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the insides of a construction site for a new gymnasium

the insides of a construction site for a new gymnasium

Inspired by the mention of time-lapse films by Sara Joy in Manuel Moreale's interview with her (part of his People & Blogs series), I thought I'd share a story about a time-lapse project that I was involved with back in 2005-06.

The setting was a private school in Princeton, New Jersey that my son was attending. I had managed to get overly involved with the school (in a good way), doing everything from building a new website, to setting up their first wireless network with MacBook laptops on carts, to raising money for the construction of a new gymnasium. I served on the board of trustees for 8 years and it was a very satisfying, yet at times, an incredibly challenging experience.

The school was building a new gymnasium. I had this crazy idea that we should do a time-lapse video of the construction. I had no idea how to do it, but I was determined to figure it out.

As I recall, I found a dirt-cheap web camera that could take still images and upload them via FTP to a website. We were using Dreamhost to host the website at the time and it was relatively easy to point the camera to send its photos there. The camera was set up to take a photo every 10 minutes. I think the cost of the camera was about $150.

As you'll see the camera had to move several times throughout the project. It started, by looking out a hallway window in the school. By the end, it was set up inside the gym to see the final floor painting.

Every night or so, I would download the images from Dreamhost, culling out the night-time or otherwise unusable images. From time to time, the camera would lose power or forget its settings. So we missed some time, but we got plenty of usable images. I still have a directory on my system called "gympics" containing all 8,025 images that we used in the video.

When the project was done, I used iMovie and poured all of the images into it. I still have the video of the dedication ceremony which had been posted on the school's website, but is no longer. I trimmed out the ceremony and the speeches (the last of which was mine). We had worked with a very talented video producer at the time. He captured some very nice video and stitched my time-lapse segment into the dedication video.

About 30 minutes ago, while the idea for this blog post was still hot, I opened iMovie once again and trimmed out the ceremonial portions to reveal the time-lapse portion. I then exported it and uploaded it to YouTube. It's not public, it's simply unlisted. Note: the music was added by the video producer. It creates a pretty cool dramatic effect.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, here's the time-lapse video of the construction of the gymnasium. It's 1 minute 14 seconds long.


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photo of the author of one of the webmentions for this page