Customer Footage: Bejaw Video Productions Captures Their First Construction Project in San Francisco

CamDo customer, David Manzo, owns Bejaw Video Productions in the San Francisco Bay area. He recently completed his first time lapse photography project for a local construction firm. They were building a high-tech campus featuring four towers and one parking structure, with a project cost between $700-800 million. Manzo got into time lapse photography almost by accident and he shares his amazing journey with us in this post. 

The Airport Was Too Close for Drone Flights

Manzo first proposed drone footage to create a construction video. However, the construction site was close to the San Jose International Airport, and the FAA was denying drone requests for the area. The client asked Manzo if he could do time lapse photography to document the project.

Manzo had bookmarked the CamDo Facebook page and went back to the client and sold a time lapse project instead. Fortunately, by the time Manzo’s time lapse project was finished, the FAA had developed a way for drones to fly near the airport, so Manzo was able to add some drone shots in post-production at the end of his video.

The Equipment

Manzo used an UpBlink with a GoPro HERO5. He set the equipment for max photo size and took one photo every 15 minutes on Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. The equipment was installed on a 45-foot pole from September 2019 until November 2020.

Manzo needed to coordinate with the construction crew to use their equipment to help him position the camera at that height. When he went to take the camera equipment down, Manzo had forgotten how the equipment had been installed, which made taking it down a bit more of a challenge than it would have been otherwise!

Manzo says the most challenging part of the project was the installation and making sure the system was working properly since this was his first time lapse experience.

The music for the construction time lapse was composed by NationRizn Productions and most of the construction noise is in the song!

The Techniques

Manzo used a second UpBlink to record “field-lapses,” which he defines as short 8-hour shoots taking a photo every two minutes to get the close-up footage of the construction that he added to the main time lapse video. He also attached GoPros to machinery and windows to get some unique close-up shots. To capture the laying of the brick roadway, Manzo moved the main time lapse equipment to the inner roadway for almost two months.

Time Lapse Photography Tips

One tip that Manzo can pass along to other first-timers is that you need to document how you attach the equipment for a long project. Removing the equipment will be much easier when you have all the tools you need to safely undo what you did originally. Manzo’s other tips include:

  • It’s critical to coordinate with the different construction crews to determine when and where things are starting to be built
  • Site selection is critical to select the best angle of the build
  • Place the camera so that it isn’t facing the rising sun because most construction takes place early in the morning
  • Check the camera regularly for dirt and bird damage
  • If you move the camera to a new location, notify the workers. Make sure everyone knows that it is a time lapse camera because construction crews don’t like to be watched on video—Manzo found out about that the hard way

Upcoming Projects

Manzo will be using time lapse photography for a new church building and a college campus dormitory in San Jose, California.

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