Time-lapse video brings project process to life

When a homeowner gets stars in their eyes over your amazing design of the space in their house that has bugged them for years, they forget anything you might have said about the process that will take them from Point A to Point B. You know, those minor details like the days they will have no cabinets or toilet.

Think about how powerful a time-lapse video would be to help them understand the process and set realistic expectations that will make it easier for them to go from “I hate this room” to “I can’t wait to invite people over.”

David Hamtil, co-owner of Hamtil Construction, in Herculaneum, Mo., decided to give this a try, in order to build the video library on the company’s YouTube channel. He set up an inexpensive time-lapse camera he purchased on Amazon.com, built a mount in a tree that had a good view of the exterior of the addition the company was working on, and let it run.

The camera allows the user to control the time intervals at which it takes a photo, and Hamtil decided originally to program it to capture a photo every hour, figuring that it would be better to have more pictures with which to work.

Lesson learned: There are points in the day when the sun was over the house and directly in front of camera, so those shots were overexposed and had to be weeded out. Hamtil suggests checking the camera after the first day so you can eliminate photos during that timeframe. In the future, the company plans to build in photo testing time onsite to best position the camera and the timing of the images.

Hamtil’s brother is a journalist who works with video, and his suggestion was to spend time making sure the mount you use will keep the camera still. He also suggested taking photos during the same time each day, rather than all day, so that the lighting remained consistent. However it was difficult to coordinate the photos with the schedule the crew was keeping on the project, so Hamtil decided against it.

Hamtil chose MovieMaker to assemble the photo slideshow into video, and this was the most time-consuming part of the project, mostly because it was the first time Hamtil had used the program. Finding the right music was also difficult because they wanted something neutral but that also went with the video.

Measuring success for this time-lapse video project is somewhat difficult. They’ve used the video in the company’s e-newsletter and shared via the company’s Facebook page and Twitter feed. If it’s any indication, the video has received 373 views since it was uploaded to YouTube just over a month ago.

“It’s hard to get people to remember how they find the company,” Hamtil says, “though we ask each call.”

“It was definitely a fun project, and I learned a lot about time-lapse video,” Hamtil says. “We plan to do more in the future, and in general, we want to step up our video and YouTube presence.”—Nikki Golden

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