This article and the videography series was kindly sponsored by GoPro, who provided us with the GoPro Hero 9.
Take a look around the interwebs and ask the question – What are the best settings for my GoPro? I did that leg work for you!
The answer will most likely come back as, or very close to this – but why not the stock factory settings?
- Lens – Linear w/ horizon leveling
- Resolution – 4k/5k (depending on the model)
- Frames – 24
- Hypersmooth – Boost
- Bit Rate – High
- Shutter – Auto
- EV Comp – -1.0
- White Balance – 5500 or 6000
- ISO – min 100/ max 3200
- Sharpness – Low or Medium
- Color Profile – Flat
- Raw Audio – High
- Wind – Off
…but these aren’t set in stone, for one simple reason, the camera doesn’t know what YOU want to film and how YOU want it to look!
Easy right? Understandable, maybe, maybe not… let’s explain. I’ll use the GoPro Hero 9 Black as my example camera
Like any electronic item you buy nowadays they are usually ready to go straight out of the box, the same can be said for GoPro.
…but the base settings might not be exactly what you want or need to get optimum output.
This is a short guide to the settings and what would be a good set up for simply just filming and playing back without editing.
Linear w/ horizon leveling gives the video a more natural feel and not a ‘fish-eye’ view and the horizon leveling will stop the whole video rotating, instead, you will move inside the frame as the horizon stay still.
Resolution and frame rate:
5k is the highest, for obvious reasons you always want the best resolution, this determines the quality of the footage you are going to produce.
24 – A shutter speed of double the fps is understood as the norm. 24fps @1/48th second is the norm. or 30fps @ 1/60th second is the norm.
With the GoPro, choose 24fps/5K if you want real-time video, and 60fps/4K when you intend to convert to slow motion. The camera adjusts the shutter speed automatically.
This is GoPro’s proprietary image stabilization software, and it is very good, so much so that some filmmakers are using it instead of a gimbal.
Set it at Boost, it’s as good as it gets,
For motorcycle related videos, we are on a paint shaker, and most of the time it will make your video almost unwatchable unless you have a very smooth running bike. Make the most of this, but its a good idea to show some part of the motorcycle (look in the bottom right corner) to show the roughness of the ride, but the footage will be smooth and watchable.
Here is a good example you can click on below.
** note; IG compresses the quality of the footage, sadly!
High – This is again for video/ image quality and file size if you can, obviously, use the best option which is high
Auto, this is just for ease of use, the camera will adjust the shutter correctly for you if you change your frame per second/ fps…so just one less thing to remember to change
-1.0, why? The GoPro has a tendency to overexpose when it films, the brighter areas can be completely blown out, so by stepping it down you can reduce that possibility and if need be, adjust accordingly if you do post-production to bring the amount of brightness back into the footage YOU choose
As most of you will be using this when riding, you are outside and want it to look as natural as possible, 5500k (Kelvin)
Kelvins control the color temperature of the light source it sees, so you don’t want the GoPro to ‘auto decide’ this for you because it quite simply can make your footage coloration seem unnatural
If you are riding on a more cloudy or darker day, push it up to 6000k or maybe 6500K for more natural-looking footage
min 100/ max 3200, is for light sensitivity and for faster shutter speeds which in turn will help with stabilization
Low or Medium, never high. Use Low when you plan to do some post-production, or medium if you plan to use the footage straight out of the camera.
High sharpness most agree is too sharp and actually distorts the quality of the output
Flat, it will look best on most footage around 95% of the time, and seem more natural.
If you plan to do some post-production this will also help and reduce the amount of adjustment needed.
The GoPro profile is good for when you are around water, in other instances, it looks a little unnatural
Raw Audio/ Wind:
Raw Audio – High and Wind – Off,
Mostly, because the other settings can distort and switch the sound from stereo to mono and back again depending on how the unit hears it.
There is a good chance that you’ll turn the volume down on playback and add some music if you ride at speed anyhow, but for slow riding why not let it hear everything.
There are two mic’s, one under the lens and one on the top, if you want to reduce wind noise, even more, maybe add a mic muffler/ dead cat as it can help greatly. Looks ugly but works, make sure the fur isn’t blowing in front of the lens.
Sound can be tricky depending on where you have your GoPro mounted on your bike and how much wind can actually get to it.
Try a short test video to see what works best for your kind of riding on YOUR bike
As there are three main video categories – Standard, Activity, and Cinematic, it is a good idea to have these set up differently so out in the field you can swap and change between them and not have to make micro-adjustments on the fly.