As Australia’s leading time lapse specialists, this is one among the most frequently asked questions by individuals and corporates seeking the service. This is probably because of being a bit apprehensive on how much it may cost.

Time lapse videos have taken the world by storm and are near addictive. While it is evident that it is a game changer for many businesses, a lot of people still do not understand its cost and even shy away from it altogether.

If you are reading this, you probably want to incorporate time lapse photography into your projects but are not sure of the financial implication. In this post is a simple guide on how time lapse specialists price their services and what factors affect the amount payable.

So, whether you are ill-equipped with the tools or time to do your own time lapse photography, tried to do it yourself and failed miserably or just want something highly professional, read on for a rough idea on what to expect with regards to prices.

Factors influencing time lapse photography pricing

There are three main factors that will either inflate your quotation or keep it at a minimum. These apply whether you are hiring only the equipment (camera and accessories) or outsourcing the entire photography to a specialist company.

  • Project duration

The cost of time lapse photography is highly dependent on the length of the event being captured. This may range from a few hours to years. As a result, time lapse is categorised into short term and long term. The longer the sequence of events, the higher the bill.

Short term time lapse runs from a couple hours to a day or two. This could be simple renovations such as mounting of a roof or remodelling a room. Therefore, the service is hired for a shorter time frame and thus costs less than long term time lapse which normally involves projects that take weeks, months and even years to complete. Talk about building a stadium or skyscraper!

The latter is further sub divided into indoor long term and outdoor long term. Indoor time lapse normally occurs inside a building and thus utilises a standard time lapse camera and simple installation process.

Outdoor time lapse on the other hand requires specialised camera with weather proof housing since it is not sheltered under a building and is exposed to harsh environmental conditions. This must also have a solar power system to keep the equipment charged for its lifetime out there. Clamps, cranes and crew may be necessary too for mounting making it far more expensive than both short term and indoor long-term time lapse.

  • Resources needed

A lot of equipment and skill goes into making a time lapse photo shoot successful; cameras, tripods, accessories, software and manpower. The more resources it demands, the deeper you will have to dig into your pockets.

You may opt for one or several cameras. A single camera for example is cheaper and will produce a pretty good footage on its own. However, to add flavour to your time lapse video you might want to incorporate a variety of perspectives for a wholesome view. This is achievable by having multiple additional cameras installed and they each come at an extra cost.

The same pricing model applies to personnel requirements. The more assistance needed to sufficiently install, set up and operate the photography gear all the way to handover the higher you are likely to pay. You will also pay extra for on-site photography or videography.

  • Deliverables

It is quite unlikely that you would request for RAW files. The most common expectation is a high definition upload ready time lapse video which has been through final edits and blended in some special effects and music. This edit may be monthly, quarterly or just once at the end of the project, depending on the duration. For some providers, post production is inclusive the price while others charge it separately as an ad on service especially if you hired just the equipment.

More such add ons include drone services if you would like aerial filming, accessing the time lapse via mobile devices and enabled live streaming to your YouTube channel, having the time lapse integrated into your project management and other business software and continuous monitoring of the recording for hitches for example mechanical failure, physical tampering or view blockage.

Each specialist has a different approach to how they bundle and price their services but the above metrics hold true for most if not all of them. Equipped with this pertinent information, you will be better placed to understand the different pricing models, packages or structures being offered to you and can better express what you actually want and where the necessary adjustments can be made to fit your budget.

So, the next time a friend refers you to a time lapse photography specialist, do not worry much about how much they paid. You might actually part with way less or more. It’s all about the scope of your project and personal preferences.