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Settings to Create a GoPro Cloud Timelapse (Fast Moving Clouds)

In this post, I’ll share the specific settings I used to create a GoPro cloud time lapse video in Ecuador’s Andes mountains.

gopro cloud time lapse video

This was shot from our apartment in Santa Isabel, Yunguilla Valley (located 90 minutes from the city of Cuenca).

When I shot this, we were making plans to return to Canada. And we didn’t want to forget what our back deck view had been for three years.

But first, here is the final product:

Create a Cloud Time Lapse Video (Ecuador)

Watch on YouTube

Settings to Create a Cloud Timelapse Video

Here are the settings I used to shoot this cloud time lapse.

  • Shot 1 image every 5 seconds with my GoPro Hero3 Silver
  • Resolution: 11 MP
  • 3744 Images / 16.4 GB
  • Length of shoot: Just over 5 hours
  • Shoot Date: February 1, 2015
  • Location: Yunguilla Valley, Ecuador. Located 90 minutes from the city of Cuenca
  • Edited with: GoPro Studio (free software by GoPro)
  • Camera mount: This was one of my more bizarre ones. I mounted the GoPro on the end of a three-foot extend pole and then mounted that to a full-size tripod (see image below). Since the camera has such a wide angle view, and I was shooting from my back deck, I wanted to put the camera past those distracting elements and capture just the cloud movement. Not only did that not work, the wind moved the camera and affected the image quality. Live and learn…

See post production details below the image.

create cloud timelapse ecuador

Post Production: Create a Cloud Time Lapse

The first thing I did was delete the spoiled frames from battery changes and distracting elements.

Inside of GoPro Studio, I imported all the images and created a video at 48 fps. When I played this back, it was too boring. The clouds didn’t seem to move fast enough. I then boosted the playback rate by 50% (the software shows it at 150%) which created an effective 72fps.

Since I was shooting 12 images/ minute, this means that each hour of cloud movement was reduced to 10 seconds of video.

While GoPro Studio is no longer available, there are still lots of great GoPro video editors to choose from.

What I Learned From This Project

I learned two lessons from this cloud time lapse project:

  1. The biggest flaw with this time lapse is that the camera wasn’t steady. As mentioned above, I had the GoPro on the end of a 3′ extend pole that was mounted on a full size tripod. The wind easily moved the camera, causing shake and some distracting movement.
  2. For longer shoots, I can shoot less images and then reduce the playback frame rate. The final product will be the same and I’ll need less images. For example, for my next cloud time lapse, I think I’ll try a shooting a frame rate of 1 image/ 10 seconds (6/min) with a rendering frame rate of 30fps.

For context, here is a still shot of the valley.

yunguilla valley timelapse

I’m pretty happy to have this video. We watched this cloud activity every day for three years – and now we’ll never forget what it looked like.

Why do you love your GoPro?

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Lourdes Marie Alfonso

Tuesday 20th of October 2015

Hi Bryan,

Thanks for sharing this amazing video...



stu and erin poirier

Sunday 18th of October 2015

Thanks for posting. Very intriguing pics of that beautiful valley. We're in Cuenca right now. The weather for the past two weeks has been rainy.

Glenn Engelbrecht

Sunday 18th of October 2015

wishin` I was there.

The Shadow Broker

Sunday 18th of October 2015

Cool video. Thanks for sharing the technical bits as well. Putting the camera on a selfie stick is a noob mistake I would also make. I am seriously thinking about getting the Hero 4...although the 3 Silver does 1080P @ 60fps which is what I would mainly be using...

Bryan Haines

Sunday 18th of October 2015

Thanks! Image quality is noticeably better in the Hero4. And there are more options for video frame rates. That being said, I have the Hero3 Silver - and I love it.

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