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The Best Settings for the GoPro HERO5

GoPro HERO5 Settings

 

The GoPro HERO 5 is packed with more features than any other GoPro created. This can make picking the correct setting a very overwhelming task. In the first section of this blog I will explain all the main settings of the HERO 5. In the second section I will run through some examples of settings that should be used for some common GoPro shots.

 

The HERO5 Settings

 

Field of view

 

The field of view setting controls the range of the perspective that the camera will capture. The HERO 5 now has 5 different field of view settings. These are Wide, Medium, Narrow, SuperView and Linear. The Wide, Medium and Narrow settings control purely the angle of the view that your camera will capture.

GoPro Field of View

 

The SuperView and Linear functions work a little differently. These functions alter the appearance of the image.

 

SuperView

The SuperView setting will capture the same field of view as the standard Wide setting.
However, the difference is that with this setting the image is stretched close to the edge of the frame and compressed towards the centre. What this means is that the fish eye effect that GoPro cameras are known for is minimised in the centre of the frame and exaggerated towards the edge. The purpose of this setting is to give footage an immersed feeling.

 

This setting is great for pole mounted shots as the camera will keep the subject in the centre clear and undistorted, while exaggerating the environment around it.

 

Linear

The Linear setting is at the complete opposite end of the spectrum to the SuperView setting. This setting corrects the fish eye effect of the GoPro lens, giving you a more conventional image. While this has always been possible when editing in GoPro Studio, the HERO 5 is the first Camera that allows you to select this option while filming.

 

The Linear setting captures the same field of view as the Medium setting. The differences in all the field of view settings is summarised in the table below.

 

 

Quality

 

The HERO 5 quality settings haven’t changed a lot from the HERO 4 Black. Both offer a maximum of 4K and a minimum of 480p.

 

When deciding which quality setting to use you need to consider what your end purpose of the footage will be. If you are intending on editing your footage in a computer based editing program it is best to use the highest setting possible. This will allow you to crop your videos without losing too much quality.

 

If your intention is to only replay your footage on mobile devices, using 1080p or 720p will suffice. If are using GoPro’s new cloud storage system, GoPro Plus, you should also shoot in 1080p as this is the highest quality that can be uploaded.

 

When picking the quality setting you also need to consider the Aspect Ratio. The Aspect Ratio is effectively choosing between wide screen and standard play back ratios.

 

Some GoPro gurus recommend changing between ratios depending on how you mount your camera. This made some sense for some of the older GoPro models, however because of the way the HERO 5 divides up its quality and FPS settings, it is now better to use the 16:9 ratio at all times. You can always crop down to 4:3 later if you prefer the appearance.

Using a consistent ratio also helps when combining clips in to a longer video.

 

 

 

Frames Per Second (FPS)

 

As the name suggests, this refers to the number of frames that the GoPro will record every second. Like the quality settings this hasn’t change much compared to the HERO 4 Black.

There are two main things to consider when selecting your FPS rate:

  1. The speed of the subject you are recording
  2. The amount of light where you are recording

When recording something fast moving like mounting biking or snowboarding it is best to use a high FPS rate. This has two benefits first of all it will give the footage a much clearer fluid feel. The second benefit is that you will be able to slow the footage down when editing without looking choppy.

 

As you select higher FPS rate the footage will reduce the exposure of each frame. This will result in your footage appearing duller. For this reason you should only use a high FPS rate with good lighting.

 

Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS)

The EIS setting is a new feature of the HERO 5. This setting will help reduce any shakiness or vibrations your Camera picks up while filming. Shaky footage has been one of the biggest problems in GoPro footage since its creation. Up until now the only real solution to this problem is to use a Gimbal while filming. A small down side to using the EIS setting is that your FOV will be reduced by 10%. In my opinion this is a small price to pay for the huge improvements this makes to your footage.

 

Unfortunately the EIS feature does not work for all resolutions and FPS settings including 4K at 30fps. This feature also can create some strange effects when it is used in low light environments For these reasons my general rule of thumb is to keep this setting on except when recording non-action footage in 4K or when recording in dark environments.

 

Protune

 

Protune has been a feature on the last 2 generations of GoPro and hasn’t changed much on the HERO 5. Protune allows GoPro users to have more control of the image quality and appearance.  There are two ways you can use Protune. Firstly you can turn it on and leave all the settings on auto. If you use this option your footage will initially appear more dull and flatter then when you use the cameras default settings. However, when you edit the footage you will have a lot more control over colour and appearance.

 

The other way you can use Protune is to manually change the image controls before recording. Protune allows you to adjust the Exposure, Colour, White Balance, etc

 

Protune is a feature that was developed for experienced users. If you are new to using a GoPro, I suggest avoiding Protune until you have a good a feel for the camera.

 

 

Settings examples

Now that you know the basics of the GoPro’s features here are a few examples of how to use the settings in different recording scenarios.

 

 

Vehicle mounted

Whether you are mounting your camera to the front of a car, bike, surfboard or snowboard the principal is the same. I would suggest using 2.7k at 60fps with a wide field of view. As vibrations are likely you should also turn EIS on. The 2.7k at 60fps gives you the maximum quality possible while still having the option to replay in slow motion and use the EIS function.

 

 

Pole Mounted Shots (Action)

GoPro Setting Snowboarder

These are the type of shots where you are recording yourself, using a pole, while doing something that is fast paced. This may be Snowboarding, Skateboarding, Zip Lining or Snorkelling. With these shots you should use the same settings as above, 2.7k and 60fps with a wide FOV and EIS turned on.

These types of shots also look amazing with the SuperView field of view on. However, since SuperView in not available for all resolution and FPS settings, you will need to drop back either the resolution or FPS.

 

Pole Mounted Shots (Non-Action)

Couple Selfie

Whether you are standing on top of Mount Everest or in front of the Eiffel Tower, the settings for these shots are the same. As these shots do not require you to capture any fast action you can use a lower FPS, Which also means you can use the highest quality.

 

With these shots you want to you see the highest quality available to you, which on the HERO 5 is 4k. Using 4k means that can no longer use very high fps but since these are non-action shots 30fps is acceptable.

 

 

 

 

Body Mounted

GoPro Body Mounted Shot

For body mounted shots I recommend using 2.7k at 60fps with EIS turned on. Generally I would suggest using the Wide FOV, however both SuperView and Linear modes can also create good results if you would like different effect.

 

 

 

 

Using your GoPro as a family Camera

 

If you are someone who is more likely to be recording your baby’s first steps then a double back flip on a snowboard you will probably want to keep your settings simple. If this is you, try using 2.7k at 30fps with Linear FOV. The 2.7k quality setting ensures that you have plenty of room to edit your footage later and will look good on a wide screen TV or a phone screen. The 30fps works great in any lighting conditions and is great when you are filming in non-action environments. The linear FOV setting is also the best setting people who just want their footage to look like a conventional cameras footage.

 

 

Social Media Sharers

If you have no interest in ever editing your footage on a computer and just want to get your footage on to Instagram or Facebook as quickly and easily as possible you fall into this category.

Since the major social media platforms work in HD there is little point in recording in anything higher. Therefore, it is best to stick with recording with 1080p at 30fps. Recording with anything higher will just fill up the memory on your camera and mobile device for no good reason and increase the upload time!

 

Now that you know the basics of using your GoPro HERO5 check out Picking the Best Angle for your GoPro Footage

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Daniel

3 Comments

  1. I will be using my GoPro primarily for walking hikes through the National Parks, including the beautiful southern Utah parks (Bryce, Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, etc.) where there is a lot of bright sun hitting red rocks, but also for some additional “tree” hikes. My purpose is simply to capture my hour long hikes, from beginning to end, but I also want to capture as much beauty from the vast landscape (without excessive distortion) as I possibly can. I have the Hero5 with a Karma Grip Stabilizer with the Extension Cable, which will be mounted on a bicycle helmet. I am an older fellow that will be walking on trails, with the plan to watch and relive my hikes after returning home. I have no experience with post processing, so I’m probably looking for the basic settings you recommend (Resolution, FPS, FOV, Color, WB, ISO, Shutter, EV Comp, Sharp, Audio, Protune, Video Stabilization (in camera), Auto Low Light, Manual Audio Control, etc.), but I would also be interested in your recommendation for the best post processing software for these types of activities if you feel that would enhance the beauty. My hikes will be at various times during the day, with no recording at night. Thanks so much for your help.

  2. tenho um Gopro 5 Black,nao seu usar time life,voce por favor poderia me dar uma explicaçaõ,
    Mateus de Lima,meu whassp 21-981781864

  3. 2.7k@60fps as per your ‘vehicle mounted’ suggestion is NOT an option – it’s 2.7k@50fps if you’ve a Hero 5 Black with v02.00 firmware

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