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Old Jan 31, 2013, 06:36 PM
Silent Flight
Twyl's Avatar
United States, CA, Cypress
Joined Jul 2005
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Optimal GoPro settings for slope videos

I've been taking slope videos for a bit over a year now using what I coined as my GoPor system. Basically an iPhone and tape contraption held in the mouth by biting down on a piece of tape wrapped around the phone. This system has been fun to record some video and share with friends, but it definitely isn't ideal.

Now I have finally bitten the bullet and purchased the latest top of the line from GoPro, the GoPro Hero3 Black edition. I am a noob when it comes to GoPro and it took me about 4 hours last night to get it all set up, firmware updated, and connecting via WiFi to my iPhone. That done, I am now trying to figure out the optimal settings for filming slope videos. The optimal setting would give good video to share via YouTube or Vimeo but not too excessive that you were wasting memory card space or capturing a quality of video others would never really appreciate.

I've sent a few PM's out to people who's videos I admire and whom I believe also use GoPro's, but figured it would be great to open this up to all of the slope community for comments and discussion.

In particular it would be nice to get feedback on the GoPro Hero3 Black edition, but I think including discussion on all models and editions would be the most beneficial for the entire slope community tinkering with GoPros.

Discussion regarding pro's and con's of video hosting services and editors are welcome as well.

Thanks!

-Jonathan
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Old Jan 31, 2013, 06:40 PM
Feeling FrSky
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United States, CA, Santa Barbara
Joined Feb 2003
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Hi Jonathan-

Here's copypasta from my PM in reply to you:

Yes, I've used GoPros quite a bit, all my videos over the last year or so have been filmed with one. I have the HD Hero2, so a bit different than your Hero3 Black, but in general:

There are three FOV settings. We found the "Medium" setting worked the best - still plenty wide, but no fishbowl effect like we got with the widest setting.

I always filmed at whatever the highest resolution is, and at 30FPS. I believe the Hero3 has more features here - I just wanted to make sure what I captured would look good on a 1080i TV screen, or a 1920x1080 monitor. You can always export it at lower resolution (if you want) for Vimeo, Youtube, etc, but like with any digital photography, capture it in the highest quality you can - you'll thank yourself down the road.

Class 10 SD cards from Sandisk or similar are a good call. Get the biggest you feel you can afford. They aren't that expensive and they don't really ever wear out. Make sure you have a big hard drive to back up movies to, if you want to keep them for posterity - they take up a lot of space!! A cheap standalone USB drive works OK for archiving.

Beyond that, we use the headstrap to film. The planes get really small when you fly farther than 50-60ft away! So this is really well suited to close-in, VTPR/ultrabatics type stuff, and not very good at all for "big air" flying.

Angle of the headstrap is important; it took some trial and error to find the best position to keep the gliders centered in frame. A lot of my really cool fin and wingtip drags happen just off camera and it bums me out to miss it because the camera was angled slightly too high... conversely, you can miss the flying out away from the slope if you have it angled too low... I think if the Hero3 has wifi and the ability to preview your image using a phone or whatever, that will make this really a lot easier to sort out.

Once you put the camera on your head, leave it rolling for the most part. You never know when something awesome is going to happen - if the camera isn't running, you will miss it for sure. I only stop the camera when I'm going to pick up my plane after a crash, and then, only if there isn't the opportunity to film my buddy flying by - sometimes some rad shots come from improv angles. Keep the camera rolling, you can always delete the 98% of garbage you'll get later, but the 2% you keep will be gold.

Plan on a ratio something like this:
- Film for 15min
- Import video to your computer for an hour or two
- Spend 4-6 hours editing
- Wait another couple hours uploading
---> end result: 2-3min movie on Youtube or Vimeo, hopefully with lots of views and likes and positive comments

As for video editing software, I have mainly used iMovie and it's plenty good enough for my purposes. Windows Movie Maker (or whatever it's called now) works fine too. I don't do anything fancy at all with the editing; simple crossfades or even hard cuts between clips, set to a soundtrack that conveys the mood I want to put out there, is good enough in my book.

As for where to host it: Youtube has some draconian BS around music. There's nothing worse than picking a song, editing a video to it, uploading it, and then having Youtube block the audio because RIAA/MPAA are kooks. Vimeo is currently not as big of a hassle in this regard, and also, they don't display ads on your videos. However... you are limited in how many HD quality videos you can upload in a given timeframe, unless you spring the $60/yr for a "Pro" membership... which many of us have done, as they also allow you to archive your original HD versions of your video for download at a future date (a very nice offsite backup, after a fashion). It also lets you allow your viewers to view in HD wherever it happens to be embedded (non-Pro videos have to click through to Vimeo to view in HD) and some other features like more comprehensive stats & stuff that are nice, if you're into those things.

I use skate, surf and snowboard movies as my guides and focus on foregrounding action and tricks... everyone knows what a glider looks like trimming across the face of the slope, and making a standard turn, and coming back... why post a video of that?? Focus on the best-of-the-best and be ruthless in cutting things from your film. Better a 60sec clip full of action and a kickass soundtrack, than a 6min yawn fest set to the sound of howling wind, IMHO... people's attention spans are SHORT....

Steve

P.S. - This video is my most successful ever, with over 10,000 views, and follows all of the above tips (which I learned after doing hundreds and hundreds of videos over the last 10 years). Within 18hrs of it being posted on Vimeo, I was randomly contacted by a nationwide TV show asking for permission to feature clips from it on their show - which I gave, as you can see here.

The point is that you never know what will happen once you start generating content... so it's worth your time to make it as worthwhile for viewers as possible

UltraBatics California Style (4 min 15 sec)
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Old Jan 31, 2013, 06:57 PM
Silent Flight
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Thanks for the input Steve. I'll comment more again later when I have time (need to run) and hopefully update the first few posts with relevant links and info.

-Jonathan
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Old Jan 31, 2013, 06:57 PM
Silent Flight
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Old Jan 31, 2013, 08:02 PM
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Agree about using the headband and that the aim is really important. Can
be really tough to know if you're getting the shot when you have no LCD.
H3's have wifi capability and apps for iPhone and Android which can be
used to establish your aim, so use em if you've got em.

One important thing to remember though is that unless you're filming really in-your-face
style flying, a medium or wide setting will leave the plane pretty small in the frame.
I shot my last slope vid with a Hero2 set on 1080p@30fps Narrow FoV.
It's harder to track the plane, but can see the plane a bit further away and it looks
faster when it's passing close. I pretty much had to shoot the whole vid twice, because
I had miss-aimed it, but I think it was worth it.
High Energy (2 min 58 sec)

Even there the plane was sometimes pretty small. At Medium wide it would have been 30% smaller.

Beyond that, try to get your plane in front of some sort of background, be it the ground
below the horizon or interesting clouds or whatever. It's hard to convey motion
against a clear blue, or overcast sky. If shooting against the sun, with a dark
foreground or just late in the day consider turning Protune on, for your H3 Black. It will
remove the normal in camera added contrast adjustment so you can pull more details
out of the dark areas in post processing. If you can't do that post processing then
Protune may produce results that look a bit washed out.

ian
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Old Jan 31, 2013, 08:14 PM
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I just sprung for a Hero2 and a 5.4mm lens from Ragecams. Initial impression is awesome! I need to get the wifi back for aiming or possibly set it up on a dedicated helmet with a cable and the tv then take it out.
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Old Feb 01, 2013, 07:45 AM
Don't ask me anything...
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I don't have a GoPro, and, for my conditions (big slopes, big winds, mostly big moves) I don't really believe it's the right tool for general headcam use, due to the wide angle lens. I would like to get a GoPro, but for two types of work only:

1. Close-in flying (i.e. VTPR aerobatics); and
2. On-board shots.

Chris
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Old Feb 01, 2013, 11:44 AM
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Joined Mar 2008
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another perspective

I'm attempting to use a canard design to hold a Go pro shootin' out the back. It's maiden is documented in this video and the Go Pro was helpful in re-living a bad yaw stall (1;40 sec)

Shinden Maiden at Tick Point (4 min 53 sec)


or

you tube; shinden maiden at Tick Point


Settings on my GP hero was on mode 4 or 5, one is supposed to be have less fisheye, they also differ in width 140 and 170 degrees.

Good thread idea.
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Old Feb 01, 2013, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodstock 1 View Post
I don't have a GoPro, and, for my conditions (big slopes, big winds, mostly big moves) I don't really believe it's the right tool for general headcam use, due to the wide angle lens. I would like to get a GoPro, but for two types of work only:

1. Close-in flying (i.e. VTPR aerobatics); and
2. On-board shots.

Chris
That's why I'm talking about using the narrowest FoV available, which most people don't do.
If what you mean is, the operator needs to be zooming in and out, then that's really
a different discussion, and can be a great way to ruin a potentially epic vid.

ian
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Old Feb 01, 2013, 12:36 PM
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I use a Hero 2. I have it set at 1080, 30 fps, narrow FOV. HD is definately the way to go, as your videos will look much better online. I use the head band to keep the camera pointed in the right direction. I also have a tripod adapter so I can use my old camera tripod to shoot some clips of me flying - which makes for some more interesting video.

Here's something I made last weekend:

Last of the Weasels presents: 2013 (1 min 59 sec)
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Old Feb 01, 2013, 12:44 PM
Don't ask me anything...
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Ireland, County Kerry, Kerry
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daemon View Post
That's why I'm talking about using the narrowest FoV available, which most people don't do......
ian
When I was shopping around for a camera last year, I got the impression that GoPro achieve the narrower POV electronically, not optically, so there would be an inevitable drop in picture quality (similar to "non-optical" camera zooms). That put me off at the time. Maybe I'm wrong?

Chris
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Old Feb 01, 2013, 02:01 PM
Phil.T-tailer
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Devon, UK
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Optimal GoPro setting for slope videos? = fly in close - very close

for all normal slope flying - its just the wrong tool - tiny dot in a big sky
if I see a GoPro slope vid on here, I just ignore it
there - I've said it

Phil.
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Old Feb 01, 2013, 02:20 PM
Silent Flight
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United States, CA, Cypress
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil.Taylor View Post
Optimal GoPro setting for slope videos? = fly in close - very close

for all normal slope flying - its just the wrong tool - tiny dot in a big sky
if I see a GoPro slope vid on here, I just ignore it
there - I've said it

Phil.
Thanks, all input is fair input. Would be nice to know if your opinion comes from ownership experience and from testing different settings or from some other fist hand tinkering. TIA.

-Jonathan
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Old Feb 01, 2013, 02:20 PM
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Lakewood, Colorado
Joined Aug 2002
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodstock 1 View Post
When I was shopping around for a camera last year, I got the impression that GoPro achieve the narrower POV electronically, not optically, so there would be an inevitable drop in picture quality (similar to "non-optical" camera zooms). That put me off at the time. Maybe I'm wrong?

Chris
Sort of. With an 11-12MP sensor, all normal HD video resolutions use only a portion
of the sensor. Wider angles use more of the sensor, and do some pixel binning to
down sample say 8-10MP of exposed sensor down to the 2MP or so needed for 1080p.
At narrower FoV, a smaller percentage of the sensor is used. At 1080p narrow, I think it's
pretty close to 1:1 sensor pixels to output pixels. The side effect of this process
is that you'll tend to see a little more sensor noise at narrow FoV because there's
little or no pixel binning. It's noticeable on the Hero2, but Hero3 Black has *much*
lower noise sensor so it's quite good even in lower light levels.

ian
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Old Feb 01, 2013, 02:45 PM
Phil.T-tailer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twyl View Post
Thanks, all input is fair input. Would be nice to know if your opinion comes from ownership experience and from testing different settings or from some other fist hand tinkering. TIA.

-Jonathan
Ownership experience???
My opinion comes from:
- unsatisfactory viewing experience with other folks GoldFishBowlPro slope vids on here
- personal effort & experience with hard-hat-cam & sighting devices & cameras to produce half-decent slope vids
- a lifetime of photography experience - using the right lens field-of-view for the job in hand - and for most slope vids, thats way narrower than a GoPro - even on "narrow" view

as always - this is just my opinion - YMMV etc...

anyhow - good luck with the GoPro - and I look forward to seeing your vids on here

EDIT - just noticed other qs in your OP:
- video hosting - has to be vimeo.com - better quality, no adverts, and they dont delete your carefully chosen soundtrack like youtube
- video editing - you can get by with windows movie maker - but proper vid editor is better - I use a "consumer" (= decent price) version of
Sony Vegas
hope that helps?

Phil.
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Last edited by Phil.Taylor; Feb 01, 2013 at 02:54 PM.
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