5 Required GoPro Hero3 Timelapse Settings (for Great Video)

GoPro Editing Software, GoPro Timelapse, GoPro Tutorials

With these GoPro Hero 3 timelapse settings, you'll be ready to create you own.

galapagos hero3 timelapse settings

In this post, I'll share the time lapse settings I use to create videos with my GoPro Hero3 camera.

In addition to the Hero3 time lapse settings, you'll also learn how to create your own time lapse video.  I also share a list of some great time lapse subjects, complete with suggested intervals.

GoPro Hero3 Sunset Timelapse (Galapagos Beach)

5 GoPro Hero 3 Timelapse Settings

Here are the GoPro Hero3 timelapse settings I used for the above sunset timelapse. See all the details on the shoot.

gopro hero 3 timelapse settings

  1. gopro hero 3 time lapse settings

    GoPro Hero3 Timelapse Settings (Click to enlarge)

    Shooting Interval: This time lapse was shot at 1 image every 10 seconds. This rate generated 484 images over 90 minutes. This was an ideal interval because the shoot was so long. For a shorter time lapse, you can also shorten the interval (to 1-2 seconds). See more on Shooting Intervals below.

  2. Shoot at 5MP Resolution: I shot the still photos at 11MP (on the Hero3 Silver) – and it was higher than necessary. For an HD video (1080P) 5MP image resolution is plenty. Higher resolution images will unnecessarily fill up your card.
  3. Turn Off Your WiFi Connection: I recommend that you don’t use the WiFi connection during a time lapse. It drains the batteries faster – and if you have to change batteries during the shoot, it will affect the composition. Not only does this affect the final product – it wastes time in post-production. Even without WiFi, 90 minutes is a long shoot and I had to change the battery after about an hour. (You'll see the hiccup in the video at 0:19.) I used Wasabi batteries for this shoot – they last longer and cost less than the GoPro brand.
  4. Choose a Large and Fast Card: You’re not going to want to skimp on your card size. High-resolution images (shot every second or two) will fill up a small card quickly. If you are planning on shooting a few time lapses in one outing, I recommend a 32GB card (at least). And speed matters, that's why I recommend the SanDisk Extreme PRO card – in either 32 or 64GB.
  5. Use a Stable Mount: I can't stress this enough. While this isn't an on-camera settings, the success of your shoot depends on a stable camera mount. If it moves a little, it can be hard to watch. If it moves a lot – you'll need to start over. You'll need to think about people-bumping, wind-blowing, and battery changing. For this shoot, I used the SLR GorillaPod (pictured below). 
Tip: Since this shoot, I bought the Pedco UltraClamp. This thing is strong! (I even shot a driving time lapse and it stayed tight for two hours on top of a bus!)

gopro hero3 timelapse gear

hero3 sunset settings

How to Create a GoPro Hero3 Timelapse Video

Unlike the newer models the Hero3 and Hero3+ cameras don't automatically create time lapse video. Don't worry, it's super easy to create your own time lapse video with a GoPro Hero3 camera. 

To create a time lapse with your Hero3 camera, you'll need to follow these two steps:

  1. Shoot the photographs. You'll first shoot your set of time lapse images. And you'll need anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand photos. See the above settings.
  2. Edit into a video. This is done on your computer. Using GoPro Studio (free editing software) it's super easy. I've embedded a video tutorial at the end of the post.

GoPro Hero 3 timelapse settings

There are lots of things that can be shot as a time lapse video. The settings you should use will depend on the specific situation.

Common Time-lapse Intervals

Here are some common time lapse ideas and some suggested shooting intervals for each one.

GoPro Hero3 timelapse settings1 Second Intervals

2-5 Second Intervals

  • sunsets / sunrises
  • slow-moving clouds
  • crowds of people

10-30 Second Intervals

  • moving shadows
  • sun moving across the sky
  • night lapse / stars (maybe 10-60 second intervals)

30-60 Second Intervals

  • fast growing plants
  • construction (if there's a lot of action – like walls going up or trusses being put in place)
  • snow falling

Thanks to LearnTimeLapse for some of these ideas. Although their channel doesn't teach GoPro settings, many of the principals apply. 

How to Create Your Hero3 Timelapse Video

Watch on YouTube

Creating a video from your photos isn't hard. With GoPro Studio – it will take only a few minutes.

Here are few things to watch for when editing:

  • Playback Rate: Standard video frame rate ranges from 24 to 30 frames per second (fps). The frame rate you choose will depend on the feel you want for your video. It is also affected by your original shooting interval.
  • Filters: Called “Presets” in GoPro studio, these can significantly improve and change your footage. They can change aspect ratio, change day for night, and brighten your footage.
  • Resolution: Most videos will be great at 1080P for YouTube. Unless you're rendering for a professional format, this is probably all you'll need. Learn more about GoPro settings
Tip: If your time lapse seems a little long (boring) just speed up the frame rate. It's better to have a compelling 10 second clip – than a 40 second clip that seem like it'll never end.

beach sunset gopro timelapse settings

Your Turn

These are the GoPro Hero 3 timelapse settings that I've used. What settings are you using to shoot time lapse video with your Hero3?

gopro hero 3 time lapse settings

Hi, I'm the Author!

Bryan Haines is co-editor of ClickLikeThis: GoPro tutorial blog. He is a travel blogger and content marketer. He is also co-founder of GringosAbroad (Ecuador's largest blog for expats and travelers) and Storyteller Media (content marketing for travel brands). Work with ClickLikeThis.

4 comments… add one
  • Ernst Jordaan Feb 15, 2017, 9:08 am

    Hi Bryan,

    Great post. I’ve been playing around with timelapses on GoPro Hero 3 the past week and I am planning an experiment with two sets of plants/sprouts and two GoPros over a 2-3 week growth period. You recommended 30-60 second intervals for fast growing plants. What do you classify as fast growing?Bamboo growing 1cm per day vs sprouts taking a 1-3 days to germinate and grow vs garden lettuce taking a 2 weeks from seedling to being planted out?Any tips or advice on how you would go about this?

    • Bryan Haines Feb 21, 2017, 11:12 am

      Hey Ernst,

      For plant growth, you’ll want the slowest shooting interval (and probably an external battery source). I think that a 60-second interval would work (1 image per minute = 2 seconds of video per hour if played back at 30 frame per second). From there, you can get creative in post production and speed up the footage even more.

      I would love to see the final edit!

  • Dave Jan 13, 2018, 11:03 am

    Thank you for this page and great videos and advice.
    I am taking a 7 day Carribean cruise and want to timelapse off my balcony. I have built a magnetic mount for my GoPro 3 black that wont budge and is rock solid. I have 2- 128mb cards and plan to shoot at 5Mp. For power I plan on alternating 2 – 26800mAh Anker battery packs which will be secured as well. I chose battery backs because plugs are limited in cabins and didn’t want to leave sliding door cracked for cord.
    Do you think this will be sufficient?
    Any advice or tips? Thanks

  • Dave Jan 13, 2018, 11:07 am

    Oh forgot to add I was planning on a 5 second interval

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