How to Get More From GoPro
GoPro is your favorite action camera and it’s easy to see why. It’s versatile, powerful and durable. However, you’ll probably get past novelty pretty quickly – cycling or snorkeling. Don’t waste that $ 500 – there are tons of other creative ways to get even more out of GoPro.
A couple of years ago, my fiance and I bought a GoPro. We took him on a couple of trips, took some snorkeling photos and some fun time-lapse shots. And then he started collecting dust. However, I recently decided to take it back. I wanted to see what else you can do with it besides the standard action movies.
Master the myriad settings you ignored
One of the reasons I stopped using our GoPro is that it was much easier to just shoot videos and photos with my phone. And that’s true, but if you delve deeper into GoPro settings, you’ll be able to capture much better shots of everyday things, not just action shots, with your GoPro. You just need to choose the right settings for the job. You can easily choose between different resolutions, fields of view and frame rates to get different images.
Field of view and frames per second
The GoPro comes with three field of view (FoV) settings: wide, medium, and narrow. Wide is great for standard GoPro shots because you get everything on the periphery. Medium is great for normal video, while Narrow is great for tighter, more focused shots.
In terms of frames per second (FPS), you get good quality at 30 or 60 frames per second, as well as anything above that is typically used for slow motion video. For example, when you shoot at 120fps, you get more options to slow down your video without losing quality – it will still look smoother.
Then there is permission. At 1080p, you get good HD resolution, but you have a few other options to choose from with the GoPro. Here’s a quick explanation of what kind of shots you’ll get with each one.
- 4k : Excellent quality for wide panoramic shots. As Gizmodo points out , the GoPro Hero3 Black can shoot 4k video at 15fps, but that wasn’t very useful because the frame rate wasn’t fast enough – shots with a lot of movement ended up looking odd. The newer Hero4, however, can shoot 4k quality at 30fps, which makes the quality amazing if you have a 4k monitor.
- 2.7k : Even older GoPros can shoot in this resolution at 30fps, so you can keep the quality high and your action video still looks smooth.
- 1080p : Versatile, Full HD, and you can shoot at high enough frame rates to slow down your video for beautiful slow-motion shots.
- 1440 : High quality like 1080p, but higher quality, so great for vantage shots.
- 1080 Super : At this resolution, the 1440p video is downsized to 1080. So you still capture the same field of view as 1440, but get 1080. This is great for video in terms of (eg , on a helmet or chest tube) when you don’t want to work with the 1440 square bezel.
- 960p : Same size as 1440 (lower quality) but shoots at a higher frame rate so you can shoot.
- 720p : Same size as 1080p, but again lower quality to allow for higher frame rates. However, it is useful when you want to shoot super slow motion.
- WVGA240 : Lower resolution mode than even 720p, but you can shoot at up to 240fps for stunning slow motion shots. It doesn’t look good when bloated, but it does well for what you want to share on social media.
I usually always use 1080p, wide angle, 30fps. You get decent video about the same quality as your phone, but with a more peripheral view. However, after researching the suggested GoPro settings for different types of shots, I started using 1080p, wide angle and 60fps for my video, and the quality is much better, and it looks great in slow motion. Here are some other resolution, field of view, and frame rate settings you can try, as well as the type of video you can expect with each setting.
- 1080p / Wide / 60fps: This is the most versatile setting. You get high quality images, a wide viewing angle and frame rates that still look amazing in slow motion. In short, you get great quality and versatility, as stated on GoPro’s ClickLikeThis website .
- 720p / Narrow / 120fps: A good setting if you want a more focused and tight shot. Project Go recommends this option if you are posting to social media. At 120fps, you also get more room to experiment if you’re editing slow-motion video. With such a high frame rate, you can slow down your video and it still looks smoother. Check out the Gizmodo video above for an example.
- 1080 SuperView: If you are going to take pictures from an action perspective, this is the setting where it should be. According to ClickLikeThis , it captures greater height than the standard setting, and you can shoot at up to 80fps .
Of course, these are just a few specific combinations. If you watch the GoPro video above, you can learn even more about which settings to use together to get certain types of videos. There are so many different combinations that you can use to capture stunning video beyond the stamped helmet camera.
Learn to properly stabilize your shots
Another reason I stopped using our GoPro is because the shots were so shaky. The video itself looked great, but pretty much every video I shot was completely uneven and made me nauseous. You can buy stabilization equipment of course, but if you don’t feel like buying and carrying a stabilizer while snorkeling, Digital Trends offers a simple trick :
For a consistently stable shot, simply press your GoPro against your face – yes, your face – as you track what you are about to shoot. Obviously, this stabilization method works best when your surroundings do not require the use of both hands, as we would not recommend trying to implement it while mountain biking, for example. However, if you’re looking for a cheap and efficient way to record stable video, face-to-face with your GoPro is the best option. This tip also works with all types of digital cameras.
Sure, you’ll get the best results with the right equipment, but it’s a cheap trick if you don’t want to service another piece of GoPro equipment. You can also use some sort of image stabilization while editing (Microsoft’s Hyperlapse app should work for this ), but it’s always best to start with a nice, smooth video.
Don’t stick to one corner
If you’ve seen one type of GoPro video, you’ve seen them all.The camera was tied to the dog . Cycling trip. The bottom of the pool. These are all very funny ways to use a GoPro, and that’s probably why you wanted to buy it at all, but again, this novelty is quickly fading away. These shots also lose the versatility of the GoPro. By mixing the frames, you can make some really interesting videos. Wareable puts it this way :
If you ski down the near-vertical side of the mountain at breakneck speed, you can get a full three minutes of uninterrupted film, but a few minutes of cycling along a moderately difficult forest trail can be incredibly boring. That’s why the above video of cycling champion Peter Sagan works well, using a combination of settings, camera angles, close-ups, handheld shots, POV and regular long shots to put the action in context.
For example, if you’re going to be shooting a standard action video on your bike, you can switch the camera and take a shot from the back, not just the road ahead. Or attach it to the front of your bike and get a face too. Change the settings and get tighter, narrower shots of the bike itself. Change the settings again and set the frame rate to super high for fantastic slow motion video.
It’s a bit more, of course, but it makes the video that much more interesting, plus you maximize the camera’s capabilities.
Add external microphone
Another reason I put my GoPro on hold is that the audio quality sucks. My phone’s built-in microphone was significantly better. Of course, you may not need the crisp sound for the action shots that GoPro is famous for, but if you want to get more out of the camera, you can turn on the sound.
While the GoPro doesn’t have a mic input, you can buy a mic that plugs into the camera’s charging port. Have Camera Will Travel offers several high quality portable microphones that work well with GoPro. Most of these microphones are not very expensive, but if you want a cheaper option, you can buy an adapter that will connect a standard 3.5mm microphone to your camera’s charging port.
Take batch photos
Of course, GoPro can take photos too. This is not what they are known for, so this feature is easy to overlook. In addition, older models do not have an LCD screen – you view your picture via an app on your phone. It seems a bit pointless to use a GoPro as a camera when you need to look at it from your phone, which already has a camera in it.
However, you can just install and forget about it. In your camera settings, you can set your GoPro to take photos every few seconds. Take a photo every few seconds while you are in action and then you will have a big batch of photos when you’re done . GoPro also has a burst feature that lets you set the number of photos you want to take in a given time. You will throw away most of these photos, but you will have some great shots to keep. Of course, you can also just use the time-lapse function for fun time-lapse videos.
Most people are probably attracted to GoPro because of the many interesting shots you can take. It’s incredibly portable and durable, so you can shoot videos that can’t be done with a bulky DSLR or your fragile phone. However, the camera brings more than just that. It’s easy to overlook its other features when you’re worried about a novelty, but you can also pay back your money and explore other options.