GoPro time lapse submodes

The GoPro HERO4 Black action camera features three ways to either create (in-camera) a simple, time lapse movie in MP4 format or shoot a time series of photos (JPGs) that can be used to create a time lapse movie during post-processing.

Video Mode

“Time Lapse Video” submode

“Time Lapse Video” is one of several submodes under “Video Mode,” as shown below. It’s the simplest way to create a time lapse movie using the HERO4 Black.

GoPro “Quik” app.

There are two user-selectable settings in the “Time Lapse Video” submode (shown below, highlighted by a green rectangle): Interval; and Resolution. I selected an interval of 1 second and a resolution of 4K at 30 frames per sec (fps).

Settings, “GoPro app” (v7.1)

The preceding screen capture from the “GoPro app” (v7.1) seems to suggest there are many more user-selectable settings in “Time Lapse Video” submode; there aren’t. Call it an artifact of lazy app coding. I call it confusing! For reference, see p. 20 in the GoPro HERO4 Black User Manual (shown below).

GoPro HERO4 Black | User Manual

When the GoPro HERO4 Black is set for “Time Lapse Video” submode, the camera records MP4 videos with a 16:9 aspect ratio (3,840 x 2,160 pixels). File size varies depending upon the duration of the video clips.

Try it. I think you’ll like it. Make the same settings that I used and start recording. Just be sure to record long enough to create a “Goldilocks movie,” that is one that isn’t too short and isn’t too long but is just right.

Standard video playback is typically 30 frames per sec in the USA. If you record every second for 30 seconds, your final movie will be 1 second long! Plan to record for at least 10 to 15 minutes.

Based upon my settings the camera created two video clips: the first is 17 seconds in duration; the last is 28 seconds. That’s a total of 45 seconds long, before I trimmed the video clips using Apple iMovie. In order to smooth the playback and lengthen the final movie a little, I used iMovie to adjust the playback speed to 25% of normal.

Multi-Shot Mode

“Time Lapse” and “Night Lapse Photo” submodes enable automated recording of photos that can be used to create a time lapse movie during post-processing.

GoPro HERO4 Black | User Manual

The two submodes are similar, with one key difference: both Interval and Shutter Speed are user-selectable in “Night Lapse Photo” submode; only Interval is user-selectable in “Time Lapse” submode. A wide range of other user-selectable settings are available in both submodes, including “Protune.”

GoPro HERO4 Black | User Manual

“Time Lapse” submode

Untested, so far. Please stay tuned.

GoPro “Quik” app.

“Night Lapse Photo” submode

GoPro “Quik” app.

I tested “Night Lapse Photo” submode on the same day I created the time lapse movie featured in my last blog post. In case you’re wondering why I used “Night Lapse Photo” to record a scene during the day, I did so based upon the camera settings recommended by a well-known time lapse photographer/videographer.

27 APR 2022 | 3:47 pm | DCIM100GOPROG0020165

168 JPG photos were recorded during a 14 minute time period starting at 3:47 pm and stopping at 4:01 pm.

27 APR 2022 | 4:01 pm | DCIM100GOPROG0020332

As you can see in the two sample photos (shown above), the sky was overexposed in all of the photos that were recorded. The Interval was set for five (5) seconds and set the Shutter Speed was set for Auto. Those settings might work for Mr. X but they didn’t work for me!

The GoPro HERO4 Black records JPG photos with a 4:3 aspect ratio (4,000 x 3,000 pixels). Each photo file is approximately 2.2 MB in size.

The GoPro HERO4 Black features a fixed lens with an aperture of f/2.8.

The 35mm equivalent focal length of the lens is 15mm. That’s a fairly wide angle lens, so it’s no wonder the preceding photos show some “fish eye” distortion.

Notice the Shutter Speed was 1/120 second. Although 1/120 s is a relatively slow shutter speed, it’s fast enough that it might not explain why my photos are overexposed.

The scene I recorded was relatively high contrast — it was dark in the parking garage and the white clouds in the sky were bright. It’s possible the “Center Weighted Average” Metering Mode was unable to expose the entire image properly.

I didn’t know that Photo Mode / Night Photo submode and Multi-Shot Mode / Night Lapse Photo submode are virtually identical. Next time I experiment with “Night Lapse Photo” I will shoot some test shots using “Night Photo” to be sure the exposure is set correctly before starting “Night Lapse Photo.”

That being said, I think my next experiment will test “Time Lapse” submode.

Copyright © 2022 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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