Customer Footage: Final Time Lapse of 18-Month UDOT Highway Construction Project

by Sarah Wallace January 03, 2019

Customer Footage: Final Time Lapse of 18-Month UDOT Highway Construction Project

Last year, we featured a highway construction time lapse done by Utah Department of Transportation that was submitted by Bobby Gibson of InBlue Productions. The first video was a progress video that illustrated one piece of a much larger pie. This project was turning a highway into more of a freeway-style road, which consisted of building ramps or underpasses for all the busy cross streets for the highway. And it was recently completed.

The final time lapse video project - which highlights the project as a whole - was no small task. It required four shoot locations, eight cameras and 16 memory cards. It resulted in 411,082 images over the course 18 months.  

Gibson was kind enough to provide a little more information about the construction project after the video. Keep scrolling!


Could you tell me a little bit about the project overall? How did it come about?

I have been working with the Utah Department of transportation for a few years and I have been showing off their work with time-lapse.  When they are doing projects that directly affect the public and their ability to use the road, it is important to communicate and to show progress.  Frequent exports of the video shared on social when there is a key part to share are a key way of doing that.

What were the settings used for the time lapse videos?

The settings were set for one image every 20 minutes over the course of 18 months.

How will the video be used?

This video will be share on social as well as we built a media press kit with footage in it that we sent out to all the local stations so that they could show off the building of the bridge.  

What products were used in your set-up?

I used the SolarX enclosure, Blink and GoPro HERO4 Black on two of the cameras and the BlinkX, and the HERO5 on the other two. I also used four DSLR cameras (Canon T6I cameras) on the shots that I needed the ability to zoom in. I used another enclosure and system.

SolarX Solar Powered Camera Enclosure Mounted at Construction Site

What did you find most challenging about planning and executing a project of this duration and magnitude?

CamDo Construction Time Lapse Pack - Bobby GibsonThe most challenging parts were the cameras locations.  This was an active construction zone for a MAJOR project.  There were so many teams and people to coordinate with to make sure that the location of the cameras was ok.  Keeping them safe, powered on and in an area that showed off the most action was a weekly battle.

It was also challenging to keep the lens clean and free from water build up (I use RainX on my enclosures to help the water run right off).  I also position my solar panels so that they are like little awnings that cover the enclosure and help the water stay away from the lens.

Any tips or tricks that you've learned that you'd like to share with our readers?

It is key to check your cameras and check them often.  To clean them and to drop the footage. This shoot had over 400,000 images and it is key on the processing side to process the images as you collect them*.  We collected them monthly and we were able to process small amounts of images monthly vs having to process them all at once at the end. This also allowed us to give the client frequent small clips to show progress, share on social and add value to the job.

Camera location is key!  There are some locations in this video that are great and others that are so-so.  Be very clear in that the best locations for your cameras are right up in the action.  It is easy for people to assume that a camera on the location captures everything. But just like great videos and cinematography, time lapses with angles that are close to the work and can closely show off the action are best.   We tried to get a wide shot and a close up shot for each of the locations so that we had variety and something to keep up the pace in the edit. That really didn’t work perfectly but that was the goal.

*Note from CamDo: Check out UpBlink (announced last week!), which offers automatic image upload to CloudX Pro. This will make image retrieval process (and therefore processing) much quicker and easier!

SolarX Solar Powered Camera Enclosure Mount Location Point of View

What are some of your other upcoming projects?

I am working on a seven month time lapse of a wildlife bridge that is about to be finished up. This bridge is the first of its kind in Utah and will allow animals in Parley’s Canyon to cross over a major roadway.

Anything else you'd like to add?

  • It is important to establish what things looked like before and what they looked like after completion.  I like to pair my time-lapses with drone footage shot before and after to really show off the change.
  • It is a huge help to develop a checklist and make sure that you follow it every time!  Nothing is more frustrating then getting back to your camera one month later to find out that you didn’t do something and you lost the footage.  Check, re-check and check again.
  • I used zip ties to keep my enclosures closed so that no one messed with them.  Locks could do the trick as well but I just used zip ties.
  • I got a safety vest that I had to wear because we were in a construction zone and I modded the pockets so that I had all the tools that I needed to service the boxes in one place. One memory card case for the cards that need to be dumped and one case for the cards that are about to go in the cameras.  They are color-coded to ensure that there isn’t a mix up.
  • I use baby wipes to wipe off the enclosures and the panels when they get pooped [by birds] on or or dirty.  I did this at first because it was the only thing I had in my car when I needed it but then I made them a part of my kit.
  • I always have extra parts: battery packs, memory cards, screws, large zip ties and a drill with me when I service the cameras use to be sure that I had everything I may need to service them.  I built a little kit and kept it in our video rig all the time.

About Bobby Gibson:

Bobby Gibson owns and operates In Blue Productions; a full video production company that specializes in utilizing time lapse and aerial video techniques. Before this, Gibson worked as the Director of Marketing for Auric Solar. Here, he catapulted Auric Solar from a smaller, less well-known company to an industry leader. Major accomplishments during his three-year tenure at Auric include leading the company’s rebrand in 2015, launching Auric’s community relations program (Echo), and securing sponsorships with Major League Soccer teams in Oregon and Utah. He was named to Utah Business Magazine’s Forty Under 40 Class of 2017, which recognizes the state’s rising leaders. As a leader, he inspires creativity and motivates his team to work smart and work hard every day. Check out In Blue Productions on their websiteVimeoFacebook or Instagram.

Sarah Wallace
Sarah Wallace


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