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Cumbrian Floods 2009


The four-day bridge build in 87 seconds

Sitting across the River Derwent from the army's massive bridge building operation in Workington is a 'man with a van'.

He works for the BBC in London, and has been tasked with the job of recording every step in the process as a timelapse film.

These films allow viewers to watch a complicated process speeded up on their PC.

Alan Murdey is doing this with just a regular digital camera and a generator.

Time-lapse photography rig

Army footbridge

A temporary footbridge spanning the River Derwent in Workington is currently being built by the Army.

Royal Engineers are reconnecting the north and south sides of the flood-hit town.

The rising waters destroyed the Northside Bridge and left the Calva Bridge unstable and dangerous.

There are 200 personnel involved and it's a round-the-clock military operation.

There's considerable interest in the bridge building operation, which is why Alan Murdey's timelapse filming experiences were called into action.

Olympic origins

Time-lapse photography rig

Alan is a Location Engineer in Newsgathering Operations for the BBC.

His experiences with timelapse video began when London won the 2012 Olympic bid.

In the autumn of 2005, he suggested to BBC Newsgathering that they should consider producing a timelapse sequence to illustrate the development of the Olympic Park in Stratford.

The Olympic Park project became a "slow burner" as extended negotiations were underway with Newham Council to secure a position for the cameras, but in the meantime other opportunities arose.

Caught on camera

Time-lapse photography rig
Time-lapse photography is just a sequence of pictures that show change over a period of time
Simple examples are recording the actions of a motor-car race on a camera with a fast frame rate, or the posing of a model on a catwalk
A complicated and time consuming example is capturing the growth of a plant from bare earth to flower over a period of months

In April 2006 Alan was asked to create a time-lapse sequence showing a TV studio refit.

He created a bit of a lash-up using a borrowed camera, and it was aired in the closing credits of Newsnight.

However he had gained some good experience of time-lapse production.

Cue Kew Gardens

Alan's next project was to record the changing seasons at Kew Gardens as part of a climate change report.

This was a sustained piece of time-lapse photography but its results across several months were very impressive.

Kew timelapse month by month

It was good experience for the Olympic stadium idea which has now come to fruition, with cameras now in place in a block of flats owned by Newham Council.

Already timelapse videos and webcams are available of the Olympic building process, though clearly this is a long term project which will last into 2012.

BBC webcam

Time-lapse photography rig

Spotting Alan's timelapse project for the bridge across the River Derwent, the BBC Cumbria team decided to take the idea a step further.

Their own version of Alan is Adam Flett, and he's the man behind the live streaming osprey webcam on BBC Cumbria during the summer months.

BBC Cumbria osprey project

Using 3G, Alan and Adam have managed to send images from a van parked by the River Derwent, to a web page where the whole world could watch the progress of this much anticipated bridge.

The footbridge is expected to be open to the public by 7 December.

Engineers are still exploring options on road connections over the river, but at this stage the immediate priority is to link the two communities.

Workington footbridge webcam
03 Dec 09 |  Nature & Outdoors
Kew timelapse month by month
08 Oct 07 |  Science & Environment
Army footbridge for flooded town
27 Nov 09 |  Wiltshire
Step forward for new footbridge
02 Dec 09 |  Cumbria
Army building emergency bridge
29 Nov 09 |  UK



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