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4 GoPro Time Lapse Settings to Create a Sunset Video

Editing Tutorials, GoPro Editing Software

Do you want to make a GoPro time lapse video? Confused about which settings you need? While it sounds complicated, it isn’t. In this post, I’ll cover the specific settings needed to create a quality time lapse video, including the shooting interval, image resolution, and playback rate.

I’ll also cover the specific gear and tips you’ll need to follow to make a great GoPro timelapse video.

gopro time lapse settings

The specific GoPro settings are based on what I used to shoot the Galapagos sunset time lapse video. The video is embedded at the end of the post.

Okay, now let’s get started:

GoPro Time Lapse Settings to Time-Lapse Video

  1. Decide on the shooting interval. This time-lapse was shot one image every two seconds. Remember that it’s easy to remove extra images, but they cannot be added if they weren’t shot. This shoot produced almost 700 images (4.12GB) over 35 minutes.
  2. Decide on image resolution. This set of images was shot at 10MP (3840px X  2880px). This was overkill and is rated as ultra-high-definition (2160p). For a standard high-definition video, you should shoot at 1080p (1920px X 1080px). This is around a 2MP image. Because you will sometimes want to crop the video, it is a good idea to shoot a slightly higher resolution (like 5MP) which gives you some room to crop and still finish with a high definition video.
  3. Decide on playback rate. I’ve found that 15 fps (frames per second) playback rate keeps things fluid without making them move too fast.
  4. Render and upload. Once you’ve organized your images and entered these settings, you are ready to render the video and then upload it on a video sharing site.

What you’ll need to create a GoPro time lapse video: a GoPro Hero3+, Gorillapod tripod, Wasabi battery, large capacity memory card (I prefer the 64GB), and some editing software.

Create a GoPro Time Lapse Video of a Sunset (Settings)

This video details the specifics of what is explained above, along with explanation of the GoPro Studio software settings.

Watch on YouTube

5 Tips for GoPro Timelapse Video

  1. settings gopro time lapseUse a solid (stable) tripod: There are lots of options (tripod, suction cup, etc.) but it is hard to beat the Joby Gorillapod. It is easy to setup and gives a death grip. If your camera moves, your time lapse is ruined.
  2. Use long-life batteries: The last thing you will want to worry about is your battery dying halfway through the shot. I like Wasabi brand. They last longer than the standard battery that comes with the GoPro. And they come with their own charger (both wall and car adapter).
  3. Use a huge memory card: Space is the other constraint. Shooting hundreds of images over a short period of time will quickly fill up your memory card. I like using a 32GB Class 10 microSD card – I haven’t been able to fill one in a day yet. Choosing the right image resolution will help ensure that it doesn’t fill up to quickly.
  4. Take time to frame it up: Even the most magnificent setting can look awful if you don’t take the time to frame it up. Follow the rule of thirds to shot a pleasing video.
  5. Avoid distracting elements: One of the major problems with time lapse videos are the close up elements – because they are distracting. As you will see in the tutorial video below, they can ruin the whole video.

Galapagos Sunset Time-lapse Video (GoPro)

And here is the finished product:

Watch on YouTube

gopro time lapse settings

So there you have it: the 4 GoPro time lapse settings needed to create a quality sunset video.

Your Turn

How do you create GoPro time lapse video? What settings do you use? Please share in the comments below.

If you have created a video, please share the link below. Thanks!

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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 Storyteller.Travel and Storyteller Media (content marketing for travel brands). Work with ClickLikeThis.

17 comments… add one
  • Jack Honeycutt Oct 1, 2014, 11:57 am

    I really enjoyed the time laps of the sunset in Ecuador. I currently live in Portland Oregon USA, but I am moving to Ibarra Ecuador soon.

    I have a long background in shooting motion picture film. And yes, it is not dead, – you can still buy Super8, 16mm and 35mm motion picture film from Kodak and ORWO. And a new film production lab is opening up in Italy. But importing fresh film stock and getting it developed and moved to digital will be really hard in Ecuador or any place in South America. So I am taking just a little film equipment with me, but I am going to bring two GoPro digital cameras so I can shoot some 3D in at least 1080p and 2K. I run Sony Pro 12 which will let me import 2D or 3D 2K video and let me edit, and burn real Blu-ray DVDs.

    I want to fly my two Go Pros on a 6 prop platform called a DJI Flame wheel F550. Here is a very short (2 minutes) YouTube video on it’s construction with just basic features:
    I plan on building something close to the one in the video, only I will have a 2 GoPro camera gimbal and isolation between the landing gear and the gimbal.

    My first question – How will Ecuador customs react when they find this in my shipping container? Can I legally fly a “drone” in Ecuador?

    My next question – I suspect folks have heard about the new Go Pros that will stat shipping in a day or two.

    Note that you can shoot in 2K @ 50 fps, and 1080p @ 120 fps. When flying Go Pro cameras, even with a very good gimbal, the higher the fps rate is, the smoother the video.

    Is anyone in Ecuador flying GoPro cameras on any kind of helicopter? Any feedback welcome.


    • Bryan Haines Oct 2, 2014, 9:05 am

      I’ve wondered the same thing about a drone. We were actually ready to order one, and then decided to wait. I haven’t seen any videos created with drones in Ecuador.

      We may purchase one, after we know that they are allowed. I don’t know where to start with confirming approval.

      • Jack Honeycutt Oct 2, 2014, 10:27 am

        I have a child’s toy submarine, and a child’s toy helicopter that is so small two will fit on the palm of your hand. I will bring them. I am afraid if I ask about the F550, I will be told no, so I am not sure what to do….


        • Bryan Haines Oct 2, 2014, 7:30 pm

          As you know, you need to be prepared to either 1) pay a huge import fee / taxes, or 2) lose your item when arriving at customs. It doesn’t happen that often, but it’s good to think about how much you value each item…

  • Jazz K Apr 9, 2015, 11:11 am

    On topic of flying platform + video: typically you need a permit to capture video for commercial use on a flying platform. No permit is needed for personal video. Do yourself a favor and don’t say that you own or fly a drone. Instead, you own and operate an RC toy. Think about the language you’re using for a while. Don’t subscribe to the term “drone.” There are huge differences between a drone and RC. Research the history of both terms and you’ll understand.

  • Andrés May 13, 2015, 5:46 pm

    TimeLaps Amanecer en Cabo Corrientes, Chocó Colombia 4000 fotos, 12Mp 60FPS, tiempo 1hora :7minutos, intervalo de 1 foto por segundo.
    Este es el resultado

  • Maxzy Sep 23, 2015, 5:26 am

    Here’s my time-lapse:
    It’s a one shot every 60 seconds and 24 fps. I had no idea about existence of a rule of a thirds back then, or else I would definitely use it =).

    • Bryan Haines Sep 23, 2015, 9:54 am

      Nice work. What did you shoot it with? 2 days is a long shoot. Was it battery powered?

      • Maxzy Sep 23, 2015, 4:14 pm

        I just connected it to one of my computers via USB. I just bought myself a new GoPro 4 Silver – wanna do a weeklong night lapse. It’s a polar night coming soon here, so that dusty old Pentium IV is gonna work once more as a power source =)).

        • Bryan Haines Sep 23, 2015, 4:36 pm

          That’s a great idea. I’ve never used my desktop as a power source.

          I would love to see your nightlapse footage once it’s rendered.

          • Maxzy Jul 22, 2016, 8:13 am

            Welp. I couldn’t film the polar night time-lapse – my gopro hangs in a non specific order when using a night-lapse function. But here’s the opposite – a 10-days polar day time-lapse. Enjoy.

          • Maxzy Jul 22, 2016, 8:15 am
            • Bryan Haines Jul 25, 2016, 9:55 am

              That’s a pretty intense 10 day time lapse. Thanks for sharing!

  • Gordon Dec 30, 2016, 1:54 pm

    Just starting a golf site where I attach a gopro to the golf cart and map out the course while I play. I had started with 60 fps, results seemed choppy. I had to speed up in editing because nobody has time to watch at normal speed. I then went to 30 fps and it seemed to my eye to “flow” better. Is that my imagination? Do you think time lapse would improve my movies? I have as hero plus. Time lapse can only be 8 mp , .5 second. If you go to my site, you will see that it is a work in progress, lol! Similar concept about traveling with my wife as yours, we do golf traveling and include other touristy things while we are away. If you click on our you tube channel, you will see a few movies I made. Would love to hear a critique! Thanks in advance. Keep up the good work!

    • Bryan Haines Jan 9, 2017, 12:15 pm

      I think this is a good idea. What if you rendered each hole as it’s own video? You could then group them by playlist. This way you could play the tour of each hole back at regular speed – and let viewers see all the detail. You could then group them into one compilation video that is sped up. It might be a way to give viewers a few options of consuming your content.

      YouTube plays back at up to 60fps – although it probably won’t make that much difference for this type of video.

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