Well, some of you might have heard of the Night Lapse function on the GoPro Hero 4, this is the first time GoPro has introduced this function to the users and to be honest with you I am really impressed with the quality of the images and time-lapses. What makes a good image taken at night would probably be the amount of grain that is visible, now this isn’t necessarily something that should be the main point of justification, but I always believe that it’s a good point to look at, especially when you love quality. Less grain is always better, but for the users that aren’t really worried about the grain, you would be quite happy with the outcome, it all really depends on the type of light you’re shooting in.
Before I dive in, just a little tip if you don’t know yet, the GoPro mobile App is super easy to use, and makes it possible for the user to see what the GoPro is seeing via your mobile screen, this is great if you like to construct your photos and videos from different angles, and we all know, sometimes those angles makes a big difference. Okay, so let’s start with the basics of the nightlapse, a nightlapse is a series of photos taken with certain exposure settings at specific intervals, usually with a high ISO in my experience with the GoPro, now if that didn’t make any sense, it’s basically multiple photos taken at night, with some specific settings ;) And trust me, if you get it right, you won’t be disappointed, its great fun to play with light!
So just like most entry level SLR cameras, the GoPro has all the same basic settings, Shutter, Interval, White Balance, ISO and more, but just with these basic settings, I was able to produce some pretty decent results, from Star Trails to recording the movement of the Milky Way, and with the shutter able to stay open for 30 seconds I was able to do some light paintings!
Here is a Night Lapse I did of Table Mountain, taken over 2 hours using the GoPro 4 with an external Battery pack.
Check out my night lapse here - https://vimeo.com/125794461
I played for hours with this little camera on all the different settings, and to be honest I really struggled to think of any negative things about this little camera, and I think it’s because I still look at it as a little camera, not an SLR or a super expensive camera, just a little GoPro. If you are a photographer and you have an SLR, then the settings on your camera is going to be way better guaranteed, you will have a higher ISO and you will be able to keep the shutter open for as long as you want and then you also have a huge lens that can zoom quite nicely. But I’d rather prefer to strap the GoPro to my head and go do a Basejump than to use the SLR, at the end that was what it’s made for, action sports. The night lapse is a bonus feature if you ask me, and I think GoPro is on the right path.
Just look at this comparison, the image at the top was taken by my friend Brendon Wainwright with a Nikon D7000,Nikkor 10.5mm DX Fisheye f/3.5, IS0-600, 13 Second exposure., and the bottom one I took with a GoPro 4 on settings: ISO 800, Shutter: 15Seconds, Night-lapse on Continuous burst.
Obviously the image at the top will be way better, but considering it’s a really decent SLR, I don’t think the GoPro did badly at all.
To be able to take these photos I had to use a tripod to make sure the GoPro could stand still for a long period of time, and I had to attach an external battery source, I didn’t have the proper mount yet to be able to attach the power source with a protective casing on the GoPro, but if you have the Time-lapse Kit from Action Gear you should be fine, otherwise just watch out for Rain.
Playing with Light is pretty fun! If you put the GoPro on Night Photo and on a tripod, set the shutter speed to 30 seconds, you can get some pretty neat results, have a look at the photos I took in Newlands Fores.
All in all I would give the GoPro full points for Night lapse, considering this is an action camera, they really have pushed the boundaries, and I’m excited to see what they bring next!
Gear I used was a Joby Gorillapod, and I had stuck a card in one of my mounts since I didn’t have a Skeleton case for the GoPro, you can see in the images below.
Thanks for joining me, and I look forward to seeing many links to your 'Night Lapse' videos on Action Gear's Facebooks page.
All the best - Stefan Kruger