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Time–Lapse FAQ

Michael Stern is a professional undaunted by unique challenges.  Our coverage of the building of a replacement for the Gerald Desmond Bridge has been bolstered tremendously by Mr. Stern’s creativity and ingenuity.  He doesn’t need a comfortable spot to install his equipment and will literally build whatever kind of bracket or platform is needed to create a perfect vantage point for stunning time-lapse photography.
–Sean Horejs
Long Beach TV

download the pdf:  Time-Lapse_FAQ

TIME–LAPSE FAQ

1)    How does a time-lapse project begin?

After reviewing the scope of work and deliverables, the next step is a site survey to evaluate suitable places to install a time-lapse system. From there we prepare a detailed proposal for your review.

2)  When do cameras begin to record?

A proper time-lapse tells a story. A proper story contains a beginning, middle and end. It’s suggested to begin recording several days before the beginning of your project and continue several days after your project completes.

3)    What are the considerations for camera locations?

Camera positions that provide salient construction views are the most prized. After that’s settled, we look at ease of installation, safety, security and power requirements.

4)    Power?

Depending on the installation, ease of access and length of project, we’ll recommend electricity or solar. Outdoors we have the option, indoors we must use a/c power.

5)    How many cameras are used?

Depends on the budget and project goals. An archival approach can work with one time-lapse camera system. But an immersive story and audience experience requires multiple site visits in addition to the main camera system.

6)    What’s the difference between documentation and narrative?

Documentation is a simple and direct recording of your build. A single camera recording whatever it’s pointed at. Titles and music are added but it’s a simple deliverable.

Narrative is the full story of your project. Multiple cameras are set in place to record specific progress, (like a concrete pour) then moved for additional recordings. Titles, graphics, sound effects, music and special effects are added. It’s a complex deliverable.

7)     How is the narrative style filmed?

By capturing interesting activities that flesh out your story. During multiple site visits we place cameras throughout to capture details the main camera cannot see. Site visits are scheduled with your construction schedule in mind. We use motion control systems and drones for those one-of-a-kind visuals.

8)    Is drone photography against the law?

There are limits to where and when a drone can fly but generally it’s doable. We sub-contract this service and hire only fully licensed and insured pilots.

9)    What is motion control?

Motion control is the general term for putting a camera in motion as it records. Camera movement adds to the end result in such a positive way that we use motion control as often as is possible. Cameras pivot, pan, slide and move in multiple directions simultaneously. We can also move camera footage in post-production.

10) Is it difficult to put together all the visuals?

Editing is crucial. But some definitions first: Assets are the photographs, videos, sound effects and music that are the building blocks of your film. Editing combines these assets into a thoughtful cohesive whole. While it’s important to have high-quality assets, without great editing, great assets alone won’t get the job done. Editing is often underdone and leaves a lot to be desired. Not so with us. We edit with vision, taste and passion, and don’t finish until your story is the best it can be.

11) Sound design? What’s that all about?

As stated previously, great editing is key to a successful outcome. Along with the visual component, sound is very important to the overall experience. You want to connect emotionally with your audience. It’s the guaranteed way to engage them, to get your message across, and for them to act. When a visual story is cut to the beat and rhythm of appropriate music, the endorphins begin to flow. As an added feature I include construction sound effects like grinders, saws, hammers, voices, etc. When it’s called for I’ll add wind and water effects too. The sum total of all this is an immersive experience that connects your message to your target audience. Cool.

12) How can I make an informed decision when evaluating proposals?

  • Watchability: Do you want to watch it again? Did you stay with the story?
  • Reputation: More often than not there is no prior relationship with the provider so testimonials, phone calls and meetings are invaluable in assisting the evaluation process.
  • Visuals: defines the composition, color and contrast of a time-lapse. Are their previous films pretty? They must be visually appealing.
  • Cost is important to you. We appreciate this. But bear in mind that time-lapse films are an investment in time for us: weeks, months or years to shoot, hours and weeks or months to edit.

13) How long will my completed film be?

Our goal is to tell your story in five minutes or less. There has to be a compelling reason to run longer, otherwise it’s an indulgence. Audiences want efficiently delivered content that is informative, entertaining and empowering. Don’t tax your audience for time. They’ll appreciate it. And share.

14) OK, I’m sold. How much does it cost?

We wish we could answer that with a direct answer but as you can see by reading this FAQ, a direct answer is not possible due to the issues we take into account: location logistics, duration of the construction process, number of cameras, number of site visits, sub-contractors, etc. But fear not! Our detailed proposals are second to none!

 

You’ll love our work. And you’ll love working with us.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Michael