.st0{fill:#FFFFFF;}

TechTip: How to power a GoPro for an all day time lapse 

 January 6, 2015

By  Pascal Depuhl

(TechTip – a short post about a quick tip that will save you time and frustration).

Wish I knew this on my last time lapse

Powering a GoPro for a Time Lapse project
I shot a day long behind the scene time lapse on my last motion job, but since the client hadn’t specified that we’re gonna be shooting a time lapse, I had not brought my usual time lapse DSLR setup that I’ve written about before, but had my GoPro Hero 3+ (@GoPro) in my kit. Even with an extended battery the camera will shoot around 2-3 hours, depending on how many photos, how large, ect. So every couple of hours we’d go check on the camera to see, if it’s still shooting.
Later my assistant told me that a GoPro will shoot while the battery is being charged externally – good to know! I put this info to the test yesterday.

Powering a multi day time lapse

Here’s my setup: GoPro Hero 3+ camera, set to take one 3K still photo every 5 seconds. I hooked up the camera via USB to a battery/inverter called Sherpa 50 made by Goal Zero (@GoalZero), the company that I purchased my solar charge set up for our shoot in the peruvian jungle last year.
The Sherpa ran the camera uninterrupted for over 14 hours, capturing almost 10,000 images until my 32GB microSD card filled up, while the GoalZero Sherpa still was at a 40% charge.

[nextpage title=”next”]

I had started this with an empty GoPro battery, that was fully charger when the card filled up. As an aside remember, that when you’re outdoors you can charge the Sherpa with a Solar Panel, while it’s powering the GoPro camera, that’ll extend your shooting time greatly. All that’s left to do is to buy a SanDisk 128GB MicroSD card -they run around $100 bucks- enabling you to shoot about 40,000 images, which translates into around 50 hours of shooting an image every 5 seconds.

Bushnell rolled out sm Check out “What’s in your bag?” Episode one – it’s smaller than the Goal Zero Sherpa, but it may be the perfect charger for running your GoPro when you’re far from an outlet – it has a build in solar panel! 



128GB on the tip of your finger

UPDATE: Received a SanDisk 128 microSD card and inserted it into my GoPro, only to see a SD ERR displayed on the screen. None of the current GoPro cameras support cards that are larger than 64 GB and while there is a firmware update coming from GoPro in February 2015, it is only for the Hero4 black and silver cameras and will not include 128GB support. Just to clarify GoPro has the specs of cards that will work on their website, I just wanted to try this out …
  • This was a really wonderful article. Many thanks for providing this information.

  • That’s a really good question. I’ve run GoPro’s for a few days at a time, without any issues – and shooting a lot in Miami, I’m very familiar with cameras overheating. Some of the early DSLRs were notorious of running hot. As with any electronic item I would suggest a well ventilated area and I would absolutely take the GoPro 3+ out of the water proof enclosure. If you want to keep it in a cage for protection or need one to mount the camera, check out an aluminum case like this one. It has the added benefit of the metal transferring heat away from the GoPro hero, helping it to run less hot.

    I have these for all my GoPro cameras be that for my hero 3+, my sessions 4 or my hero 5. Just remember that with the GoPro hero 3 the camera IS NOT WATERPROOF in the aluminum cage. Since GoPro hero 4 sessions and hero 5’s are waterproof without the GoPro cage, you can take them into the water inside the aluminum enclosure.

  • THIS IS SUCH A INFORMATIVE BLOG. THANK YOU FOR SHARING THIS.

    ONE QUESTION I HAVE PLEASE:

    I am using my gopro 3+ black edition as CCTV camera, i am keeping my camera turned ON and recording in 20 minutes loop mode at 1080p at 30 FPS for atleast 12 hours straight in a day. 5 days a week,

    it is performing great. no issues at all so far. I have mains power socket just next to the location where i need my gopro, so I am powering the camera straight from the Mains Wall Socket.

    MY CONCERN IS, THE LIFE OF GOPRO ITSELF… NOT THE BATTERY. WILL THIS DAMAGE MY GOPRO? I,E, LIFE OF THE GOPRO ITSELF GOING TO BE SHORTEN BY USING IT AS CCTV CAMERA AND RECORDING IT CONTINUOUSLY IN 20 MINUTES LOOP MODE?

    IT GETS HOT, BUT NOT ABNORMALLY HOT.

  • Peter,

    Thanks for reading “…catching the light!” GoPro cameras are pretty versatile and being able to power them while they are capturing images or footage is awesome.

    The GoPro will keep on filming or photographing with any external battery, including the Switch 8. Of course the larger the battery the longer the camera will continue to record. You could also plug the camera into a USB AC charger, then the size of the SD card along with the resolution your filming or the frequency of your photos in the time lapse setting will determine how long you can record. The longest I’ve had the GoPro run is a couple of days on a time lapse test.

    The only issue I’ve had with GoPro cameras is the heat they generate on long duration shooting.

  • Hi

    Having read through you tip with the Sherpa 50, which has answered a lot of my questions, I checked out the Switch 8 as I think that will do the job for me.
    If I plug in the Switch 8, into my GoPro Hero 4 camera does it keep the camera working? Or does it ‘just charge’ the GoPro ready for use when re-charged?
    Hope you can help
    Peter

  • Denis (thanks for asking), but no you do not have to remove the internal or external bater – that’s the cool thing. You must use the ‘frame’ which frees up access to the usb port on the GoPro, so you give up the waterproof case, but you gain virtually unlimited run time. The size of your card will be the only limiting how long the camera can run.

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

    Pascal Depuhl


    Miami product photographer, video producer, cinematographer and chief mindchanger at Photography by Depuhl I love to share the knowledge I've gained over the past two decades. Catching light in motion.

    >