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GoPro Field Guide: Understanding Video Modes on HERO4


I’m GoPro athlete Lakey Peterson. I hope I can teach you some of the best practices for creating immersive and engaging GoPro content. For this episode of the GoPro Field Guide, I’m going to cover several different video modes that help for creating a surf video, and how to determine the best video resolutions and frame rate to use. Many people ask, “Why not just shoot in the highest resolution mode possible at all times, like 4K30?” Well, when you’re shooting in higher resolutions, you’re doing it at the expense of frames per second. To remind you, frames per second or FPS, denotes how many frames are in each second of recorded footage. The higher this number, the more you can slow the footage down and still have a smooth playback. For YouTube, the standard playback rate is 30 FPS. This means 4K at 30 FPS needs to be played back at 100 percent speed to keep it smooth, also known as real time. If you want slow motion, for example, playing back footage at 50 percent speed, then you would need to increase the frame rate to 60 FPS.This way, at 50 percent, it would still be playing back at 30 frames per second. Slowing your footage down by increasing the frame rate is great for smoothing out shaky footage and to be able to slow down that epic moment of action. Let me take you through some examples to help explain this. Because we are on the beautiful North Shore of Oahu, let’s start off with some stunning shots of the natural beauty of Hawaii. For these opening shots, I am using the all-new 4K30 video mode, only available on the HERO4 Black camera. The level of detail and clarity is amazing in this mode and is great for any shots where you don’t need slow motion. This should be your go-to mode for maximum image quality where your playback speed is going to be in real time. For opening beauty shots where I do want slow motion, like waves crashing on the beach, tide pools, or palm trees moving in the wind, I put the camera in 2.7K 48. This allows me to slow the footage down while retaining wonderful image quality. Now that we established the scene, it’s time to put on a Chesty or Head Strap and get some fun, point of view footage.Adding various POV shots from the morning routine like stretching, grabbing and waxing a board, and heading to the beach are great ways to introduce the character, create anticipation, and give the viewer a unique perspective that only a GoPro can get. For POV shots without slow motion, I use the new 2.7K 4:3 mode at 30 frames per second. This mode uses a full frame of the sensor but will need to be dynamically stretched in post-production to take advantage of the extra image at the top and bottom. If you want the camera to do this process for you, then put the camera into SuperView and you will get the most immersive view right off the camera.Both these 2.7K modes are great for lower light environments like sunsets and indoor shooting and provide maximum image quality for POV footage. If you would like to use slow motion for your POV shots, then you will have to choose a video mode with increased frame rates. I recommend using 1080 SuperView at 60 FPS so the camera stretches the video for you. However, 1440/60 works great if you don’t mind stretching the footage yourself. Both of these modes have options to increase the FPS to 80. You may want to do this if you are seeking super slow motion, but be mindful that this increase of FPS will be at the expense of image quality.So only increase to 80 if you know you will slow the footage way down. That’s enough setup footage for now, it’s time to go surfing. For video modes, there are a lot of different options for capturing surfing. From the nose of the board, I want the tallest frame possible so my head and feet are in the shot. Again, for this, I recommend selecting a mode that has SuperView, so it gets the most immersive view possible from my GoPro, without having to do anything in post-production. My personal go-to SuperView mode is 1080p at 60 FPS for great image quality and slow motion flexibility. If you’re looking to put your GoPro in one mode while you surf, this is it.Again, you can bump the mode up to 80 FPS for better slow motion, but with a slight trade-off of image quality. If you’re looking for ultra slow motion, use 720 SuperView at 120 FPS, an all new mode in the HERO4 Black. While the quality may not hold up to 4 or 2.7K, the added slow motion can be worth it. This can be a great mode for big turns, critical drops, and to mix up the flow of your video. Be mindful the trade-off between image quality and higher frame rates when choosing a video mode. If your end goal is to get the slowest barrel shot of your life, pick a mode with higher frame rates. If you want the best image quality for a sunrise or sunset, choose the mode with higher resolution. Now take these tips and apply them across all your GoPro videos. I hope you’ve enjoyed this GoPro Field Guide episode helping you choose the correct video mode for your HERO4 Black. Thanks for watching and check back soon on GoPro Tutorials for more Field Guide episodes soon. .


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