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GoPro TimeWarp vs. TimeLapse: What’s the Difference? (With Pictures)

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Timewarp vs timelapse

Maybe you’re going through your new GoPro features and trying to figure out what each one does, or perhaps you’re trying to decide which GoPro you need. Two of the most popular features are TimeWarp and TimeLapse.

These similar features enable you to capture long events and highlight them in one short video. But while they’re similar, they’re not the same thing. They capture events differently, and you’ll want to use them in different ways.

It can all be confusing at first, but don’t worry. We walk you through everything that you need to know to help you make an informed decision, whether it’s about which one to use or which one you need.

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Overview of GoPro TimeWarp

If you’re new to TimeWarp, the general idea is getting a smooth video in fast forward. GoPro smooths everything out, and you get to see everything that’s happening in a shorter time than the actual event.

Hyperlapse Timeplapse
Image Credit: Kirill Neiezhmakov, Shutterstock

What Devices Have GoPro TimeWarp?

Not every GoPro device has TimeWarp capabilities. In fact, most devices don’t have TimeWarp. The only two GoPro devices that currently have TimeWarp capabilities are HERO7 Black and HERO8 Black.

How Does TimeWarp Work?

TimeWarp combines two different GoPro technologies, HyperSmooth and TimeLapse, to create videos that condense long events without cutting out any of the moments.

It’s a full video, not selected moments, so you can see everything without sitting down and watching the entire event.

Car Hyperlapse Timelapse
Image Credit: Jag_cz, Shutterstock

TimeWarp Speed Information and Recommendations

When you’re looking at using TimeWarp, there are a few different things that you need to consider. First, you need to look at the length of the video once you finish recording. All you need to do is divide the recording time by the recording speed, and that gives you the final length.

For instance, a 5-minute recording at 10x speed results in a video that’s 30 seconds long. However, if you up the speed to 30x, that same 5-minute video shortens to just 10 seconds.

Finally, you need to look at the best possible recording speed for the event that you’re recording. GoPro put out these recommendations for the following situations:

Recording Speed Activity
2x to 5x Scenic driving
10x Hiking and exploring
15-30x Running or biking
  • You don’t miss any moments
  • Customizable
  • Up to 4k/1080p recording
  • Easy to share long events
  • Only available on limited GoPro devices
  • Hard to notice fine details

shutter camera divider 2 Overview of TimeLapse

TimeLapse is a feature that captures still images at set intervals and pieces them all together to create a video. It’s a great way to capture events happening over a long period of time without the need to sit there and watch it in real time.

Image Credit: Joey Kyber, Unsplash

What GoPro Devices Have TimeLapse?

GoPro TimeLapse is only on a limited number of devices. The cameras with the feature currently are the HERO8 Black, HERO7 Black, Hero (2018), HERO6 Black, HERO5 Black, HERO5 Session, and the HERO4 cameras.

How Does GoPro TimeLapse Work?

With GoPro TimeLapse, you go into the settings and set the interval option. Then, it records one image at each interval. For instance, with a 0.5-second interval, it takes a picture every half a second. Then, it combines all these images and plays them back at 30 FPS.

A 0.5-second interval translates to 15 seconds of TimeLapse film in just 1 second of playback. You can change the settings to get exactly what you want, but you need to have enough footage to produce at least 1 second of playback with TimeLapse.

TimeLapse Stop light
Image By: Frankie Lopez, Unsplash

Tips for GoPro TimeLapse

If you’re ready to use GoPro TimeLapse, here are a few tips that we recommend for getting the best possible footage.

First, always record more than you think that you’ll need. You can always go back and edit things out, but you can’t create footage if you didn’t record it in the first place.

Second, keep in mind that the time on the LCD device of the GoPro tells you the recorded time length, not how much time has gone by since you started recording.

Third, the recording will only highlight the video footage — you’re not getting individual photographs. While you might be able to edit them out later, it’s going to take more work, and the quality won’t be quite as high.

Finally, keep in mind the battery length when you’re using TimeLapse. Ensure that you have a full charge before you start, and don’t be afraid to hook it up to a charger for long captures.

  • On more GoPro devices
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Shortens long events
  • High-quality recording
  • You’ll miss fine details
  • Subjects can appear to “jump” to a new location

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When Do You Want TimeLapse or TimeWarp?

When you’re trying to figure out whether TimeLapse or TimeWarp is right for your current project, it all comes down to what you’re trying to film. If you want to capture a landscape evolving over time, TimeLapse is the way to go.

But if you’re moving around with your camera or are capturing events with people moving around, you’ll want to go with TimeWarp.

Just keep in mind that TimeLapse involves stitching together still photos, while TimeWarp is simply speeding up the video that you’re taking.

woman using GoPro camera
Image By: NeagoneFo, Shutterstock

Using TimeLapse or TimeWarp

Whether you decide to go with TimeLapse or TimeWarp, it’s essential that you take the time to set it up correctly. For TimeLapse, this means setting the recording interval, leaving it there for the right amount of time, and having the camera stay still.

For TimeWarp, this means setting the right recording speed, the video length that you want, and your activity.

Practice makes perfect here, so don’t be afraid to try it out before trying to capture something that you want to get right the first time.

gopro cam_Piqsels
Image By: Piqsels

Comparing Costs

One of the most important factors that you need to consider when you’re looking at whether to get a device with TimeWarp and TimeLapse or just a device with TimeLapse is the price of the GoPro.

Older GoPros don’t cost that much, but you’ll need to purchase a used one. The newer the GoPro is, the more it’s going to cost, especially if you get a new one.

If you don’t plan on using the TimeWarp feature, you might be able to save money by going with an older model — just know that you might be giving up more features. In short, do your homework before deciding on a GoPro!

When to Use TimeWarp When to Use TimeLapse
When filming moving objects When capturing landscapes
When filming with a moving camera When capturing extremely long events
When you need to capture fine details When you don’t need fine details
When you don’t want to miss a moment When filming stationary targets

shutter camera divider 2 Conclusion

Whether you’re going with TimeLapse or TimeWarp, the fact that you already have a GoPro in hand means you have many capabilities and features that you can use to take your videos to the next level.

Now that you know more about these handy features, you can use them to take stunning videos that your audience won’t even need to spend much time watching!

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.