Not Your Typical Grand Opening

Some of my timelapse projects, such as the one I discussed in last month’s blog post, depict an ongoing construction process, but most of them tend to coincide with the completion of the subject. This is one such project: a few years ago, I shot the installation of some 2,000 solar panels on the roof of a local brewery, with the intent to present a finished video at my client’s launch party.

Early in 2020, Solar States, a leading solar installer in Philadelphia, asked me to document the installation of 2,000 panels—their largest installation to date—on the roof of the Yards Brewery. Despite the lockdown that spring, Solar States was still able to complete the project safely within six months, and I recorded that process through a mix of long-term timelapse, short-term timelapse, live footage, and drone work.

I quickly found out why my video was needed. While a building may have a ribbon-cutting or grand opening ceremony upon its completion, celebrating the finished installation on the roof would have been difficult and impractical to set up. Accessing the roof to shoot the footage was cumbersome enough: at one point, we had to carry a ladder up a ladder! Ultimately, showing my video at the launch party allowed my clients to look back on a job well done, without having to climb up themselves to see the result.

“The timelapse shots that Rich captured were the key marketing piece in documenting one of the largest solar installations in the city of Philadelphia.”

– Micah Gold-Markel, founder of Solar States

  • A view of the long-term timelapse camera

  • Our motion-control timelapse rig

  • A view from my Sun Seeker app before setting up a shot