GoPro Star Trails and Meteor Shower Settings

Since my post all about GoPro settings, people keep asking me for the best settings for their GoPro in certain situations.

The other night we had a meteor shower and someone asked me for the best settings to capture these types of images.

So these are my recommended settings and what to do with the images after.

I just need to point out though, that patience is the number 1 thing you need when trying to create your own star trails.

But the other main things you will need are:

• GoPro
• GoPro App (just to trigger the night lapse)
• Photoshop

First things first you need to put your GoPro into Night Lapse mode and these are my recommended settings for that:

• Exposure – 20-30 seconds
• Interval – 30 seconds
• ISO – somewhere between 100-400 (this will be dependant on how much ambiant/artificial light there is around)
• Mega Pixels – Maximum
• Protune – Enabled
• Sharpness – Medium
• Colour – GoPro
• White Balance – Native

You need to have your GoPro mounted onto a tripod or clamp and make sure it is protected from wind or anything that could move it in any way.

Any slight movement will result in blurry images which will ruin the picture.

One thing I should point out, don’t shoot directly into the moon, or even have the moon appear at all.

In fact, set up your GoPro so it faces the complete opposite direction that the moon is in.

This is the reason why you shouldn’t shoot directly into the moon. Here is a video of the Night Lapse, which looks ok.

But………………….!

Look what happens if you edit the sequence as an image instead of a video! Here is a before editing and after editing comparison.

As you can see, there was a lot of work needed to be done to get it looking ok. So please don’t make the same mistake!

So now your GoPro is all set up and ready to go, trigger the GoPro using the app on your phone.

Now sit back and wait!

The image above was made up of 101 photos in total which took approximately 1 hour. The more photos you have the longer the star trails will be.

Onto the editing!

1. Once you have Photoshop open, create a new document 4000 x 3000px (default GoPro size). Go to File —> Scripts —> Load Files into Stack. Browse and locate all the images from your sequence and leave all the boxes unchecked and click ok. This step could take a few minutes so be patient 🙂 .

2. Select all apart from the last layer and change the layers blending mode to ‘Lighten’….. Ta-Da…. Now you should see the star trail effect.

3. If you are happy with the way the image looks you can stop here. But if like me you had some strange light leaks and noise, you can edit them out at this stage using layer masks.

4. Finally, to really make your image stand out, you can add in some levels and curves layers or edit your image how you normally edit your photos. This is my before and after image.

I know it might sound like a lot but it really isn’t. It’s actually quite straight forward creating your own star trails providing you set the GoPro correctly in the first place 🙂

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