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Gopro Time Lapse - A Tutorial

Updated on November 27, 2013

Gopro Hero 3+ Black Edition


I am not a professional when it comes to time lapsing, this is merely me sharing my experience with the view of helping others.


Gopro's have become the most popular action camera on the market and as newer versions are released their capabilities become ever better. This has meant that the camera does not only have to be used as an action camera but has the ability to be used in other situations and for different reasons.

The time lapse function is one such example of this. With the 12 megapixels offered by the Gopro Hero 3 Black edition, beautifully crisp and stunning time lapses can be created with extreme ease. This hub will outline the necessary steps for shooting the time lapse and downloading the images onto the computer. For information regarding the post-production steps (combining the photos into one video) see this hub.

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Shooting the time lapse

There are two ways to arrive at the correct settings:

  • Through the camera itself
  • Using the Gopro app

The first step in any time lapse is to make sure your camera is secure and is not susceptible to camera shake which can ruin an otherwise perfect time lapse. This can be done in a number of ways:

  • Tripod
  • Supplied Gopro mounts
  • DIY 'egg timer' mount
  • Motorised slider
  • Any other DIY mount (as long as it's secure)

Any of these will ensure the best possible result when time lapsing and are essential to your success. Once the Gopro is securely mounted it is time to setup the camera to be ready for taking the time lapse.

Method #1 - In camera

This method involves using the buttons on the Gopro itself in order to get to and change the appropriate settings. The following video illustrates how to navigate to the menus to achieve this.

Gopro time lapse settings

Note 30s does not need to be selected, when it comes to choosing a time interval pick whatever suits your needs.

Now its time to shoot. Make sure your camera is set up as per the video and secured properly. Do your best to try to visualise what the camera sees to setup the composition of your shot. Once you are happy with it and everything is secure. Press the record button on the top of the Gopro.

Gopro record button

Method #1 - Gopro app

This second method is far easier but requires you to have a device which accepts the Gopro app.

The first step in taking this approach is to connect the Gopro to the device as shown in the following video.

**I did not create nor do I own this video, I am just using it for educational purposes and did not intend to infringe on any copyright.**

Gopro app setup

Once the Gopro has been paired to the device, the settings can now be altered in the app to prepare for shooting. The following images show the settings which are required.

Gopro app settings

Once you have setup the settings to suit your needs you can place the camera and get your composition just right. This should be easier as unlike before, you have a live preview which you can use to frame up your shot just right. Once you are happy, press the record button either on the camera or the app.

Record button on Gopro app

To stop the time lapse in both method 1 and 2 press the record button on the Gopro for a second time and in the case of the Gopro app, just press the record button again. Now the individual photos can be moved onto the computer for the post production.


Firstly the photos need to be retrieved off the camera. This is done by removing the Micro SD card and inserting it into a card reader. A folder should pop up on your computer. Open it up and navigate to the DCIM folder. In here all your images are stored. Select all the images from your time lapse and copy them all to a folder.

To put these images together into a movie follow the steps outlined here.


Once you have followed the steps for assembling your time lapse you should be left with a stunning result. Experiment with different intervals between photos and try adding movement to your shots, this increases the production value ten-fold. In order to become proficient in the art of time lapsing practice is very necessary so get out there and start time lapsing!


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    • mickeymug profile image

      mickeymug 4 years ago from Australia

      Nice work, I had a look at a few of them. Try experimenting with movement of the camera as I explain in my other timelapse tutorial. You will be surprised how much more professional it makes the image look. Secondly try adding more foreground interest to your shots, just ads that extra element of complexity and aesthetic pleasure. Finally colour grading can also do a lot for a shot but do be wary of this as it is often overdone and can look awful. These are just my opinions but all around what you have done is really quite good.

    • profile image

      Julian 4 years ago

      I have created quite a few time lapses experimenting with many different settings, environments and times of day, check out my youtube channel for a sample of my work.