Understanding Your New GoPro

So you got a new GoPro HERO3 Black Edition! Luckily for you, GoPro has added about 137 different filming options so you’ll never really be sure if you’re using the right mode for the activity/film job.  Hopefully I can break it down a bit and unshroud the mysteries of the modes.  Keep in mind this is written for the slightly technologically inclined. This specific guide was written for the HERO3 line of cameras, but many of the principles and ideas transfer up to the later models of HERO3+ and HERO4.  To learn about both of those cameras see my additional guides – HERO3+, HERO4, HERO4 Session

A few things need to be explained when talking about the technical aspects of video resolutions, framerates, and video quality.  In digital video there are a lot of different variables that go into what makes up the overall IQ (image quality). 1080P on a GoPro is FAR different than 1080P on an Alexa – and it’s not just the image sensor that makes it different. Processors in cameras are a huge determinant to how video gets from the sensor to the SD card. There are tricks and shortcuts that can be made to ensure the camera pumps out all the different modes we want in the end.

Starting with the sensor, the camera is told to read a certain window of the overall sensor – the bigger the window, the more taxing it is on the processor.  Reading the full sensor means you’re getting the full view coming from the wide angle lens of the GoPro.  The sensor in the HERO3 Black edition is 12MP with a 4:3 aspect ratio.  For 4K in the GoPro it’s reading the full width of the sensor, but not the full height – it’s capturing a 16:9 portion of the middle of the 4:3 full sensor.  Since the final delivery is 4K, it doesn’t have to scale that initial capture at all. This capture window is identical for, say, 1080P Wide; however, it scales it down to 1080P for the final output.  The final output size also has a say in processor taxation – we can get 4K at only 15FPS, while we can do that same capture window but scaled to 1080P at 60FPS.

When we talk about digital video sometimes we use the term native to the camera or not.  In the HERO3 Black the camera can capture that full wide 16:9 window, scale it to 1080P and do that natively 60 times a second.  1080-60 and 2.7K are just about the most optimal modes in the camera that really show the true power of the sensor and processor combo.  There are some modes in the camera that are read off of the sensor slightly differently which will end up showing some aliasing (jagged edges).  Take 1440 for example – look at 1440-30 at full resolution and compare it against 48.  The way 48 is read and processed is slightly different than 30FPS to get that large of a resolution combined with a high frame rate. You’ll see the same type of thing in a Canon 7D when looking at 1080P at full resolution compared against 720-60 at full resolution.  Canon’s 720P will have jagged edges because of the way they process the image to get a high frame rate from such a large sensor (high pixel count).

1440-30 vs 1440-48

Let’s talk about sensor window captures and fields of view (FOV). This is where the Medium & Narrow FOVs come from.  1080P Medium only captures a window in the very middle of the sensor, meaning we don’t see the full wide angle of the camera lens – only that middle slightly distorted part. The raw capture is still larger than 1080P, so it still scales down after the capture.  1080P Narrow is an even smaller capture window at the very very middle of the sensor so the distortion is even less.  By this time, the capture size is nearly equivalent to the pixel size where we are reading nearly 1920 pixels by 1080 pixels (remember the full sensor is 4000 pixels wide by 3000 pixels tall). In this narrow mode it’ll appear fuzzier since the pixels are very small on the sensor and are accompanied by a decent amount of noise.  When we are reading more pixels there are image processes that are done to clean up this noise – and scaling helps a lot. With no scaling, the narrow mode is extremely zoomed in from the original (imagine grabbing the middle 30% of a gopro photo – that’s what your full 1080P video will be). This is very different from digital zoom because the final readout is still native, we’re not digitally increasing the video capture size at all.


Now that a few of these details have been explained very briefly, let’s take a look at all the modes below:

HERO3 Resolutions

Abe’s Personal Reviews of the Modes

  • WVGA 240 Wide
    Well, it’s WVGA – If you look closely at the image it’s not very clean – aliasing is present.  The novelty of 240 FPS is pretty cool if you don’t care about image quality when stacked up against some of the other modes.  It can look decent by itself when posted on YouTube.
  • 720 60 Wide
    Looks great, but why don’t you try using 1080 60 Wide instead
  • 720 120 Wide
    This mode is tough for me to like.  You’ll notice jagged edges in this mode when looking at full resolution so it won’t even compare to 1080-60 wide – the way it was scaled and read off the sensor gives some aliasing.  It looks great on the web on YouTube – if that’s your final output, go slowmo crazy.
  • 720 120 Narrow
    Bingo. 120 FPS? Check. No lens distortion? Check. Clean image without aliasing? Check! If there’s any mode in the camera that screams “I’m not a GoPro!” it’s this one.  It looks like a 50mm lens and is a clean image.  Slow mo is rad.  This mode is great for web as well.  Blown up next to 1080 or 2.7K, you’ll notice the softness that comes from the Narrow FOV.
  • 960 48 Wide
    I’ve never even tried this mode.  I bet it looks good.
  • 960 100 Wide
    I feel similarly about this mode as I do 720-120 Wide.  With this mode there is the opportunity to gain a bit of resolution by stretching 960 to fit to 1080 and dynamically stretching it.  Either way, this mode will have slight jagged edges when looking at full resolution.
  • 1080 30 Wide
    I did a test where I filmed the same scene at 1080-30 and 2.7K 30. When 2.7K 30 was scaled down to 1080, the details and sharpness were just about identical to 1080-30. So this one gets my full approval; however, you have to ask yourself, why not film this at 2.7K 30 and have the extra resolution if you need it? Either way, 1080 30 Wide is one of the cleanest modes in the camera.  Also regarding low-light, this mode will look much sharper at dusk or at night vs 60 FPS.
  • 1080 60 Wide
    Comparing 1080 30 & 1080 60, you’ll see 60FPS is ever so slightly softer than 30.  It’s not something you’d ever notice even scaling the image to 720P or viewing on YouTube, but there’s a slight difference in the way it’s processed.  At the end of the day, 1080-60 W is my go-to mode for 90% of filming action sports.  With 60FPS you’ve got reduced rolling shutter as well due to reduced exposure time.  Switch it to a lower frame rate at night to get a sharper image.
  • 1080 60 Medium
    This mode rocks. It’s very clean, doesn’t look super GoPro-ie, and is in slow mo.  Consider this mode for sweet slider dolly shots, glidecam, or cranes.  Try it for car mounted shots.  Careful with the POV with Medium or Narrow as you’ll get shakier and more disorienting. Again, switch to a lower frame rate (30 or 24) for night or dusk.
  • 1080 60 Narrow
    This mode is very cool.  Still a very clean image; however, at this level you’re going to see more of the pixel noise & artifacting. You’re close to pixel levels without scaling so sensor noise could be an issue at lower light levels.  Also details will be softer overall.  The narrow FOV looks like DSLR video, very unique to GoPro.  Fun fact – we actually pulled out a few 1080-60 Narrow shots from the HERO3 reel because your average joe may see it and assume the video wasn’t fully shot on GoPro.
  • 1440 30 Wide
    I love this mode! First off, it’s VERY sharp and very clean.  It really gives you a sense of real POV when you wear the camera on your head, chest, or bite it in your mouth.  It can be a pain to deal with, as the aspect ratio is 4:3, but if you know the anamorphic 16:9 dynamic stretch tricks, it can be wonderful.  If you’re filming POV to just keep to re-live life later, this is a rad mode to use.
  • 1440 48 Wide
    The high framerate is great, but when looked at full resolution, you’ll see some aliasing.  The way the image was processed to get high framerate produces some jagged edges.  Thankfully, hardly anyone watches this at full resolution so jagged edges are harder to pickup.  This mode still looks great online and scaled down.
  • 2.7K 30 Wide
    This mode is insane.  Here’s what I like about it – sharp as a knife, full sensor wide, full 30 fps, native to the camera.  The one downside is rolling shutter since it is a 30FPS mode.  If you can get it mounted to something steady, at high speeds or low light you’ll notice really nice motion blur with this mode.  The high resolution makes this ideal for cropping and re-framing, or stabilizing in post.  I find this mode has great low-light as well.
  • 2.7K 24 CIN
    This mode is interesting – it’s 2.7K width but shorter to give it a 17:9 aspect ratio, so it’s got a bit less resolution than the basic 2.7K.  I’ve requested 2.7K Wide in 24 FPS as well so 2.7K CIN isn’t the only option.  We’ll see, but not sure how that missed the initial spec sheet.
  • 4K 15 Wide
    This is great for timelapse, conform to 30FPS later.  Don’t make a video at 15 FPS unless you’re highly stylizing it and know what you’re doing. Great for setting in ProTune and locking to a specific color temp for timelapses that might otherwise cause color shifts in the photos (sunset/sunrise).
  • 4K 12 CIN
    This is 4K but wider, so there’s slightly more resolution (17:9 with the height of 4K’s height).  This is also a great mode to do video for timelapse.


This is one of the great mysteries to the general public, but amazing for film professionals.  Most noticeably is its flat color profile. It’s got special curves in the color matrix to pick up shadows more and not blow out highlights.  It also produces very muted colors that can later be color corrected to better match video from other cameras. Next on the list is the lack of sharpness.  You might look at the video footage and think it looks much softer than standard video or that something must be wrong with the lens.  The sharpness you see in the standard modes is actually all digitally added.  For film professionals, the less digitally added stuff in-camera, the better.  It can always be added later and edited to match the sharpness of footage coming from other cameras.  Next is the high bit-rate.  It films up to 45mbit.  Bit-rate levels essentially tell the camera how much data it’s allowed to pass on from the sensor to the SD card – higher bit-rate equals larger video files but is much more high quality.  Low bit-rate will use compression techniques to lower file size by grouping large blocks of colors.  Last on the list of ProTune is the ability to choose color temperatures.

  • Auto
    This is my go-to when using ProTune.  The camera does a great job of reading color and light and correcting for that.  This will give your footage a consistent look and color across the board for seamless footage, especially in snow.  I can provide some insight about what the other color temperatures do but I really haven’t used them much at all.
  • 3000K
    This should be used for very warm light such as early morning sunrises or sunsets.  In a neutral environment (white room indoors) the footage will look pretty blue to offset the warm tones.
  • 5500K
    This should be used for average daylight around noon when it’s harsher and a little cooler light.  In a neutral environment it will look slightly warm.
  • 6500K
    This should be used for colder overcast skies, it’s even warmer in a neutral environment.
  • Cam Raw
    This won’t add any color balancing correction and just spit out what the camera sees in any given condition.  Truly this will give you the most freedom for correction for later, but it could be quite cumbersome as it will always spit out a slightly different hue depending on light and what it sees.

Some important downsides – Protune will NOT look better at night.  Right now the camera has quite a bit of digital gain when it’s dark (think auto ISO pumping) so you see more detail than you’ll normally see with a camera of this size.  This comes at a price, obviously, which is noise in the dark.  This auto gain coupled with the boosted shadows will really look like a lot of noise in pure dark.  You’re better off switching out of ProTune as soon as dusk rolls around.  Also the noise reduction in Protune is lowered almost entirely so you you’ll get more detail in the visuals at the cost of noise.  All this said, this sensor performs extremely well at low-lights for its size.  Eventually GoPro could add a gain control button which would lower all the added auto-noise at low levels.  This would make the camera look crisp and perfect at lower light at the sacrifice of seeing more of the visuals in the dark.

In summary, for me – ProTune + AutoWB + 1080-60, 2.7K, 1440-30 & 1440 48 is my jam.  Experiment with 720-120 Narrow, 1080-60 Medium & Narrow as well, they are super cool.

Update: Here’s a handy chart Lewis Walsh created summarizing my review of the modes, thanks Lewis!  http://lewiswalsh.com/gopromodes.pdf

Update #2: Here’s a handy printable cheat sheet summarizing this whole post by Balcones on Reddit!  http://imgur.com/a/CjmC5


Understanding your GoPro Part 2

GoPro Photo Shooting Tips

4:3 GoPro Footage Explained

  • William Stauffer

    Thanks for the insight and advice, Abe. Looking forward to experimenting with some of the 137 new options!

    • Starting with the sensor, the camera is told to read a certain window of the overall sensor – the bigger the window, the more taxing it is on the processor. Reading the full sensor means you’re getting the full view coming from the wide angle lens of the GoPro. The sensor in the HERO3 Black edition is 12MP with a 4:3 aspect ratio. For 4K in the GoPro it’s reading the full width of the sensor, but not the full height – it’s capturing a 16:9 portion of the middle of the 4:3 full sensor. Since the final delivery is 4K, it doesn’t have to scale that initial capture at all. This capture window is identical for, say, 1080P Wide; however, it scales it down to 1080P for the final output. The final output size also has a say in processor taxation – we can get 4K at only 15FPS, while we can do that same capture window but scaled to 1080P at 60FPS.

  • Awesome Abe ! Thank you !

  • Fabien Le Goas

    So now I can correctly use my french GoPro 😉 !!

  • Great post, it’s nice to read your opinions all on one page!

  • awesome entry. printing it out and putting it in my camera bag for go-to reminders tomorrow while boarding. really gonna give the camera an option run down and see what I like for myself… Next step if figuring out how to get all the diff modes to match up so cleanly in vegas for editing so my videos can turn out like the demo reel did… sweet baby jesus.. you guys are so talented at what you do.

  • Victor Sättberger

    You’r the best! Thank you so much!!!

  • Thanks a lot for the info!
    Going to play around with the LUTs now:)

  • Mafghan

    Hi, great post! Have you tried the different picture modes? I tried timelapse with 1fps. When going from daylight in to a tunnel, the picture gets black. And if I start inside (not much light) and go outside to daylight, the picture gets all white. Is this something I can fix in the tools or is it something this camera cant perform?

    • That’s a bug that’s being worked on right now. The exposure will lock on the very first frame for .5 sec and 1 sec modes so if you go into the dark it’ll be too dark and vice versa. Keep your ears open for a new FW update shortly.

      • Mafghan


      • Zachary

        Is the fw easily downloaded to your go pro?

      • Timp

        Abe, following on from the question about .5 and 1fps stills, I bought a h3Black specifically to use over the side of a boat on a pole mount and take a series of stills of grey whales at 1fps. Is there anything special I should be setting and will I be ok pre expected firmware update??

  • Alex Ward

    Nice 😀

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  • i realy admire your review that points out weak spots of the new HERO 3 ! althought you work for GOPRO you are unbiased !
    thank you for this review ! i will print this , to be my field manual 🙂

  • Koen

    Wow thanks abe! this information is perfect, nice sized information bits and the best way to learn something about the technique behind the device.

  • marcos

    So cool…

  • Steve

    Abe do you get buffering problems with your SIM card? My Hero3 stops recording after 4 seconds but only the first time after the camera powers up. Interested in your thoughts..

    • I haven’t had that problem but I have heard of it. The engineers say try reformatting your SD card and see if that helps.

      • Steve

        Thanks man I’ll give that a try.

        • Leon

          It is because your SD card is too slow! i’ve got the same problem and had to buy a new one – > problem solved! 🙂

          • Alex

            I was getting very frustrated with the same issue. when I looked at my SD card I saw a few hidden unreadable files so i opted for reformatting and its been great ever since. It was on a class 10 card so I knew I didn’t need a new one.

  • runsren

    Nice, good info.

  • Hubert Baissac

    Thanks Abe! That’s all very helpful. Now I’m excited to go out and get some footage!

  • Abe, what about for shooting underwater, specifically for diving? Any advice? Is there anything firmware related coming up to better address the WB issues and lack of red/oranges/purples at depth?

    • That’s a tough one – I’m not really well versed in dive filming, but I assume physical dive filters will be huge helps, there are some 3rd party ones online. For the hero3 reel I had to do some serious color correcting to get the stuff looking nice, you’d be surprised 🙂

      • Hugh

        Second that – an underwater WB mode would be great. Filters do help, but they also reduce the total amount of light getting to the sensor.

        • Philip

          Someone posted a comparison of the Hero 3 AWB w/ and w/o a red filter on the hero 3 and the difference is quite substantial. The question is at what depth do you actually need the red filter.

          • Morango

            Yes, any filter will reduce the amount of light reaching the sensor, some more than others. Even with the H3 low light improvements, it’s still not there to deal with low light, that’s why some dive videos look a little too noisy due to the camera setting a high ISO to compensate. These filters at http://dive.eelvision.com look promissing in terms of light transmission.

    • Philip

      Check out the red filter for the Hero 3.

  • Hugh

    Thanks for this, very helpful!

    Do you have any comments on the relative quality of 50 vs 25 FPS for those of us in PAL regions?

    Also, do you get a benefit in low light by using 25(30) fps versus 50(60) due to longer possible shutter speeds?

    • 50 vs 25 will be similar results as 60 vs 30. Also yes, in theory you’ll get better light performance with slower framerate; however, the quality of this sensor is such that the benefits may be nearly unnoticeable

  • Hi Abe, there is a reason to shoot 2.7kcin (other than 24p), it is wider, using a 4096 sensor region rather than 3840.

  • Andreas K

    What do you mean by anamorphic stretch tricks. How do you treat the 1440 footage? Crop into it or stretch it?

    • Mikael G

      +1 for that question!

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  • Awesome bro.

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  • Woytek

    Hi Abe, I like your video’s a lot! I am going to try my first GoPro (black) on the slopes of France coming February. But before I do that, I want to properly know my GoPro. Great article!

    I intend to shoot in protune and use post to produce a high quality movie. Therefore I was wondering if you could post a bit more info on different bitrates and also indeed binning and skipping. I would be very interested in an even more technical approach to which modes to use and which to avoid.

    Next to this I also have a specific question about framerates. What framerate do you usually produce your movies in? I think it would be nice to make my movie in 24fps and use the 1080p60 for slomos (factor 2.5). Also for low light and high detail shots I want to use 2.7k24 so that I can crop and scale for maximum detail. BUT, I cannot use 2.7k24, only 2.7k CIN can be used with 24fps but then the resolution is all wrong… Solutions? Will there be a 2.7k24 mode soon??

  • Bart – Netherlands

    Thanks! Very informative.

  • Peter Törnestam

    very informative and save a lot of trial&error / R&D for us readers. Had the 4K in mind for stillgrabs but will compare w your fav 2,7 instead.
    Thank you.

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  • Joe

    Abe, do you still edit with FCP7 or did you switch to X? or perhaps Premiere Pro or Media Composer? Any preference?

    • I do about 30% in Premiere Pro, 70% in FCP7 still

  • Blade Runner

    Great article and facts I didn’t know before (like the jagged edges just caused by different framerates!).

    I just wonder one thing about Protune: I see the point of flat color-output, not sharpening that much in camera and high bitrate… But you also wrote “It’s got special curves in the color matrix to pick up shadows more and not blow out highlights.” > In what I’ve seen so far, comparison videos on YouTube as well as a very first own test, highlights seem to be overexposed in difficult conditions just the same way with Protune as without. I couldn’t see any better handling of highlights in Protune yet. Are you sure Protune can be of help when it comes to reduce blown out / overexposed skies or snow? I can understand and agree on everything else though…

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  • I love my hero 3 black edition. Such an upgrade from the 2!

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  • Albert

    Hello, thanks for the very useful infos!
    However, regarding your advice about NOT using PROTUNE in low light, it directly contradicts what David said in the Cineform Insider:
    http://cineform.blogspot.com/2012/10/why-i-shoot-protune-always.html and http://cineform.blogspot.com/2012/10/protune.html , namely that you always get a better quality image (if not necessarily a more detailed one in low light). Do I miss something? I mean, we can always shoot PROTUNE and apply our own denoising &sharpening in post if we want, right? Thanks!

    • abekislevitz

      The problem I was seeing was people using ProTune at night comparing HERO2 with no ProTune with the results of ‘HERO3 looks awful at lowlight!’ If you know what you’re doing and want to process something to the max, I’m sure you can get decent results. I haven’t been as successful correcting night-time ProTune footage compared against just standard non-protune at night

      • Chris Fiore

        Two words: Neat Video! It’s pretty insane how well it gets rid of noise. Also has built in sharpening to regain a bit of detail. The only mode it kind of chokes on is 4K. There’s so much data from the noise, even in Protune the compression artifacts are very noticeable and hard to remove. Up to 2.7K is fine, though.

        • i agree, I use protunes along with neat video for my night shots and it does great.

    • I’ll have to do a comparison test, but I thought Protune looked very good in low light. It was VERY dark when I shot this test: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVeYCl-_zfU

  • Couldnt say thank you enough! Video isnt something I have a huge knowledge on and figuring out all these modes and what was best was tiring! Thanks for doing it for me, its a great help to me and I would assume hundreds of others!

  • Anton

    Wow nice article, makes me want to trade my white edition in for the black edition, wasn’t really believing that the black edition was so much better

    • yes, the White edition is rad for the price but black is where you’ll see the cutting edge sensor/processor technology. It’ll be future proof for a while until technology catches up

  • RichardN

    Anyone know of something similar for the Hero 2?

  • spencer

    What mood would you recommend for under water?

  • My question regards GoPro Cineform Studio. I like the LUT that it adds to proTune footage, but I do not like the fact that it outputs my 2.7K footage as 1080 with no option to retain the original size.

    • David Newman

      That should change in the next version, presenting you will more export options. However, you are not limited to exporting from Studio, the AVI/MOV files will the LUT applied are compatible with a wide range of tools and you can customize an MP4 export as you need. I have used Adobe Media Encoder to control the bit-rate and resolution after doing my color correction in GoPro CineForm Studio.

  • Jae Lee

    what kind of memory cards were you using? what do you think is the minimum size (GB) required?

  • Farhood Hessami

    hey Abe, i was just wondering, what frame rate do you use for your slow motion shots (stuff like doing flips/rails)? and what percentage of the original frame rate would you slow it down to?

    • Most of slow motion is shot in 1080-60, I normally slow it down to 29.97, so half speed.

  • WOW thanks for the info…

  • Benjamin Arbour

    This was very helpful!

  • Rich

    Hey Abe,

    So I have the Hero 2, when I turn on Protune, the videos I recorded is super jumpy and it the video just skips plus it doesn’t stay on recording, but when I turn off protune to regular mode, everything is fine, is there something I need to set for protune?

  • eladbari


    Thank you for this post!

    1. About opening other people’s eyes to the option of 1440:
    You HAVE to make a short video tutorial in you youtube channel (=quick tip) covering step-by-step -how to Dynamically stretch your 1440 footage!
    [the snowboarding shots you used this trick upon-look ultra realistic in means of POV, so that the 1080p mode feels too cropped on top+bottom
    compared to it! feels really crammed!
    The real problem is ensuring the middle of the frame isnt distorted. And us, Premiere users, dont have that FCP special plugin you use for that :\
    What to do? I have no clue. Tried playing with cineform but its not clear what should be done in means of workflow. please consider a quick tip video
    for the sake of us all! 🙂

    2. About framerates:
    I was very excited for 24fps mode. And I dont know what you think of it, but, when I shot somewhat of a high-action shots [camera was mounted on
    my head, playing basketball] – then the footage felt SO stuttery that I felt nauseous watching it [never happend to me before]. Then I started to feel
    like the GoPro3 is a camera that’s only best for slow motion editing.
    Cause 30fps feels too much like video, and editing from 60fps or 48fps-slowed down to 50%-have the closest “film feel” as in the [normal speed] 24p.
    Feels bad, I must say, because it makes me give up the 24p look because if i do choose it-then i have to be aware of having more stable
    recording…and that sucks for a camera like a GoPro, which you should go crazy with and be care-free while youre filming.. 🙂 that’s a pity..

    • Chris Fiore

      1. In After Effects, there’s a filter called Optics Compensation. It can completely remove any GoPro’s distortion. Not sure if it’s also available in Premiere.

      2.Stick a neutral density filter in front of the lens, and you can regain motion blur. There are also some plugins out there that will simulate motion blur.

      • eladbari

        Very interesting solutions, Chris!
        I’d give those a try, definitely!

        Basically, you say- edit normally @1440 resolution in Premiere> then move the final edit to After Effects> Open a 1080p Comp > resize the whole edit with “fit to comp” command> And then use that “Optics compensation” somehow on the whole edit.

        About ND filter. I didnt really knew what theyre for in regards of the GoPro. In regards to a 5D dslr- they block light so you can shoot in shallow DOF, but with a fixed focus of the GoPro? I guess bringing back motion blur isnt its main use, but that’s interesting.

        P.S-Tried to use ReelSmart Motion blur on a 24p GoPro3 footage, but it didnt help that much. good idea to explore, though 🙂

  • Crap. I just finished laminating my own (sadly lacking) cheat sheet for quick setups in the field. Thanks for such a thorough and helpful article – love the camera so far.

  • Paul

    Great info Abe! Thanks for sharing out!

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  • Rico

    Amazing article. Thanks a lot.

  • Lewis Walsh

    Fantastic article. Only have the Hero 3 Black a couple of weeks and learned a lot from this. I’ve made a simple chart summarising it, for my own use. I’ve put it online here: http://lewiswalsh.com/gopromodes.pdf I don’t claim any copyright for this, and if Abe wants me to take down I will 🙂

  • Chris Fiore

    A tip for people not using Cineform Studio: you can still use Technicolor’s Cinestyle LUT in most NLEs to correct the flat curve the same way Cineform Studio does. Makes the image look normal and resaturated without being too contrasty like standard footage. I use it in After Effects with Magic Bullet’s LUT Buddy (free).

    • For sure, I’ve used cinestyle LUT in Resolve and it worked well

  • Just one question, Is there any way to not having the fish-eye effect on stills and videos, or can one only fix that by editing the photos afterwards? Many thanks! Louis

    • jake

      theres a after market case that corrects the fish eye distortion, i think thats your best chance and not have to edit it out

  • Dave

    Fantastic article thanks very much @abekislevitz!!! The diargrams really help to explain the way the sensor works on the multiple settings.

    One question for you. On a perfect powder morning: Blue skys, 2-3 foot of fresh snow, snowboarding with a gopro pole (filming myself),
    what setting do you advise? I would have thought 1080p 60fps, or 720p 120fps?
    However I also imagine If i use 1440/960 I might get more top and bottom in the shot — so that might be worth considering.

    • Depends on what mount you’re using. If it’s POV on the head or chest, I would do 1440-30 or 48. If you’ve got a handle cam or a pole you’re shooting B-Roll with 1080-60 is the go-to.

  • Thank you very much for this great article!!!

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  • Excellent summary Abe, great job!

  • any tips on the settings for photos?

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  • What about the life of the battery? How long does it last on a single charge? & if you get the battery pack, how much more life does it give the camera if both are fully charged?

    • Chris Fiore

      People are getting between 1-1.5hrs depending on the settings they use. Add another hour or so for the Battery BacPac.

  • Jean

    This is really a great and useful article.Thanks a lot
    It would be amazing to have an article from you which describes the backside: all the workflow for post production (import in FCPX, cutting, then what do you do first ? matching with music, transitions…? then how do you export to AE and reimport in FCPX…?) I have not seen any article yet which describes all of this clearly …

  • Giorgio

    Hi Abe,

    this is a great guide thanks! I mainly use the GoPro to shoot Airline Airplane flight decks during day to day operation… I am currently working on a project that I will start shooting very soon, and it will be in all sort of lighting conditions. What mode would you recommend me to use? 2.7K or 1080-60? What about ProTune? The crispier the image is the better! 🙂 I know, quite a beginners question I suppose… do you shoot PAL or NTSC? there is obviously a difference in the FPS etc… but I will never be playing anything straight from the camera to the TV… it will always go trough post production and editing in the computer.

    Thanks for your help and for such a great article!


    • abekislevitz

      Hey Gio, if your camera is mounted and you don’t need to slow it down I would shoot 2.7K in ProTune! I shoot NTSC but I’m in America where we don’t use PAL. I would recommend NTSC if you’re not doing TV stuff, you’ll have more frames!

      • Giorgio

        Thanks a lot!!!!! I’ll mainly shoot for Pc and Youtube at the moment… So i’ll go NTSC! Thanks man!

  • 720p 120fps Narrow fov doesn’t seem to be possible with my hero3 black edition with pro tune with the latest update? The only option it gives me for fov is wide. The go pro website says 720/120 only support ultra wide and narrow fov. I’ve tried using NTSC and also pal but I don’t have the option to change fov from wide to narrow. Any ideas why?
    Fantastic resource you have written here.

    • abekislevitz

      Right now Narrow is only available in non-ProTune. There will be a FW update in the future that will add narrow support in ProTune I’m sure.

  • Passang

    Hi Abe, small suggestion from you I was planning to buy Gopro HERO3 black edition and in Facebook I have seen many complain with HERO 3. So should I buy or wait ? Please help me thanks

    • There have been some problems with production and the FW but issues seem to be nearly resolved. It’s a great camera!

  • Ted Perkins

    Nice to see this information published. Thanks. Suggest incorporating the “Average Bitrate” chart from Wikipedia (where did they get this information?). Also, mention the full sensor width is 4096. David Newman mentions that 2.7K cin uses 4096 vs. 3840 sensor region vs. you called 2.7K 30 Wide “full sensor wide”. Is there a misunderstanding somewhere here?

    • Hey Ted, you’re right about the full sensor being 4096 & the differences in 2.7K cin & regular. I didn’t want to dive too deep into the technicals because you really won’t see much of a difference in apparent resolution.

  • Frode Hernes

    Great article,
    Is the shutter speeds at various modes and fps documented anywhere? – What about low-light action like flood-lit snowparks etc, – any recommendation?

    • It’s not I don’t believe. Lowlight like you’re talking about looks great. Anything between 30 and 60fps performs similarly and decent at lowlight with flood-lights.

  • Wow! have I got a lot to learn! Wonderfully-done presentation here! You have me really wanting to get the black edition. I have not had my GoPro HD Hero 2 for very long and just yesterday I learned how to do time-lapse photography with that, at least now I know how to extend the time between shots!

    I will be coming back here occasionally to learn more about the different settings! Lots in these cameras and lots to learn!

    Does the Hero 3 Black Edition have a flatter lens? Not sure I like the fish-eye look of my results.

    • Great! Yes the black edition has a redesigned lens that is wider and much flatter than the hero2 (less distortional orb-ing)

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  • Excellent article, thanks for providing the information.
    I’ve got 2 questions, would be lovely if you could answer them.
    – do you ever use the spot metering?
    – would you please elaborate on the anamorphic 16:9 dynamic stretch tricks, if there’s a way to actually stretch the image so you don’t just cut away what won’t fit into 16:9?

    Oh and a third question if anybody knows: does the protune setting (as well as the spot metering) also determine the quality of still pics you take?

    • I don’t use spot metering but it should be used when you want to get proper exposure outside of a car windshield when you are filming inside the car. For 16:9 cineform will do that for you, it is a bit more of an explanation than a simple answer, look at the H-Dynamic setting on cineform when you conform 1440 clips and force it to 16:9 1080P on conversion. Also ProTune will not affect your stills (at least it shouldnt. If it is it would only be the color profile, not quality)

      • Thank you, Abe. Will look into the H-Dynamic setting and also play around a bit more with the video settings.

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  • 2.7k sharp as a knife… i found other modes sharper.. Don’t know why, but 2.7k footage from inside a heli was rather unsharp. Also 720/100 seemed to be the best option to get as less rolling shutter (Jello effect)

    • Here is a clip showing different modes of some Hero3 blacks mounted outside of a heli last week. https://vimeo.com/57927270

    • Well yes, if you look at full resolution 2.7 will look softer, but scaled to 1080 it’s great. And yes 720-100 will definitely reduce rolling shutter as you’re pulling frames 100 times a second so there’s less movement during a single frame capture.

  • Dan Ivanovici

    Hello Mr Abe Kislevitz,
    I have Hero 3 black edition and I’m disappointed. First is the battery life, it is 60 min with the wi-fi on and 75 min with wi-fi off. I made this test at home, so the temperature was like 24 degrees celsius. What happens if I go to ski?
    The second is the overheating. When I record in video mode, the camera is getting so hot that I can barely hold it in my fist. The test was made without the housing at 24 degrees celsius. What it will be in the summer time when I’ll use this camera on my motorcycle, in the sunlight, in his housing, at 35 degrees celsius?
    I made the latest update, I have a 35 GB class 10 microSD from Kingston.
    I feel like I’m already sorry for my ex Hero 1 that I sold it.
    How is your Hero 3 working? Does my camera have issues?
    Thank you!

    • Battery isn’t great, like you said, that time seems normal. It’s a powerful camera in a little package so it definitely gets hot. My judgement on a camera is mostly based on image quality which the HERO3 is far beyond any camera of its size. I can suffer the other downsides in exchange for impeccable image quality

  • Victor Perez

    What are the best video resolutions for underwater use ? and photos MP too ?

  • David S

    Hello Abe

    Lots of help for Video, can you extent your advice to stills as well? I would like to take aerial images to use in photogrammetric calculations of stockpiles. The camera is mounted under a UAV (wing).
    I have set the sensor area to medium to minimise the lens distortion at the edges, now I need to figure out how to reduce the effect of the rolling shutter.
    Your advice would be most welcome.

    • Photos is an easy one – there’s only one setting that’s the best setting and that’s 12MP Wide. Any of the other modes just crop the 12MP photo – so your medium is simply doing what you could do on a computer to your 12MP wide photo. The only reason to ever use Medium or 5MP is if you’re short on card space for – say – a timelapse

  • Hey Abe how about revisiting some of the areas you didn’t try like “960 48 Wide” and updating the guide?

    • That’s kind of a joke – there’s no need to film in 960-48 because 1440-48 looks better.

  • Rijk

    Hi Abe, sorry to bother you but I’ve been trying to figure this out for 3 days now..

    How do you process 1440p video in post production? When I try to import it directly into FCP X, I get a message saying “The video properties of this clip are not recognized.”. I then have to manually set the project’s properties (format and resolution), but 1440p is not one of the options. When I set it to 1080p, I lose a lot of detail in the video, and get black bars on the side. It works better if I change it to 1080p in Cineform first, but again I seem to be losing some of the detail.

    I want my video to be 1080p but I shot in 1440p because I read somewhere that the extra pixels help in stabilization. I don’t have that advantage anymore when I change it to 1080p in Cineform.. So now I’m confused. How best to do this?

    I also noticed the artifacts in the 1440p mode. Was wondering, do you know why is this mode the factory default?

    • When you change to 1080P in cineform you aren’t losing that visual data so you’re not losing the ability to have the extra ‘stabilization’. You’re referring to getting more vertical height which will give the viewer a better POV experience. When you conform to 1080P it just squishes that down and you’ll have to use the H-Dynamic setting in cineform to stretch it out and make it look a little better.

  • PatDie

    is it normal that the gopro 3 BE gets really warm during filming? I acutally don´t have any thermometer, but after 30min of filming at 1080p/60fps/wifi on it is too hot to touch the display or the frame of the lense. Can´t imagine that this is compatible with the battery

    • Hmmm, it’s definitely a warm camera and if you’re filming in warm environments straight for 30 minutes you’ll def see some heat.

  • Ted Pretty

    What is the best fisheye correction editing software for stills?

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  • Adrian

    Great Post. Thanks heaps. I just lost my gopro 3 white edition on the bottom of a deep lake so I can only read about them for now which is killing me. But clearly it’s more reason to upgrade to the black edition. Fantastic info on the different modes though. Will have to start experimenting as soon as I can save up for another one.

  • Abe – first of all – excelent article. But I got a question about as you caled it “native” modes of the cam. So if I switch to PAL in the setings of the camera 25, 50, 100 are my “native modes instead of 30, 60, 120 fps for NTSC ? Or 30 FPS as a base is only native mode of the cam and PAL 25 is prepared by the inside camera reprocessing ? Its affect on the quality (30->25 internal processing) if it exist of course ? TNX for the reply.

    • Whenever we talk about 30,60,120 you’ll have similar processing for 25,50, and 100. There are no modes that are better or worse in PAL vs their NTSC counterparts

  • Dennis

    If 2.7k-30 records @ 45 Mbps in standard mode what is the advantage of using ProTune which also records @ 45 Mbps?

    • Is it recording at 45 Mbps in standard mode? Well, if so, the differences are the ProTune version will have no sharpening and a flat color profile

  • Adam

    Hi Abe! Huge fan and love your style/technique. Looks like you had a blast at the X-Games! Some great shots you took.

    So, two questions. Just got a Hero3 Black Edition. Love it to death. Looking to do some skydiving with it. From your expertise, what would would recommend for filming? 1080-60 Wide or 1440-30 Wide? Also, when you import 1080-60 into FCP, do you set your project at 30 FPS and export at Apple ProRes HD? Because I would love for some day to have my video as crisp, clean and so real as this intro is.


    I normally leave my project at 60 FPS in FCP and export in Apple ProRes HD but nothing looks like the above GoPro Video intro. Is the frame rate too high?

    I know you’re a busy man, but would love to hear your thoughts! Keep doing what you’re doing….we all thank you!


    • Yo Adam!

      If you’re skydiving and you want to film other people, 1080-60 should work great. We use 1440-30 mostly for solid POV stuff where we really want to see feet, arms, skis, etc (more vertical view). When you set your project up, you’ll definitely want it in 30FPS (29.97) and conform your footage down to 29.97 from 60 to get good slowmo.

      • Adam

        Abe, you rock! Thanks so much for the response!

      • hi,,i purchased a gph3 black and i also purchased a ragecams 2.8 to 12mm lens mod,, i plan to swap out the gopro lens to the verifocal lens making the gopro a zoom focal lens camera.they are m12 lenses that gopro uses,,now there wont be any wide medium and small in camera zoom.so,,what does this mean to have optical zoom to this cameras sensor output??ill the sensor outputs be cleaner and will it film in higher pixel resolutions??the lenses are clear and crisp with no fisheye,,that is super now for indie film making which i am a film maker. what do you think of these type of lenses for the gopro 2.7k sensor.??

        • web

          The image is projected onto an image sensor. The Wide resolution is a 4000×3000 resolution where the narrow is a 2420×2420 resolution. To have narrow resolution is to have optical zoom. Thus a smaller area on the image sensor is used by the camera when processing the image. Got it!

      • CB

        Abe, what do you suggest as the best way to “conform” footage? I edit with the Adobe suite. Thanks!

  • Abe. I’m a filmmaker from the non-sports field now utilising GoPro Hero 3 for a commission I have on a Great White Shark film in South Africa later this year. I wanna say that this guide and your comments are a lifesaver. I’m coming from a user of “normal” digital cameras for TV and film (Reds etc), but with so many shooting modes even I was a little lost on which yields best results. Keep doing what you’re doing man. You rule.

    • Great to hear Ricardo! Thanks for the comment. Let me know when you get some Shark footage, would love to check it out!

  • Mattias N

    Really great post. Iam wondering why 2.7K 30wide is the ideal for cropping and stabilize in post. It still crops the picture so that you loose footage? Maybe its because it looks better if you are scaling it to 1080p?

    Is it necessary to convert the gopro h.264 files to Prores before editing? Or is it just because its way faster ? This is the part I never understand 🙂
    I have only tried editing the h.264 straight from the camera. It worked but was kinda slow and choppy.
    Should i convert it inside fcpx or with some other software?
    Some people say that I can convert to prores proxy just to make the files smaller but that will impact on the final render?

    • Brian Stokes

      Yes it is necessary. FCP does not handle H.264 well. Premiere Pro does better but i would still transode them first. If you are using Final Cut Pro, then DO NOT just drop the original H.264 .MP4 files into FCP. Convert/Transode them with 5DtoRGB (Free) or MPEG Streamclip (Free). I prefer 5DtoRGB. I personally use ProRes LT. Regular ProRes is good too but sort of overkill for GoPro HD footage. But just my opinion. LT is fine. Proxy is fine too for offline use and then using LT or ProRes later.

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  • Thorsten Moortz

    Very interesting post… read it several times for use of my H3 BE.

    But can anyone tell me the best performance settings in PAL?

    thnx 🙂

    • They are the same as the NTSC counterparts.

      • Thorsten Moortz

        Thnak you very much, from Belgium…

  • Chaka22

    I just bought a gopro 3 black and when trying to view MP4 video only sound symbol is shown on computer screen. It captures the sound but now video. Any help. Trying to follow settings in manual but no help.

    • Thorsten Moortz

      Try formatting your SD card in your Hero Settings –> trashcan –> format

    • try using VLC (videolan.org) it sounds like a codec issue

  • Jerry

    Very helpful stuff. As a gopro 1 user, I’m looking forward to upgrading to Hero3 Black so i can shoot in 2.7k then stabilize down to HD. But no-one can tell me what editing programm will do this for me! I would like to use Avid Pinnacle, as it has a good stabilizer, but I don’t think it could handle the 2.7k to start with. Can you help me?

    • I prefer the warp stabilizer in after effects or premiere – it does a pretty good job

  • Brian Stokes

    Good stuff. I would love for you to do a visual screenshot comparison like how you did for the 1440 30fps and 48fps at 120% but for ALL of the modes. That would be nice. Thanks for the great write up.
    I have crossed over from using MPEG Streamclip to 5DtoRGB. Do you use any of these or just Cineform? I found the Cineform application created way to huge of a file size and although keeping the same look as the original .MP4 GoPro 3 Black file, it just seemed overkill. I think it had a higher bitrate than ProRes 422 HQ? Anyways… good write up, would love to see a 120% comparison for aliasing for each GoPro 3 Black Mode.

    • Yeah, that would be helpful! I could go out with a tripod this weekend and shoot the same scene in all modes. We’ll see! I haven’t used 5DtoRGB but I do use streamclip regularly. You’re right about cineform creating large files – i know the most recent has a quality scale but I haven’t experimented with it much

  • Caleb Mac

    Great stuff. I noticed that when shooting in PAL, at 2.7kCin with Protune, my footage comes in as 23.976, according to Cineform Studio and AE. Is there a way to get true 24p?

    • I’m pretty sure all of the 24 stuff comes out at 23.976

  • Hzak

    Hi Abe.Can you tell me what is the difference between PAL and NTSC encoding except FPS? Which encoding option do you prefer for GoPro Hero 3 Black edition?

    • it’s just FPS! I prefer NTSC just because you get faster framerates and everything in the USA is NTSC

  • Benjamín

    HI, ABE! Greetings from México!
    I have a question and hope you can answer me.

    In your Tutorial about Final Cut Workflow, I see that you edited a video that is @50fps and you adjust it on Cinema Tools @23,98fps. This is PAL, right? Even if you’re on the USA it dosen’t matter if you edit them and upload to Youtube in the PAL code?

    So, what happend if I have footage in both, PAL/NTSC and want to edit them in the same Sequence? Also, I have them @24/30fps… I’m really confused about all this, sorry for taking your time.

    • Nope, I film at NTSC but really for the internet it doesn’t matter. You can conform down to any framerate that you want and it will just play slower. The tricky part comes when you want full speed framerates that look good.

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  • Mattias

    Is there any solution for the GoPro HD hero3 freeze issues ?

    • As of right now the best thing to do is make sure your camera is up to date with FW. Also before you start filming go into the settings and format the card inside the camera. From here we’ll just hope the software team releases new FW over time that fixes things even further! Sorry about it, I get frustrated as well!

  • Frederik

    Hey abe! do you got any CC tutorials for your gopro films? They look so clean

    • Yeah I’ve got an old FCP 7 coloring tutorial on YouTube!

  • Aris

    Which is the best setting for ski at for hd3 silver?

  • Pete

    Abe.. I’m going to be shooting Lacrosse games, for coaches to break down film, using the GoPro Hero 3 3Black as a 2nd camera and mounting it to a football goalpost behind the net. Probably a good 20 yards behind the field of play. I need to get the whole field perspective so all the players are in frame. What do you suggest for settings? Thanks for your time

    • Not totally sure – this sounds like maybe something for 1080-30 medium or narrow. Do you have the GoPro app? just check wide, medium, and narrow on the live preview when you set it up!

  • Vinnie

    What sequence settings do you use to export your video in 1080p? I am filming with the Black edition in 1080-60, but when I export my video and upload it to youtube, it is in 720p.

    • Vinnie

      (I’m using FCP7)

    • Sequence settings are 1920 x 1080 ProRes. First step is checking your sequence to make sure it’s 1080. Next step is checking your compression settings and making sure that’s 1080! If that’s all good you should be good to go!

  • Phil Lemieux

    Hi Abe, I is it normal that I can’t fin ANY narrow mod in my settings? I did the last update.. I can’t find neither 720p 120fps Narrow and 1080p 60fps Narrow. Only got wide and medium for some. Thanks for your help!

    • Sounds like you’re in protune. Right now narrow is only available in standard mode

      • I have found combination 720p+narrow+protune, but it is only available via Gopro App – not in Gopro itself. I think bug to be fixed…

        • discovered the same thing.. I can set protune narrow in 720 & 1080 if I set it via the GoPro app.

      • Just found that 1080 60p Narrow is available via Gopro App, but you can’t choose that via camera menu, right?

  • Mattias

    Do you have any tips on how to get stable footage. Have u tried any glidecam stuff for the gopro? When using gopro on a pole, do you have the camera hanging under the pole/upside down mode in camera or do you mount it on top like most people? Ive heard that the footage will be more stable when hanging under the gopole since it hanging more free. Thanks for a great blog with lots of useful tips/tricks.

  • Cedric

    Hi, first I have to say: very good comment on everything about the new GoPro. Thank you for that. It is very helpfull.

    My question is about the spot metering, can you tell us a bit more about it, than the manual? Yesterday I shoot from the inside of a car and without spot metering the picture outside was better (not so overexposed). Which is strange, it should be the other way round. I guess it has to do with that, that the middle of the FOV was the Dashboard and NOT the window to the outside of the car. So i guess the spot metering makes only sense if the outside is exactly perfect in the middle of the FOV? Are you agree?

    • Yeah that is my understanding. I don’t really know the technical details and don’t use it often (or ever)

  • Mike

    Hi Abe,

    will it flicker when i film in NTSC mode (60 Hz) in Europe (50 Hz) indoor with electric lights on?

    • Possibly. Not sure what level of lighting will do it but we had x games lights in tignes do it last year at the half pipe competition under the lights

  • Rick

    Isn’t there a 24p setting on the Silver model? We shoot everything in 24 and would like to use some GoPro footage with it. 24???

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  • Niall

    Hi Abe, lets just say i wanted one and i bought it, which is what happened. im lost man, please advise the best all round average setting for the video on a helmet or pole mount. im not looking for award winning footage, just me and my mates messing on the slopes. cheers Abe

  • Hi Abe, great article! Only one thing I do not like on my GP3B is “blinking/flickering” in some situations due to changing of exposure. Do you have some info if Gopro will add Exposure lock function in firmware update? Issue is quite visible here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFMCWAqY_Io

    • Hey Pavel, exposure lock is something we can definitely do it’s just how to create a UI function to easily do so. In the meantime I have found that GBDeflicker works really well for things like this.

  • Zach

    I have a HERO3 Silver Edition and I want to use it for motorcycling (street bikes). What resolution/FOV would you recommend for this?

    • If you’re doing it at night, use 960-30, daytime use that or 960-48 if you are talking about POV

  • shane

    Hi Abe, My gopro 3 videos have just gone from great to whats going on. the videos start good then I get a seqence of single shots then back to video. I havent changed any settings(I think) & all me saved videos are doing the same. Is this a problem with my computer or have I done something to the settings.

    • Hummm.. on the SD card are you actually seeing video files and then photo files? Don’t really know what to tell ya without seeing the problem. Sorry!

  • Hi Abe, first of all let me say thanks for such a great and useful post. There are plenty of modes in GoPro and your post really helps to find the relevant one for particular case. The question is – what do you think about using 720 120fps Wide instead of 1080 60fps Wide as a defalut mode for action? In this case it is possible to get “slower” slo-mo in postproduction. Are there any disadvantages in this mode? Thanks in advance.

    • The disadvantage of 720-120 is just that it doesn’t look as good – it’s not just the difference in pixel count but the processing on 720-120 is different than 1080. That being said, I’m a stickler for image quality and if you’re not – go ahead and use 720-120! It’s radical

  • Jeremy

    Hello Abe, thanks for the great site! I have a quick question regarding PROTUNE: You had mentioned,

    “Next on the list is the lack of sharpness. You might look at the video footage and think it looks much softer than standard video or that something must be wrong with the lens. The sharpness you see in the standard modes is actually all digitally added. For film professionals, the less digitally added stuff in-camera, the better. It can always be added later and edited to match the sharpness of footage coming from other cameras.”

    I know it might be a bit complicated to explain exactly but I was hoping for a couple of pointers in the direction of what you meant by you can add sharpness to Protune later. Are you talking about a sharpness filter or something else? I understand controlling the color temp, brightness, the darks, ect to make it look better in post, but I don’t understand taking something that Protune shoots and it looks grainy and soft detail and making it look sharp and clean with good detail in post. Can you please explain this just a little so I can experiment with this?

    Thanks again,


    • Yes, a filter is exactly what I’m talking about. Unsharp mask is the filter you’d use in after effects, there’s a sharpen tool in FCP, etc. It’s pretty basic and very easy.

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  • scuba 1

    Does anyone have experience scuba diving settings with the Go Pro Hero 3 with no additional light sources. I will be scuba diving in the Bahamas in a few weeks and wanted to use the GO pro

    • scubasoon

      what settings did you end up going with? i’m currently benchmarking a 64gig class 10 and with and without the protune setting. i’m finding the 2.7K 30 Wide for battery consumption and recording time.

  • gopro4

    so my question is: if you put the mode on 1080p does it lower your battery faster?

  • Cedric

    Could you give as an overview about the 1080P Narrow, Medium 720P Medium etc. Scale thing?
    A picture where you can see in a second which Mode scales and which uses the full FOV and so on.
    That would be awesome to have on a shoot.

  • stefano

    hallo abe, thanks for your beautiful link. How to use narrow like a macro? I need for medical dentistry, i need to use 3d black, but there is not zoom? i can cut the narrow with Imove (apple), but still it’s too big view or not detailed. What can i do to have best results? 1080 narrow 24 is ok or not?.thanks

    • Hey Stefano! If you want to use the camera as macro you’ll need to add a lens adapter. Unfortunately the the stock lens will be blurry until about 60 cm away from any object. I saw this the other day – very cool! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fP839p-QHw

  • wbenton

    First off thank you so much for this great article! I recently purchased my Hero 3 Black Edition in time for a ski trip ive been planning with some buddies. I was wondering what setting to use to get the best POV shots and which to use while filming my friends. My goal is to get shots that look as close as possible to what you see on the commercial. Also i want something that i can get good slow mo’s from. ANY information you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!

    • hey man! I would suggest reading through my review of the modes above! Should answer all your questions!

      • wbenton

        Can do, thanks for the response!

  • Victor

    Hi Abe,could you tell me which micro sd card do you use with your go pro?

  • Silvana

    I have a GoPro2 and generally I use the time lapse for surfing pictures. The shortest lapse is 0.5 seconds, right? Does this change in the Go Pro 3? I wanted shorter time lapses…Can I film and photograph at the same time? What resolution would I get if I take a snaphot from the movie mode? And what about zoom? If I choose narrow , it is closer? There will be a GoPro wth zoom?

  • Chuck

    Hi Abe I am new to this. I have a GoPro Hero 3 silver will the hero accessories like the battery bacpac work on the Sliver or do you have to buy the accessories just for the Hero 3.

  • Nicolas Garcia

    Thanks Abe, great explications. I’m a little bit disappointed about the 720p/120fps mode… But I’ll try with narrow fov.

  • Ajabond007

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVTPFlhVhxU&list=LL4IT_uO6Co8YEh14qt61nmA&feature=mh_lolz Hi what mode did you use to film that and did you use protune ?? Thanks

    • This was filmed almost entirely in 1080-60 using ProTune.

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  • Ryan

    Great article. I have been looking all over the internet for this information. Thank you very much!

  • Ed

    Whats the best way to capture surfing? I tried both 1080 60 and 48 but I dont get the sharp water droplets and some distortion. Any suggestions? Using Hero3 Black

    • 1440-48 in ProTune and 960-100 in ProTune are both the GoTo surfing modes. 960-100 will be softer but will get more wave surfing action.

  • Techunsound

    Hey abe, quick question. I know nothing about cameras or technology, nor do i care to learn. I just bought the black and i am only going to be using it for fly fishing videos, dawn, dusk, day, and rock climbing, high wind environment. My main goal is to only turn this thing on and off, flim, unload on the computer. What would you say i should just leave it in at all times? 1080 x 60. And if i was going to change between 2-3 settings, high light in the afternoon, and at night around a camp fire, what would you say, just simple, on off, two buttons. Thanks bro!


    • I’d say 1080-60 in standard mode should be your Go-To all around setting for everything. If you want to get a little tricky at lowlight it might be slightly better at 1080-30 since you’re allowing slightly more light per frame.

    • Trent! I just purchased the Black for the same thing. Strictly fly fishing. Where do you live and what do you fish?

    • A billion dollars…and set it on fire!

  • Diver

    Hi Abe, what res-fps would you recommend for recording when diving in sea?

    • Depends on how high-octane your diving is but 2.7K-30 would be great, as well as 1080-60 wide and medium! If you’re doing POV 1440-30 could be great.

  • Magnus Roaldset

    I am just about to buy the hero 3 black edition, and i am just wondering what MicroSD card you use and recommend for it to be able to record full resolution. how many mb/s?

  • d

    Thanks so much!!!!

  • oxband

    I want to shoot, and while I’m not sure I will go slo mo with the footage, I want the option. Is there a reason I’d want the 1080 60fps over the 1440 48fps in that scenario? Is it just a matter of how much I’d want to slow it down? I imagine 48fps will let me slow it down plenty (well, half the speed to be precise since I’m editing in 24fps).

    • There is an advantage to shooting 1080-60 over 1440-48 but it depends on the scenario. 1080-60 is a much cleaner mode (image quality wise) and will look better full resolution than 1440-48. You’d want 1440-48 if you plan on utilizing the full height of the 4:3 size by skewing the video to 16:9.

      • oxband

        Hmmm….I don’t quite understand that. I plan on presenting what I shoot in 16:9. Does that mean I should stick with the 1440-48? I don’t quite get why the fact I’d be skewing it makes it better, although am I wrong in thinking that’s what you mean?

        • Yu Huhu

          I hope you do understand that 1920×1440 (1440p) is not 16:9, it is standard 4:3 format, but 1920×1080 (1080p) is true 16:9 format. What Abe was telling you, is you should stick with 1080p @60fps. It has sharper image than 1440 @ 48fps, plus more frames per second, resulting in quite a nicer slow motion if you plan to use it. Also, if you have 1440p footage and want to export it as 1080p, I hope you do understand that you would either have to; A) crop your original footage (in that case, you’d loose good top and the bottom portion of your 1440p footage), B) fit it vertically with resulting image with two black bars on each side of the image, or C) stretch in your 1440p footage vertically to meet 16:9 format with resulting image that looks really squashed. You have to understand that by stretching it in vertically, your footage will get quite distorted and look unnatural. If you still can’t picture this, take a look at these few examples I named accordingly. Original image 1920×1440 (1440p, standard 4:3 format): http://i.imgur.com/RIaqGWO.jpg , Scenario A) 1440p cropped to 1080p: http://i.imgur.com/hal9rn0.jpg , Scenario B) fit vertically without stretching: http://i.imgur.com/0GjNzSa.jpg , and Scenario C) 1040p stretched in vertically to meet 1080p format size: http://i.imgur.com/PzaYAkB.jpg

          And this is so you can see how 4:3 compares to 16:9 in this example with 1920×1440 (1440p) and 1920×1080 (1080p): http://i.imgur.com/72haeHn.jpg

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  • Anais

    I’m a 15 year old film amateur and this article just helped me tremendously! Thank you!

  • Tom

    Hi Abe. Thanks for the great tutorial. Just one question left: Did you use polarizer filters for your skiing videos/ Do you recommend polarizer filters for a sunny snowboarding day?

    • I don’t actually. I tried them on the original HERO camera and it did wonders but since then the sensor has improved and captures the dynamic range pretty well.

      • Tom

        OK. Thank you very much for taking the time to answer all the questions

      • What about for filming under water? Is a filter worth it in that case? Do you know if one was used for the freediving scenes in the itnro?

  • Thank you so much… you were extremely helpful

  • Edi

    Just bought a hero 3 black a few days ago. This site helped me a lot to understand my new gopro. But what I’m missing is the 720p / 30fps mode. Is there any chance to have this mode in near future updates?


    • Don’t think so – I think the assumption is that you’d just use 1080-30. Times a-changin’

  • I shot some test video mountain biking with a GoPro3 black @ 720p-59. The video looks great but after I edit it down using Premier Pro CS5, I see a very noticable difference in percieved resolution, sharpness, and smoothness. The project was set up to match the native file properties and probably the best export result was H264 (HDTV 720p 25 high quality). I’ve tried every conceivable other variant I could think of with slightly different results but still, when I go back to the native file, the original is so much better.

    • Jay, could you possibly screen grab the original file and the after-exported file? Also a screen grab of your exact export settings would help as well 🙂

  • denis

    i have 32 gb memory card,the setting on 1080-60…and can only put 4 videos on it before it show “full”…then when i download them,its like slow motion,chopy,and skips,and not even the full video that was taped…getting my,thinking i wasted 400 bucks for nothing

    • Do you have a Mac? On a Mac unless you empty the trash when you delete things off the card it will never delete. Try formatting the card in the computer with disk utility first. Also make sure your card is fast enough. Class 10 or UHS-1. Next the choppy video is because your computer isn’t fast enough or you’re playing over USB. Try copying the video file onto your desktop and use VLC media player.

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  • Rev Up Motors

    I am a classic car dealer and I purchased the Hero 3 Black Edition. I tried the “factory” setting and it seemed a bit choppy and very long to upload to my Mac. I just want my future customers to feel like there are in the drivers seat driving along. My videos will mostly viewed on YouTube, not on a big tv. I did purchase an SD reader to plug the card into to plug into the computer directly. I hear that speeds up the upload. What resolution setting would be applicable for my use? Thank you in advance!

  • george

    hi abe, i bought my hero black 3 few months ago and still thinking what setup to have. i use mine for fishing. should 1080-60 be the go?
    and also what do you recomend, 12mp wide, 7mp wide, 7mp med, 5mp med?


  • Daniel J

    Hello, I got a basic question. I’m new to the gopro field and so I’m wondering if I can just buy one camera that can film all environments like snowboarding, cliff diving, water diving etc ? or are there alternatives for each sport ??

    • LeRoy

      the GoPro will work for all of those. they sell them as ‘kits’ that have certain mounts that are more applicable to certain sports, but the camera is always the same

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  • Mr E

    Abe, I’m new to the GP Cineform software. How do I get a frame grab to use as a still?

  • LeRoy

    Thanks Abe, your site is awesome! Amazing information, glorious supporting imagery, all the high-tech stuff I wanted to know and it’s such an easy read.

    Wish I had read this article last week! Just filmed 4 days straight at mammoth.. and didn’t use ProTune 🙁 which hurts me to know that I could’ve had more to work with in post..

    1) You mention that Cam Raw mode will tend to spit out ‘slightly different hue depending on light and what it sees’. Do you mean there is a greater variation in hue accuracy as compared to the other color balancing modes (Auto, 3000K, 5500K, 6500K)? If I plan on color grading every clip that comes in, this is the mode I want to be in, correct?

    2) If I bring a 1080p60 clip into a 30fps FCPX project will it retain it’s glorious 60fps information when I stretch it out for slow-motion?

    3) Do you know what Chroma Subsampling the GoPro Hero 3 uses, 4:2:2, 4:2:1, or 4:2:0? The Canon XF300 (a $6500 camera) has a bitrate of 50Mbps to GoPro’s 45Mbps (GoPro impressed me here) and the XF300 has 4:2:2 Chroma Subsampling. Does ProTune affect the Chroma Subsampling attribute at all? Something tells me I’d be getting better color out of a Canon XF300 but i’m sure its not very clear-cut to explain..

    Thank you again for providing all of this extremely useful information!

  • Do you have a similar guide for GoPro Hero2?

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  • Natalie

    HI Abe, Thanks for writing such an easy to read guide! What settings do you recommend for scuba diving? And do you think any of the optional accessories are necessary? Thanks heaps!

    • Eric

      I love to dive and I like to go with 1080p at 60fp/s. When diving, the video won’t be quite steady but with 60fps you can slow it down and it will look much cleaner. Full HD is the way to go!

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  • Pete C

    2 questions: 1) what would be the best setting to capture underwater video footage? and 2) how long of video would I be able to record on a 32 gb micro HDHC card in that setting?


    • I think 2.7k looks great underwater (with protune Off so you get better low light and noise reduction). If you’re doing POV diving like head mounted 1440-30 is great. Don’t know about how much time you’ll get on that card – maybe an hour of recording time ?

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  • timberscout

    I want nice crisp video on my 27in iMac i have been filming in 1080-60 wide and when i watch full screen it seems to not be as crisp how much will it help to film 2.7k-30 wide. I use imovie so 30 fps is about all it will take until i decide to get final cut pro. your thoughts? and thanks so much for all the clearification.

    • 2.7k will indeed give you a more clear image on your iMac; however of you are editing in IMovie you may be limited to 1080 so you’ll be throwing that high resolution away. The only way may be to play the raw files natively on the computer or use a different editing software with formats higher than 1080p

  • Minners

    Hi Abe…I have been filming some aerobatics in 1080 @ 24FPS. I can play the raw footage absolutely fine, however whenever I convert a file with CineForm, the playback Mp4 breaks up intermittently. I have experimented with Draft vs High quality etc and still seem unable to get something that will play on my laptops. The file plays fine if I upload it to You Tube or similar. Is this something that you have experienced before?

    • Compressed MP4’s are the hardest video formats for a computer to play – its trying to decode every frame to play it on your computer. I recommend viewing the .mov cineform files on your computer. Try VLC player to see if that helps with the mp4

  • mSpider

    Hey Abe,
    The sensor is actually bigger than the 4k rectangle, right?
    What about the still photos?

    • The sensor is taller than the 4k rectangle but not much wider. Stills are 12 mp which is the width of 4k but with a 4:3 aspect ratio

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  • How do I export high res pix from video?

    • I’m on a Mac – I like opening the file in QuickTime 7, then making sure the frame size is actual size I take a screenshot using cmd shift 4 space bar and click the video frame. I open that in photoshop and crop the frame off

      • Using QuickTime 7 you can just use cmd-c to copy the current frame and then paste it into Ps. No cropping required!

  • Quentin

    Hi, extremely helpful information which I am very grateful for. I must admit some of the more in depth tech stuff was beyond me but hopefully as my knowledge base grows it’ll get easier. I wonder if you can answer a simple questions for me. I sometime like to incorporate stills into my video footage. I’ll almost certainly do most of my recording at 1920×1080 @ 50fps (UK) so the aspect ratio will be 16:9. The stills modes on the Hero3 Black as far as I can work out are 12MP Wide FOV, 7MP Wide FOV, 7MP Medium FOV and 5MP Wide FOV, I understand from my initial trials that the aspect ratio of the stills will be 4:3 which will make combining them with 1920×1080 video awkward. When shooting in the “video+stills at xx time interval” the stills have a 16:9 aspect ratio, my problem is with stills shot when in “pure” stills mode. Am I missing something fundamental? What approach to this problem would you advise? Is there a button somewhere that sets the stills aspect ration to 16:9 that I’ve missed?

    • The simple answer is to just crop the top and bottom off a 4:3 photo to make it 16:9 🙂

      • Quentin

        🙂 Thanks, I thought that might be the reply but that’s pretty tedious if it’s a time lapse series of hundreds of images is it not? 🙁

        • Nope, create the timelapse as 4:3 using cineform and then crop the one video clip in post. Just size it up in your editor so the width fills the video frame and the top and bottom get cut off. You can adjust the vertical framing for the most interesting part or even animate the vertical motion over time.

  • Great article. Thanks for taking the time to put this together.

    Overwhelmed as I am with all the options, based on this write up, I jotted down these notes for myself:

    – For real POV use 1440 30 Wide
    – For super slow motion use 720 120 Narrow
    – For everything else use 1080 60 Medium or 1080 60 Wide

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on recommended modes (and just general shooting advice) for cycling and diving.

  • ss

    check out the new footage: http://seahawkaerial.com

  • Abe,

    You recommend 1080-60 Medium for car mounted shots and 1080-60 Wide for 90% of action sports. Can you explain why you recommend Medium for car shots plus any other recommendations for car shots inside and out do you have? I want the best possible video of course. Could you also recommend a program for Apple that is easy to edit on? All I have is iMovie.

  • Martin Perelman

    Hi Abe, I’m like Trent in that I just want to turn my go pro 3 on and start filming for snowboarding, snorkelling, fishing etc. I have set it to 1080 x 60 and when I play it back on my ASUS Ultrabook, the film freezes every 1-2 seconds. I’m playing it back on VLC media player. Have you come across this before? Is the resolution on my go pro 3 too high for my laptop to playback? Should I reduce resolution down? The recommended resolution on my ASUS Ultrabook is 1600 x 900 which us what I have it set too. Any help here would be appreciated.

    • Hi Martin, I’m no expert on this, in fact I just got my first GoPro (3black) two months ago, and had NO prior experiences with such cameras. But testing/failing/succeeding I’ve also encountered problems with the footage “lagging” when played back on the computer. My PC is however 3-4 years old, so I fear it’s time to crack open the savings account 😛
      Jokes aside, I find it best to edit the clips/videos in either Sony Vegas Pro (pretty straight forward & easy to use, just Youtube it) or GoPro CineForm Studio (free software from GoPro’s site), and then render them as .wmv -files instead of the .mp4 that comes with the GoPro. This makes for fluent, awesome playback on my outdated laptop, and it’s especially fun if you learn to edit text, cool video-features, transitions, slow motion etc 😉

      Good luck, hope it helps!

  • Patrick

    Hey man,
    If I were going to go off roading with my jeep and want to put this on the front bumper. Would 1080 60fps be the best ?

  • Mate – Awesome! Thank you very much. GoPro should pay you

  • Thank you!

  • Quick question. I am going kayaking in the ocean next week and I was wondering what would be the best video setting to have on my Hero3 Silver Edition? The settings I have configured right now leave the video choppy when I play them back on my laptop.

  • Stanziski

    Hello abe, thanks for sharing your knowledge, it is quite complicated but extremely interesting! This is why I would like to understand everything to exploit my gopro at its’ maximum! First, if you’re not doing slow mo, better lowering the pic per sec (fps if I understood) because you will get a better light etc, am I right? Therefore at normal speed the more picture you have the lower quality you’ll get? Secondly, narrow fov is interesting when the quality is not too high or the image will get fuzzier? And finally is 32 gb sufficient if I use my go pro for one week without deleting? Thanks a lot for your answer, it will really really help me!

  • Jason

    Abe, nice write up brother. Quick one….if my computer’s processor isn’t fast enough to keep up with the video format that I choose, how is it that I can watch insanely crisp high def videos on youtube from people who use the GoPro with no problem? I don’t know much about how all of this works. Tried using GoPros Cineform to convert some of the files I created and for some reason it’s not working.

  • Scott

    I was wondering how to change the time lapse intervals to 60 seconds?

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  • I have searched the internet looking for the settings that were used to film the northern lights and came across this site. Over the next couple days we are supposed to have some good auroral activity here in Alaska. I was looking for some advice on what settings to use. This site has some good advice and I am going to give it a whirl at 2.7K 30 Wide in my Black addition and see what comes out. Maybe you have some better advise, but my window for shooting is only about 2 to 3 nights as by then this event will be over.

    • You’ll be really lucky if you catch any of the northern lights from a GoPro. Most videographers end up shooting long exposure photos and making a timelapse as video would rarely pick it up on any camera. You can try if you get a super bright event but I have my doubts :/

  • Jirby

    Great help! Thanks for taking time to provide article and feedback. Looking forward to testing different modes.

  • Tyler

    Hi Abe,
    Is it normal that when i try and view 1440 and up footage on my pc, it only comes out with sound? im hoping this is just my pc not being able to view high resolutions…?

  • Tyler

    Hey Abe,
    Great easy guide for those lost like me.
    Im unable to view 1440 and up footage on my pc. It only plays back as sound. Is this because my pc just cant display such resolutions?

  • pierre 974

    Great advices Abe thanks a lot !
    I recorded most of my video on 1080-60, they play smoothly on WMP but on Premiere or Vegas Pro they are very laggy.

    No problem with a smaller framing.

    What software do you use for post edition ?

    • Bill McCarty

      Something I’ve found with DSLR footage in Premiere is that a QuickTime .mov or .mp4 compressed with H264 plays badly. If you rename the files (Bridge has a very easy rename feature) with an .mpg extension, Premiere doesn’t need to deal with the QuickTime wrapper and they play very smoothly.

      • pierre 974

        Thanks Bill for your input, unfortunately it did not change anything, I think it is PC-related.
        Anyway I will stop using Premiere as the ouput files are 100 times bigger than the source if I want to keep the original settings…

        • pierre 974

          Actually I was not using the best codec, I changed to h264 and now the exported file is even smaller than the original but the quality remains good.
          Only problem is that I cannot keep the framing at 59,94 or else I have to decrease the resolution.

  • Kurt_Kokkos

    Hi. Great article. Thanks. I have one question i hope someone has an answer too. I own the Hero 3 BlackEdition and are testing indoor filming. When i watch the clip the overall brightness is pretty dark. The strange is that the brightness are changing after approximately 2 sec and get’s darker. It look’s like something is activated making the clip unnecessary darker. The 2 seconds whith brighter film looks better and it would be great if the camera could stay in that mode. I’ve tried the modes 1080 60 Wide, 1080 60 Medium, 1080 30 Wide in combo with/without spot activated and with/without protune activated. The result is the same each time. I have the latest firmware installed (rel. 04.04.13) Any ideas folks??

    • I have seen that in my filming as well – I’ll look into it.

      • Kurt_Kokkos

        Great. Hope you figure it out. 🙂

  • stranger

    Many thx and good luck!
    From Russia with luv.

  • Elvo

    Elvo’s personal review of the modes: there are too many of them. Abe should have picked his 3 favorites (1080 30 wide, 720 120 narrow, … 1440 30 wide?) and labeled them low, medium and high resolution.
    The remaining 134 modes should be hidden behind ‘Advanced Mode’ or something.
    Out of all the people I know who own a GoPro, most know what a resolution is. About half know what frame rate means. FOV, WB, AR? White ravens.

    • Haha, good call

    • Jack

      i’m so honored to be called a white raven. biggest compliment of the year!

  • kiwijase

    Kia Ora Abe, excellent guide mate, I was very daunted when I first looked at all the mode and I’m not a camera guru so had no idea about them. Hey quick question, what settings would I use for POV on my motorbike or surfboard? I’m also using it to capture the massive fish I’m gonna catch, looking forward to getting some great shots, from you answer below and the guide I’m thinking 1080 x 60 for that…is it the same for my bike or is it 2.7k @30fps? thanks dude

    • for POV on motorbike or surfboard I recommend 1440-48 or 1440-30 if you don’t need slow mo. This gives you the most view which is good for POV, but you have to know how to edit the 4:3 clips. 1080-60 for fish catching sounds good!

      • Kiwijase

        Thanks heaps Abe 🙂 I will start doing some research into 4:3 editing and anamorphic 16:9 stretchy tricks. I took some footage from my helmet the other day but had camera angle to low (amateur mistake lol).

        • No problem! My next post will be about the stretchy tricks! In the meantime, there’s a new plugin that was just released that takes care of FCP, AE, and Premiere.


          • Kiwijase

            Awesome dude, have been doing a bit of reading. Hey do you decompress the raw gopro footage with mpeg streamclip? Or cinestudio? When I import either of these into iMovie it loses detail and sharpness. I’ve got a lot to learn obviously lol.

          • kiwijase

            scrap this Abe, I figured what was happening bro…when I would import into iMovie from Cinestudio I had “optimize video” checked and that lost resolution for some reason…I jsut make sure thats unchecked and booyaa its all good in the hood!

          • Ah, good catch – those auto functions are a little crazy sometimes

  • Rosco

    Hi there Abe,

    Quick question, I shot my wife’s play in Protune 1080 24T, I am trying to zoom in with Cine-form to cut out the bumff I don’t want. The framing controls do nothing however – is this part of the editing suite only available if the footage is in RAW?

    Cheers, Rosco

    • Not sure – I haven’t used the framing controls too much. What are you using to edit? iMovie or any other editor should have zoom and pan controls as well.

  • Fabian Beathoven

    Hi Abe, did you do some evening or night shots? I cant find any good video in Youtube at night. We made some tests filming in twilight here in Frankfurt. 1080p 50 frames is not a good mode to do that 😉 -> Protune: ON / Spot: ON -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zUSVvL5qDY
    Like you wrote – protune is a mess in lowlight. Protune: OFF / Spot: OFF -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cWoydjEaCk

    No i want to test 2.7 K @ 50 frames… i hope its getting better?



    • Yup, 1080-30 or 2.7K 30 at night with ProTune off is your best bet.

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  • Hi Abe, Great info,I use PAL and only get 1080p x 48 fps not 60, would you still recommend that over the 30fps?

    • There’s no 60 in PAL? are you sure? Switch it out of PAL to get 1080-60

      • Yep no 1080-60, only 1080-48, I am from Australia, we don’t use NTSC, problem I have with 48 fps is my TV wont read the media above 1080-30 so I have to take it back to 30fps and it looses quality ie gets smooth rather than the raw crisp quality, so the quickest and easiest way from a processing standpoint is to stick to 1080-30 with protunes on.
        Checkout some the latest videos I have on You Tube – https://www.youtube.com/user/jgkeogh?feature=mhee

        • You can always switch it out of PAL to get to 1080-60!

  • brad

    hey abe
    what do u think would be the best settings for snowboarding and skateing? im rolling with 1080 60 w

  • Yorts

    Hi Abe, just about to head of on a holiday around the USA. Just wondering what you would recommend for shooting day to day. Really want to capture as much as i can and edit it when i arrive back home. What setting would you go for to capture the night atmosphere. Cheers Buddy!

    • Day to day I think 1080-60 should be your Go-To mode. At night maybe switch it over to 1080-30?

  • Chris

    hi is there any mode i can use for low light such as indoor use, and not get so much pixel noise, but still get good resolution for outside use and action?

    • 1080-30 is good for indoor with proTune off, 1080-60 is great for outdoor action

  • Hey Abe question for you . I shoot surfing and skating with my hero3 what setting should I be using for best quality . 1080@60 or 720@120 also I use a lot of slow mo in my editing .

    • 1080-60 will give you the best quality. 720-120 will give you the best slow mo. I find 1080-60 to be the best of both worlds, 60 is usually slow enough for me.

      • Thanks again really appreciate ur help

  • Yamama

    Hey Abe how long should i charge my gopro hero 3 black edition (it just out the box)?????

    • You will want to charge it until the red light on the camera turns off!

  • Jared

    Hey Abe, great article, thanks for all the information! Your “USC Ski & Snowboard – HERO3 Heli Trip” edit on youtube is unreal, looked like a great time! Did you have protune on when shooting most of that? I’m heading to Banff in the next few days to go heli skiing, and I was wondering if you had any suggestions for what setting I should use. I was thinking 1080-60 with protune on? I plan on editing the footage later with iMovie or Final Cut Pro X, once I learn how to use it. If i’m just using iMovie though should I not bother with protune?

    Anyway man, thanks again for posting this article, cheers!

    • Thanks Jared! You know, when that was shot we didn’t actually have ProTune built into the camera yet; however, it was sort of a hybrid mode where we had the high bitrates of ProTune. I will always suggest ProTune if you want the highest quality but it will definitely require some color correction. If you don’t mind a slightly lower quality but easier output to the web, standard mode still works great.

  • mattyrat

    Thanks so much for this, Abe. A great summary of resolutions and very helpful for the GoPro beginner.

  • Arty

    Hi Abe,

    I fly an ultralight and mount my GoPro far out on the wing. I had an original GoPro and really disliked the fish eye effect in photo mode. So I bought a Hero3 Black edition, as I was told that I could use different FOV besides the 170° fish eye. There are so many options! What do you recommend as my “go to” FOV if I want to minimize the fish eye yet get some of a wide angle view? At some point I’ll try out the video options, but for now I want to take stills of the scenery and the folks I’m flying with.

    • This is an interesting question – do you know photoshop or iPhoto at all? I would shoot the highest widest resolution 12MP WIDE and then just crop in post. The other photo settings basically just do that for you – cutting down the photo to a smaller size.

  • Charlie Ting

    This is really a useful and informative one..
    I have questions on gopro still images and burst mode settings…
    i wonder how can i get better performance at low light and motion photos as well as the focus of the camera?
    any tutorial on it??
    I always get unfocus and blurred photos with single shot…
    will burst mode shortens the exposure time and hence we’ll get a darker image?
    It’s quite a problem for me will all the blur and unfocus image indoor..
    I cant get a better focus for food photography too.. : (
    Help me pleas…

    • Lowlight photos are not the camera’s strengths unless the camera is mounted and steady. You’ll have trouble getting good shots indoor – I just would have to say this isn’t the right camera for the job especially for food photography.

      • Charlie Ting

        Alright, thanks!
        i tried it at the beach…it is AWESOME…both photos and videos…TimeLapse as well..Love it!!
        anyway do you hav any idea on the shot delay or exposure time? of different shooting mode??

  • David


    Simple question. How did the GoPro 2 TV promo get those hyper slow mo clear footage (Skier airborne with pole mount)? Can Go Pro and Adobe premier elements 11 do that?

    • Marc


    • Gabe Cohen

      David, that program is called twixtor. It is a 3rd party plugin for After effects and Final cut

  • Mark

    Can you recommend a video mode (GP3Black) for attaching to my kite/surf board? There is a lot of fast motion and the camera is mounted very near the water pointing in a horizontal direction. Any help is appreciated. mele34@gmail.com

    • Mark

      I’m thinking 1080 60 wide. Mark

  • Richie

    Hi Abe,
    I was wondering if you had any advice for color grading photos in Photoshop? I would love to have some of my shots come out as well as yours do on instagram. Thank you .

  • Oren

    Hey Abe,

    I love you videos and make a bunch of skis videos myself. I just got a Hero 3 black, and I find when I try to play back my footage on my computer it really lags. I have a Macbook pro with 8gb of ram, so this shouldnt be a problem. I am shooting at 1080p at 60 or 120 fps. I dont know what codec gopro uses, but is there a way for me to convert my files to something more manageable and usable? Thanks Bro


  • John

    Hey Abe, great article explained alot to someone who knew nothing haha. I use my go pro when im spearfishing, strapped to my head. Will the 1080-60 W be the pick for under water too?? I want the image as clear and smooth as possible on my tv.

    • 1080-60 will be great underwater as well! I may try 1080-30 if you’re going deeper as this will give you better low-light results

  • Zack

    hey man this is great! quick question, ive bought a black edition for when i hit the surf, and i want to know what setting i should be on, should i use 1080-60 for normal use and 720-120 for some slow mo? or use another setting? im a little confused ahah
    Thanks mate! 🙂

    • If it’s on your board 960-100 actually looks great, you’ll get more view, or 1440-48. 1080-60 if your board is longer and you get your whole body in the shot!

  • Jack

    hey abe, i’m going to purchase either the silver or black go pros as i need one for snowboarding. advise on which one and what modes are the best for the quite high lighting when your skiing.. ?


  • Roy

    I dont understand English :$ I am spanish…. Help?? 🙁

    • Jack

      google translate?

  • Mig

    Hi Abe, thanks for your article. I am using the GoPro H3 Black on board a multicopter at different settings around 1080/50 (W,M,N), we are in Europe using Pal. As you can imagine vibration is a huge thing when shooting and the camera is perfonming very well at this FPS.

    Do you think that filming at lower FPS like at 2.7K will need a more steady platform?
    As we are using it comercially I am thinking about using Protune mode.

    Are the settings affected if I want to keep using 1080/50 W or N? You mentioned that it films upto 45 mbit.
    All the best

    • Protune would be good if it’s for a commercial application. 50 FPS will definitely give you better results with jello, and I would imagine shooting M or N may increase jello artifacts. 2.7K will definitely need a steady copter to get good results, but it’s worth testing out! we’ve gotten good 2.7 results with our DJI copters.

  • Hey Abe, first of all thanks for all the tips for the GoPro community, i’ve been using your tips and getting better footage from my HERO3 BE. I just wanted to know which settings do you use for Photos. I’ve seen the GoPro Heli trip (video and pictures) and i wanted to know if you use the filming + picture taking feature on the HERO3 BE or you just take pics of what you want. How do get them so crisp and steady? Thanks in advance bro!

    • Hey Ale, thanks for the note, glad to hear it’s helping. I just choose sessions to do photo mode with the timelapse feature. Usually photo every .5 seconds for action stuff.

  • Bryan

    Hi Abe,

    I was wondering if you could help me with a problem Ive been having. I have been editing my footage from my gopro in final cut pro and it looks super crisp. However, When I go to export the video to a youtube or vimeo friendly format the quality decreases substantially! I realize internet quality will decrease a bit but I mean it gets so bad its unwatchable and ive always used this work flow for my DSLRs and its worked fine. Any suggestions on export settings from final cut pro?
    My hunch is it might have to do with the low data rate of 5000 kbps vimeo recommends (but i cant do much about that)


    • Yeah 5000 may be a bit too low, I usually use around 10,000 kbps for 1080 projects

      • Chris Brackman

        The GoPro Hero3 Black records up to 45,000 kbps video (45Mbps)… so, yeah, 5Mbps is a NINTH of the bandwidth.

        Vimeo recommends such a low bitrate because you will easily exceed their free level of storage with only one video. If you’re paying for their service and have unlimited storage, then match the bitrate of your source footage!

  • JohnJoe

    Hi Abe, Looking to use my GoPro Hero3 black for in car facing forward. What is the best setting to give me an accurate perspective of the road ahead and the severity of the bends? Will the narrow FOV (90deg) setting give me what i am after or will i still need aftermarket correction. (The wide angle and fish eye effect really distorts the view and all corners look straight!) Thanks for you info!

  • Rhys

    Hi Abe. My gopro hero 3 black edition doesn’t give the me the following frame rates, 720/60 720/120 1080/30 1080/60 1440/30 2.7k/30 2.7k/24 and 4k/15. Are you able to tell me why this would be, and what to do to fix it.

    Thanks man! please reply.

    • Interesting – are you sure you have the black edition?

  • JJ

    Abe would 1080 60 narrow be my best bet filming scenery in Yosimite? Looking for the highest quality without distortion. Thanks JJ

  • Noelle

    Hi Abe!
    Thank you for your post – what are the best modes you’d recommend if I wanted to take the cam scuba diving?

  • D.

    Great article! What about the “anamorphic 16:9 dynamic stretch tricks” – I shoot mainly in 4:3, since it is easier to set up for ski POV shots, and I am very interested to know some “tricks” for nice cropping to 16:9. Thanks!

  • Barney

    Hi. I have the black edition and live in Australia. Is there much difference between the 1080/50 or 48 in PAL, and the 1080/60 in NTSC? Will using NTSC in Australia affect the images?

    • FARKME

      G’day Barney, I came here with the exact same question.
      Did you manage to work out if working in PAL is (50fps) is a major set back?

    • Nate Opgenorth

      I’ve used PAL in NTSC Land (USA) on both the GoPro Black and Silver as well as DSLR’s and various professional camcorders. Your fine as long as you adjust the shutter angle but with a GoPro thats not really an option, in PAL frame rates I get occasional strobing of certain lights but nothing major. For use on cameras with an adjustable shutter check this out: http://www.red.com/tools/flicker-free-video I’d love it if the GoPro could allow you to set restrictions on ISO and shutter speed, maybe not specifically exposure lock but a range. Still the camera handles exposure VERY well, I’d say its far better than my DSLR.

  • BobbyOO

    Great info throughout. Printed the chart, going in my case for reference. Already read Part 2, can’t wait to learn more in Pt 3 !

  • LuckyGamer

    Amazing. Such a great article. Thank you. Much more informed now.

  • Dale

    Thanks for the great info, however I am finding the camera less useful than I had hoped. I am mounting it on a DJI Phantom r.c. helicopter and so far have tried the 1080P 60, but the barrel distortion makes the video fairly useless. Next I am going to shoot in 1080P30 and see how the smaller viewing area helps.

    Can u advise how to avoid excessive barrel effects.

    Also what is a good workflow for PremPro CS6. I have a very powerful Windows computer, but the higher res still drag they system down. I surprised as it can do red pretty good.

    Thanks so much,

    • Hey Dale, not quite sure what you mean about barrel distortion – are you talking about wide angle? or the jello effect from the rolling shutter? Either way with the DJI you’ll want a good dampening system to prevent the vibrations. I have one on our copter with a simple floaty back door and we see very little vibration jello even at 2.7K. 1080P30 vs 60 have the same view area – try shooting 720-120 narrow or 1080-60 medium on the copter.

      I found out that Premiere CS6 had a problem with their mp4 importer with GoPro – it’s fixed in CS7 (adobe creative cloud) and works fine in CS5.5 (silly I know). I had the same issues, but files work flawlessly with both of those other versions sadly

  • Hi. I am trying to use my Hero3 black as a finish line camera for a cycle race but can’t the settings right. The riders place 2 numbers side by side on their lower backs and I position the camera at around 80 degrees to the finish line, to try and capture their numbers and positions. The bikes come past at around 35-40mph but when I review the video the numbers are way to blurry to make out. I assume I need a mode with a shorter exposure time. Please could you advise some settings I could try?

  • Neil

    Hi Abe, great article. If I got three Hero3 cameras, could I change the settings on all three at the same time using the remote? I think I could make them all record at the same time, and am also wondering what the accuracy is with starting and stopping recording–meaning does it usually create exactly the same file sizes (this of course making syncing three camera angles automatic).

  • Hi Abe,
    Did you get a chance to try the new modes introduced with the latest firmware update (April 2013)?
    Looking forward to your opinion.

    • I don’t believe there were any new modes introduced – just some additions to the ProTune menu options, correct?

  • sallivoti .

    Hi Abe, Your information is great!

    I also just started using a Gopro hero 3 black which I bought for fishing and diving. I will be uploading some of the footage on you tube, but mainly will be using Vegas movie studio 12 and burning DVD’s. I filmed in 1080 60 w and footage was incredible even down 60′ deep to 100′. I also used a red filter. (this was my first use, I was in Roatan, central America)

    I am still trying to figure the best mode to use as I will be mounting it on the cockpit of my boat to catch the action in the rear of the boat and way behind when fishing & trolling. After reading your article I am curious about the 2.7K 30 Wide mode.

    Questions about the 2.7 30 wide: does the change in mode effect battery life? It seems this mode would be better for making DVDs? Also I may want to cut some of the clips for slow-mo? I haven’t tried that yet but will be.

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  • ConfusedHeroGuy

    Abe, Thank you, that was a great article. I had a Hero 2 and used 2 settings, it was easy, either I wanted frame rate or FOV. I was confused on where to even start with my black. This article has given me the tools I needed. Thanks again

  • brynmag

    Hi Abe

    I am trying to work out the logic of files sizes depending on what frame rate is selected. The HERO3 gives a crude estimate (next to the battery indicator) of remaining recording time on the memory card. I have checked all resolutions and frame rates. Protune on and Protune OFF. There are inconsistencies in the results. Mostly changing the frame rates doesn’t afect the projected record time. Sometimes it does. Can you help clarify?


  • Matt Swedlund

    Great article Abe, very helpful. What is your recommendation for high vibration and movement sports like motorcycling?

    • Hey Matt, your best bet is shooting higher frame rate modes. 1080-60 is the best go-to for motorsports.

  • Yu Huhu

    Hey Abe! First of all, thank you so much for this wonderful article. It helped many I am 100% sure. I’ve been testing all these modes you mentioned above, came to pretty similar findings. I have one question though… when talking about 1440p, 30 fps wide… you mentioned “anamorphic 16:9 dynamic stretch tricks”.

    Would you have couple of seconds of your time to explain or at least draw our attention to some link where we could find some more on this subject? I’m pretty sure I am not the only one interested in this matter, and any insight would help many. Thank you so much in advance!

    • Yu Huhu

      Wow, I just found out about Andy’s Elastic Aspect. However, can’t find anything like this that would work in Windows. I don’t use my iMac (late 2007) since it’s slow as molasses. I have dedicated rendering rig with super powerful video card that makes all my video editing work a pleasure. Is there anything like Elastic Aspect, some plugin for Premiere Pro/ After Effects on Windows ? Thanks!

      • Hey Yu! Hmm bummer I didn’t realize FxFactory was only available for mac. your 2nd best bet is using CIneform on the PC and using the dynamic stretch feature built in – that will require you to transcode to a cinform AVI though…

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  • Camilo Gonzalez

    Hey Abe, I just bought a gopro sliver edition. I was wondering what is the best resolution and fps to shot a time lapse. I’m very new to all this. Thank you

    • Night timelapses are tricky on a GoPro. Your best bet is shooting in timelapse mode (photos every 2 seconds). You won’t be able to get stars, but city timelapses should work okay

  • Chris Cromwell

    Hi Abe, I am going to raft the Grand Canyon and was wondering if you think 1080-60 with ProTune on or off is the way to go? Will be mostly daylight filming with pretty harsh mid-day sun. Thanks for your help!

  • Chris Cromwell

    Hi Abe, I am rafting the Grand Canyon and was wondering what you would recommend as for settings on my new GoPro Black? I am thinking 1080-60 but not sure about ProTune on or off. Will be mostly white water rafting footage with the GoPro on my head with some regular scenes scattered throughout. Midday sun can be pretty intense and may wash out some of the images.


    • 1080-60 should work great! Also if you’re using POV 1440-30 will also look great. ProTune isn’t really necessary unless you plan on getting real serious with color correction and post flow!

  • Uwe Neumeister

    Hi Abe, can you help me with some postpro issues?I am shooting with HD3 1080-50 Protune. I still don’t get what I should send to the PostPro house! Shall I send the native file from the SD card or the file which is converted with cineform or should I import the native file to fcpx and export to ProRes 422… they can’t quite help, because they never had Protune Files before. they are cutting with Avid. the other camera I use ist a sony xdCam HD…. thanks for your help

    • Hey Uwe – most post houses should know about color correcting with a log curve like in Canon’s cinestyle. All of those options you’ve listed will do the trick of getting a high quality file to your post house – I’d just give them all 3 and see what works best with their flow.

      • Uwe Neumeister

        Check! I did it and it was the native mp4, which they like best. Thanks

      • This is 4K but wider, so there’s slightly more resolution (17:9 with the height of 4K’s height). This is also a great mode to do video for timelapse.

  • Thiago Rocha

    Hi Abe, I have no idea about cameras setups hahaha
    I’m a kitesurfer and I bought the gopro3 black edition… I tried to take some photos and videos when I was kitesurfing, but the photos weren’t good and very farway! I put the camera in the kite (stays on the top) and sometimes in the mount over the head!
    Can you please tell me how should I set the camera for better quality image (we will probably need to zoom a lot) and fair good slow motion videos?

    • Hey Thiago! If you want to zoom in I recommend shooting video in 720-120 Narrow or 1080-60 Narrow! Those will both zoom in and give you great slow motion. As for photos there is no way to zoom in more without simply cropping the photo. You can shoot in 8MP Medium but it is simply a 12MP photo with the edges cropped off. It will look more zoomed in though!

  • Bob O

    Great article Abe! I have a quick question about Silver Hero 3 set in Protune. I am shooting UW in a large indoor aquarium with widely spaced overhead lighting so it goes from good light to dim in areas. The other day I shot in 1080-30 Auto WB Wide with no CC filter and the vid came out very nice in lighted areas but very noisy in the dark. Yesterday I tried with same setting but used a URPro filter. The video overall was much noisier. Would it help to use the same setting at 24fps or what do you suggest?
    Thanks for the article is was the most informative I found!

    • 24 will have slightly less noise but not significant enough. When you’re in ProTune it’s lifting the shadows & also turning off in-camera noise reduction. You’ll notice a good amount of noise, especially with the Silver edition. I may recommend turning off ProTune if you’re going to be in lower light areas – test it out and see what works

  • Nik

    Thanks a lot so far! I´m going to film with GPBlack underwater and above water on my holiday. I´m thinking to use 1080-50 wide(Pt off)
    setting all the time if I happen make some slow motions afterwards. Then I will change framerate for 25 in Cineform, right? So the question is how to handle then with the rest of the shots with normal(50fps) speed to collect the whole movie in Windows Moviemaker? Can I mix different framerates in one time line.

    • Yeah you can mix and match – by default any editing program will just toss out the extra frames you shot (when you shoot in 50) and play back normal speed!

  • Filippo

    Hi !
    Does the preview in recording video is supported?

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  • Jack

    thank you for the fantastic, informative write up Abe! I use a DGI phantom w/isolation mount and gopro hero 3 black. I have the gopro attached with it’s waterproof/shock case on. Aside from cleaning the gopro lens before every shoot, would you suggest going without the waterproof case for top quality video capture? I guess I’m a little skeptical that having essentially a cheap plastic barrier between the lens and the world may mess with quality. Am I just paranoid? hah

    Thanks again!

    • Yeah, the housing lens is full glass, it’s good quality don’t worry!

  • Drew

    Great great review. I’m really struggling with the decision to use Protune or not. I’ve seen some videos and the color corrections don’t look too tough, but I also am not a professional and don’t want to spend tons of time on color. Is the final picture using Protune THAT much better if I’m not a color professional? Or does it just make sense to turn it off and use the lower bitrate?

    Also, what NLE do you recommend for editing? Is iMovie X sufficient? I’ve used FCP years ago, but haven’t touched it in awhile. iMovie is free so that’s nice. 🙂

    Thanks again!

    • If you don’t know why you’d use it you’re better off not using it! ProTune is really for professionals trying to work GoPro footage seamlessly into their productions against other cameras. You’re fine without it.

      • Drew

        Thanks for the reply. It just hurts the geek in me throwing away all that high bitrate video in favor of lower bitrate video. Oh well.

  • Yohance Yang
  • Jack

    Hey Abe, could you break down your ProTune workflow a bit? For example do you import footage to CineForm and compress it before taking it to your editing program or do you import straight to FCP/Premiere Pro? I am specifically interested in shooting 2.7k footage, stabilize it and then crop it to 1080 without losing quality.

    Basically I want to shoot ProTune, import and grade in AE/Premiere Pro, and export it with the least amount of compression/loss of quality possible. Thanks for all your great info!

    • If you’re using Premiere Pro CC, raw GoPro h.264 clips work really well. If you’re in CS6 I recommend upgrading or using cineform to transcode for a faster workflow. You won’t lose any quality transcoding with cineform.

      • Jack

        I imported my raw ProTune clip into cineform and converted it (using highest quality) – It spit out a .mov file that was massive and it looks like during the conversion process cineform crunched and sharpened the image (similar to if you don’t use ProTune). Am I missing something? Is there a ‘transcoding’ option in cineform that is different than ‘converting’?

        • After you convert, click over to the ‘Edit’ tab and make sure under the presets ‘none’ is selected – it may auto-detect protune and apply the reverting settings to make it look standard again.

  • Simon

    Hi Abe! Great tips! Thanks! What if I wanted film quality? 1080p, 24 FPS and protune? Any tips on that? Also I don’t want the fish eye effect as it is in wide, however I think that the lens lets in more light in the wide mode. Any thoughts?

    • 1080-24 in medium FOV should suit you well. Careful with POV in that mode though it’ll get pretty shaky

  • Sean Hollick

    Awesome review! I’ve read through several times and Im trying pin down exactly which res i should be using i think 1080 60 W is the answer but just wanted to make sure. My main activity is cycling, road bikes, trikes, recumbents. My end video is usually going to be going to YouTube. I use Final Cut Express, (Still learning) and also have iMovie on my Mac of course. I also have one other question when i set up my project sometimes the video shows just right in the preview window of FCE but sometimes I have to stretch it? Is there a setting to make a default so the preview shows the 16:9 ratio? also lastly Ive just been exporting the finaly movie after editing as a quicktime movie, then i take that and select save for web in QT is there a better way to just export the final movie out of FCE for uploading to youtube? there are so many choices I dont know which export to choose.

    Sorry for the long questions but figure i only had one shot so thought Id get them all in 🙂

    • Sean Hollcik

      Oh btw I have the GoPro Hero 3 Black

  • Guillaume Foucras

    Hey Abe, thank you for this review which will be very usefull for me. I’m just wondering if there is some situations where I shouldn’t use protune (except in low lighting) ?

  • James Wilby

    Great, thanks for the awesome article Abe!

    Just a question about quality… I have the Hero 3 Black and have always followed your advice and may others in terms of clean the camera lens before every shot, in every 10 shots there is 1 great take and colour grading should be subtle… so on. But I was wondering, is there anything to do in particular for the export from FCP 7. I saw an earlier comment about data rate and saw you recommended about 10,000. Just wondering is there anything else to bear in mind at all and how you export. I have FCP 7 and also Compressor.


    • Not really! As long as you have your sequence settings correct, quality shouldn’t be an issue. In most cases when you are seeing quality loss it’s because sequence settings were wrong to begin with.. in FCP 7 use the 1080i 60 preset and set fields to NONE. In the timeline is something funky with FCP 7 and files that are 1080P in that the fields will be set to ‘upper’ by default. In the project window scroll way to the right where all your clips are and under fields, select all the clips and set them to none. If you already have clips in the timeline right click on the clip, item properties > right click where it says Upper (odd) and set it to none. Then you’ll have to re-render the clips which you can do by dropping the opacity, letting go, and raising back up. This will undo the render. haha this all sounds complicated and crazy, let me get some screen shots.

      • Here are the two different ways to switch

        • James Wilby

          Great, thanks for the help. Have fun making the Chicken video… haha

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  • Kristian

    Thanks for the info!
    I’m testing the HDMI out capabilities. It seems to me that the Hero 3 only outputs clean HDMI while recording, not in Standby. Is that a fixed limitation, or a configuration? Output set to 1080p30. Thanks!

    • Interesting, I’m not actually sure about the specifics, I’d have to do a bit of testing; however that sounds like a bug. Do you have the latest firmware? I know that HDMI output was something they were continuously working on

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  • Dennis

    Abe, great information! I received a Silver Hero 3 as a gift so I don’t have all of the same options available but if I’m understanding all this, for my use (mountain biking) and the limitations of the Silver the 720p 60 would probably be my best all around choice? Thanks

  • Darren Xerri

    hi abe, I use my hero3 black for surfing and for some reason I’m not getting that hd shot when I take a screen pic, can you recommend any settings?

    Also, is there anything that can be done so that drops of water go off the lens quicker? cause it ruins the whole footage :/

    • James Wilby

      About the drops of water… RainX or just lick the lens then dip in the water, then it’ll run off

  • James

    Do you have a recommendation for a telescoping pole to use when skiing/snowboarding? Thanks!

  • LesSavvy

    Abe, thank you for the great explanation. While I have had an understanding of resolution, framerate, and some other basics the explanation of how these things impact on the sensor are new to me.

    I have had a Hero 2 for about 18 months and enjoy time-lapse very much. My issue with my new (last week) Hero 3 is that there what I think to be compression artifacts visible in the new time-lapse videos I create with Cineform Studio, and there were no issues with TLs made from Hero 2 stills with Cineform. The artifacts I am talking about remind me of the lines of varying barometric pressure on a weather map or elevation areas on a topographic map. I used the highest resolution settings for stills on both cameras during similar conditions so am puzzled why I suddenly have a problem. What is happening? Thanks in advance for any assistance you can offer.

    • Could you show me a screen shot of what you’re talking about? This doesn’t sound familiar.

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  • Mathias

    Hey Abe!

    I’m going on a vacation to Spain and want to go diving. What setup for the gopro do you prefer if I’m going to max. 20 m. diving and with a gopole?? 🙂

  • Lyndon

    Awesome review of the video modes! Thanks!

  • GDX


    Just got a HERO 3 Black Edition. I noticed that when selecting PAL (I am in Europe) you are only limited to 50 FPS. This is for all modes. I assume this is due to the PAL selection? If I select NTSC mode then one is able to select the 60FPS again.
    Thanks for the reply.

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  • Ian Laferla

    Hi Abe, i will be filming in 1080 by 60 as advised by you, usually outdoor and water sports. What is the best form of workflow to upload to youtube without losing video quality ? I use a mac and cineform to convert my files then import the file to imovie and finsih the edit. My last step would usually be to upload straight from imovie to youtube. My internet connection is 15mbps does it make a difference ?

    I shot this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSyTkiK6ynY at 960 at 100fsps, converted it in cineform in 23.98 high quality and worked in imovie in 24. All the clips were obviously slowed down and later increased the speeds of some parts i needed in imovie. I must add that there were times when I increased the speed in imovie then reduced again to my likeing. Did I lose quality yet again ?

    I am very new to filming and using my go pro 3 black. Any advice you give me is greatly appreciated.

    • You won’t lose quality with internet connection speed or with speeding up and slowing down clips. The quality at 960-100 is obviously less than 1080-60 so that’s the only thing that will lower your quality.

    • Drake

      The only thing I would recommend is that you get a filter for underwater it will clear it up greatly but other than that great work!

  • epomai

    Abe — what’s the best way to pull a photo out of a video?

    • I just open the files in quicktime 7 and do copy and then paste in photoshop. Or take a screen shot.

  • Norman

    Hi Abe, I am hoping that your connections with GoPro can help fix a problem and also add a feature.

    In the upgrade to V02.39 I lost the ability on my Hero 3 Black Edition to record at 2.7K in looping video mode. 🙁 I am dealing with the helpdesk and they are being very helpful, swapping cameras etc but none have fixed the problem, the latest arrived today so this is my third camera. 🙁 and I live in Aussie.
    Also when all of this is fixed what I would like to see is protune AND looping video

    • Sorry Norman, I don’t have much experience with loop video. I’ll inquire around and see if anything pops up.

  • Logan D

    Hey Abe!

    I recently took a road trip with some buddies down to California and went cliff diving there. I filmed a lot of the shots in 120fps because I wanted that super slow motion! But when I put it into PP Cs6 I have to interpret it to 23.976 fps and thats when it looks good and the slo mo is super smooth BUT as soon as I render my work it becomes choppy and loses some of the clip… I’m sure its a simple fix but I know you’re the man when it comes to editing GoPro footage. Any help?

    (basically how do you go about editing 120fps footage?)

    • Hey Logan! What are your sequence settings? If you’re interpreting it to 23.98 your sequence settings should match that

      • Logan D

        Im not sure what I should put as my sequence settings because I’m using my GoPro and a some Mark iii footage…

  • Arild

    Excellent article. Can you ellaborate on how to choose correct fps?

    As well as action shots, I’ll be using that nice wide angle lense to capture some video of my family on vacation. As I understand it, 1080-25 is the standard resolution for Full HD PAL video. Since I’m not going to change playback speed (no slow motion or timelapse) what will be the best framerate to shoot in? Should I create a final project with 50fps to make playback smoother? Will I maybe be better off with 50fps changed to 25fps at double speed, or is it best to shoot at 25fps. If I film with a headstrap while moving my head all over the place, should I choose a different mode than when shooting handheld at the pool?

    • You could shoot at 1080-50 and your footage will look a little smoother. I would still make your timeline 25 FPS, and the 50FPS will drop in there fine and play back at normal speed. 1080-50 is still fine for a head strap as well!

  • Kevin

    Is there a way to uncompress the GoPro .mp4 file to get more video quality? Thanks!

    • No, you’ll never get more quality out of the original .mp4 file, but you can transcode to a virtually uncompressed file like ProRes, but you won’t gain any quality, just render speed.

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  • Noah stark

    Hi Abe! I got a question about your job… How did you get that job? i would really like to be like you! do you have any tips or something? i would be very nice of you to write back!

    • My recommendation is to just follow your passions in life and be dedicated to your work!

  • Michelle

    This was amazing! Thank you, Abe. SO very helpful! 🙂

  • Rob

    Hi Abe,

    Thanks for this information. It is really helpful, but I am facing one issue: I am located in the Netherlands and we are using PAL instead of NTSC. So I have a choice between 25 / 50 / 100 frames instead of 30 / 60 / 120.

    Could you comment on that? What would you advice? Use PAL or switch to NTSC even when using a PAL TV set at home?


    • Rob

      Found your other post. these questions are answered. Thanks a lot.

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  • AxisOfBeagles

    Abe – many thanks for what is simply the best summary and explanation of shooting modes. This has helped immeasurably.

  • Bob

    This article is almost exactly what I needed. Picked up the Go Pro Hero 3 Black edition and have been fooling around with some of the settings. Some of the things I was finding (aliasing, etc) are now confirmed with your article. Thanks a whole lot. The 4k and 4k Cin is the only thing I’m confused on. It appears the 4k Cin is higher resolution vs the 4k. I am shooting underwater swimming shots and I find the Cin mode has been giving me some pretty cool still shots. Haven’t tried the 4k only or Protune. I’m guessing if I turn on Protune and shoot in 4k Cin I will have additional range to correct in photoshop/aperture?

    • Great, thanks Bob! Yes, CIN does indeed have more resolution. If you do ProTune, you’re right in assuming you’ll have more latitude to correct later!

  • sanlorenzo

    Hi Abe – great advice thanks! I’m in PAL land shooting sports/fast action from static and pov and using 10 gopros and 2 handycams, all 720p50f. All was well while I was uploading to websites, but now I have to make Bluray discs. I’ve been told I cannot use 50f on a bluray because most players won’t recognise it. Is this true, and if so can you tell me what the best frame rate to use would be? I’m using Vegas Pro 12 NLE and DVDA-6.0 to author. Many thanks!

    • Man, I’ve never dealt with BluRay, I find it hard to believe that it won’t support 50..

      • sanlorenzo

        No problem putting 50p on a dual layer disc, but I’m told only a minority of players support 50p, while almost all players support 25/24/23.97.

        • Nate Opgenorth

          Blu-ray WILL support 50p/60p officially at only 720p however. EVERY Blu-ray player MUST support 50p/60p ableit only at 720p. Going down to 25p you can get 1080p for max resolution. I’ve mastered several Blu-rays and play with this stuff for fun. Even though you can only get 720p for 50p/60p it looks great, Blu-ray bit rates allow for video with almost no compression artifacts. Typical blu-ray bit rates are 25mbps average with 35mbps allowed maximum for video (48mbps total video and audio through put). This is great since the GoPro originally captures at 45 or 35mbps so you won’t have to worry about quality getting that bad. AVCHD 2.0 DOES however support 1080p50 and 1080p60 but AVCHD isn’t in all Blu-ray players and on top of that AVCHD 2.0 isn’t nearly as common :/ Hope that helps for the future!

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  • Brian Warner

    Not sure if you know, but what is the 35mm lens equiv of wide/med/narrow? I still think in 35mm and the wide looks fisheye like 10mm? the med and narrow i’m not sure about. is narrow like FOV of a 50mm lens on a traditional camera?

    • Wide is like a 12mm, medium is probably 24mm and narrow is similar to 50.. just at a rough glance.

  • Betty

    Abe, I have purchased a Hero 3 Black edition to use during a CALM kayak trip in Alaska. I would appreciate advice on the best resolution settings, etc to use as I have no clue. Video is not something I am familiar with. I obviously would like the very best images possible. Thanks so much. Your site is great, I have a great deal to learn!

    • I would say 1440-30 on a headcam would get you great calm, high quality video. Also 2.7K on a head or chest cam would be unreal!

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  • Tom Wright

    Hi Abe! Thanks for all the info, it’s great you help people so much! I’m a professional baseball player and specialize in throwing the knuckleball, I just bought the GoPro 3 Black and I need to capture the best knuckleball possible to land a contract with a MLB Team. Can you tell me which settings are best to get the best slow motion video possible of the knuckleball movement and no spin? Thanks so much! Tom Wright

    • Any one of the 120 modes! Probably 720-120 Narrow!

  • Moto Didj

    Wow, great article! Thanks so much for your thoughtful and well written guide to these settings, it’s going to save me a lot of time in figuring out which setting will be best for the different situations. Think I’ll try that 720 120 Narrow for my motorcycle rides… and that 2.7K 30 Wide looks like it should be good from my handlebar mount. Thanks again for your hard work and for sharing it with the world!
    – Moto Didj

  • Kristin

    Hey, i have just a quick question! I want to know if the GoPro camera lens, does only have the barrel distortion effect when it is shot up close, OR if it’s like that ALWAYS – from a distance shots as well? I can’t seem to find the answer anywhere!
    Thank you! 🙂

    • You will notice the distortion more when you’re closer to objects; however, the distortion is always there. It isn’t that noticeable from far away, and you can change the modes to medium or narrow to rid yourself of distortion!

  • Le Duck

    Abe, I think you did a mistake when you said the 4K Cin mode is like the standard 4K mode but with top and bottom cropped. The 4K Cin is like the 4K mode with increased width (4096×2160 in 4K Cin and 3840×2160 in 4K), then 4K Cin has more resolution than Standard 4K. Please fix it. Sorry for my poor english, I’m brazilian.

    • Thanks for that catch, you’re right! I updated the article.

      • Le Duck

        Abe, I think when you updated the article you changed the 2.7K Cin too, but in this resolution there’s really less resolution – It’s the standard 2.7K with top and bottom cropped. Fix that too. Anyway, thanks for fixing it.

  • Palerider21

    Hi Abe
    Excellent review & content. I just bought my hero3 today. Turned it on tried to film & take pics but all I got was a white screen with a green line down left hand side & noise from my bike. I am not sure if its broken or if I have it set up wrong?? Any info would be great

    • That sounds pretty broken… I would drop customer support a line.

      • Palerider21

        Thanks Abe

        I took it back today & they replaced it with new one out of box
        Just wondering when I play video back using Vlc media player it’s very jerky Was filming at 720 by 120
        Any thoughts

        • Playing back 120 in VLC may result in some funny things since it’s trying to play back a lot of frames in a small amount of time. I always use the shortcuts CMD – or CMD + to slow the footage down. Go down about 4 times for 25% and you should have a good slowmo smooth playback

        • Great! In VLC 120 FPS stuff is hard because it’s trying to play back a lot of frames in a small amount of time. I use CMD – (that’s a minus) 4 times to get it down to 25% playback and it’ll play smoothly I bet!

  • Awesome Sauce

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write this. Just made my purchase that much better. Rock on.

  • W Guile

    Hi Abe,

    I understand that you are using CS6 and it has built in lens distortion effect. May I know what are the values you use to get rid of the fish eye effects editing footages shot in Medium and Wide ?

    Are the amount of distortion the same for all resolutions if they are using the same FOV ie Wide at 1080 = Wide at 2.7k or Medium at 720 = Medium at 1080? Is there a difference in the amount of distortion with and without the waterproof casing?


    • I’m confused. I’m not using CS6, some Final Cut and some CC. I don’t use lens distortion removal.

      But yes, the amount of distortion between a wide and a wide are the same if the sensor crop is the same. Also distortion and in and out of the waterproof housing is equal (not true on HERO2).

  • rohito

    Hi Abe, I should have looked at this post before my last few go pro trips! I have the black edition but my computer is fairly low powered (mac air 1.86 ghz 2gb base graphics card). How can I get the most out of my gopro while still being able to comfortably edit the videos on my comp? I use FCP X for most heavy editing but simple iMovie for general stuff.


    • 720-60 is a great mode to use, and shouldn’t be that taxing on your computer. Also avoiding ProTune will make your clips play back much easier. I survived 3 years of GoPro filming only utilizing 720-60 🙂

  • Christopher

    Hi Abe,

    First of all great article, one of the best I’ve seen.
    I want to use my GoPro Hero 3 Black on a chest mount harness to record my motorcycle rides, what would be the best settings? I have read about 1440-30 N, is that the best? You also mention 2.7K 30 W, which one is the best?

    • On a chest you will find 1440-30 W will give you the best motion and the best view. If you’re a novice editor I’d probably say do 1080-30 W. Not sure what kind of moto rider you are, but if you’re leaning forward at all, turn the J-hook upside-down so the camera hangs – angle it so when you’re hunched over, it’s pointing straight out.

      • Christopher

        Awesome Abe, I am a novice editor for sure, I have a HD Vrod and you kind of lean forward a bit so I will take the inverted J hook advice and use the 1080-30 W.

        • LongBeach_Patriot

          Hey, I also use a chest harness while riding my motorcycle. Have been using 1080-60 Wide and it actually looks damn good. Why would the lower frame rate (1080-30 W.) be better?.

          Also I ride a street bike and have noticed that you cant see much besides the handlebars and windscreen on my bike which is smoked out. I actually think a helmet mount or the suction mount tot he side of the fairings would be best, Going to try it out tomorrow while we still have nice weather in New York.

          • Christopher

            I have the same problem with my bike, most of the footage was the handlebars even with the J hook inverted, I will try now the helmet mount. In regards to 1080-30 W, I am following Abe’s advice if you do not have much experience editing.

  • Ben

    Hey Abe, huge fan of your work. Seems like you mostly use FCP as opposed to Premiere Pro, but I was wondering if you had any suggestions. I have been shooting in 720W at 60 FPS. When I watch the original uncut footage it is extremely clean and crisp. After I put together an edit and attempt to export the footage from Premiere Pro, the quality drops significantly. Do you have any suggestions or go-to export settings for Premiere Pro. Thanks!

    • I use Premiere Pro just as much as FCP now. Can you screen shot your export settings? I’d probably do something on this order –

      • Ben

        Thanks a lot, I’ll try that out. I attached the settings I was previously using (sorry I have a smaller screen than you, needed to take two screen shots haha). I have been using the automatic settings when starting the sequences after looking into it I have found out that probably isn’t the best idea. Do you have any suggestions for the Sequence Settings as well? This is the last video I put together (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHmEA0kqqLQ) it looks good, but I know that the quality is not as high as it should be, especially after comparing it with the original raw footage. Thanks again!

        • Oh boy your sequence settings are far from correct. Frame size should be 1280 x 720 ( for you) pixel aspect ratio = square, frame rate =29.97. That should do it. If you see the DSLR presets when you create a sequence or project, use those! Your export settings were close but 5000 Kbps is gonna give you a good amount of compression artifacts.

          • Ben

            Alright cool thanks a lot, really appreciate it. I’ll try those ones out. I have been searching all over trying to figure it out and everyone has different opinions. Figured I’d ask the pro. Thanks again!

      • Cody

        Is that Media Encoder you’re using?

        • Cody

          edit: or could you at lease use Media Encoder with these settings?

  • Guest

    Abe, I think you did the same mistake in the 2.7K Cin resolution when you updated the 4K Cin. The 4K Cin have more resolution than the standard 4K, it’s true, but the 2.7K Cin is the same as the 2.7K standard, but with top and bottom cropped (less resolution). So… 4K Cin > 4K but 2.7K Cin < 2.7K.

  • SilverbackWK

    Thank you for this awesome guide. JeepFest 2013 starts tonight. I’m going to start hsooting with 1080p @ 60. Sweet!!!

  • LongBeach_Patriot

    Hey, I also use a chest harness while riding my motorcycle. Have been using 1080-60 Wide and it
    actually looks damn good. Why would the lower frame rate (1080-30 W.)
    be better?.

    Also I ride a street bike and have noticed that you cant see much
    besides the handlebars and windscreen on my bike which is smoked out. I
    actually think a helmet mount or the suction mount tot he side of the
    fairings would be best, Going to try it out tomorrow while we still
    have nice weather in New York.

  • Nate Opgenorth

    Great guide! I know allot about this stuff and I still learned even more! I was dissapointed about the 1440p at 48fps though :/ I like to shoot 24fps and 48fps together almost exclusively. I don’t like the 4:3 frame of 1920×1440 BUT I think of it as the same as shooting 1920×1080 since I drop 1920×1440 in a 1920×1080 timeline and can just crop from the middle for 1920×1080 BUT I can move it around for the best framing….sorta like shooting a movie in 1.85:1 on 4-perf and cropping in post…especially useful with heavy VFX. My only wish is to get 2.7K 16:9 with 24fps as you stated…weird but on my silver edition some modes only give you the max frame rate, my black edition is much more versatile though. Also sort of wish for a narrow mode in stills, of course you can crop in most but still an interesting idea to use the GoPro as a regular camera.

    • LongBeach_Patriot

      Extracted photos from video clips are amazing in VQ.

  • Kevin Taylor

    Hey Abe, excellent article! I was curious what setting you would recommend for a dusk hot air balloon ride through Sedona. Thanks for the help!

    • Any of the 30fps modes! Specifically if it’s mounted to your head or chest, 1440-30 or 2.7K-30. If you’ve got a slower computer, 1080-30 W. Try some 1080-30 M if you can do some good steady B-Roll or mounted shots.

      • Kevin Taylor

        Awesome, thanks for the advice! I will have the GoPole Reach with me as well as a chest mount so I will give those settings a shot.

    • Nate Opgenorth

      Anything at 30 or 24fps should do. I’m a huge fan of 24fps but not everyone is and understanderbly so since it exhibits slightly more motion blur. I’d go with 1440p30 mixed with 2.7k30. 1440p is great because for 16:9 Delivery (what you’ll most likely be doing) you can adjust up and down in the timeline and 2.7K because I find it downsamples to 1080p AMAZING and even if your computer is slower you can always proxy edit, down convert the footage, or better yet bear the brunt (I’ve been there!). Hope you have a good time!

      • Kevin Taylor

        Would you recommend using a polarized filter as well?

  • Edward

    hey Abe, thanks for this great article. I am new to all this and have been filming with a gopro black in the last few weeks. I love it and it’s a lot of fun. I was planning on buying final cut and loading my footage in to edit, but now I am hearing FC doesnt take gopro footage in some cases? Any advice or alternate ideas would be much appreciated! Also, I am working on a short student film so I’m filming in 2.7k cinema setting. Any ideas on how to make it look the best it can? I am looking into protune setting and white, color balance. Thanks very much!

  • Evan Rogers

    Hi Abe! My name is Evan Rogers and I am 15 years old! I totally appreciate this article!! It gives me a ton more insight than I would ever have had by myself! I am a GoPro fanatic and have been filming and editing since I was ten. I love GoPro because it has totally helped me develop as a filmer & editor. You are the biggest inspiration to me, in fact you are my inspiration on all things filming, editing, and skiing! I currently use my HERO 3 Black Edition, Canon 7D, and edit on Final Cut Pro X and Motion 5. Can you give me some tips on how to go far with my filming and editing? I have seen practically all of your videos and marvel at them every time I see them! Me and my friends love having good times hanging, exploring, skiing, and doing all kinds of stuff with GoPro!! I have talked with Kyle Ohlson about GoPro stuff. I wanted to ask you how you got your position with GoPro? I am looking to work for them in the future if I can as it’s my Dream! What process did you take to apply? Also you have the best camera personality! Caleb, Chris, and all those dudes are awesome. The music videos you have done with Christine Donaldson are awesome. I will probably be shooting something similar in the future. Thanks so much for your time! Hopefully I can see you on the slopes someday, haha I’ll probably wet my pants and then try to utter words to you guys! Also if you want, Check out some of my videos on YouTube! There are a couple on the bottom. Thanks!!! Evan Rogers (@evanrock13) | http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zLW4vnRa9w | http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrTRTXzqWuk

  • Aaron

    Hi Abe, great article! Thank you much for all the information thus far. I am also a recent owner of a Go Pro Hero 3 and my question encompasses Go Pro Studio. Do you use Go Pro Studio? If so, or having experience with Go Pro Studio, I wanted to ask you if you have ever experienced the error message “Unable to play file. File may be corrupted or in an unsupported format”? I get this message when trying to upload my videos for editing. Under the “import new files” column you can actually see the picture of what I recorded but I am met with this message an unable to go any further… Now, Quicktime player will play the videos but its choppy…skips and what not… Widows Media Player plays them just fine without any jitters. VLC probably plays them the best but as I have the “free” version my editing is limited. Thus, I question why Go Pro Studio won’t play the files. I believe they are all MP4 format… I’m wondering if it is my PC and its inability to run the program adequately? I’m open to any suggestions and thankful for all advice.

  • LongBeach_Patriot

    Hey, I also use a chest harness while riding my motorcycle. Have been using 1080-60 Wide and it
    actually looks damn good. Why would the lower frame rate (1080-30 W.)
    be better?.

  • Rene

    Hi Abe,
    What would be the best setting for aerial video using a drone?
    When I’m shooting a movie all my other data is in 1080p, 50 fps. Does it make a difference when I use another frame rate on my GoPro Hero 3 Black edition?
    Thanx for your answer

  • Jeff

    What would you suggest for a bow hunting experience on a fall day?

    Would it change in regards to it being sunny out or being cloudy?

    Could you list the specific settings I should set my phone to?

  • Jaik Hakkarinen

    Hey Abe! I am working on a ski film for my school’s film festival. They said that the film would be projected onto a fairly larger screen, and I want my film to be a lot of POV shots. This is why I am primarily filming with my GoPro Black Edition. Should I record in 2.7K or even 4K as a last resort? Or should I stick with the go-to 1080p 60fps. I edit with iMove 08, and I would also like some info on better editing softwares I could use. Thanks man! (P.S. I can’t afford Final Cut Pro)

    • I doubt the projector will be any higher than 1080P, so shooting higher than 1080P is..not useless… but I wouldn’t try to shoot high-res because of that reason. I would shoot most POV at 1440-48 or 1440-30 and utilize the stretching tricks I talk about in my latest post. Also try getting Adobe Premiere, it’s got great student pricing on CC

  • Gabe Cohen

    Thank you Abe! This is just what i needed to fully understand the different modes of filming on the black go pro. Love your videos and keep up the good work

  • bob

    Hi Abe,
    First, let me say thank you so much for the awesome help and tips you’re providing via your blog.
    Second, I have 2 short questions:
    -what would you choose for best settings if you had to shoot aerial shots from an airplane performing aerobatics? (outside and inside the plane)
    -You mentioned you love the 1440 30 Wide but it can be cumbersome because of the 4×3 aspect ratio but it could be fixed with “anamorphic 16:9 dynamic stretch tricks”. Could you explained in a bit more details or do you know of a tutorial online that explains about this? Thanks

    • If you are shooting the plane, 1080-60 probably, if you are shooting the ground from the plane, 1080-60 Medium

  • morkolorz

    in one night I learned more that I could in a week or more….Thank you very much I love your site ! 😉

  • Nicolas

    Hi Abe! Did you make the 3D model at the top of the post ? Because I am modeling a GoPro and I can’t get this nice metallic look 🙁 So if you could give me a little tip… 🙂 Awesome post btw !

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  • Donh

    When I download to the desktop the video is very choppy, I have a 3 terabit slave hard drive so storage shouldn’t be the problem, I have shot it in one mode far 1080 at 30 frames, Best Buy suggested 1080 at 60 or 720 at 60, The main thing I going for is a nice picture and no choppy video and sync-ed sound, I live in D.C. so there is lots to see and I want to send video to my Kids in California. So any suggestions, Thanks Don

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  • Kevin Vienneau

    My issue is, I’m recording at 720p-60fps, then I output it to 720-30fps at 26300 bitrate for youtube. I’m getting some blur(don’t know if that is the proper termanology). Mostly when I start riding faster. I’m recording from a helmet on a motorcross bike going farly fast on rough ground. Does anyone have this issue, is this standard. I’m just trying to improve my shots. BTW awsome guide, love it.

    • That just looks like compression issues. I’ve noticed stuff has been looking more compressed on YouTube. Try uploading your video to vimeo and see if you have the same issues.

  • Kevin Vienneau
  • dpyy

    Thanks, this was really help!! But could you please comment on 2.7k medium? How does it compare with the other modes?

    • 2.7K medium has similar attributes to 1080-30 Narrow. You’ll see more noise since it’s pixel level stuff, but it looks good scaled down!

  • Jefunski

    Abe, I just bought 2 Hero3 Black’s and 1 Hero3+ Black to shoot live bands. Since the lighting is always changing colors and dimming in and out, I’d like to get your opinion on resolution, FPS and FOV you would use. The videos will mostly be on Youtube.

    • I personally would use a mix of 2.7K 30 & 1080-30 Medium FOV. If it’s pretty dark I would leave ProTune off.

  • Jr297

    Hi Abe,
    Great website. I just bought the Go Pro 3+ And I should say that I am a rookie at this. When I download to my Mac computer the video seems to skip or isn’t smooth. When I review it on the LCD/touch screen attached to the gopro the video runs like normal. I am assuming it has something to do with processing but can you give me any advice? Thanks!

  • Seb

    Hello Abe,

    Great article! Now you need to update it for GoPro Hero 3+ 🙂 🙂


  • Akil313

    Where do i edit these settings i only see 1080-30 960-30, 720-60, 720-30

    • Sounds like you’ve got a white edition! It doesn’t have quite as many options as the Black or Silver

  • KP

    Hi Abe – I have the Hero3 Black and I take it hunting with me on my headcam. Suggestions on what setting I should use for my archery hunts? The videos I have been taking the deer are impossible to see yet they are only 30 yards away. Its like finding waldo in my shot and I have no clue what I should do. I know you are busy but thank you for your help! ~KP from KS

    • Try 1080-30 Medium or 1080-30 Narrow if you’re steady with it!

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  • Tyler Graim

    So, would you not recommend 24p at all? I don’t want the “smooth video” feel that 60fps gives you. We will be doing a lot of post production and effects to the footage so I am trying to figure out what will work the best for that. Would love to hear your opinion.

    • It depends on if your final output is 24P or not. I shoot 60 and 30 because my timelines are in 30

  • littlegromjon

    Hi just wondering what you think about 1080p 48fps cheers

    • I don’t use it mainly because I edit in a 29.97 timeline. 1080P 60 looks identical to 48 so I’ll get more slowmo by shooting in 60

      • littlegromjon

        Cheers for the reply I figured as much

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  • Austin

    Hey I’m just getting into filming and was wondering what is the best editing program to use with a go pro? Thanks

  • Paul

    hello ABE, great explanation of go pro . after reading your article , I find that 720 120 Narrow is the best choice if i want to record a vedio in factory , record when i operate the machine , right ??

    • I don’t think so. Inside 720-120 will be pretty grainy and dark. I would say 1080-30 or 1080-60 if you need slow mo

  • Andrejs Sims

    I love filming but i am not good on picking up the right resolution and fps for right place!
    Thought maybe you could help me out a little bit !
    i am going to Brazil for 4 months and want to make a little trip video with my GOPRO HERO3+ BLACK.

    1) what is the best for sunny day time ?
    2) for night life ?
    3) sunset or sunrise
    4) underwater
    5) high movement video

    and why when i take pictures with go pro its always so blurry ?

    • It’s not always about the activity but also where you plan on mounting it. I would say
      1) 1080-60
      2) 1080-30 or 1440-30
      3) 2.7K
      4) 1080-30 or 60
      5) 1080-60 or 960-100

      You are probably taking photos in low light? Pictures in the day time & sunny should be pretty crisp

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  • Pete

    Abe, amazing breakdown. Thank you. My question is: I’m shooting batting practice, indoors, and wondering the best setting for getting the crispest video? I plan on using slow-mo in FCP X to edit and possibly freezing the video. What setting would be best? Thanks

    • Indoors you’ll always want lower frame-rates. I would say 1080-30 but if you want slow mo, I suppose I’d go with 1080-60.

      • Pete

        Thanks. I’m assuming always shoot in Protune as well. Finally, when slo-moing the video, the bat isn’t as clear as some other videos I’ve seen. I shot it 1080-60. Is this best? Thanks again

  • Rifen89

    I have black and silver edition of hero3+ and i must say among them black edition is great and awesome to click and videoing. Black edition is 11 megapixel with slow motion capturing ability at rate of 60 frames at 1080p and this gives me a great benefit. Currently i wrote my experience about the go-pro the review is gopro silver vs black. Hope you will find help from that.

  • Kevin Slifer

    So if i shoot in 2.7 wide. what woukd it need to do to watch it on my 1080 tv?and can youtube play 2.7?

    • Hmm, I’m pretty sure if you plug in HDMI it will scale, but don’t quote me on that. Yeah YouTube can play 2.7K

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  • adgolfer

    Hello Abe, Fantastic breakdown on the new camera, I’m just getting in the mix with the GoPro Hero 3+ and I have it mounted on a gimbal to a quadcopter. What’s the sharpest, least amount blur setting on for the GoPro for the quadcopter?

    • Thanks! My two go to modes for Phantom filming are 2.7K 30 and 1080-60 Medium. Both of those will get great results. With 2.7K watch your vertical tilt, blades are easy to catch if you’re too high!

  • Ian

    Hi Abe,

    I bought my Gopro Hero 3 Black edition for the sole purpose of underwater filming and skiing. Swimming seemed to work decently well but was blocky with what I was using at the time ( 720 12) I believe, but my real question is for skiing since the season is starting.

    What setting should I use on a clear day with the sun beating down on the snow, making it shine, while going at a half decently fast pace?

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  • Lucy Biggers

    Do you have any suggestions for filming at a concert? catching all the lights but also closer shots of your firends?

  • Tom Howard

    If you select Auto-WB will it keep one temp throughout the video or will the temp change during the video?


  • will

    Abe-Hello. Very new to GoPro community. What accounts for having a lot of blurry pictures when set at 10 second intervals on 1080-60? Thx- Will

    • Not sure what setting you are in. Are you talking about photos or photo while doing video? 1080-60 is a video mode. Either way, if you’re shooting in cloudy conditions or indoor, you’ll get blurry photos.

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  • Logan D

    Hey Abe!
    I was just checking out your website and I was wondering if you had someone make it for you or if you could send me a link on how to make one similar to it so i can create a portfolio of my own DSLR/GoPro shots. I want to be able to have the url LoganDavidson.com.

    Thanks a lot man! Keep killin it!

    • I made it myself, and it would take quite a lot to build one from scratch like it, but you can find a bunch of custom templates online.

      • Logan D

        Sounds good, Thanks man!

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  • sami

    1080-60 for driving and cycling and motorcycle wide, i have the GoPro 3+ not a great job during night time driving!! but day time nothing can come close!!! please go to my website and let me know what you thing? thanks to all!! and happy new years!!


  • sami

    1080-60 wide for all day activity driving cycling and for motorcycle, but not a great camera for night time driving, i have a 3+ I have tried every setting but thy all are the same, but during the day nothing can come close to 3+!!! happy new year to every one all the best!!! and please go and look at my photography website and leave me comments, thanks again. http://www.samiohebphotography.com

  • Conner

    Hey Abe, I love the break down of everything and it really helped when going through the settings. But I am having trouble trying finding the right setting when I want to shoot some POV parkour videos. I have a mount on my helmet and been playing with the settings but finding one that is the best is tricky. What would you recommend.

    • I would say 1440-48 or 1440-30 are your best bet. If you have the 3+ use 1080-48 Superview!

  • will

    I am talking about photos-oops! I have the hero3+ silver and we had it on time lapse-1/10seconds. I was riding a bike and had it on a handlebar mount, and they pictures were very blurry. I was outside and it was very slightly dark. Any suggestions? Also, what settings do you recommend I put my go pro on when i want very high def photos/vids when I’m kayaking, paddle boarding, waterskiing, wake boarding, surfing, sailing, biking etc? I want to get very good quality photos, so any extra recommendations would be great. We will use it for mostly water sports. Lastly, Is the hero 3+ silver edition a good model for what activities we want to use it for? I love your blog-very well thought out! Thx so much- Will

    • I would use 1080-60 for your video for all of that action! For photos I use photo every .5 seconds, they will be less blurry! Good luck!

  • John

    Hi Abe,
    Just bought this fantastic Gopro. I have a few questions for me difficult to answer. I live in Europe so we have Pal and instead of ntsc. Can I record and play in ntsc if i want to play it only on a computer and beamer/projector.
    Next week I go to try to make picture of whale and orca’s from a boat. Is 1080 with 60fps good? Or can I alway use that for daily use?
    Hopy you have some answers for me.
    Regards from Holland

    • Yeah, NTSC is fine. You’ll be able to do everything if you’re based off of a computer. 1080-60 is fine. If you’re on the boat try using 1080-60 Medium FOV vs wide. It’ll be a little closer to the action

  • Connor


    First off I love all of your work. Your videos are phenomenal and I’m a big follower and fan of you. I use my GoPro 3 to film action sports using mostly a pole mount. What setting would you recommend for filming skiers and snowboarders in the park? Also, what setting do you use when flying the Phantom?

    • Thanks Connor! I would use 1080-60 for filming in the park. If you want better quality switch into protune. For the phantom I use 1080-60 Medium or 2.7K

      • Thanks so much Abe! That’s what I use in the park… Keep doin your thing and inspiring so many!

  • Chris

    Abe’s article is a wonderful reference. I couldn’t find that information anywhere else. Please forgive me if this is a little off-topic.. Has anyone tried to import video taken by a GoPro Hero3 or Hero3+, with resolution at some mode greater than 1080, into iMovie 10 (the latest version, for Mavericks)? I’d love to get a new Hero3+ and record in Abe’s favored 1440 or 2.7k modes, but not if that means I have buy Final Cut Pro X for $300 to edit those movies. Apple doesn’t list tech specs for iMovie like they do for FCP.

  • jake

    Abe I just got the gopro hero 3 black+ but I have been having trouble with video shake on test hikes. Any ideas for mounting? I hike with a backpack. Tried the chesty but it was really shaky. Thanks abe

  • Thomas Wittek

    Does anyone know where the jagged edges come from in the 4:3 modes?
    I would have expected that in these modes the camera would just use a larger area of the sensor, crop less.
    Why does that lead to jagged edges?

  • Gvyfyvyff

    Hey my go pro images were fine and not blurry in fast motions shots but now they have gone blurry any suggestions

  • Scott Gray

    Awesome article Abe. Question from a musician. I used it to shoot a gig in a low light venue. Because I mounted it on the other side of the room, I believe I used 1080 Narrow 24FPS. Was grainy as hell. What would you recommend for bars/clubs/stages? We also do a lot of indoor pyrotechnic work. So you’re essentially in low light with sudden flashes. For example, an arena concert. Thoughts?

  • Bruce Christianson

    I’m sorry if I missed it in speed reading this article, but what do you know about the HERO 3+ focus issue at infinity. Is it really adjusted for close focus and not at infinity? I shoot the GoPro mainly with Aerial Photography from a Hexacopter, and the results on the H3+ are not acceptable since everything is so far away. Is there a reason I should take it back and use the H3 instead, or is there a fix possible, without voiding the warrantee?

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  • lrosicky

    The best article I read so far. I was a little confused at the beginning with the option labesl, until I found out they are different for PAL and NTSC. Perhaps it is worth noting that it is NTSC you are describing. .

  • Ernesto Sin

    Hello Sir! a lot of people may have asked you this already but, whatever happened to your Hero3+ review post? are you gonna re-upload or something later on? thanks a lot 🙂

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  • Charlie

    Hey abe I have a couple questions. 1. What video software do you use? 2. I have a GoPro Hero 3+ Black edition and i use 1080p 60fps and so when I try to upload the videos to my computer, when I playback them after they are uploaded, they are very broken up and choppy. Any ideas what this might be from? and how to fix this problem?

  • Matthew McNeil

    Hi Abe
    I was just wondering what filming setting you use in your videos and which one you would recommend to film in
    Thank you

    • James Tirol

      Hi Abe and to everyone if some of you knows how to solve my problem you can also reply!! Why is that when I try to import my videos on iphone shot on 1060p 60fps it only gives me an option to import it on my iphone at low resolution unlike my other videos that has an option to import it at high resolution can you please help me.. I know that I shot it at 1080p 60fps but it only gives me an option of low resolution.. Is there a way to make it at high resolution video?.. 🙁

  • colin

    Hey Abe,
    With the new superview mode with the hero 3+, is there any need to use the 1440p resolution because superview is 1440p converted to 1080?

  • Anthony August

    Abe, thanks for the great article! I posted the link to a DJI Phantom group and it’s gotten tons of great feedback!

    I’m wondering if you have any issue with your Gopro powering of in cold weather? I was using mine today in Zero degree F and it would shut off after about 20 seconds of recording video.

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  • Andreas

    Hi Abe! Thanks for making this! It really made things a lot easier. But I got one question, i love skiing and love your ski videos. What settings do you recommend for powder skiing? Is 2.7K 30fps wide a good mode?

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  • Laurence Seberini

    Hi guys, I did this video showing the different settings in this wonderful article as show from my Phantom 2 using my Hero Black: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuM-QRtNnXI&feature=youtu.be

  • Noah

    Could you give me some tips for making a timelapse with Gopro Hero 2? By the way you’re awseome and I love your videos!

  • Jeff

    Have you made an updated version of this for the Hero 3+ Black? Or are the specs basically similar?

  • Pablo Germén Sierra

    hi, i have a quick question, why i can’t take photos in 16:9 aspect ratio with my gopro?

    • Thomas Wittek

      You can crop the 4:3 photo to 16:9 at no loss.
      Shooting in 16:9 will already have less information (top/bottom removed).
      So shooting in 4:3 is always better, because you can still decide later on cropping *which* part of the photo you want, and which part to crop.
      Essentially 16:9 would only have disadvantages.

      • Pablo Germén Sierra

        thanks thomas!! however, i would like to take pictures in 16:9, without have to crop all of them. is there a way? a plug-in or something? thanks again!

      • Pablo Germén Sierra

        thanks thomas! however i would like to take pictures in 16:9, without have to edit them. Is there a way, a plug-in or something? thanks again!

        • If you are totally set on taking 16:9 photos there’s a way! It’s by taking photos while you’re filming. Make sure the camera is in a 16:9 video mode (like 1080-30) and then press the front button (power button) while you’re filming. It’ll save a 16:9 photo when you press it.

  • johnny

    Hi Abe,
    I’m new to using the GoPro hero 3 black edition and was wondering what is the best video setting if im playing paintball?
    Thanks everyone

    • I would say 1080-60 is your best bet! If you’ve got a 3+ maybe 1080-48 Superview!

  • Leo

    Great info !! Thanx for Sharing!

  • Victor

    Just made a powder edit with your help! check it out! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTZcAKtYis4

  • victor

    Just made an edit with your help! check it out, thanks!


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  • Arthur Lechevalier

    Hi there! Thanks for that wonderful article, helps me a lot.
    I don’t know if you’re still around (I see the comments are circa one year old..) but anyways, I have a question:

    I’ve got a GoPro 3+ Black Edition, and I want to do a stabilized POV (gyrocam-style, with high angles, up to almost 90°). What’s the best mode in your opinion? 1440-30? Or 2.7k? Or anything else?

    Thanks! Have a nice day.

    • Hey Arthur! I’m very much around! Not quite sure what you mean with the high angles but I would assume 1080-60 sounds like the best for what you’re doing. If you’ve got plenty of light you won’t get motion blur with 30 FPS, but to be safe you’ll have smoother motion with 1080-60. The other option is 1440-48 if you want a bit more view on the vertical POV

      • Arthur Lechevalier

        Wow thanks for the quick reply!
        With “high angles” I mean I’ll rotate the footage in post-prod up to 90°. Actually, that means I want to be able to do like a barrel roll in my frame and in full screen. So yes, I need more view on the vertical POV.

        • Ah yes, 1440 will be what you want. 1440-30 will look better when scaled up vs 48.

          • Arthur Lechevalier

            Thanks a lot. 😉

          • James Tirol

            Hi Abe!! Why is that when I try to import my videos on iphone shot on 1060p 60fps it only gives me an option to import it on my iphone at low resolution unlike my other videos that has an option to import it at high resolution can you please help me.. I know that I shot it at 1080p 60fps but it only gives me an option of low resolution.. Is there a way to make it at high resolution video?.. 🙁

  • Wow really enjoyed this article and helped me learn my GoPro3! Thank you! I agree the 2.7k 30 Wide is great. I was shooting with 1080p Wide but when you mentioned why not go with 2.7k I tested it out and put the two videos side by side and yes the 2.7k is much sharper! So my question is, since I will be shooting the camera in 2.7k 30 wide what should I shoot the close ups of my actors in? I would like the close ups to look more like a DSLR and you mentioned that 1080p 60FPS Narrow looks more like a DSLR but since I will be cutting the wide and narrow shots together to make a video shouldn’t I stay with the same FPS? Any advice would be amazingly awesome to match up the shots! Also for me since I am making sketch comedy videos should I still turn Protune on and do the Auto setting since the Gopro3 shoots such a flat ugly color LOL? Thank you! 🙂

    • Good to hear! If you want, you can set the camera in 1080-30 Narrow as well, then you’ll be keeping the same frame rates. Are you running a HERO3+ or HERO3? If you have a HERO3 I’d probably recommend not going with ProTune.

      • Okay great I will run 1080-30 Narrow to match the wide 2.7k 30fps. Do you notice when recording in 1080-30 narrow and 1080-60 narrow it seems a little jumpy? Kind of a little shake to it? When I have the camera locked down it seems fine but if I hold it and move with the camera it seems very jumpy. I have the HERO3 Black. So I should turn off the ProTune? Is there any way to get better color with the GoPro with the Hero3? Thanks for the fast response! 🙂

  • Griffin Parrish

    Thank you for this very helpful article! I am going on a four wheeling trip and was wondering what settings to use. Most of the footage will be mounted on the ATV, helmet or a pole. Thanks again!!!

  • Darren Mather

    Hi Abe, I’ve just bought a hero3+ BE, I’m having issues with the audio being out of sync with the video… Have you came across this issue, Any suggestions would be great? thanks Darren

    • Azim

      The higher the definition, the more processing power the computer needs to synch both…….. could be the hardware of your computer being out of date/not up to spec for full HD that the 3+ has OR could be the camera.

      Try plugging the camera directly into a TV and play it off there. You’ll know if it’s the camera or your computer that is at fault.

      • Darren Mather

        Since I posted the question I’ve discovered exactly what you say, My laptop basically is too old and slow. It seems that when I record on higher FPM then I have the issue. ie 1080/1080 superwide at a max of 30fpm and 720/720 superwide at a max of 60fpm works fine but anything higher I have issues.
        Also gopro studio deosnt fully work with a low spec laptop….
        Thanks for your reply

  • Marc

    Hi Abe,

    Great article and it’s helped with the endless setting possibilities.

    My Black 3+ will mostly be mounted to a motorcycle. Am I right in thinking 1080/60 medium/wide for day time use and 1080/30 as the light starts to fade

  • Azim

    Thanks for all this. Any tips/advice on sports events? I like to bring my GoPro to hockey games or amusement park rides…. the problem is I like the smooth picture of 60fps but these things can go from bright to dark in an instant and there’s no time to switch to 30fps or back to 60fps so my videos look great in one or the other. Protune is great in post-production, but it adds on editing time since I have to cut and adjust each light/dark switchover then piece it all together.

    I’m upgrading from the Hero 3 Silver to the Hero 3+ Black now, so I hope some of the new modes will help.

  • Andrew

    hey abe, I see here that you have a great page with a lot of helpful information. You’ve also helped many people as evident from the comments,(ill have to go through them to learn some more…)
    Can you update with any differences with the Hero 3+? Now there’s superview and some more modes in 2.7K, etc…
    Thanks! Love the site!

  • dc

    Somebody from GoPro needs to make some training videos about your products – check out Lynda.com – to see how the pros do it. One more video clip of a guy with a gopro on a ski pole with some crap upbeat music, just ain’t good enough !

  • Djrutter

    I have filmed in 1440 can I change it to 1080 so I can put it on my iPad please help

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  • ac nyc

    best info i have found yet , legend ! cheers

  • Azim

    A little technical quirk that I just realized after asking GoPro about my Hero3 Black+……….. If Wifi is turned on, and then you turn the camera off, Wifi is still on/being broadcasted. The only way to ensure Wifi is Off is to turn it OFF before powering down the camera. Wifi is on a different power line directly to the battery, so if you turn the camera off before turning off Wifi, you’re still broadcasting.

    This also happened in the non+ models. So just an FYI.

    • Yes, this is by design so you can turn your camera off but then use WiFi to turn it back on. If you hold down the wifi button, even after the camera is turned off, it should turn off wifi. You’ll see the blue light flash 7 times.

      • Azim

        Thanks, I didn’t know it could turn on via remote if the wifi remains on. Good to know!

  • Guest

    Are there any results/battery tests using the LCD touch screen attachment?

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  • Azim

    When you say “In summary, for me – ProTune + AutoWB + 1080-60, 2.7K, 1440-30 & 1440 48 is my jam”

    Does the ” – Protune” mean you don’t use Protune? Or are you just using a dash… I can’t really decide when to, or not to, use Protune when I’m in daylight surroundings. I would like the added feature of simultaneous Photo and Video, but can’t have both 🙁

  • James

    What proportion of the sensor are used for narrow and medium?

  • Riley Hughes

    Hey Abe, thanks for this tutorial, its the most informational tutorial i’ve ever read regarding GoPro. I have a question regarding 1080p and 2.7K, in your guide, you love both modes. Should 1080p be used in more action sport environments? Using 60 frames for slo mo and 30 for low light. While using 2.7K for more stable shots such as car mounts? I’m just a little confused when to use 2.7K more specifically.
    Thanks so much and keep up the good work.

    • No problem! I use 1080-60 for high action. If I need lowlight I’ll film in 2.7K rather than 1080-30 because you’ll end up with the same result, just more resolution with the 2.7K

      • Riley Hughes

        Thanks so much! One other thing, is the Camp Of Champions GoPro film school still happening this summer and in coming summers? And if they are will you still be running those sessions? Once again thanks so much.

  • petey

    this is all pretty epic, thanks mate. just got a hero3+, i got a rad girlfreind.. wanted to know what the best for slowing down surfing footage. I’m thinking 1080-60 after reading all this but i want to REALLY slow the footage down. think i was using 24fps before and it was a bit stop- start. Anything you can think of to help with shooting waves?

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  • Marcos Pedroso

    Ok! Used 2,7K 30fps, and now what I can do to edit and creat a film with that great resolution?
    Marcos Pesroso

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  • Azim

    I have a hockey net/slide board set up in my basement, it gets a decent amount of natural light but has ceiling lights everywhere. Despite the lighting, I can’t get any fluid video, it’s all really blurry when I try to slow it down, even just 1/2 speed – any tips? There’s a lot of motion blur. I’ve tried all FPS settings but still no dice.

    Maybe the bulbs aren’t the best, I might try moving everything outdoors. But before that, what should I set the the white balance to for a basement/decently lit setting?

    • Azim

      I just realized I had auto lowlight set to ON… which could result in the footage recording at half the FPS. I’ll try again with it off.

  • agin budiman

    hi abe,and hi everyone,this very interest article,i have some question,what the great settings video resolution for cycling and motocross,with gopro hero3+ black edition ?

    • GoPro Nerd

      Answer is 1080p 60fps Protune with SuperView.

      • Go Pro with GoPro

        Or 1440p 48fps Protune

    • I would either use 1440-30, 1440-48 if you want slow motion, or if you want it to be in a 1080P timeline, use 1080 Superview either in 30, 48, or 60 FPS


    If you were to use the Gopro on a DJI Phantom quad drone for video and photo construction, which settings would you use?

    • I prefer either 2.7K M or 1080-60 M

      • JPSLV

        Thx! Can you play the 1080-60 at a normal speed or it’s slow motion?

        • It will be normal speed by default. When you’re editing you can choose to slow it down

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  • Max

    Hello Abe,

    I am really interesting in understand how the resolution of each frame change.
    there is something I am probably missing when comparing the single frame for the same “wide angle” settings but different window i.e.
    1440 or 2K or 1080 or 4k.
    I understand that for the fix wide angle settings, I am using the largest FOV and so I am recording the biggest portion of the image
    but then which one of the settings for the window give the highest resolution?
    By exporting each frame for the different mode 1140, 2k, 1080, 4k I have noticed I have always 72px/inch.
    So I understand that the resolution should be the same over all the export frames….is that correct?
    So when you say that the data are “scaled down” I am imaging that the resolution is kept fix (72px/inch).
    Am I wrong ?
    So then if the FOV is the same, a frame with 2K or 1440 has the same landscape but spread over a different amount of pixel in the horizontal axis for example. I would expect to have higher resolution with 2K because at first glance this would be higher sampling
    of the same recorded landscape but then when I see that the pixel/inch is always 72 I get confused….
    is it due to the scaling of the raw data?
    If yes, then I should see bigger image in one case than the other (I mean kind of zoom).

    Sorry I am trying to understand…???

    Thanks for any help
    and great blog / website ,……thanks!!!!

    • Hey Max! You are understanding it all correctly! It’s all 72px/inch. When we talk about higher resolution we mean simply higher pixel count. For example we would say 1080P is higher resolution than 720P. In the end it will all get scaled to a single frame size (1080P, 4K, etc) so whichever mode you filmed in that is the largest frame size will have the highest effective resolution.

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  • Very detailed and concise. Love the article. Will definitely share to our readers.


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  • Hey Abe, I am using different GoPros for a while now and I know a lot about it but this post was the best thing I’ve ever read about GoPro its easy to understand and shows you every important fact of an awesome camera. Just want to say thank you! Peace out 🙂

  • David

    Great article, thanks for posting, answered a lot of questions, but raised a few more.
    My primary goal is to get the cleanest looking video I can. From your article, and previous recommendations in this thread, it looks like 1080 60 W, 1440 30 W, and 2.7K 30 W are the sharpest. However, scaling 1440 is probably beyond me at this point so that leaves me with 1080 60 and 2.7K 30. Also, I want to minimize the GoPro “look” so I was going to shoot Medium rather than Wide. I don’t know if that will affect the sharpness of those modes…?
    In your opinion, what are the best shooting modes for the following:
    Ziplines – I’m guessing 1080 60 M due to speed and vibration? I’ll also be using a Neutral Density filter to get some motion blur back.
    Scuba Diving – Can’t decide between 1080 60 or 2.7K 30 for this. Also, I’ve read that a red filter is a must.
    Boating, Jet Skis, Water Skiing, etc – I’m guessing 1080 60 M again?
    Parasailing – Guessing 2.7K 30 W since there won’t be as much vibration?
    Swimming with Dolphins – Again, not sure on this one. Obviously there will be a lot of movement and I’ll be close to the subject matter.

    Thanks for any input

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  • Kevin Taylor

    Abe – what modes do you prefer for shooting with a Phantom 2? Are there any modes that help with the jello effect?

  • If I use GoPro studio to fix a lens distortion (which I think works pretty well), can you then export the file as ProTune or will Studio always apply a colour profile ? Or what other program, Premiere Pro CC, FCPX, After Effects would you recommend that produces great lens distortion correction with out destroying the quality of the image ? I can only assume some ways of doing it perform better than others ?

    • You can pull off the color profile applications. GoPro studio I have found is the best for reducing lens distortion – the others like Optics Compensation in After Effects do a good job, but it’s not catered specifically to the GoPro distortion profile. In GoPro studio after you transcode just make sure you go over to the right hand side where all of the image adjustments are and pull them off. Down under presets should be a “none” option. Once you have that file, right click on the file in GoPro studio and say reveal in finder, there you’ll find all your converted files to use in an another editor if you want.

      • Thanks Abe – I didnt realize that the program applies the filter to the converted file with out the need to export. As you said reveal in finder and remove the filter, I tested revealing the file with and without the filter and your right it apples the filter as a live change directly to the file. Thanks for your help, I learnt something that its very good to know.

        • Yeah, it’s not that intuitive but that’s the main feature of the cineform/GoPro codec are those live changes. Things like lens correction are applied on transcode but anything related to color/sharpening/curves are all live change-able at anytime with that converted file. After you’ve edited it in a different program you could drop those converted clips back in GoPro studio and add sharpening/color etc and it would update in your editor.

  • Mike

    can you do an in-depth review of the Mobius cam also? similarly to one like you did for the GoPro? thanks.

    • Sorry Mike! I work for GoPro so I have a lot of information about them. Not so much the other cameras!

  • Sarah

    Hello! I am thinking of purchasing the GoPro Black 3+ Edition. However, I am worried about the picture/video quality in narrow mode. I am also unsure if the narrow mode is telephoto enough for the application. My goal is to be able to stick this camera to my head and record, in detail, pet grooming techniques. It is important that some of the videos are high quality because I will be using them as a teaching aid. I noticed that some people are cheaply attaching an existing micro lens to the GoPro with pretty awesome results. Before I take the leap and buy this camera, would you please give me your opinion on using this camera for my application as described? Thank you.

    • Hey Sarah! It depends on how close you really need to get to see what’s going on. I would assume you could get away with filming in wide, but in a high resolution mode to show what’s going on. If it’s attached to your head you get a great deal of experiential detail. This video was all shot in wide to give you an idea of how much you’ll be able to see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LLDLmmoB4s . I’m afraid narrow might be too shaky and disorienting if it’s mounted to your head.

  • Peterson

    Hi, what is the best setting for high motion?!

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  • St3ve

    Does anyone know the correct settings that i can use to upload to the best quality footage to Instagram?
    I have an android phone and a mac available
    so on the phone I’m trying to use the app to wifi footage to my phone then upload to IG.
    But it comes out pixelated don’t know if its my resolution settings or camera?

    if you know help me out plz! thanks

    • bee

      640x640px composition saved in h.264

  • CTOMS2

    Thank you so much for this! I cant tell you how much this has helped me

  • audunms

    First of all, thank you for an excellent article!
    Are you planning a similar/updated article on the Hero4? Especially interesting are your recommendations on FPS/res/FOV-combinations. I have not found any other explaining this as good as you do here for the Hero3.

  • Jack

    Hey Abe,
    I just bought a Hero 3+ Black to use at work as a POV body-worn camera. I’ve been playing around with a few different settings and trying to find the best one for me, but it seems like you’ve got a much better idea than I do!
    Basically what I need is something that gives a decent quality picture but doesn’t use too much battery, since I can’t really be changing it out 5 times in a single shift. It won’t be running all the time, but I’ll have the wifi remote to turn it on when I need it which would probably be around 6 hours a day.
    From just playing around a bit, I think I like 1080-48 during the day (instead of 60 for battery reasons), and I’d probably turn the frame rate down for night shifts (although I’d still need it to be clear if I went from outside into a bright room at night). I don’t know if 30 or 24FPS would be better though.
    Do you think I’m on the right track, or do you have another suggestion? I also liked 1440 but I found it killed the battery a lot faster.

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  • J Robinson

    HI Abe. Great breakdown of the different resolutions and views.
    I am going to go up in a Hot Air Balloon in Prague at sunset later this week and was planning on using 1080 30 wide

    Is this the correct choice in your opinion ? or would you maybe lean towards 2.7K 30 wide or even 1440 ??

    Your input will really be appreciated…i think hot air balloon is the only activity not covered on all videos on the web.



  • john

    Hi there Abe what do you recommend for a hero4 25p 4k protune workflow in premiere pro cc? is a transcode to a pro res option the best bet for scrubbing etc?


  • DW

    Have you played around with a Phantom Quadcopter and a GoPro? Favorite settings for that setup?

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  • Cheska

    I just received my GoPro Hero 3+ Black edition camera. What should I do first? Some people online are recommending updating the software. Would you recommend the same? And do you have experience with using the SanDisk microsd ultra 16gb? I’ve heard it’s not compatible? Thanks in advance 🙂

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  • Uwe Neumeister

    Hi Abe, thanks for giving such useful advises. I have a problem which I can’t figure out why it happens I’m using the gopro4 black on a drone with a stabilzed gimbal in ProTune 2.7K50 as you recommended it, after Importen in filnalcut ProX I always get something like short jumps in the flow, like I lost some frames… they are still there after exporting in ProRes 4:2:2 or others. Any idea? thanks

  • tom

    i buy hero4 silver, whith resolution use for fly flishing, thanks

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  • Kurtis

    Hi Abe, love the article. Just bookmarked your site. Noticed it’s an old article so hopefully you’ll still see this!

    Sounds like 1080p 60 is one of your go-to settings; I’ve been always using 1080p 30, and 60 only if I want to slow the footage down. Would there be a benefit in shooting at 60 fps if I’m not planning on slowing the footage down?

    Thanks for the help!

    • Hey Kurtis, the only benefit would be if you are filming stuff that’s shaky or jittery, 60 FPS will help reduce rolling shutter/jello look

  • Jason

    Thanks for putting this article together, I’m new to GoPro but just got myself a Hero4 and I LOVE it!!!

    I’m thinking about getting a remote viewer for my Hero4, but not sure if I would need to have certain settings to get the best out of it (if that even makes a difference). I’m looking at getting a Removu R1 (http://www.Removu.co.uk) as I want to get my shots lined up before I start shooting (hopefully saving time/battery)… Does anyone have any experience with an R1? If so, is there a certain (or optimal) setting for the Hero4 to be in while using an R1? Or does it not make a difference?

    Sorry if this question is basic, but I’m still new to all this and this site seems to be a good place to get some advice. Thanks in advance!!

    • Hey Jason, honestly if that’s all you need I think you’d be fine with using a smart phone with the GoPro app to frame up your shots! It’s free and pretty easy. It’s what I use in the field.

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  • Marvin

    Hi, Thanks for explaining 🙂 Witch settings do you recommend in a club with strobe lichts etc. I am gonna film a dj Very soon and was wondering What will be the best settings. 1080/30fps i guess? And lowlight should be on? Hope to hear from you!
    My cam is a gopro 3+ BlackEdition btw, Thanks!

    • Hey Marvin! I’ve had good luck with anything in 30 FPS. I typically use 1440-30, 2.7K-30 or 1080-30 will also perform similarly. I would turn on ProTune and set your ISO limit to 400 to make sure the blacks are black and not too noisy.

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  • Give Me M&Ms

    Hey Abe, I’m having a lot of trouble with uploading my 3+ black videos to Youtube. They look pretty good as far as Youtube videos go but every few seconds or so for about half a second the whole frame goes crazily pixelated. I’ve attached a comparison image. I’ve tried every encoding setting I can think of and currently I’m rendering all of my videos at 45-55 Mbps. This seems to give the best results but I still get that pixelation every few seconds. My videos are quite high motion and have quite a lot of color in them compared to city footage. Any ideas?

    • Unfortunately that’s just the downfalls of YouTube upload compression. We deal with the same things at GoPro. Sometimes we have better luck uploading the full ProRes semi-lossless file to YouTube (which takes forever to upload and convert)

  • Clifford

    I’m diving dark dark water caves with a dive light. Which settings so I capture the most overall view.

    • What camera are you running? I would personally shoot it at 2.7K 4:3 30FPS, if you’re running the silver or 3+ you can use 1440-30

  • At Shutter Speed


    I am going to be filming some on the spot interviews in multiple locations on a large construction site and am wondering what the best settings are?

    This footage is later going to be mixed and edited with 23.976fps footage in Final Cut Pro 7…

    • What camera are you running? If it’s a HERO4 Black you could film in 4K 24FPS. If you’re on 3+ or 4 Silver use 2.7K 24FPS medium or wide!

  • Erymar Torres

    Hi Abe. I have GoPro Hero 4 I bought it last 3 weeks this is my first gopro and I tested out with this settings 1440 80fps and 4K. When I export all this video on Premiere CC in 1080 timeline but the outcome is the video is like stuttering to some kind of laggy. The video concept is not ACTION film but more only on selfie videos and some underwater, both video settings is stuttering. Please help me good tips! Sorry for my bad english 🙂

    • Hey Erymar – can you post a screen shot of your sequence settings as well as your export settings? I’m afraid I can’t diagnose the problem unless I see what you’re using!

  • Andres

    Hi Abe, Im going to be going to BlackLight Run later this year and was wondering what settings to use on my Hero4 Silver? Ill be using my Chesty. From reading your articles i thought maybe 1080 30fps or 2.7k 30fps.

    • Andres

      Also, I was wondering if 2.7k is 4:3 or 16:9 and if so how do i make the 4:3 into 16:9, What percent would i have to scale it to on Premiere? btw thanks for all the tutorials!

  • Simon Stuvel

    Hello Abe, your article has all the fundamentals you need for understanding how The GoPro captures.
    I understand now why the(Gopro 3+silver) pixels are grainy and correlated when shooting in dim light with the FOV set to Narrow at 720p 30fps. When i selected Wide for the FOV the video was sharp. What i still dont understand is why Gopro advises you to select 720p 30 fps for dim light because with 1080i 30 fps I do not see the difference.
    Anyway great article, many thanks!

    • Hey Simon, anything with 30FPS is recommended for lowlight – either 1080 or 720, you are correct!

  • Big John

    This was very helpful thank you. i have a question about the time of SD cards you use. Im having trouble with video being choppy, like it cant keep up to the video feed. Right now im running a Lexar 633x, 32GB, 95MB/s

    • That sounds like the proper SD card – the choppiness is more than likely coming from the playback in your computer. Try viewing in VLC and make sure the content is copied to your local hard drive and not playing from the camera/SD card

  • Josh Israel Benavides

    I want to film my listing(house) indoors for sale, which settings (reso) on my gh4 black do you recommend? I will use adobe premiere pro for editing. please ive been breaking my head!

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  • LJ

    This is a major help dude! I am a huge snowboarder and usually uses the standard setting for timelasp at half second. I was wonder what you would recommend. Ido tricks and want to catch them.

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  • Vitalie Bucsa

    Hi Abe! I’m planning to go scuba diving in Florida keys this January and I am taking my GoPro Hero 3+ Black with me. What would be your advice in terms of camera settings ( resolution, fps and pov ).
    Thanks a lot !

  • Paul

    Hi Abe. I hope you’ll help me out with a question. What do you think are the best settings for unsharp mask in premiere pro when editing Hero 3+ Black video? Probably it depends on several things, but just a guideline 🙂 Thank you!

  • dejan

    guys,, can anyone help???? i would like to get the narrow field of view (ideal for diving,, makes objects look closer and more real) and get the maximum quality out of my camera.. with the gopro 4 black..

    on the gopro 3 i was using 1080 narrow field of view.. no narrow field of view in 4K mode.. can anyone explain the term scaling?? or maybe filming in 4K and then zoom in editing,, do i lose quality if i go for example from 1080 wide to 1080 narrow??? why size remains the same( 1080 x 1920)??excuse my ignorance))) thnx a lot for any explanation!!!

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  • Jack Allen

    What setting should i use for a jet ski?

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  • Olivia

    Hi Abe,
    I am planning to buy the GoPro Silver 4 and was just wondering what settings I should use for a Blacklight Run video. Loved this article!

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    Hi Abe,
    I have a question regarding PAL and NTSC. I always used NTSC to have a better frame rate to film outdoor which seems logic to me. (even if I’m European)
    I have a gopro 4 Black and use 4K.
    But according to gopro, the bitrate is the same between a video in NTSC 4K30FPS and in PAL 4K25FPS.
    It would mean that in more of the better luminosity in PAL(because of the 20% lower framerate), probably each picture should be in better quality in PAL than in NTSC.. (same bitrate but less picture so each picture should use more bits)
    According to this, I ask myself if It would not be better to use PAL 4K25FPS to win 20% of quality on each picture and having a better luminosity when conditions are less well…
    what do you think?

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  • Brian Armstrong

    Hey Abe 🙂
    Thanks for your great info.
    Im a professional camera guy and I just took a video then realized some VERY IMPORTANT information was just out of my frame right >
    I am wondering if there is any way to ‘pan and scan’ or see the maximum FULL WIDTH of the raw image on my go pro hero 3 so that i can get that information that is just out of frame?
    Thanx a lot

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