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 Experiences with Long term building construction Time Lapse. 
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Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2011 7:05 am
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Location: CO
Post Experiences with Long term building construction Time Lapse.
I would love to hear your experiences with long term building construction time lapse. What setup did you use? How long did they run for? Where they successful?

If you can you post your results on this thread and give a brief rundown of how you went about powering the setup, what you used for camera and settings that would be greatly appreciated.

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Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:38 pm
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Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2011 7:34 pm
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
Post Re: Experiences with Long term building construction Time La
Hi Daniel, I hope you dont mind me adding my thoughts on this topic, it's probably the only topic I can really share any advice in Timescapes! We have many long-term construction systems working around the world now which has been challenging getting the system right for our customers, but we definitely feel the system has now become a very neat and powerful system.

Mounting: very important in reducing movement throughout the year/s, fixing to a very sturdy pole or wall makes post production a lot easier! Most of our customers use a pole mount we provide or find their own way of fixing to a building.

Power: our systems can all be run from either Solar or AC power, and because they have low power consumption, it makes installing in hard to reach places (without mains power) very easy. We use 3 battery sizes in the system 7.8Ahr (standard) 12.4Ahr (70% greater capacity) and 18.6Ahr (150% greater capacity!). Any of these sizes will accommodate a shooting and uploading regime of 1 photo per 10 - 20mins during work hours. Over 2 years that ends up being a LOT of images.

The most useful feature of our system is the 3G connectivity to upload your latest photos to your website/ your FTP for viewing (in the gallery) editing and compiling into progress time-lapses. This is especially good for long term time-lapses to ensure your system is still capturing images and can also be used as a project management tool for you clients.

I know this type of system isn't everyone cup of tea, but in the situation your client needs high quality time-lapse with project management and progress photography (sometimes security) capabilities then this system is very useful.

Regards,
Aaron


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File comment: Typical set-up of a photoSentinel for long-term time-lapse
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www.photosentinel.com | Long term time-lapse for the pro! | 3G enabled | Use your own DSLR | Web config | Download images direct to FTP/Dropbox | Solar-powered | IP65 weatherproof |

Also Aussie distributors of eMotimo TB3 motion control head: eMotimo in Australia
Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:39 pm
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Joined: Mon May 09, 2011 5:36 am
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Post Re: Experiences with Long term building construction Time La
Photosentinel, that looks like a very impressive system. I had planned to shoot the construction of a house in time lapse some time ago and was wondering how I could house my camera. It didn't eventuate anyway because the workers didn't want to be filmed, even though it was on my family's property. Their reasoning was that if there was evidence that they did shoddy workmanship, then they could potentially be sued.


Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:14 am
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Joined: Tue Dec 07, 2010 9:02 am
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Location: France / Canada
Post Re: Experiences with Long term building construction Time La
As mentioned previously, you have a very neat solution Aaron, well done ;)

One our side we use the following approach:

Power: We do not offer solar panels by default, and tend to recommend not to use it on long-term projects, for the following reason:
- To cope with winter conditions (below 0 degC conditions, snow, ...) our system is heated & insulated, heating require more power during winter, but winter is also the time of the year where solar panels are less efficient (snow on the panels, less day-time, ...).
- Most our setups are installed in urban environments (we currently don't have installations in remote places), where power is not the major difficulty, and it is often more cost effective to install a "temporary" (where the temporary can last more than two years :)) power line than to implement a solar panel + batteries large enough to accommodate winter conditions.

Mounting: As Aaron mentioned, you need a very rigid mast, or even better attach, your system to a wall. Even a very tiny movement will need to be corrected in post-production. Installation location can vary from outdoor high masts (like this one: http://www.webcampak.com/wp-content/upl ... G_2934.jpg) to simple indoor "in-the-attic" setups.

Cameras: On our side we work 99% of the time with Canon, very often low-end D-SLR like the 550D/600D/650D (T2I, T3I, T4I) and some with mig/high-end models (5D, 5D MII) it all depends of the customer and its budget. We even tested the Nikon D800 with its 34 megapixels sensor ;), might be interesting for some projects but require a nice budget.

Capture frequency: Depends of the projects, can go anywhere between 15 seconds and 30+ minutes. For example if you want a short sequence of a specific project event such as a crane installation taking 2 hours, you might want to increase rate for this particular period up to one picture every 30 seconds, ending up with 240 frames for a 9s sequence at 25fps.

Network: Working mostly on long-term (more than one year) projects in urban environments, it makes sense to deploy a dedicated DSL line. In most countries we work on, quotas on 3G/LTE implies restriction on the number/size of pictures that can be uploaded. Some of our customers (especially photographers) want to work with raw files (they actually post-process and print pictures taken by Webcampak), at 20+ MB per picture, it stresses a bit the cellular connection :).
But at the end Webcampak can deal with DSL, Cellular, Wi-Fi, ... in the exact same way, it's just a matter of identifying the best solution for the project.
When we work with cellular connectivity (or low performance DSL), the idea is to store RAW/JPG files on a local redundant NAS (at a frequency adapted to the project or requested by the customer), then scaled-down/cropped pictures (for example 1920x1080 pictures), at a lower rate, can be transferred over 3G/LTE to remote servers.
It still allows automated video creation and quick time-lapse preview. At the end of the project, full-size pictures stored on the NAS can be used for post-production and to generate a proper video.
The overall idea is to adapt to any connectivity means available without letting connectivity add constraints to the artistic aspect of the project. If the customer want to capture at 1 picture every 2 minutes, using RAW in a place where only a cellular connection available, this would not be an issue at all (as far as budget can accommodate additional network components such as a NAS).
Then all components are constantly monitored using a very standard supervision platform (nagios).
In case of network failure, the internal storage (230GB usable) act as a buffer, and will keep all captured pictures. We could use a larger storage, but consider it is not really appropriate. The bigger is the disk, higher is the chance you would "rely" on it, having a stronger impact in case of major issue (vandalism, theft, ...).


At the end it's all down to analyzing the project's requirements, assessing the budget and offering different deployment scenarios.

On the other hand, with extreme scalability comes complexity and costs. That's why when we feel that our product would be over-sized for the job (or not cost-effective), we never hesitate to redirect our prospects to alternative solution best fitting their projects such as Harbotronics or Photosentinel for example (Aaron, you might have been contacted by a Paul W. at the beginning of the month :)).

Daniel, I hope it answered your questions. If you would like more details please do not hesitate to let me know.

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Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:06 am
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Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2011 7:34 pm
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
Post Re: Experiences with Long term building construction Time La
tribal-warrior wrote:
Photosentinel, that looks like a very impressive system. I had planned to shoot the construction of a house in time lapse some time ago and was wondering how I could house my camera. It didn't eventuate anyway because the workers didn't want to be filmed, even though it was on my family's property. Their reasoning was that if there was evidence that they did shoddy workmanship, then they could potentially be sued.


Hi tribal-warrior, we had cases like this in the past where some workers were not happy about being time-lapsed for the same reasons and tried to vandalise the set-up. If the workers know the camera is not being used as a 'worker cam' then people are often a lot less hostile to the cameras. Sadly its something we have to deal with when doing long-term time-lapse.

And thanks Fanf for your comments and for the referral, I was talking to Paul this month :D I think you have a great set-up going on over there, I might have to come over to France and see your system in person!

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www.photosentinel.com | Long term time-lapse for the pro! | 3G enabled | Use your own DSLR | Web config | Download images direct to FTP/Dropbox | Solar-powered | IP65 weatherproof |

Also Aussie distributors of eMotimo TB3 motion control head: eMotimo in Australia


Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:12 pm
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Joined: Tue Dec 07, 2010 9:02 am
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Location: France / Canada
Post Re: Experiences with Long term building construction Time La
We had similar issues with either people unplugging the system because they did not want to be filmed, people cutting cables because they did not saw labels or other people disconnecting the system for any obscure reason.
Education is key, and proper labeling of cables and fuse boxes (with client name, contact details, ...) is necessary to avoid most of the problems.

Aaron, you are very welcome, but maybe we should continue this discussion by email.

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Ultra high definition timelapse solutions for photographers - Webcampak.com - Demo (demo/omed)


Fri Feb 01, 2013 5:49 am
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Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2011 7:05 am
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Location: CO
Post Re: Experiences with Long term building construction Time La
Thanks for the responses! Both you guys have some amazing looking systems!

As of now I am looking to get setup that can accommodate either 6D and/or 60D and full frame 16-35mm lens at longest physically and widest focal length. I would like the solar unite to have a double fail safe system with the ability plug this unite into ac power for additional charging, as well as, have a large 12 volt battery port into the power system for additional juice. So one battery in the system, charged by three backup solutions (solar, ac, and another battery). Not sure I need 3g connectivity, just depends on how much it costs to add. Is this possible? If not I suppose I could give up the second large 12volt fail safe for 3g connectivity.

Aarron your setup you have looks most in line with this. Email me and we chat about it: brown@senseistudos.com

Check out this 2 week x-games time lapse I just created. Something about the 8-15mm and 60d combo with all but shutter speed locked down, produces very little flicker. For now I am thinking it has to do with 9mm focal length on the smaller sensor gathering a large amount of light info for even shutter speed compensation:


Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:02 pm
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