Off-grid power all year round
Powering a camera using either batteries or solar is not only more convenient and self contained, it can save labour and materials costs that would be required to install site power at a remote camera location.
- Battery pack: up to 6 weeks
- Solar power: all year round
On long projects our solar powered cameras have negated the need for hiring diesel generators, refuelling them every day for a year, and for cable trenches to be dug under vehicle routes. Off-grid power has allowed filming on projects where works had begun but before site power was available.
Our off-grid cameras have all the features of our AC-powered ones, sending pictures over the built-in 4G connection to our servers where clients can login to view photos and video clips.
Designed from the ground up
Reliable off-grid power requires an efficient device. When Construct Films started in 2013 our hardware and software were designed from the ground up to make a low power time-lapse system. Despite comprising a computer, SLR camera and 4G connection, our equipment can be powered by a battery pack for several weeks, or powered by a solar panel indefinitely all year round.
Solar power that doesn't cost the earth
We've won projects where our solar power was a reasonably priced option compared to competing quotes. We charge extra to install the solar equipment, but no additional monthly cost is incurred.
As we develop our technology, power efficiency improves. This means future cameras will require smaller solar panels and batteries, which further reduces the costs of installing solar power.
Place the camera anywhere for the best shot
Off-grid power has a number of advantages on a construction site -- which is a place, by its nature, that is constantly evolving. Installing long cable runs or using remote generators can drive up costs. Or if tethered to power at the site cabins, the camera location could be compromised and the resulting footage might not be as good as it could be.
Avoid unnecessary works or poor camera angles
Our solar power solution just requires somewhere to install a PV panel in full sun, and the panel can be positioned some distance from the camera if needed. On a recent project we suggested solar power when the alternative location powered by AC had a poor view of the site:
Find out how flexible time-lapse filming can be
Our off-grid cameras have proven popular with clients since our earliest projects. In fact it is only a minority of our jobs that use AC powered cameras, proving that the go-anywhere flexibility of our off-grid camera system is increasingly useful and economical on most construction projects.
Contact us today to discuss how our flexible system can photograph your site from any location, free from being tethered to a site power supply.
Comparison to wind power
Other off-grid solutions combine a solar panel with a wind turbine. After conducting our own research and testing of wind turbines we've found them to have a number of drawbacks: a weighty turbine requires more complex installation, there are safety concerns over the spinning blades in a work area, and if the turbine is mounted alongside the camera then vibration can affect the quality of the pictures. Vertical axis turbines are safer, but they cost more and generate less power. In comparison our solar PV panels are lightweight, easy to install, have no moving parts, requires zero maintenance and the cost is about 90% less than an equivalent-power vertical turbine.
Other solar powered cameras
Solar powered time-lapse cameras have been available for some time, but these tend to be simpler systems that record images to the camera’s memory card and cannot upload the images to where the client can see them.
Some other time-lapse production companies use off-grid camera systems, which claim to be developed by experts to combine wind and solar power — in contrast our solar setup was developed in-house, using just a solar PV panel which has proven to be inexpensive, reliable and provides power all year round.