We’re giving a new life to an old laptop!

WE have been asked to produce a timelapse film for a construction client and filming will last 18 months!

The site is quite remote and has no internet access so we’ve had to design a self-contained system for collecting thousands of photographs taken over hundreds of days.

Central to the hardware requirement is a decent laptop computer that will be left on-site for the duration of the build. Because of the location we decided to keep the computer cheap and cheerful, there were minimum technical requirements. To get what we needed we looked at refurbished machines, and this one from Laptopsdirect.co.uk fitted the bill perfectly:

It’s a Lenovo T420 with an i5 processor and a 320GB hard drive – a proper workhorse of a machine with plenty of life left in it. But the amazing thing is the price, less than £200.

Compared to what we could buy new for £200, this is an amazing spec. The keys are worn very shiny but we like that!

We can leave this running for a few weeks at a time unattended and visit whenever the drive is filling up with images. We have installed clever software from IPTimelapse in America and Mike, one of the company’s tech experts, has been amazingly helpful. His software controls this top quality camera via an ethernet cable.

Yes, it’s a security camera capable of better-than-HD quality images and superb low-light performance. The whole system, including cables and a 240V power supply, has cost less than £500 and the client is delighted.

It will all be away at the building site location for a year and a half, so if you would like us to make you an amazing timelapse film, well, we’ll just buy it all again!

North Coast 500 films

I just don’t have the time or the energy to make a film a day and write a blog, so I’m just going to post the links to the YouTube videos on here for now. Most films not available on mobile devices due to copyright restrictions but I think you can enjoy them all if you watch from within this page.

Episode 1:

Episode 2:

Episode 3:

Episode 4:

Episode 5:

Episode 6 (where I drone on and on and on):

Episode 7 (final, mercifully brief, episode):

Bonus clip, meeting Dot:

Greetings from Ullapool

IT’S the start of day two on the North Coast 500. I’m in Ullapool.

I left Cambridgeshire at noon on Friday 13 January and arrived by the beach at Fort George, near Inverness, at just past midnight.

The Garmin Camper satnav took me through Glasgow, along Loch Lomond (where I saw at least three moon rises over the mountains across the water). Glencoe was very dramatic. A weird mix of snow showers and moonlight but not fun to drive through.

I wasted too much time looking for a convenient campsite in the Inverness area. I’d been told about the Fort George area by ace photographer and graphic designer friend Steve Booth and it looked promising on the map. Turned out it was perfect.

Yesterday morning I filled up Fanny with diesel, set up a couple of vlogging cameras and set off for the west coast.

Last time I was in Ullapool it was hot and sunny. Today it’s dull and grey – exactly the conditions I was dreading. So I took three hours this morning to get moving. I studied some technical manuals, made a cooked breakfast and lazed about listening to the radio.

I parked on the harbour to write this but the internet connection was awful so I’ve moved to a Tesco car park. The van is warm and dry and I’ve got plenty to do: books, magazines, films on the laptop.

The problem is that the next leg of the journey (http://www.northcoast500.com/interactive-map.aspx), along the dramatic coast to Cape Wrath and Durness, is spectacular, and to drive it in the mist and rain will be soul-destroying.

Of course, it might be like this for the rest of the week. But I like Ullapool, I’ve got good internet access, a pot of coffee and plenty of time.