Using the GoPro: All Night Time-Lapse – Settings and Setup Tutorial


My GoPro Hero 4 Night Lapse Video, and how you can film the stars too!

By Kristian Bell
The new GoPro Hero 4 opened up a whole different realm in photography/filmmaking: the night sky. Also it gave me another thing to film around the house! The time lapses are awesome so let’s jump into it.

Looking for a different night lapse tutorial?

Part 2 – editing: Night Lapse Post Production Tutorial
In depth settings tutorial: Protune and Night Mode Tutorial

What you need:

  1. A GoPro HERO4
  2. Extension Cord
  3. Tripod (I just use the generic GoPro sticky mount and a ladder)
  4. The GoPro Frame
    w/ lense protector for all night filming (It’s exposed USB port will allow you to charge your camera while filming indefinitely)
  5. USB charger and box
  6. I also Recommend an LCD BackPack
    for all GoPro 4 Black users so you can see the shot before leaving the camera out filming all night! Links to the my favorite products below.
GoPro 4
Extension Cord
Basic Tripod
The Frame
LCD Backpack
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I know you’re antsy to get your first night lapse so I am going to make the settings very easy for you. For our purposes—filming the stars—I always recommend trying this (one size fits all) set-up:

Shutter: 30s

Interval: Continuous

MegPixels: 12mp Wide

Spot Meter: Off

Protune: on

White Balance: 3000K

Color: GoPro

ISO: 800

Sharpness = MED

EV Comp: n/a

Take your filmmaking and photography to the next level! Protune settings trouble every GoPro user, and since they are such a large part of night photography I made an entire post for you. Read about protune/night-mode settings and their relation to night photography in my in-depth Tutorial.


Step 1: Find a landscape feature you want in the foreground, preferably one dimly lit up. Here I used a pine tree.
Step 2.
Place your GoPro in the black Frame and cover the lense. Mount the frame onto the to tripod.
Step 3.
Run Extension cord to the tripod, and plug in the USB to cord. Leave it next to the GoPro and don’t start charging yet!
Step 4.
Turn camera on, navigate to night lapse mode, and recheck your settings.
Step 5.
Position Camera to film the sky and your feature. If you don’t have an LCD position the GoPro just below facing straight up.
Step 6.
Start Recording.
*Pro  Tip
Bring a light of some kind and place it behind camera, casting a dim light on foreground objects. This can be seen throughout my Night Lapse Edit
Step 7.
Once recording, you can now plug in the camera. This will allow you to film for hours, days, or even weeks depending on your memory card.
Step 8.
Step back, and take a minute to enjoy the night sky.


“Done!” Not so fast… Half the battle of producing a good night lapse is in post-production editing. Also, capturing a beautiful night lapse is not a one night process. Many factors each night can affect the quality of the shot including: the time of year, cloud formations, lunar cycle, air pollution, light pollution, background lighting, foreground lighting and your focus feature are all factors that can make or break a shot. Too much light from the moon and you can’t see the stars, too much foreground light and the video looks grainy, to much back lighting and your focus feature is too bright…

Remember, your first try will not be perfect. Nor will the second, but that’s the fun of filmmaking. Experiment with what works and run with it.


You have completed Part 1! Check out our night lapse tutorial part two for post production—importing pictures, creating lapse, and color correction (Easier than getting the right shot!)., or go in depth with the Night Mode Settings.

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