By Skip Vaughn, IMCOMDecember 10, 2008
Time moves quickly on video, especially in fast forward. Trees disappear within seconds at a construction site. Shadows move across the video screen as morning becomes late afternoon.
Controlling the videotape on his computer screen is multimedia/video lead Bob Blankenship of the Garrison/Directorate of Information Management's Visual Information Group. He's showing a time-lapse video file of the construction site for the new Army Materiel Command headquarters building. A camera mounted on the roof of building 4505, across the street from the site on Martin Road, shoots the video every Monday through Friday.
The videotape can be viewed on the Garrison's internal website and also at AMC.
"The reason the camera was installed was to provide AMC personnel with the ability to monitor the construction progress of their new facility," Blankenship said. "The idea was initiated within the DOIM as a means of providing AMC with a way of watching the construction as it progresses."
The equipment for this two-year project was installed in August. Three groups within the Directorate of Information Management made this happen.
"It was a combined effort of the DOIM Visual Information Group, Wide Area Network Group and the Application Development Group," Blankenship said.
The camera shoots the video from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Workers can view the downloaded video daily.
"At the beginning of each day, we process the previous day's video file," Blankenship said. "And then we upload it to a server. AMC has access to that server; and then they pull the video up to AMC headquarters and put it on their website up there. After 9 a.m. (each morning), AMC knows they can pull it up to their headquarters."
The project will continue throughout the construction.
"This will also provide an historical record of the AMC headquarters construction progress," Blankenship said.
As a member of the visual information group about 11 years, he said, "It's the first time we have been involved in a project like this. Feedback from AMC has been positive on results of the project."
After recording nine hours of video each day, the visual information team creates a time-lapse movie that takes 30 seconds to play. Video from the building's Sept. 17 groundbreaking shows the contractor removing a row of trees; the actual clearing took about 20 minutes but can be shown in seconds. Blankenship shows a visitor this tape and then fast forwards through a video of the demolition of building 4489, the visual information's old building which was torn down at the site in late August.
"It's a fun project," he said. "We play back a whole day in about 25 seconds."
Ronald Blanson, multimedia visual information manager, applauds this effort to enable Army Materiel Command workers to see their new home become reality.
"I think it's a great idea," Blanson said. "We're very happy that we can assist them in assuring they can actually witness the new construction of the building."
AMC headquarters has already begun moving from Fort Belvoir, Va., under the 2005 base realignment and closure decisions. A design-build construction contract was awarded by the Mobile District Corps of Engineers to B.L. Harbert International of Birmingham. Total contract cost is more than $105 million with another $2 million in options to provide and install furnishings and security systems. This construction project represents 400,800 square feet. The two buildings, with a common lobby adjoining them, will house about 1,354 AMC people and 367 others from the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command. Project completion is expected January 2011.
Note: The AMC Construction Camera is available at the AMC BRAC Web site, http://www.amc.army.mil/trans. Redstone Arsenal employees can also view the video at https://garrison.redstone.army.mil/index_AMCFrame.asp.