Matthew C. Grammer recently shared a video he created for his client, Republic Property Group, a Texas based real estate developer that manages a few communities in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. The company was working on Walsh, a budding development West of Fort Worth. Grammer was tasked with producing videos to showcase the initial stages of the community. As part of this, he captured the construction of two buildings: a marketplace and an activity center.
Grammer knew that long term time lapse was the way to go for this project. And he stumbled on CamDo Solutions products as he researched for the best way to accomplish this.
“I was ecstatic when I came across the products from CamDo. I knew I needed my GoPro to take photos for months without my intervention, and wouldn't you know it, CamDo has exact solutions for that need!”
Initially, he used the DryX enclosure with the Swivel Mount Kit, a Blink controller (which has now been replaced by BlinkX and UpBlink), four 15Wh batteries and two 44 Wh batteries (the batteries were daisy chained together). He scheduled the camera to take a photo every 15 minutes starting one hour before sunrise until one hour after sunset. The rig was mounted 15 feet up on a wooden pole, which was buried into the ground.
“On August 3, 2017 I pressed record and crossed my fingers that everything would work out okay. I came back every few weeks to check on the camera's power supply and that photos were being taken correctly. To my delight, everything was going smoothly and after checking on the rig a few times, I decided that I trusted the equipment enough and wanted to stop checking in so often.”
At this point, he changed the power solution from multiple bonded batteries to a SolarX enclosure with a backup battery. He was then able to leave the rig up for months, completely unattended, with confidence that the equipment was working as expected.
“Most filmmakers will agree that feeling comfortable with their equipment is the utmost importance. The only challenge I faced with using the CamDo products was simply getting used to the ecosystem,” said Grammer. “I've been burned in the past by faulty equipment so I've become skeptical of manufacturing claims of how a product will work. I like to test out equipment and know for myself how certain equipment will act in a real world production environment. After my own testing, I found that I could put more faith into the products from CamDo. Having said all that, the challenge I faced during my production was the effort of replacing the batteries every other week, rather than utilizing CamDo's solar power solution from the start.”
When asked about time lapse tips that he’d give folks wanting to get into time lapse photography, Grammer said that he’s learned that long term time lapse rigs are dependent on three things:
Footage - Make sure you are taking photos across a span of time that is genuinely compelling for the future audience. A time lapse is not inherently interesting and might not be the best solution for all projects. A tip for post production is to time the time lapse clip with an extra compelling part of the music track that backs your video. A catchy, driving beat will help to sell the passing of time.
Memory - Make sure you have more than enough storage on your camera system to capture the entirety of your time lapse. You'll need to do math to see how many photos you'll need to take and how much storage space you'll need.
Power - Make sure you’re delivering enough power to your camera system over the entirety of your production. You might need a solar panel for longer term time lapse projects, however for shorter sessions you could get by with a few bonded batteries. Do the math and estimate how much power you will need.
“If your budget allows, I'd genuinely suggest you browse the selection of solutions offered by CamDo. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm most definitely the DIY type of guy, however I've learned in situations like this with such specific needs, it's best to purchase direct solutions rather than rigging together something that at best, "should" work.”
About Matthew C. GrammerMatthew C. Grammer grew up being obsessed with film production. He graduated from The University of Texas at Dallas in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in Arts and Technology. He has worked as an independent filmmaker with brands to expand their reach and spread their story. He’s also worked as an executive and led the success of creative productions at million dollar content agencies. With over ten years of professional experience, he enjoys being an independent filmmaker based in Dallas, Texas producing a variety of video styles depending on his client's needs including documentaries, lifestyle, commercial, residential, branding, events, and live video production. You can follow him on Instagram or check out his website for his past work.