In this post, you'll learn how to create a GoPro sunset time lapse video. Last year, I published the settings for a GoPro time lapse video shot in the Galapagos Islands.
How To Create a GoPro Sunset Time Lapse
To create a sunset time lapse video, you'll need four things:
- A steady tripod. I favor the Gorillapod SLR. It is stable enough for a heavy DSLR – so it doesn't budge with a GoPro.
- A GoPro camera Any version will work. This video was shot with the Hero4 Black.
- Charged batteries. You should bring an extra one or two. This was shot with Wasabi batteries.
- A great location. It's hard to beat the Bay of Fundy (Nova Scotia) for a sunset. Morden is a family favorite. We shot this footage while having a fire on the beach. You can see the occasional puff of smoke drift across the video (from left to right).
GoPro Sunset Time Lapse Settings
I shot one 12MP image every 0.5 second. While this should have produced 120 images/minute, the camera produced 90 images/minute. I'm not sure why, but the result is still good.
This was shot from 7:50PM to 9:07PM – a total of 77 minutes. Here are all the settings I used:
- Time lapse interval: 0.5 seconds
- Resolution: 12MP (4000 x 3000 pixels)
- Shooting time: 77 minutes
- Total image count: 6794 (14.6 GB)
- Location: Morden, Nova Scotia (Bay of Fundy)
- Shoot date: August 1, 2015
How I Rendered the Sunset Time Lapse
To create the video, I used GoPro Studio. Their free software is very easy to use. Because I started with a battery at half capacity, I had to change the battery during the shoot – and it caused the angle/orientation to be off. You will notice this in the video and I talk more about it below.
- Playback rate: 60 frames/second
- Edited with: GoPro Studio (free software by GoPro)
- Gear: GoPro Hero4 Black, Gorillapod SLR, Wasabi batteries
In the video below, the first 12 seconds are played back at 3X faster (180 frames/sec) than the rest of the video. I then replay the video at standard (60 frames/sec) speed. This frame rate is overkill. See the end of the post for what I learned from this shoot.
GoPro Sunset Time Lapse (Morden, N.S.)
Here's the finished product:
Watch on YouTube
Shooting the Sunset Time Lapse
While I had the camera mounted on the Camalapse, I didn't use it to create this video. The images I shot with the mount had too many people in them to be useful. The Camalapse is picture below on top of the Gorillapod.
What I Learned From This Shoot
I learned four lessons from this shoot:
- From a previous time lapse, I learned that I need to shoot at a higher frame rate (it was at one image every 5 seconds). I went too far the other way on this shoot and shot one image every 0.5 seconds – or ten times as many images. This was too many for a sunset time lapse. I plan on shooting the next sunset time lapse at a rate of one image every 1 or 2 seconds.
I setup in a traffic area. Because of this, I had to crop the bottom half of the video because of the amount of close up people walking by. (And I think there was a little intentional photobombing.) My next sunset time lapse will be setup in a not-so-visible area and with less up-close activity.
- I'm going to start each shoot with a fresh battery. As you might notice in the video, the camera angle changes slightly. This is because I had to change the battery and I accidentally adjusted the angle. While I was able to fix it (mostly) it is still a distracting element. Because they last longer than the standard GoPro batteries, I use Wasabi brand. They also cost much less.
- I wish I had let the sky go completely dark before stopping the time lapse. I think the dramatic change from bright sun to darkness would have been more dramatic.
Watch for the sweeping sun along the cliffs at 0:16.
What do you think of this time lapse? Any suggestions or comments?
Have you created your own? Please share links below!