I couldn't sleep so I decided to share my GoPro experience with the JKO community and answer common questions. I'll update this thread later with pictures of where I like to mount my GoPro and other tips & tricks as I remember them. I will try to answer any questions as best as I can. I shot, edited and did visual effects for commercials and feature films for 10 years.
What format do I shoot my GoPro videos with?
The GoPro Hero 2 has the following video settings:
WVGA, 60 frames per second, 848x480
WVGA, 120 frames per second, 848x480
720, 30 frames per second, 1280x720
720, 60 frames per second, 1280x720
960, 30 frames per second, 1280x960
960, 48 frames per second, 1280x960
1080, 30 frames per second, 1920x1080
First let me explain the frame rates. When you watch tv at home the video is displayed at 30 frames per second. If you record a video at 30 frames per second and play it back on your tv you will watch it in real time. If you record video at 60 frames per second and play it back on your tv, you will watch it at half-speed. The 60 frames you recorded in 1 second will take 2 seconds to play back at 30 frames per second. The higher the frame rate you record at, the slower the video will appear to play back. Use the WVGA, 120 frames per second setting for ultra slow-motion videos.
As for resolution, only the 1080 setting records in full 1920x1080 HD resolution. The other settings offer close-to-HD resolution and take up less space on your memory card.
Here is a chart demonstrating the different resolution settings proportionally. Note that it isn’t full-size.
What is the best setting for YouTube videos?
Planning on uploading your videos to YouTube? Remember that you can always compress your footage, but you can’t give your footage a better quality (scaling doesn’t work). I never shoot in a resolution lower than 1080.
How do I edit my GoPro videos?
I have a Mac and use Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premier. I recently upgraded to Final Cut Pro X and am still riding the fence on if I like it or not. But these options cost money! GoPro offers a FREE app that works for both Mac & PC, called CineForm Studio and can be downloaded from their site here
. I haven’t used this software. Keep in mind that GoPro files are processor heavy and will be taxing on your system to edit.
What is the best way to export my GoPro videos for YouTube?
Save your videos as high of quality as you can and let YouTube compress it for you. I export my videos from Final Cut Pro as ProRes 4:2:2 files (not HQ). A 15-minute video is typically 18 GB and will take 15-20 hours to upload. If you aren’t sure, export in the native GoPro codec, MP4 and at the same resolution you shot at.
How do I clean the GoPro lens?
Be careful when cleaning the GoPro camera lens (on the actual camera body, not the polycarbonate case). The lens is a finely machined and polished surface that is coated with special chemicals to eliminate lens flare and affects other image characteristics. If it needs to be cleaned don’t wipe it with your dirty, sweaty t-shirt- it’s like rubbing the lens with sandpaper and ruins the coating. Use either lens cleaning paper or microfiber wipes, both are available at photo supply stores. I can’t stress enough how sensitive the lens coating is. You can order replacement housing lenses from GoPro.
Where do I mount my GoPro on my Jeep?
You can mount it anywhere! Get creative and use the mounts with your kit. I recommend the Motorsports edition that comes with the suction cup mount. Be careful when using this mount. Surfaces need to be VERY clean or it will fall off. The suction cup can also mar the finish of your paint. Later I'll post some pics of where I like to mount mine. My favorite spot is on my headlight (only during the day).
How long does the GoPro battery last?
I typically get about a half day of wheeling from one battery. I don’t mean I have the GoPro on for half a day, but that I can shoot many trail runs before it dies. The battery usually runs out before the memory card is full so I carry an extra battery.
What kind of memory card should I get and how big?
Memory cards have ratings for how fast they can record data. Look for an SDHC card that is Class 4 or class 10, up to 32 GB. The camera doesn’t recognize cards larger than 32GB. A 16 GB card will get you about 2.5 hours of HD video. Here is an article that goes into data transfer rates and card ratings if you want more detail.
Here is a video I shot entirely with a GoPro mounted on the end of a 6' paint roller extension using their tripod mount and a 1/4" screw. There is a link in my sig to my YouTube channel if you want to see my other videos.
Rock Crawling at SMORR - YouTube
I hope I answered your general GoPro questions. If you didn't find what you are looking for consult your user manual. If you lost yours here is a link to the Hero 2 manual.