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5 Required GoPro Hero3 Timelapse Settings (for Great Video)

With these GoPro Hero3 timelapse settings, you’ll be ready to create your own. Here are the settings, gear, and tips you need to great some great time lapse clips.

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

gopro hero 3 time lapse settings

GoPro Hero3 Timelapse Settings (Click to enlarge)

1. 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 Ultra 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 Time Lapse 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 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

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

Some of our favorite camera gear:

Here are some of our favorite things to bring on our outdoor adventures.

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rohit

Wednesday 27th of November 2019

Thank you clicklikethis for giving me wonderful information

stephen

Thursday 19th of April 2018

Hi, sorry for being so rude but I think you are full of !@#$ or some kind of magician. I have had a hero3+ for 3 years now and still have not been able to make a quality timelapse video to my liking. Primarily gopro studio, gopro quick and any software from gopro is absolute garbage. Constant crashing during rendering outputs, SLOW import speeds, and a file naming scheme created by a preschooler that smoked PCP then some crack rock followed by a lobotomy. Again I am sorry to be so rude about it but I have half a TB of files in folders shot on the GoPro Hero3+ that I can't do crap with other than scroll through windows picture viewer as fast as I can which at that speed is just white screen after white screen. I am absolutely ready to fling this camera at the next person taking a selfie then send angry letters to gopro which then I will feel bad about because I just end up looking like a $%^& or some privileged american with problems that don't really matter in the grander scheme of things. The best way I have come up with so far is to use gopro quick and have it export to youtube then use a youtube downloader then load it into a video editing program then cut out the edited with quick branding credits then render it into a new video file. Please tell me there is another way to get the timelapse feature to work without using quick or studio. I have tried premiere, vegas, hit film, and even over in linux with the available free software. They all can do it, kinda. With premiere it always has problems because the horrible putrid naming scheme, vegas holds the frames too long, hit film skips and skims over frames and linux is just like "I don't do that bro". I have tried a number of various searches for how to timelapse without studio or quick but just come up with pages like this that tells me no more than the user manual.

Jay

Tuesday 1st of October 2019

Just want to leave this reply for Stephen. I just pulled out my gopro after watching this vide0. In the video he talks about how he quickly edits videos with a free software called Davinci Resolve. I just started using it a few days ago and love it.

Give up on that GoPro software and give this a try. I just took 4000 images to try my first timelapse with my GoPro Hero3 black last night and hope to have it edited this weel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXnBCkF9jUQ&t=520s

Dave

Saturday 13th of January 2018

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

Dave

Saturday 13th of January 2018

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

Ernst Jordaan

Wednesday 15th of February 2017

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

Tuesday 21st of February 2017

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!

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