GoPro travel time lapse tutorial

6 Steps to Create a GoPro Travel Timelapse Video: Settings / Gear shares the best travel insights, facts, and photos. When you use our links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Here are the 6 steps you need to create a travel time-lapse video with your GoPro camera. I include the settings, gear, and tips for composition.

gopro travel timelapse

While exploring Cuenca, Ecuador a few months ago, we were in a nostalgic mood.

We had just decided to return to Canada after almost six years in Ecuador. And the reality of not living in Ecuador was starting to sink in.

We had lived in the city for three years and had spent countless days in the city center, especially around Parque Calderon. While Dena was shooting some stills, I shot a set of short time lapse videos with my GoPro camera.

In this post, I’ll share how I did it, including the settings, composition, and gear.

How to Create GoPro Time Lapse Video

In this post, you’ll read about:

  • 6 steps to shooting a GoPro time-lapse video
  • My time lapse settings and stats
  • The gear I used
  • What I learned from this shoot
  • The final product: my GoPro travel time lapse from Cuenca, Ecuador

Note: As you’ll probably notice, many of the photos have a ClickLikeThis watermark. This post was originally published there (a site we also own) but moved this post here to expand on the Ecuador content. Update November 2022, ClickLikeThis has been renamed GudPixel.

6 Steps to Shooting GoPro Time-lapse Video

  1. Use a stable mount: If the mount isn’t stable, the video will make you seasick. I tried to steady the camera on a cement wall to get cloud movement at a look-off point over Cuenca. I thought I was doing okay until I output the video. It was all over the place. Even the stiff wind can ruin your time lapse if your camera is just sitting on a table or a ledge. I used a Pedco UltraClamp for all the videos in this time lapse. {Read my UltraClamp review}
  2. Use a fast / large memory card: If you are shooting at 0.5 / 1 images per second, your card will fill up fast. And with too many incoming images, the quality can suffer. I’ve heard that the camera automatically lowers image resolution if the card isn’t fast enough. (I used SanDisk Ultra on this shoot and I’ve since upgraded to SanDisk Extreme.)
  3. Get Up-Close: A few of the locations I set up in were too far from the subject. Because of that, I had to crop into the video to eliminate the boring foreground. The GoPro has such a wide angle view, you can get much closer than you think.
  4. Shoot Longer Than You Need: Sometimes, nothing happens. Maybe the clouds disappear, people stop passing by (or lots of people pass by) and you just don’t get the scene or feel you want. You might not notice this until you edit your video. Let it run a little longer than you need – it might make the difference of getting the images you want.
  5. Bring extra batteries: You are going to eat through batteries. I’m a big fan of Wasabi battery for GoPro. I have them for all our GoPro cameras (from Hero3 Silver and up to the Hero7 Black). They last longer and cost less than GoPro’s own battery. I have three batteries for each camera – enough to last all day.
  6. Don’t worry about a few spoiled images: To check on the battery life or space remaining, you might need to stick your head in the shot. Don’t worry about this. You can edit them out, by playing images back at 15 – 30 frames per second, it’s impossible to notice a few missing frames.

Here are a few shots of me – photobombing my own time lapse…

photobombing gopro timelapse

photo bomb travel timelapse
Checking on the camera – and spoiling a few images 🙂

6 GoPro Time Lapse Settings and Stats

For this time lapse, I used the following settings:

  1. Shot 1 image every 5 seconds with GoPro Hero3
  2. Resolution: 11 MP
  3. 2530 Images / 13.4 GB
  4. Shoot date: March 2, 2015
  5. Edited with: GoPro Studio (free software by GoPro)
  6. Playback at 30 fps, output to source resolution (3840 x 2880), no adjustments to speed, deflicker or fisheye removal. I like the fisheye and it keeps more of the scene in the frame. Output to MOV format in High quality. I added a stock audio track and text watermark in the bottom right corner.

Recommended Time-lapse Gear

  • GoPro Hero3 Silver: This is my first GoPro and the only one I had while in Ecuador. I love this thing!
  • Wasabi Batteries: I’m a fan of long-lasting batteries. And they cost less than GoPro’s own battery. Nice!
  • Pedco Ultra Clamp: This beauty will clamp to anything. I’ve clamped it to buses, benches, tables and the front of an antique door at Cuenca’s famous flower market. One of the best camera mounts available. It’s not just for GoPro. This mount will keep your camera steady like nothing else.
  • Sandisk Ultra Micro SD Card 32 GB: This was a decently fast card when I bought it – 2.5 years ago. I now use this ultra card in my GoPro Hero (the entry-level GoPro) and have bought Sandisk Extreme cards for my Hero3 and Hero4.

gopro travel timelapse

GoPro Travel Time-Lapse: Cuenca, Ecuador

Here’s the finished product:

Watch on YouTube 

Interested in more travel photography? Check out our 13 Lessons: DSLR Basics for Travel Photography

What I Learned From This Shoot

I learned two lessons from this shoot:

  1. City shots, with close up movement (cars and people), should be shot at a higher frame rate. These were shot at one image every 5 seconds (12 images per minute). And the results are choppy.
  2. I need to get closer to my subjects. While they don’t look that far away in the video, I had to crop in significantly before rendering the video.

Overall, I’m happy with the video. With a higher frame rate, I could have captured more detail and made a more fluid final product.

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