How To Set Up A Time Lapse Camera: 7 Mistakes To Avoid

Time-lapse has become a very popular tool on construction sites for documenting a build and recording how a project progressed. Working with clients has given us great insight into what works – and doesn’t work – when it comes to the time-lapse feature on your construction camera. Here are five quick tips to help you avoid some common mistakes on your project.

1. Moving the camera to too many different locations. This seems obvious, but moving a camera to different locations impacts the video capture progress of your job site. On large projects that have very different phases, varying views can offer a cool effect of seeing progress from all angles. But moving too often may be distracting. Just be strategic about your vision ahead of time.

2. Using different speeds in one video. When someone watches your time-lapse video, they want to watch the story of your project unfold. An often-distracting technique we have seen with other cameras is when multiple speeds are used to tell that story, resulting in a break in continuity and inconsistent motion. Here’s a prime example – capturing sunrise to sunset in a 15s interval may paint a great picture of a day passing, but in the foreground, people and machinery spin by quickly and disappear altogether from one shot to the next. That’s not an issue with TrueLook cameras, as we automatically create smooth and consistent time-lapses.

3. Bad camera placement. We joke that setting up construction cameras for time-lapse video takes some psychic ability to see into the future. TrueLook makes DIY installation simple – we’ve pre-assembled the entire system and all your mounting hardware is included. But that’s the easy part – have you considered light (where the sun rises and sets), shadows, weather (does it get windy on that tower?), traffic, people, birds (yes, birds – ask our client who mounted a camera in an area known for perched black birds), and other potential issues? We recommend taking your time in determining the best placement of your camera.

4. Procrastinating. We have commonly encountered clients who delayed buying or mounting their cameras, which resulted in missing out on capturing the beginning time-lapse of their project. When cameras are mounted after some of the crucial work has begun, the time-lapse may not capture the entire story of the build. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today!

5. Not having enough storage. Video is a fantastic medium to share your project, but it takes a lion’s share of storage to get a good quality time-lapse. Running out of space and added costs are big concerns for clients, which is why we offer unlimited server space for media and all time-lapse data is stored in the cloud. No matter how long your project runs or how many time-lapses you schedule, there are no data caps or hidden fees, and you can export your time-lapse images and videos from the TrueLook web interface anytime.

6. Not mounting your camera securely. Achieving that seamless time-lapse means having a sturdy, secure foundation. An insecure mounting means that as time-lapse progresses, your camera may slowly slump to the side or start pointing towards the ground. It may not be very noticeable day-to-day, but in the final video it’s obvious and distracting. This is especially important when you’re using your time-lapse videos for marketing purposes! And finally…

7. Not mounting the camera level. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to ensure your camera is mounted level instead of canted to the side. You want the end result time-lapse video to look professional, not crooked!

Learn more about TrueLook’s Time-lapse services online at

Allison Shaub headhsot

Allison Shaub

Allison is TrueLook’s Chief Marketing Officer. In her role, she is responsible for developing strategic marketing and communications programs that generate awareness and drive deeper customer engagement. She has over a decade of experience helping brands build and scale their marketing efforts. Outside of business hours she enjoys spending time with her husband and two fur children.

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