The Difference Between CCTV and Time Lapse

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Whilst CCTV cameras provide surveillance for security and theft protection, Time Lapse cameras help to attract investors and new clients by showcasing the progress of a project over time, condensing a series of images from a long-term project into a short, impactful video.

Sometimes getting the project off the ground is the hardest part. Whilst security systems are essential for preventing damage and theft on construction sites, they’re usually inferior to time lapse cameras when it comes to remotely monitoring and showcasing the progress of a project.

In this article, we will explore the differences between these technologies and how they help construction managers make informed decisions to keep their projects on track, prevent thefts or property damage, and create impressive presentations for clients.

one centre building construction time lapse gif

Benefits of using Time Lapse technology

Time Lapse technology can complement CCTV systems by providing a long-term overview of the construction process, showcasing milestones, and capturing the evolution of the project.

Here are some of the key benefits of time lapse technology for construction projects:

  • A visually stunning presentation of a project.
  • Remote monitoring of the project.
  • Higher-quality video than CCTV.
  • Easier to install and minimal maintenance compared to CCTV

Learn more about our time lapse video services.

CCTV and Time Lapse Cameras

CCTV cameras provide real-time monitoring by continuously capturing and transmitting live video footage. We probably don’t need to explain what the use-cases are for CCTV cameras on construction sites, as the benefits of remote security, deterring thefts, protecting property and monitoring employees and project progress tend to speak for themselves.

Whilst CCTV cameras are frequently used for the monitoring of the progress of a project, we find that they are often limited in their capabilities for showcasing the progress of a project, particularly when presenting the progress of a project to a client.

A lot of our clients are surprised to hear that they can monitor the progress of their project using an alternative to CCTV which is not only higher quality, but also a much more professional way of presenting the progress of a project.

Learn more about our time lapse video services.

Key differences between CCTV and Time Lapse Cameras:

Surveillance Focus
CCTV cameras prioritise real-time monitoring and security surveillance, while time lapse cameras focus on documenting project progress over time.

Construction Progress
CCTV provide visibility into site activities, while time lapse cameras offer a comprehensive documentation of the project’s evolution over a period of time.

Presentation and Marketing
Time lapse technology offers visually appealing videos for marketing purposes, while CCTV primarily serves security and monitoring needs.

What is a time lapse for construction projects?

Within the context of a construction project, time lapse cameras take periodic photos at fixed intervals, documenting the construction timeline from start to finish. Time lapse cameras create a visual record of the entire project, showcasing key milestones and progress highlights. The captured photos are then compiled into condensed videos that can be used for marketing, client updates, and promotional purposes. The high-resolution photos captured by time lapse cameras provide fine details and crisp visuals, enhancing the overall presentation of the project.

Want to know more about how time lapse technologies are used in construction projects? Contact a member of our team for a friendly chat.

When should I use a time lapse for my project?

Whilst security cameras are excellent for spotting misbehaviour and preventing thefts, Time Lapse cameras can be used as a visual project management tool that can help with assistance in remote visits. They’re also perfect for use as marketing materials, client progress updates, or new client presentations, thanks to their high quality production which isn’t usually found with CCTV systems.

Time lapse cameras are compact, portable, and can be easily set up and relocated as the construction progresses, ensuring flexibility and adaptability.

Time lapse videos allow for our construction clients to showcase their expertise, capabilities, and completed projects to clients, investors, and stakeholders. They offer a visually stunning way to demonstrate the progress and quality of work, leaving a lasting impression and enhancing the company’s professional image.


What are the potential drawbacks or limitations of CCTV systems?


CCTV systems have drawbacks compared to time lapse systems. CCTV focuses on real-time monitoring and lacks the ability to capture and document the long-term progress of a construction project.

Due to the nature of the filming process, even the highest quality CCTV usually falls behind the quality that can be captured by time lapse cameras.

CCTV also requires significant storage capacity, time-intensive review, and may not provide visually appealing content.

Can time lapse technology be used as a substitute for CCTV in certain scenarios?

Time Lapse cameras can be used for remote monitoring of the progress of a project, however they tend not to be used as a substitute, as they primarily focus on capturing the progress of a project over an extended period, condensing it into a visually appealing video.

On the other hand, CCTV is designed for real-time monitoring, security surveillance, and immediate visibility into site activities.

How does time lapse technology differ in terms of capturing and recording footage?

Time lapse technology captures footage by taking a series of individual photos at regular intervals, condensing time and showcasing a lengthy process in a shorter video duration. These photos are combined at a lower frame rate, resulting in a fast-forwarded sequence that compresses a long period into a shorter duration.

Time lapse videos offer high-quality visuals, often using high-resolution images, and are played back at an accelerated speed. The individual photos are compiled and processed to create a seamless video sequence, providing a unique and visually captivating perspective on the subject.

How do CCTV and time lapse systems differ in terms of installation and setup?

CCTV systems typically require a more complex installation process due to the need for multiple cameras, wiring, and connectivity to a monitoring station. The placement of cameras and their coverage areas must be carefully planned to ensure optimal surveillance.

On the other hand, time lapse systems generally have a simpler installation process, often requiring just a single camera or device. The focus is on selecting a suitable vantage point and setting the desired interval for capturing photos. Time lapse systems are more flexible and portable, allowing for easier repositioning and adaptation to changing project requirements.

Learn more about time lapse systems here.

What are the costs of implementing CCTV and time lapse systems?

CCTV systems tend to have higher upfront costs due to the need for multiple cameras, wiring, infrastructure setup, monitoring equipment, and storage solutions. Additionally, ongoing costs may include maintenance, camera upgrades, storage expansion, and monitoring personnel.

In contrast, time lapse systems typically have lower upfront costs as they often involve a single camera or device.


We hope you’ve found this article useful! If you would like to know more about time lapse systems, the installation process, and how they might be able to help you with your project, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the team.

While CCTV cameras excel in real-time monitoring and security surveillance, time lapse cameras offer the ability to document the entire project timeline and condense it into visually captivating videos. Time Lapse cameras also allow for the remote monitoring of the progress of projects, but tend not to be used solely for surveillance. Time lapse technology provides high-quality visuals and is ideal for marketing, client updates, and presentations.

Although CCTV and time lapse systems have their respective strengths and limitations, integrating them can provide a comprehensive solution that combines real-time monitoring with long-term project documentation.

It is important to consider installation, costs, and specific project requirements when choosing between the two systems. By leveraging the strengths of both technologies, construction managers can enhance project management, security, and presentation capabilities, ultimately improving the overall success of their construction projects.

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