Introduction: Easy GoPro Time Lapse Module With Charging Function
Hi! I’m Isaac, a high school student in Mexico. I love creating digital media, whether that’s taking photos, videos, or even just playing around with programs on the computer. That being said, I have a GoPro camera and I’ve put it to good use in many past projects of mine.
However, I thought it would be cool to shoot a time lapse that slowly pans horizontally, giving the video a professional look and feel. This is particularly useful for capturing a landscape or any lengthy project that you’d like to view in fast motion.
I came up with a simple yet elegant design to create a time lapse module specifically for GoPros. This is different from most time lapse devices because it’s mechanical in movement but it still charges the camera (so it doesn’t die while recording).
This design is easy to make and the materials are common items.
- GoPro with its case. I used the Hero 6 Black (any action camera works, but GoPros Hero 5 and above work best)
- GoPro Thumb Screw (should come with your camera)
- Mechanical kitchen timer (must be flat)- I used this one.
- Basic GoPro mount (like these)
- A small power bank with a charging cord (even one of these could work)
- Super Glue
- Velcro tape
- Sandpaper or a nail file
- Twist tie
Step 1: Scoring
You will need the timer, the sandpaper/nail file, and a GoPro mount. Place the mount on top of the timer so you can get an idea of the amount of space it takes up. Ensure that the mount is as close to the edge of the timer as possible (near the arrow pointer at the front, as pictured).
Then, take the sandpaper or the nail file and scratch up the area that the mount was on (as well as the bottom of the mount). It should be as scratched up as I have done in the pictures. This is called “scoring” the surface, so that later, the glue will bond better.
Step 2: Securing the Mount
Now you’ll need your bottle of super glue. Apply a good amount (but not too much) to the area you have scored on the timer and to the bottom of the GoPro mount. Then, combine the two, making sure that the mount is facing the front; that’s the correct direction (refer to my pictures). Press and hold down on the timer and mount so it can bond for a minute. After, let it dry for the next 10 minutes or so.
If you have excess glue on the edges of the mount like I did, no worries. Just use a wet paper towel to get rid of it. At the end, you should be able to hold the timer upside down without the mount falling off. It needs to be a strong bond.
Step 3: Velcro Sizing
Put a strip of velcro tape across the side of the timer, opposite to where the mount is (as pictured). It should run straight across, since this will be where we’ll stick the power bank. Don’t actually stick it to the surface just yet. Next, take a sharpie and mark the edges of the timer onto the velcro tape, so you know where to cut it to make it fit. After you have stenciled that, take some scissors and cut where your lines are.
Put the newly cut velcro on top of another strip of velcro tape, and mark the edges with a Sharpie again (also pictured). Cut where you marked, and now you will have two perfectly sized pieces of velcro ready.
Step 4: Bonding Velcro to Timer
Take your sandpaper/ nail file and score the area where you’ll put the velcro across the timer. Peel off the adhesive backing to the tape, and apply a small amount of super glue on the sticky part. Yes, it sounds weird to do, but trust me on this. Then, take the glue and put some on the scored part of the timer. Attached the velcro very carefully to that area, glued side down, of course. Once again, press down on it for a bit, then let it dry.
Remember not to touch the super glue! You’ll thank me later :)
Step 5: Power Bank Velcro Prep
Now, place the power bank horizontally under the GoPro, right where you just stuck some velcro. Make sure the charging port to the bank is on the same side as the power port on the GoPro! Flip the timer to the side. Then use your sharpie and outline roughly where the velcro from the timer touches the bank as shown.
You made two velcro shapes, remember? Take your remaining one and center it (but don’t stick it) across the power bank which you’ve outlined just now. It should fit like mine did, but once again, don’t stick it on just yet.
Step 6: Power Bank Velcro Attachment
Then, score the area on the power bank within the outline you made with the Sharpie. Mine was made with robust plastic, so I took a knife and scratched it a lot just for good measure. Now, like we did with the timer, apply super glue to the scored part of the bank, and also put a little glue on the adhesive side to the velcro tape (after peeling it off first). Next, combine both and hold and set to dry.
You should now have a small strip of velcro tape on your power bank, and it should be almost impossible to rip off.
Step 7: Combining the Timer and Power Bank
Put the GoPro onto the timer using the mount, along with a GoPro thumb screw. This is so that you can get an idea of how everything fits together. After, securely attach the bank to the timer. Both velcro strips should be touching, and at this point, press down. All the parts thus far should fit on the timer nicely; that’s what this step is ensuring.
There you have it- the beginnings of a true time lapse module!
Step 8: Prepping the GoPro
Remove all the items from the timer. Take out the GoPro from its case, and open the charging compartment. You’ll need to remove the cover for this to work. But don’t worry, it’s easy to take off and can easily go back on. Refer to the GIF above, along with this video, if you need to know how exactly this is done.
Put the GoPro back in its case and screw it back onto the mount on the timer. Also, put on the power bank by sticking it to the velcro strip.
Step 9: Cable Management
Plug the GoPro’s charging cable into the power bank, and the other end should be plugged right into the charging port of the camera. We made this possible by removing the charging cover in the last step. But do remember, don’t put your camera in water without that lid on, or it will get damaged!
After plugging in both ends of the wire, use a twist tie or something similar to hold the loop of the wire. It will look much nicer after you have done this (just look at the pictures above).
Step 10: Marking Angles
Take your Sharpie again and write the following on the side of the timer like I did:
360° under the 60 minute mark
270° under the 45 minute mark
180° under the 30 minute mark
90° under the 15 minute mark
This helps you to know the angles that you can select when taking your time lapse. In other words, you can select how wide you want your video to pan.
Step 11: Done!
You can now turn on your camera, and it will be charging! Switch your camera to time lapse mode, and make the interval every two seconds. That’s what has worked best for me.
To use it, first twist the timer 360 degrees, all the way around, then set it to your desired time or angle in degrees. Take note of the direction the camera will move- counter clockwise.
Set the module up somewhere cool, face the camera in a good starting direction, and press record. You’re all set. Have fun creating and enjoy!
Step 12: Example Footage
I've included a video I took using this time lapse module, along with a picture of the setup in the wild, and a cool GIF :)
Good luck on your build!
Runner Up in the
Make it Move Contest 2020