Mar 30, 2023
GoPro Labs is the best way for GoPro enthusiasts to try out features you simply can’t get straight out of the box. In fact, since it launched in 2020, it’s become our go-to beta program for superusers to access and test experimental, beyond-stock features. Using QR codes and special camera firmware, GoPro Labs makes it possible to unlock new functionality and send custom commands to GoPro cameras.
To access the GoPro Labs experience, you must manually install the (free) GoPro Labs firmware onto your camera. From there, you’ll have the ability to tap into GoPro Labs and use and create QR codes to control your camera.
The most common applications for Labs QR codes are setting up "cameras traps" to record wildlife and pets in their natural habitat, automated sunrise and sunset time lapses or a dash cam mode that records only when a car, motorcycle or bike gets in motion.
This month, GoPro Labs rolled out the biggest update ever to the program to add fully scriptable automation by way of:
It is important to note that while camera triggers via QR codes were available on Labs previously, this new iteration has taken the technology to a new level. Instead of just starting or stopping capture, this can be combined with triggering a new setting or mode.
For example, imagine you want to do a TimeWarp and have it switch to Real Time whenever someone is speaking to camera, here the trigger is to change the TimeWarp recording Real Time every time the sound level is above a certain decibel. Then, when the audio levels drop, the camera automatically reverts to recording TimeWarp. This along with registering elevation, location, speed and other data collected from sensors are all examples of “triggers” that tell the GoPro to do something.
In other words, all the above now enables GoPro Labs users to play the role of trigger and action creator, or “if this, then that,” and share these new innovations to the larger GoPro Labs community directly, explains Director of GoPro Labs David Newman.
“The previous [GoPro Labs] triggers were limited. You can now combine triggers and use them to start actions beyond just video capture,” Newman explains. “For instance, you can now start an action with motion detection and end with an altitude threshold or start a livestream or switch TimeWarp to real-time mode based on distance traveled, or an upload simply by dictating the custom ‘trigger.’”
This, plus all existing GoPro Labs technology, is also now supported on HERO11 Black and HERO11 Black Mini.
What started as access to using and creating QR codes that control GoPro camera settings has grown quickly to a dedicated contingent of beta users active on GoPro Labs forums, where they make requests, chat about features they’d like to see and share expert insights.
“GoPro Labs has long since been about granting more power to our advanced and experimenting users,” David says. “Sometimes this is about enhanced image controls quality or longer time lapse capture—two popular use cases. And now, Labs enhanced capture triggers, like motion detection and sound level, starting a capture remotely then a desired threshold is met.”
The latest installment of GoPro Labs speaks to its immense success over the past three years. With an ever-growing contingent of community members who want more innovative features, GoPro Labs has quickly become the go-to place for seeing all that GoPro cameras can do. And it’s safe to say the latest GoPro Labs release is going to pave the way for unbelievable features and creations.
GoPro Labs is now supported across HERO11 Black and Mini, HERO10 Black, HERO9 Black, MAX, HERO8 Black and HERO7 Black. You can learn more about the GoPro Labs and how to install the firmware here.