The Best Construction Time Lapse Camera and how you should choose wisely!
All time-lapse cameras are not made equal.
It is super important, that when your company is looking to hire a construction time-lapse camera, that you base your decision on a few very important factors to ensure long uninterrupted time-lapse of your project. For many years, before commercial time-lapse becoming a thing, we use to run cameras that saved the images to external hard drives, big SD cards and other storage devices to store the projects images.
Problems could occur if there was an issue with the camera or battery etc we had no way of telling until a site visit was complete, and in some cases, would find that the system had stopped working days before. With the power of technology, this is now something we almost laugh at but… There are still systems on the market that offer onboard storage with no 3G or 4G remote uploading or access. Avoid these systems, at all costs unless you’re operating an off-grid system where it is impossible to get 3G/4G connection.
As of writing this article, we currently have a camera under these conditions in Norfolk Island where they don’t have a 3G or 4G network and only very basic 2G connection. 2G is used only for voice and not data so to ensure a smooth project the team on the ground remove the camera SD card once per day and remotely upload via ethernet to our system. Our system then detects via metadata, the time & date the image was taken and uploads it into our dropbox in perfect order. If your project is off-grid then you do have options, but the more frequent someone can check the camera, the better.
For all other projects, where a 3G/4G signal is available, we highly recommend you only use a system that can remotely upload images straight after taking it (or very soon after) to ensure that the images are secure. For example, our time-lapse camera system takes a photo then transfers a copy of that photo to an onboard SSD USB connected directly to the brain, processes the image and uploads it to the live portal. The final step is syncing to Dropbox and this is all completed within about 30 seconds. To break that down, the image is stored in two places almost immediately, for extra safety measures. First being on the SD card in the camera, then copied to the SSD USB drive (2 places) then uploaded to portal (3 places) then synced to Dropbox (4 places). The system is then scheduled, each night, to scan the images on the SD card and cross-checks them against the portal images, ensuring none have been missed If an image had been missed it is seamlessly uploaded and put into its time coded position. This is a very secure way to ensure your construction time-lapse project’s success.
Commercial Time Lapse Cameras vs Hobby Time Lapse Cameras
There are some great little hobbyist time-lapse cameras on the market from companies like Brinno, but they won’t meet the criteria of most tenders and council projects. In our industry, there is a minimum requirement of a 24mp (megapixel) camera which requires the use of a DSLR camera. Video requirement is full HD or better and more often than not, the hobbyist cameras are only 720p and not full 1080HD or higher. Remote viewing is also pretty standard today in most tender specs. Typically, cheaper off the shelf systems, will not meet the spec and I have never seen one come close. There are also companies offering backpacks for Go Pros that offer long-life batteries, solar panels etc but if it’s an important project I recommend considering the popular phrase…….. you pay for what you get!
See one our cameras in action and experience our time lapse dashboard, click here
Tony Bentall - Sales Manager 0477 775 348
Ross Meadows - Managing Director 0438 603 209