Selecting the best mode for your tour
The GoPro Fusion supports both video and timelapse image photography in 360 mode.
We recommend shooting in timelapse mode to create virtual tours.
However each shoot is different. When planning a shoot, there are a few considerations to keep in mind when choosing a mode.
GoPro Fusion Studio is intensive
You need to use Fusion Studio to process both mp4's the camera shoots, into a single equirectangular file.
The mode content Fusion Studio has to process, the more processing power is required by your computer.
Even on a fairly well built machine 16GB RAM / Intel i7 it can be very slow.
Therefore, if shooting very long content its often better to choose timelapse mode otherwise you might struggle with processing time / errors with Fusion Studio when processing lots of long videos.
Based on my own experience, I find that I can shoot video for about a total of 60 minutes using one GoPro Fusion battery (in short intervals, see overheating issue).
This can mean potentially having to spend over £50 on spare batteries to get 2 hours of filming time (inc. the battery supplied with the camera). You'll also have to carry them.
As a rough guide, set to a 5 second interval on a mild day (16°C), a fully charged battery can support up to 4 hours of shooting (2 second interval offers about 3 hours). Both batteries provided will therefore keep you shooting for a whole day.
Though the stock GoPro Fusion Lithium Ion batteries present a larger problem than recording time, heat. The more photos being taken, the more processing power the camera requires, the hotter the battery becomes.
To prevent damage, the GoPro Fusion will automatically turn off if it begins to overheat. In video mode, even on milder days (20C), the battery has a tendency to overheat after 20 minutes. Put it in direct sunlight, the problem gets worse, almost to the point where the camera becomes unusable.
360 photos on the Fusion are 18mp (5760x2880).
The Fusion has two video modes, 4k (3840x1920 processed mp4 video) and 3k (3072x1536 processed mp4 video). Note, the GoPro Fusion advertised 4k, but this is not possible using mp4 codecs (only ProRes).
GoPro Fusion Studio offers the same post-processing features for video and timelapse images.
8 minutes of Fusion 360 video is roughly 5 GB in filesize (2.5GB front/2.5GB back). An individual 360 photo frame shot in timelapse is about 20MB.
Shooting in timelapse mode at the highest rate (0.5 FPS) produces 120 frames per minute. That's 960 frames per 8 minutes, which works out larger than 5GB.
Keep in mind, you will also need to process the mp4 file, which will result in a 2x increase in storage required (if you want to keep a copy of the original .mp4s, which I'd recommend for future reprocessing).
The other big difference is getting access to files in the future. If you store files on other machines/cloud services, it's generally easier to download one or two images when needed. Grabbing a whole movie can take a long time on slower connections.
Videos can be recorded at a much higher frame rate. In video mode you can record up to 30 FPS @ 5.2k. In timelapse mode, the camera will only capture up to a rate of one photo every 0.5 seconds (2 FPS).
Travelling at 10 km/h (2.75 m/s) in 0.5 second timelapse mode will produce one photo about every 1.5 meters. Ideally you're looking for a distance of less than 5 meters between photos at an absolute maximum.
Generally this frame rate is fast enough for most human powered methods of transport (to capture 1 photo every 5 meter), which is why we tend to shoot in timelapse photo mode over video given the other considerations (especially power consumption).