New Firmware Turns a GoPro Into a Camera Trap and Time-lapse Camera

Last year GoPro released a niche firmware update for the Hero 8 Black allowing a whole host of specialist control such as motion detection, long deployment time-lapse, and settings for cameras to auto power on and take photos/video at a specific time of the day. 

In January this year, GoPro rolled the update out as an option for a selection of their most recent cameras: the Hero 7 Black, Hero 8 Black, Hero 9 Black, and the GoPro Max.

The update unlocks innovative and experimental features including motion detection, dashcam support, 360° motion detection, improved live streaming access, and long term time-lapse settings to name a few.

GoPro action camera functionality is something that most photographers and filmmakers are familiar with in 2021. But with the new GoPro Labs firmware, GoPro users will be able to program their camera to perform specialist tasks.

Using an app that generates QR codes, users simply wave the QR code in front of their camera lens to program their camera to do a specific task. The exciting list of new experimental features include:

  • Motion Detection: Motion detection is now supported in all video modes, including 360° motion detection on MAX, automatically triggering the camera to take photos or video when motion is detected.
  • Sunrise / Sunset Auto Capture: Using the GPS chip in conjunction with the date and time settings in the camera, the GoPro can calculate the approximate sunrise/sunset time to auto-trigger a photo or video recording.  
  • Camera Motion Triggers: Using the camera’s accelerometer and gyroscope, cameras can be programmed to start/stop capture when the camera is in motion, preserving storage and battery.
  • Long Deployment Timelapse Trigger: Using the cameras internal date and time settings to auto-trigger at preset intervals. Saving battery and storage enables timelapses of as long as 40 days on a single battery (or even longer when powered via a USB power bank).
  • USB Power: Starts/stops capture when USB power is detected, ideal when using a GoPro as a dashcam.
  • Simplified Live Streaming: Program your GoPro got start live streaming within seconds of being connected to a designated Wi-Fi network.
  • Single-Setting/One-Button Mode: A one-button mode where the operator can only start/stop capture, making it impossible to accidentally change camera modes.
  • New Exposure Modes: Set timed exposure lock and shutter speed settings for professional photo and video control.
  • New QR Code Controls: QR code controls supported in 5K and HindSight capture for HERO9 Black.


How to Install GoPro Labs

Installing the firmware update is relatively simple and, although it can’t be done via the GoPro app like most of their updates, it is something that most GoPro users will be able to complete without a problem.

Head over to the GoPro website to download the correct Labs firmware for your camera. Once downloaded, transfer the update file onto a formatted SD card. Once the transfer has completed, just put the SD card into your camera and power it on with a fully charged battery inside.

The camera will then automatically install the update and will be ready to use, you’ll just need to install and get familiar with the QR generator app on your phone. The app is available on Android and iPhone.

If you have already downloaded GoPro Labs, we would love to see what you have been able to capture with it! Let us know and see what you have used it for in the comments below.

Visit Joe's website

Joe is a photographer, camera and drone operator with a focus on conservation and the natural world. Having worked for a number of wildlife and conservation NGOs, Joe is now working for the BBC NHU on an upcoming landmark series.

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