How to Compile a Basic Timelapse Using GoPro Studio

Here’s a step-by-step how-to guide on how to compile a basic time-lapse from a sequence of still images using GoPro Studio.

Text & Photos By David Coleman
Last Revised & Updated:
Topics: GoPro Studio

I MAY get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

GoPro has discontinued GoPro Studio. You can’t download it anymore, and even if you already have it, it won’t work on newer 64-bit-only operating systems. For a while, the GoPro Studio app installer was included as part of the GoPro Quik installer package, but it has been removed as of version 2.4.

There are two different ways to create timelapse videos with a GoPro: shoot a sequence of jpg still photos to be compiled on your computer, or have the camera do the compiling in-camera to create an mp4 video from the get-go.

The in-camera version, also known as time-lapse video mode, is available on many of the newer GoPro models, but not all of them. And on those cameras that do have it, the output formats and interval options are not always the same. Overall, time-lapse video mode wins on convenience simply because it handles the shooting and compiling in one.

But if you want more control, you can also shoot in the more traditional way by shooting a sequence of still images and then compiling those still images yourself using a computer and time-lapse compiling software. It’s much less convenient, but those extra steps also give you much more control, especially when it comes to exposure and the visual look, as well as resolutions, bitrates, and file formats.

There are many different software packages that can do this, and they have all sorts of different features. GoPro Studio is one of them. It’s free, works great with GoPro’s Protune mode, and allows you to do some pretty sophisticated creative editing as part of the process.

So here’s a guide to compiling a time-lapse from still images using GoPro Studio. I’m focusing on the basic process, but there are other ways you can refine the process along the way. I’m assuming you’ve already shot the images. And I’ll handle some of the fancier editing options separately at a later time. But here’s how to take a sequence of timelapse photos you’ve shot with your GoPro to create a simple timelapse video you can share on Youtube, Facebook, or elsewhere or save it for later editing.

Importing Images

You’ll first need to import all the images so that they’re available for GoPro Studio to work with them. You can do this by hitting the Import New Files panel, going to File & Import Media or using the keyboard shortcut ⌘I (on Mac) or Ctrl+I (on Windows).

Compiling Time-lapse with GoPro Studio

In other types of situations, there might be pros and cons to separating out your images into different folders, but in this case, it makes things infinitely easier if you have all of your images in a single, dedicated folder, named sequentially. GoPro Studio is smart enough that if you select the first file, it’ll automatically pick up that it’s an image sequence and bring them all in. You can select all the images if you like, but you don’t have to.

Compiling Time-lapse with GoPro Studio

It’ll then take a few seconds to build a reference movie, which is what’s used for the first part of the editing. The new reference movie is put in the left-hand panel that shows clips.

Compiling Time-lapse with GoPro Studio

Creating an Interim Working Copy Video

If you click on it, the active clip will show up in the main, center window.

Compiling Time-lapse with GoPro Studio

You can now preview the sequence using the play button in the middle panel.

Compiling Time-lapse with GoPro Studio

If you hit the Advanced Settings button at the bottom left, you can set the image size that will be used for the video, the frame rate, and the quality.

GoPro Studio Advanced Settings

Assuming it’s got all the images you want in the sequence, the next step is to hit the “Add Clip to Conversion List” button.

Compiling Time-lapse with GoPro Studio

The clip then gets queued in the right panel called Conversion List. If you’re adding more clips, repeat the process to add them to the Conversion List panel. Once you’re done, hit the Convert button. This compiles the sequences into a working video file ready for editing. Depending on how long and how many your clips are, it might take a few minutes. You’ll see a preview in the small thumbnail while it’s working.

Compiling Time-lapse with GoPro Studio

Once the conversion process is finished, the Convert button will change to a Proceed to Step 2 button. Click that.

Compiling Time-lapse with GoPro Studio


You’ll then get an option to choose an edit template. For now, to keep things simple, just hit Cancel.

Compiling Time-lapse with GoPro Studio

When you first open the Edit step, the center panel will be blank. That’s because you haven’t yet selected an active clip. So click on your clip from the left panel.

Compiling Time-lapse with GoPro Studio

There’s no requirement to work in a particular order with the editing tools, but as a first step, I like to trim the beginning and end of the clip. To do that, move the playhead to the precise frame you want as the first frame of the clip. You can use the arrow keys to move by individual frames or use the buttons immediately on either side of the play button that looks like a combination of play and pause buttons.

Compiling Time-lapse with GoPro Studio

Then you can hit the Mark In Point button.

Compiling Time-lapse with GoPro Studio

Repeat for the end of the clip, using the button next to it. Because the file is now in video form, you can apply all of the usual video editing tools to it. You can change things like white balance, cropping and zooming, add keyframes, add fade-in and fade-out, color grade, apply presets, or add soundtracks or titles. And you can, of course, combine clips, etc., to make more sophisticated edits between shots. Basically, the sky’s the limit here. To do any of those, you’re going to want to work with the storyboard panel at the bottom, and it’ll start looking more like this.

Compiling Time-lapse with GoPro Studio

Exporting the Timelapse Video

But that get’s us well beyond the scope of this particular walk-thru. If you’re looking for the simplest possible way to export a basic, simple timelapse clip, you can skip the storyboard panel. Once you’re happy with the basic settings, click on the Export step.

Compiling Time-lapse with GoPro Studio

You’ll immediately get a browser window where you can name the exported file and select where to save it. More importantly, you can also choose the settings to export it at. Compiling Time-lapse with GoPro Studio

There are some presets with settings optimized for particular uses, including Youtube and Vimeo. If you want more control, you can choose the Custom option and specify individual settings, including the ability to export to GoPro CineForm format. If you’re looking to keep things simple for uploading the web, the Youtube preset is a good place to start.

Compiling Time-lapse with GoPro Studio

Once you hit the Export button, you’re good to go! If you want to save the project in order to be able to come back later and make further edits, go to File & Save Project.


Text & Photos by David Coleman

I'm a freelance travel photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. My images have appeared in numerous publications, and you can check out some of my travel photography here.

I've been shooting with GoPros for years, starting with the HD HERO, and have owned and used just about every model since. More »