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  • Writer's pictureCK Chan

Funan Bridge – 6 Time-lapse Camera Set-up

Updated: Mar 12, 2019

On 2 August 2017, Skyshot had 6 Titan2 time-lapse cameras documenting the removal of the bridge. Preparations for the overnight job took place the day before, with roads later closed off and buses diverted from late night to early morning.

Photo – courtesy of Jinny

For most of us, we unanimously miss the now defunct Funan DigitaLife Mall. She used to house a number of reasonably priced camera, video & computer stores, along with several hobby / toy stores. It was a playground for grown up men, especially Gen-X guys like myself who refused to grow up. Funan is linked via a pedestrian bridge to Adelphi, known as an audiophile’s haven. It houses numerous shops selling high-end audio brands and AV accessories. I never give much thought to the utilitarian bridge along North Bridge Road. It was made to be practical, not pretty.

In 2015, the mall’s owner, CapitalMall Trust, announced plans to redevelop the mall into an experimental creative hub. Quoting from Wikipedia; “The mall will comprise many firsts in Singapore, such as a dedicated cycling lane on every floor of the mall, a first of its kind cinema with multi-sensory experiences and a high tech food court with a conveyor belt system and self ordering kiosks. It will also feature a rock climbing wall, and online to offline shopping. One of the floors in the mall will be dedicated to IT products.” The removal of the overhead bridge is part of the reconstruction.

We worked with the construction company, Woh Hup, on the right locations to secure the cameras for time-lapse production. The cameras have to be set up in different locations like the building rooftops and pedestrian walkways to offer multiple angles of coverage.

Even though the actual time-lapse lasted for several hours, we decided to use the Titan2 time-lapse cameras for this project because it offers the best image quality, compared to other time-lapse cameras like the Brinno or Gopro Hero action camera. Since this project is an outdoor night shoot, using the Gopro Hero, or Brinno will only produce car-cam like quality images, which is unacceptable. Moreover, the Titan2 offers different clamping options, longer battery-life, weather-proof protection and added security.

An external battery pack & remote timer fits into the Titan2 case for all weather protection.

The Titan2 time-lapse camera can house a mid-size Nikon or Canon DSLR and lens. Setting up the Titan2 is simple. First, plug-in a compatible remote timer to set the recording interval. Since the time-lapse project has to last at least 8 hours, we use an external battery pack instead of the camera’s internal battery. Our external battery pack can power up a DSLR for several days in a single full charge. This approach removes the need to change camera batteries in the middle of a critical production.

The Titan2 provides DSLR camera protection and different mounting options.

The Titan2 Time-lapse camera with batteries weighs about 4kg. It is heavier than an action camera, so naturally, the different mounting clamps are more robust and better build. Titan2 comes with different mounting options so we don’t have to customise any mounts for this project. It takes our time-lapse specialist about 10 to 15 minutes to set up each time-lapse camera. Unlike the Gopro mounts which are tools-free, mounting the Titan2 time-lapse cameras requires some basic tools; a spanner and allen keys. The advantage is a more secure mount that guarantees zero movement – a must have for time-lapse production. The Titan2 case can be further secured with a pad lock. With these security features, it is not easy for a prankster to forcefully remove the Titan2. So we feel secure leaving the Titan2 unattended, something we won’t do with a Gopro Hero or an unprotected DSLR camera.

Filming in 6K resolution allows flexibility & movement in post production

As for camera settings, we set all our cameras to “manual” mode, so the exposure for all the photos remain constant through-out the time span of this project. This will reduce the flickering effect that is very common in time-lapse production. The image quality and resolution is set to 18 megapixels, on fine compression jpeg in order to produce a video resolution of a 6K. A large image gives us the most flexibility in an HD editing timeline. We can zoom in and add movement to the video without losing image quality.

After almost 9 hours since the road closure, the 40 tonne bridge was removed, and the entire operation was successfully completed. Our Titan2 timelapse cameras had worked flawlessly, capturing the action from 6 different angles.

One of our Titan2 time-lapse cameras remained on a rooftop. It has successfully captured the redevelopment of Funan Mall for the last 1 year. And it will be there until late 2019, when the new mall is finally completed.

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