19 Tips And Tricks To Turn A GoPro Into Filmmaking Equipment

The GoPro is one of the most versatile, convenient, and portable cameras on the market. With its shock-proof design, water-resistant housing, and ability to capture videos in color or black and white, it’s the perfect camera for capturing all kinds of adventures.

But what if you want to shoot where it becomes difficult to place a camera? Or what if you’re going to shoot handsfree? You need a rig. However, to use your GoPro as your filmmaking rig (A filmmaking rig is a mount that’s equipped with a variety of features, making it the perfect companion to a GoPro), you’ll have to do more than attach it to a typical mount.

GoPro Zoom

Besides a tripod, there are many other parts that all go into making such a camera rig. For example, a leveling plate will make sure your GoPro is level and can be leveled, while an articulating arm will allow you to keep your camera steady even when doing handheld shots.

To get the best results from your GoPro, it’s essential to know how to use its built-in settings and make the most of its accessories. Here are 19 tips and tricks that will help turn that handy camera into filmmaking equipment.

19 Tips And Tricks To Turn A GoPro Into Filmmaking Camera

1) Pick The GoPro Shots From Your Script:

Not all shots in your videos may be possible with a GoPro. So, it’s important to take full advantage of what this camera has to offer by picking your shots carefully.

1) Clearly explain in the script which shots will be done with a GoPro

2) Consider what settings you’ll use for those scenes of action, and then make sure to communicate that in the script.

3) In general, pick scenes that require as much real-life footage as possible. The more realistic something looks, the better.

2) Manual Settings:

Whenever you want to shoot a cinematic video or want to make that professional video using any camera, always try to shoot on manual settings. In a manual setting, you can control shutter speed, ISO, sharpness, resolution, bitrate, and everything that makes your video super professional.

How satisfactory your video looks depends on the resolution quality you are shooting. Whether you’re shooting at 4K quality or 1080p, there’s a huge difference between the two.

You can record at 4K quality but keep in mind that the higher the quality, the more space consumption. It’s better to stick to 4K for cinematic footage, but for a movie, 1080p is ideal because the higher the quality, the more consumption of the space and battery life. 

Coming to the manual settings, always keep the sharpness at low (in most cases). Because if you keep it High, it doesn’t look good at all. Those pixels won’t satisfy you. Set bitrates to High, as higher bitrates are likely to fetch higher image quality. Always prefer setting Shutter speed to Auto (for beginners).

If you know about shutter speed according to the surrounding, set it manually. Now, ISO settings. It’s better to keep minimum and maximum both at 100. Or max to max at 800. These settings are best, especially in wide-angle shots. ISO settings too high may make it too sensitive to light, and too low may make it less sensitive. So it’s better to stick from 100 to 800.

Another important aspect of filmmaking is perfect white balance. Here you can opt for auto or manual. If you set it manually, you will have more editing opportunities later on. However, beginners may opt for Auto. Next comes the Color profile that should be set to Flat. Setting flat as the color profile, you can increase your dynamic range.

3) Highest Frame Size and Rate:

Choosing the combination biggest frame size and rate will give you the best of both worlds. If your GoPro has the highest frame size, i.e., 4K. Set it to 4K with the highest frame rate. Let’s say 4K at 60FPS. Also, set the lens to “Wide” or “Superview.”

Using Superview gives you more Field of view than any other lens mode. It’s kind of more distorted and wider too. In simple words, GoPro tends to capture maximum content in front of it, meaning that the edge of the lens distorts light coming in. This enables you to capture wider panoramic video.

4) Object Positioning:

Filming on GoPro, you need to stay closer to the object you are focusing on. As the GoPro has extremely wide-angle lenses, it captures a really wide area.

Although you think you are near the object, the camera is likely to capture the surrounding area too. And, if you are far from the object, there will be a lot of blank space in the video. Eventually, those blank spaces may ruin the video. So, stay closer to the object. 

5) Angles:

Angles play a crucial role in GoPro video production. Try to take video from different angles. Filming from a single angle makes the video less approaching. Angles help you enhance the theme, narrative, and overall approachability.

6) Frame Rate:

Is 24 FPS best for filmmaking? Yes! It is one of the best fps even used by professionals. Videos made at 24 fps have more realistic motion. And, videos recorded above 24 fps are further edited and displayed at 24 fps.

Filming at 24 FPS in a low-light setting will create commendable videos. And, if you choose to record at higher fps, you may need to produce it to 24 fps before the display. 

7) Stability:

The major advantage of GoPro is that it is lightweight and can take high-quality videos. However, if you have a shaky hand while capturing video footage with the GoPro camera, you might not get a stable result. That’s when HyperSmooth comes into play. 

HyperSmooth is Image Stabilization technology for GoPro that stabilizes it to a certain extent. However, HS might not save you every time.

There are events when HyperSmooth fails to stabilize the recording under low light conditions simply because there isn’t enough light in your surroundings for HS to work on yet another obstacle facing people using this stabilization technology; it usually happens in low-light conditions.

So it’s better to buy proper accessories to make the videos more stable. If you record videos with GoPro in hand, your videos are probably less stable.

For short scenes, it’s good. But for travel shoots, you need a selfie stick, GoPro stands, or gimbal to hold the GoPro that stabilizes your video entirely. You can also get professional software like Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro. The electronic stabilization effects in this software can help you. 

8) Transitions:

Transition is the way of changing scenes and keeping the viewer engaged at the same time. Change of scene should be done in such a manner that even if the clips are different, the video flow should remain smooth. In GoPro, you can include three types of transitions that are easy to do.

Match camera motion: End a shot in fast motion and start the next clip in fast motion too.

Match-Cut: An easy-to-implement transition. Hold your GoPro and simply slap it or get your hand over it. Then take off your hand, and the scene changes.

Match Scene Composition: End a clip focusing a shape or object in a position and start the next clip placed in the same position. Suppose you dip your GoPro in water, and in the next scene, you pull it out, but the location changes. 

For filmmaking, you might need angles focusing few people but from different angles. And, those transitions needn’t be cinematic. So just a simple cut and next clip might be enough.

9) Knowing the Perfect Setting:

Following are the suggested settings for different activities:

ActivityResolutionFrame Per SecondField of View
Travel1080p, 1440p, 4K60 FPSWide
Cycling1080p, 2.7K60FPSSuperview or Wide
Automobile1080p, 2.7K60FPSWide
Drone1080p, 4K24 FPS, 60 FPSWide or Linear
Sports1080p, 4K120 FPSWide
Hiking1080p, 4K30 FPSWide
Ski1080p, 1440p, 2.7K120 FPS, 240 FPSWide
VLOG1080p, 1440p, 2.7K30 FPSWide, Linear or Superview
Underwater1080p, 4K30 or 60 FPSWide

10) Record Stuff You Want To Edit Later:

Filming footage using GoPro at 4K will drain its battery within an hour. And the maximum duration GoPro would sustain is around 2 hours. Attach the GoPro but record stuff you wish to edit later. It’s easy to attach it and then start recording for an hour. But, that becomes time-consuming when you sit and edit.

Meanwhile, no one wants to see such a long clip; it’s too overwhelming. So instead, attach the GoPro and record only things you wish to. 

11) GoPros Are Waste Without Power Backup:

Small and handy, GoPros can’t work for hours without enough charge. It would be best to have a strong battery and more extensive storage to record a film. You can embed a larger SD Card, but you need enough power sources while filming. You will need power backup accessories to record continuously.

To save some battery, you can turn off Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, and Voice Control. And turn off the display when not in use. Do not overheat GoPro, let it cool down, and then continue. 

12) Faster SD Cards:

SD Card is the storage in GoPro. And, the larger the size, the better it is. But there’s one thing to note down. You will need a big SD Card, but it’s recommended to buy GoPro tested SD Cards only. You should buy a secure, fast, reliable, and large size SD Card.

A compatible SD Card will ensure that the recorded media file is stored securely. Shooting in 4K, you will need a fast SD Card. A slower one won’t assure that the files are stored correctly. Hence, buying an SD Card of at least Class 10 or V30 speed rating is recommended. 

13) Slightly Rotating The Camera:

It is an easy-to-use trick that doesn’t require any tool. Just hold your camera with two fingers on each side and slightly rotate it using your fingers. Always turn on the HyperSmooth option. This feature removes those minor stability issues while you handheld the camera.

14) Try to Incorporate Foreground:

Foreground here means something nearest to the observer. And, in filming, that foreground acts as the nearest object. So if you record a video without a foreground, you won’t see the camera moving.

But incorporating the foreground becomes the object, which changes the point of view. So with the foreground, you will feel like the camera is moving. And this makes it more professional.

15) Hyperlapse:

There are two ways you could create Hyperlapse; forward or backward. It’s like moving from point A to B. And the second one is moving in a circular/curvy direction around the object.

Hyperlapse is the smooth-motion shots that look incredibly awesome. And, the distance between the object and the lapse is crucial. The longer the lapse, the more professional the output is.

16) Timelapse & Nightlapse:

 A powerful technique that looks amazing and adds flow to your video. It shows the beauty around you at night and daytime and how the world changes while it’s dark. For this, you will require mounts. Do not forget to use Protune to fine-tune your lapse sequence.

You will need a light source for night lapse as GoPros can’t shoot anything in complete darkness. So set up a LED or any light source. You can also schedule your GoPro Hero 9 to record at a specific time for a particular time. 

17) Tracking Shots:

Tracking shots are shots where you are focusing a character or subject by moving the camera forward, backward, sideways, or around it. HyperSmooth is a helping hand in creating tracking shots. For this shot, you might not need a gimbal for stabilization.

HyperSmooth is enough to handle those micro jitters. It is recommended to turn off the boost option as it crops the video to add extra width. So turn the HyperSmooth option on and turn down the boost.

18) Point of View:

GoPros are great at POVs and maybe one of the best. In filmmaking, a story is presented visually, and POV becomes necessary. Adding POVs in your movie will establish a better perception in the viewer’s mind.

Here the camera is the eye of the character, and the viewers see what the character is seeing. It explores the story in a more refined manner. Use it to express feelings, motivation, experience, emotions, and thoughts. 

19) Experience over Technology:

Understand that an experienced GoPro user can create great videos with the oldest GoPro. But a beginner is likely to create a normal video with the least cinematography.

So it’s not the technology or the latest GoPro version that is going to create awesome content. It is your creativity that will create commendable content. So focus on learning tricks and settings for different environments.

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