This used to be a pretty easy question, there was really only one choice, a Canon DSLR which had a special feature to take photographs at regular intervals. The camera needed an external power supply and you were left with a heap of high-resolution pictures on an SD card. Here in Ireland you also needed some waterproof box to keep the expensive equipment dry.
These days, there’s a lot more options. Three new contenders, in particular, are worthy of discussion:
The GoPro. Originally for Snowboarders & Skydivers, this high res, a low-cost camera has time-lapse built in and can last for a few days without power. It’s a quick and easy option for small jobs, especially if they are internal, though GoPros also come with waterproof housings.
The Brinno. This is a camera specially designed for construction timelapse. They are rugged, waterproofed and have a decent battery that is advertised to last several months. These cameras are great in situations where you don’t have any power supply or internet connectivity. The great disadvantage of them is that there is no remote access, so there’s no live view and also there are no alerts if something were to go wrong such as a battery or storage card failure. We would recommend using a Brinno where there is no requirement for recordings other than time-lapse and if there is no way of getting an Internet connection to the camera.
The IP Camera. This is essentially an Internet-connected security camera which we would consider to be the camera of choice for a construction timelapse. The interesting thing here is that this category of camera has, in the last few years, become capable of very high quality and high-resolution image capture, easily comparable to the professional photography cameras which perform better with good backdrops. Aside from that, they are designed from the ground up to be rugged and to operate from a fixed position for many months, if not years at a time, reliably recording footage. It’s also easy to monitor these cameras remotely to detect if anything has gone wrong so that one can respond promptly. They come with large amounts of storage and most will have mobile apps so that you can access the live & recorded video from anywhere – a great project management tool.
So, you can see where our preference lies, we clearly think that the IP CCTV Camera is the right tool for the job. That said, for certain cases, we will deploy an alternative camera when circumstances dictate.