoughtfully placed master shot, (taking into consideration the sun angle, activity around the camera and power considerations) is an important part of my time lapse films.

Aerial Video

Chandler's Sand & Gravel. Lomita, CA
Chandler’s Sand & Gravel. Lomita, CA

Forget the controversy about using drones. My pilots who are safety conscious and visually literate. Getting that Je ne sai quoi is crucial and my people are the best. Although aerial work is optional, I highly recommend using drones as aerial sequences are unique, they demand notice and when used effectively, convey a sense of magnificence to the time lapse.

Rover Days

Motion control rover at Syncreon. Torrance, CA
Motion control rover at Syncreon. Torrance, CA

Don’t know for sure if I coined the term but it sure is the coin of the realm for me. It’s my favorite shooting technique for making sure your story is honored. By deploying multiple cameras across multiple days (and often using devices that move the cameras as they dutifully record their sequences), I gather data. Lots and lots of it. Like a squirrel gathering nuts for the winter, I’m on site many, many days making sure I have an embarrassment of data riches during post-production. I’m often on site more days than called for in the contract. That’s how I roll. Trust me when I say, “It’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.”


After Effects CC 2015 interface

Like Dr. Frankenstein, this is where I breath life into your story. The time spent collecting all of the visual and auditory data is finally poked, prodded and finessed into something informative, entertaining and useful: your time-lapse film. I invest time and money into understanding and putting into practice appropriate and effective techniques to tell a great story. This cinematic approach to construction time-lapse film making is unheard of and it’s the art form I cultivate.

Let’s discuss your ideas and mine: 1-818-422-0696.

Thanks for reading.


Related Images:

Michael Stern

My work depicts, appreciates and honors the people who build. Their specialized equipment and stunning challenges are marvels I behold and get paid to interpret. Hope you enjoy this site.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Close Menu
%d bloggers like this: