University of Vermont

Snowy Day

The Time-Lapse Camera Challenge

by Daniel Hopkins '13, CEF Summer Media Intern

My initial thoughts on the two studies at hand (the Equine Center Installation and the Comprehensive Campus Renewable Energy Feasibility Study) were admittedly a bit scattered during the first week or so.  I found myself wondering what exactly I would be documenting over the summer, and what the public is going to be most interested in.   While these disoriented feelings were of slight concern at first, they quickly disappeared upon the completion of our first meeting with CHA as well as the first couple internship meetings with CEF.  From then on, I began creating a list of certain aspects and central messages I would like to portray in my online videos.  For example, a certain portion of the video will focus on what benefits, costs and hurdles are faced when dealing with each type of renewable energy system (wind, PV etc.). The public is also going to be curious as to how these new renewable energy installations will affect, support, and benefit the University (and possibly the budget) as a whole. I will be covering both this aspect, as well as the specific processes that go into performing the Comprehensive Campus Renewable Energy Feasibility Study.

So far I’ve learned a good deal about what building characteristics must be taken into consideration in order for PV installation to occur.  These factors include energy usage, roof substrate, square footage, and historic status. All must be taken into consideration when evaluating the possibility of a PV installation.  Since Jack Honor, the project coordinator for CHA, is working with the other CEF interns to analyze the potential of each renewable energy system one at a time, I’ve mostly learned about PV over the past few weeks.  Although, since we did have a chance to touch on other energy systems briefly in our first meeting, I do have some insight on those as well.  GIS mapping will be used to evaluate the potential for wind turbines due to its capability to view and analyze any obstructions (such as tall trees) in a given area. 

The majority of my experience working on film related work has been to set up and test a time-lapse camera at the Equine Center.  The goal is to place it in a location that will capture the entire installation from start to finish.  Thus far, finding a location that is secure as well as optimal is proving to be much more difficult than expected.  The first attempt was to tie the camera to a 2x6 extending out of the roof of the CREAM building, which is adjacent to the Equine building.  After a short 12-24 hours, the camera had been knocked down from the wooden post either by wind or a bird.  The second attempt was to replace the camera to the same post, using additional strap supports.  While this location is fairly good, the default framing of this camera is somewhat zoomed in, making it difficult to judge just how much of the Equine building will be in the final shot.  The only way to test the accuracy of this placement was to bring a laptop, eject the memory disk from the camera and view the photos on my laptop.  As of now, the photos are looking decent and are acceptable, but it is my hope to figure out how to either zoom out a bit, or set a different framing size within the next day or two.  I’m looking forward to continuing filming the processes behind the Comprehensive Campus Renewable Energy Feasibility Study (CCREFS) in action next week as soon as the time-lapse camera is properly placed.