Over the years, I've featured more than a few mesmerizing time-lapse construction videos. Aside from the requisite zippy music, the one common denominator of these speed-emphasizing construction videos is that hardworking cranes all play starring roles — lifting, stacking, swinging, swaying — they don’t stop moving until the job's done.
However, in the video that I've embedded above — a totally transfixing time-lapse construction video filmed in May 2014 by La Rue, Ohio, resident Scott Miller — there's not a single crane to be seen.
You see, Miller's neighbors just happened to be building a barn. And Miller's neighbors just happen to be Amish. So, armed with a Canon 60d camera and a wireless remote timer set at 20-second intervals, Miller set out to capture the traditional Amish "frolic" (a social event that usual revolves around some sort of manual labor) known as barn raising.
Back in the day, barn raisings were basically the equivalent of today's neighborhood barbecue but decidedly a touch more grueling; everyone in the community showed up, pitched in, contributed something. Today, the tradition of barn raising in tight-knit rural areas has been pretty much snuffed out with the exception of Amish communities as well as some Mennonite enclaves. Volunteer-based homebuilding initiatives such as those headed by Habitat for Humanity could also be considered a distant relative of old-school barn raisings.
The barn raising documented by Miller took around about 10 hours to complete, starting at 7 in the morning and ending at 5 in the evening. Thanks to the magic of time-lapse photography, Miller, who received permission to film the event if he pitched in and helped, was able to condense the entire day into 3 1/2 minutes. Yes, a horse wanders into the frame at one point and, yes, you can totally tell when the team (it's unclear how many men are involved but there are dozens) breaks for lunch.
What's most amazing about Miller's video — aside from the simple fact that these men are performing a task that would typically take a "normal," crane-equipped construction crew weeks, even months, to complete all in a single day — is the precision, the urgency, the highly choreographed nature of it all … it's almost like ballet. The video is, above all, a testament to the incredible power of dedicated teamwork. (Things tend to go a lot quicker when you're not taking extended cigarette breaks or catcalling Patience Ruth Stoltzfus, you know?)