GoPro Hero 3 Black Setup Guide

I purchased my GoPro Hero3 Black edition several weeks ago. I have been using it to shoot numerous indoor and outdoor sporting events along with my Panasonic GH2 micro four thirds camera. This video will attempt to show you how to best setup your GoPro 3 for use with sporting events like the ones I shoot.

The GoPro 3 Black offers several new video resolution and frame rate modes that the previous GoPro models don’t have. Now it can shoot video with a 4K resolution at 15 FPS or 12 FPS and a 2.7K resolution at 30 FPS or 24 FPS.

The 4K setting is fine for detail. However, the slower frame rate causes the video to be a little more choppy.

The 2.7K at 30 FPS video mode is my favorite. If you enable ProTune it will increase the shadow exposure and really flatten out the overall image exposure. The only drawback is that noise is a little more prevalent.

Interestingly the noise in the 4k mode is even greater than in the 2.7K ProTune mode. It appears that the slight bit of scaling that the GoPro does to get from 4K to 2.7K really masks the noise that shows up when using ProTune.

If you have to only choose one resolution to shoot with on the GoPro then use the 2.7K mode. It delivers the best overall image with the smoothest motion.

Luckily the GoPro 3 Black comes with a handy remote that can be used to change the resolutions and frame rates. The remote works great. However, the battery life of the remote is not good. Mine dies in less than 1 hour.

In addition charging the battery has some issues. I have had my camera freeze up while charging the battery. The only way to correct this issue is to remove the battery and then reinstall it. Luckily the new Frame casing allows easy access to the battery and you can charge it without taking the camera out of the housing.

Another thing that is different about the new GoPro 3 black is that the front light always stays on even after the battery is done charging. Now, the light on the back will blink if the camera is fully charged. If you plug your camera in to charge the battery and the back light begins to blink then you know it is fully charged.

If the back light is partially lit then the camera is probably frozen and the battery needs to be removed and then reinserted before it will start again.

The 1080p @ 60 FPS medium angle of view with ProTune mode is probably my second favorite mode. It offers very fluid motion for slow motion and it offers great resolution without any artifacts.

The only disappointing resolution I have found so far is the 720p @ 120 FPS mode. If you use it without protune you can select the narrow angle of view which eliminates aliasing and other artifacts. However, the poor dynamic range in this camera means almost all shadow details will be lost in that mode.

If you enable Protune with the 120 FPS mode then noise will be excessive and you will be limited to the Ultra wide angle which makes scaling artifacts very apparent.

Honestly, 60 FPS is sufficient for good slow motion. I would recommend using the 1080p @ 60 FPS mode for most slow motion and only use the 720p @ 120 FPS modes with very good lighting with extremely fast motion.

I typically leave my camera setup with the 2.7K at 30 FPS as the default mode with ProTune and the 720p at 120 FPS as the default mode without ProTune. Then I can switch back and forth by enabling or disabling Protune.

It takes a lot longer to switch resolutions than it does to enable or disable Protune especially with the remote. The buttons on the camera can change the settings much faster than the remote can.

If your camera freezes because of the battery charging issue then it will usually reset your defaults. If you suddenly notice that your default resolution is 1440 then you will need to reselect your Protune and non-Protune default modes again.

I shoot mostly with my GoPro 3 mounted directly on top of my Panasonic GH2 camera. That enables me to simultaneously capture a wide field of view with the GoPro and a narrower field of view with the GH2.

In ultra wide mode the GoPro has a field of view approximately equivalent to a 15mm lens on a 35mm camera. The medium angle of view is 20mm and the narrow is equivalent to approximately 28mm.

Let me know in the comments below how you like your new GoPro 3 cameras. If you don’t have one already what are you waiting for? It is time to GoPro!

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by dpreview.com or any affiliated companies.

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Comments

Total comments: 58
chipmunkster
By chipmunkster (5 months ago)

I have returned my Hero3+ Black after 3 days. Couldn't get any video longer than 30 seconds or so to play. One-time opportunities lost. MP4 files visible in directory - was not able to view larger ones in WMP, QuickTime or GoPro's own Cineform or the GoPro app. Incidentally these larger MP4's "deleted" themselves from the microSD (no longer visible in directory) after backing up to ASUS PC. Smaller videos (e.g. 10 seconds) worked fine. Seem to have some "blank" stills as well. Of course using class 10 microSD (Samsung) and current Intel HD graphics etc (i.e. all according to GoPro spec). Found many people had similar problems. Only thing I can see is perhaps if I had reformatted the card in-camera it may have helped but overall just way too difficult ... shame. I wanted to love this camera. Optical quality of stills and (short) MP4's is very satisfactory ... but I really need to be able to see ALL the movies I shoot! Asking too much? That may be just a bridge too far with some units.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Cowboy Dave
By Cowboy Dave (7 months ago)

Just got my Hero3 black and the video is jumpy plus looks like I'm in a bubble?? What’s going on?

0 upvotes
ashetio
By ashetio (7 months ago)

Thank you, really very very useful - having just bought the camera and doing some tests for a shoot tonight.

Ash

0 upvotes
Virhua
By Virhua (8 months ago)

Great article! I am thinking of bringing a GoPro with me to Africa and mounting on top of my camera like you did. How did you mount your GoPro to your GH2?

0 upvotes
elias715
By elias715 (9 months ago)

they just release a new update for GPH3 dated 7/29/2013.. i just updated mine and the new features are great. make sure update the camera then uninstall the apps, then download the apps again to get the updated version. great improvement on recording that you can see what you are recording, then reviewing it, you don't like it, delete right there. set-up is a breeze.
go pro!

0 upvotes
2day
By 2day (9 months ago)

my hero 3 black freezes up frequently and can only be reset by removing the battery. As most of my activities are in or under the water, this is not an ideal solution! I was advised to check that the SD card was correct, which I have done. I was then advised to ensure that I had the latest firmware loaded, which I have also done. Any thoughts from a more seasoned user?

0 upvotes
elias715
By elias715 (9 months ago)

make sure that you copy your files to your hard drive or any other external storage you prefer, then delete your files in your camera and bingo fresh start again. don't delete files or even one file thru your computer it will create an error to the card and even worse freezes up. hope this help.

0 upvotes
dommylee
By dommylee (9 months ago)

hey
got my hero 3 black in feb, and the problem i have is that is not recording sound!! do u know why?? please i need helppp
from buenos aires, argentina.
Dom.

0 upvotes
webmonkeydk
By webmonkeydk (11 months ago)

when shooting 120fps does it record sound too????

0 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (10 months ago)

Yes it records sound even at 240 FPS.

1 upvote
Jobiwan82
By Jobiwan82 (11 months ago)

I was wondering if there's anyone that can help me. I purchased a Hero 3 black edition and can't get it to work right. I'm having the same issue as a lot of others with the video cutting off after about 1 or 2 minutes while shooting 1080 @60fps using Protune mode. I have a Sandisk 64 gb class 10 card that I thought would be good for what I need. If I keep it in "Auto" mode then I have better results, but I'd really like to have this thing work as advertised.

Any help is appreciated.

Comment edited 45 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Jobiwan82
By Jobiwan82 (11 months ago)

I'm also using the latest firmware update.

0 upvotes
tlimon11
By tlimon11 (9 months ago)

I was having the same problem. You need to format the sd card from your gopro itself. Go to the trash can and delete everything and it'll format it and then you should be good to go.

0 upvotes
casting4heroes
By casting4heroes (Mar 28, 2013)

Hello, what is the best way for a newby to tackle the set-up of a hero 3? When I purchased at b.buy, I wa lead to believe ,"just turn on and shoot". I used it while skiing, and have great video when viewing on the go pro screen, bit it is very "jerky" and not quite right when viewing on the computer. Also, on my samsung tablet, the video barely plays....thanks for the help...I look forward to getting some of results I've seen by others.

Rob
Kerlinr@rocketmail.com

0 upvotes
Mistercausey
By Mistercausey (Feb 12, 2013)

@Kb007 - there was an update. Go get the update!

Great video and article. I love my Hero3!

2 upvotes
Kb007
By Kb007 (Feb 10, 2013)

My hero 3 black only seems to record for 5-8sec on 2.7 30fps. Is there a reason for this? Records longer/unlimited on 1080

0 upvotes
AustinFaurecom
By AustinFaurecom (Apr 6, 2013)

Make sure your memory card is C10 (Class 10)

0 upvotes
Carel Wiggett
By Carel Wiggett (Feb 8, 2013)

Help what will you set a Gopro3 black for underwater footage on a 32 gb card

0 upvotes
stanleyyelnatsdotcom
By stanleyyelnatsdotcom (Feb 5, 2013)

... cont from lunch....

driving home from work I punched the remote for more than 20 miles.

The video is excellent and I can't wait to use under a better situation. The sound I wasn't much impressed with. Picks up much extraneous noise.

I want to use the time lapse and the 2.7k resolution. I saw were someone was able to video at 120 frames per second to 24 frames per second for slow mo...

Finally, I was able to get the wifi to work all the way home from work tonight. nothing hung up. the remote worked ok. sound leaves much to be desired. video is great (i have a canon xa 10 ($2,000) that doesn't take video as good.

I don't want to get ahead of myself but most of the issues may have been resolved.

will follow up later.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
stanleyyelnatsdotcom
By stanleyyelnatsdotcom (Feb 5, 2013)

I purchased my gopro about2 weeks ago. the camera is not for the faint at heart. and has been a challenge.

extracting the camera from the case required 3 youtube videos. charging the remote took some time to figure out. getting the wifi to work took numerous curse words and I'm still not sure it works appropriately. updating the firmware is still not certain. transferring files and accessing the files, etc.....

getting through the settings and flipping through camera, video, wifi, etc, etc...

not easy.

But 5 hours on Sunday and I was able to view my first video, and photo burst.

This morning I attached one of the provided camera mounts to my Jeep and sat for 15 minutes before going to work trying to get the wifi remote to work. I gave up and left for work. I was going to return to Best Buy at lunch but managed to get the wifi to work and attached the camera to the mount and drove to lunch all the while punching the remote to start and stop the video. and I'm 7 characters

0 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Feb 5, 2013)

Yes I agree. The wifi is not good on the GoPro. That is why I haven't tried to demonstrate it yet. I myself have not been able to get it to reliably work.

I have another camera with wifi(Panasonic GH3) and it is simple to use and works perfectly.

The trick with the GoPro is that you have to try to keep it simple. Yes they advertise that it can do a lot of things. However, in the past we have had to wait a long time before we actually get those things.

The best way to look at the GoPro 3 Black is that it is an excellent wide field video camera. If you stick it in 2.7K @ 30 FPS or 1080p @ 60 FPS you can get excellent wide angle footage that would cost you many thousands of dollars to get in any other camera.

If you are expecting more than that(ie: wifi) from the GoPro 3 Black right now then you are probably better off waiting till they work all of the kinks out.

1 upvote
Larryf304
By Larryf304 (Feb 2, 2013)

Hello mpqxsvcd.

I know longer want "help" I want GoPro to send me a Camera. I will not spend another minute trying to fix this mess. I will spend all my time spreading the word on how poorly constructed is teh GoPro Hero3 Black is. Let alone the poor customer service the company provides.

Call me I will send you my address you can mail me a Camera.

BTW who is "WE"?

Lawrence

0 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Feb 4, 2013)

We is the community that uses GoPro cameras. I am not suggesting that "we" is in anyway GoPro the company. I do not work for them at all. Although I wouldn't mind working for them. No one has all of the answers but I am sure with everyone's input we can help you figure out what is wrong.

I was pretty frustrated with my GoPro when I first got it. It had tons of issues like you said. However, I patiently waited and worked around the ones I could. Before too long they issued a firmware update that resolved all of my issues.

Did you send your camera in for repairs? Is that why you are waiting for a camera? If the issues you are having are related to firmware then you definitely should not send it in for repairs. It will just sit there until they issue the new firmware. You could just keep it an use what works until they issue the firmware.

Can you describe in detail exactly what the biggest issues you have are? I bet they can be resolved without sending the camera back.

1 upvote
Larryf304
By Larryf304 (Feb 1, 2013)

The GoPro Hero3 Black is a disaster. NOTHING but problems. Ths shame (or sham) is GoPro knows about the problem, they tell you how to update the firmware and THAT still does not fix the problem. Call me if you are thinking of buying this camera and I will list every issue including the extremely poor customer service. Lawrence Friedman 973.214.4386

0 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Feb 1, 2013)

If you want any help fixing your issues just let us know and I am sure we can help you resolve them.

1 upvote
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Jan 18, 2013)

Here is a great article explaining how each video mode on the GoPro 3 Black works. This is not my article but it is definitely worth a read.

http://abekislevitz.com/understanding-your-new-gopro/

2 upvotes
Sean Nelson
By Sean Nelson (Jan 28, 2013)

Nice reference, just the kind of thing I've been looking for. Thanks!

0 upvotes
mikeywestcott
By mikeywestcott (Jan 11, 2013)

Hi there, many thanks for your review. I was wondering how you mounted your go pro to your camera.. what mounting did you use?

cheers

0 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Jan 9, 2013)

Here is a video I shot of our trip to the Great Wolf Lodge indoor water park with the GoPro III black. It contains 2.7K, 1080p @ 60 FPS, 720p @ 120 FPS, and 480p @ 240 FPS footage. You can tell what is 240 FPS footage by the flicker in the lights. The 2.7K and 720p @ 120 FPS modes were my favorite for this setting.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BK-qr-m6OVM

1 upvote
Gerry W
By Gerry W (Jan 6, 2013)

Hi....we just got the GP3 Black.....I am having trouble with playing recorded videos back on our iPad. I can see the number of recordings we've made but just not a way to playback. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

0 upvotes
andydwyre
By andydwyre (Dec 28, 2012)

I've just tried to set my go pro 3 black to 2.7K to 30 fps but mine only gives 25 fps is this correct.

0 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Dec 31, 2012)

If you live in a PAL country then it will do 25 FPS instead of 30 FPS. As well as 50 FPS instead of 60 FPS and 100 FPS instead of 120 FPS.

1 upvote
Magoffin
By Magoffin (Dec 28, 2012)

New here and to the gopro black edition. just wondering if i need special software or a faster computer to view the recordings from the new gp3? they seem very bumpy even with the cineform from gopro. any help would be greatly appreciated...

0 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Dec 28, 2012)

Yes you need a very fast computer to view and edit the 2.7K and 4K footage. The 1080p works well though.

A good graphics card can help. You don't usually find those in cheap computers though.

1 upvote
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Dec 27, 2012)

Sorry everyone I just realized that this was published so I hadn't thought to check it for questions.

1 upvote
Medebe
By Medebe (Dec 26, 2012)

That was a very thorough and well explained piece. As someone who just received the GP3 for Christmas I've read the transcript twice after watching the video and have saved it so I can test at the different settings you provided. I think I ran into the problem you described charging the battery when I attempted to charge it via the USB port on my desktop PC. I used a separate, stand alone charger and it appears to be charging, we'll see. I also noticed what appears to be a scratch in the lens, or perhaps a discoloration of the lens coating (?) straight out of the box, so I may be returning this one to Best Buy today. One question, I noticed you had a lens cover that snaps on in your video. Did that come with your GP3 or did you purchase it as an accessory? It didn't come with mine. Thanks for your excellent post.

0 upvotes
Rdown65
By Rdown65 (Dec 26, 2012)

Just got a go pro hero 3 also for Christmas and I too noticed a scratch on my lens along with fingerprints. Was wondering if your scratched lens affected your video? Did you end up returning it? Mine was from best buy also. Thanks

0 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Dec 27, 2012)

The battery issues were resolved with the latest firmware. Try updating the firmware.

The lens cap came with the GoPro "The Frame" kit. It is expensive at $40 but it is completely worth it for non water/weather proof scenarios. I highly recommend getting it and the adapter so you can mount it on a hot shoe for other cameras.

1 upvote
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Dec 27, 2012)

My GoPro 3 had a lot of finger prints on it from the factory. However, it was not scratched. I would not want a scratched lens straight from the factory. I would return that.

1 upvote
Medebe
By Medebe (Dec 27, 2012)

Rdown65, mpgxsvcd, I had my daughter (17 years old and my tech wiz) look at it and she figured out it was just something on the lens that could be wiped off (I was scared to wipe it with anything lest I scratch it further). It didn't appear to affect the video results but I'm glad it wasn't scratched. I'll look into the Frame Kit which I have seen advertised and appears worth the money. Thanks for your replies/responses.

1 upvote
johndoegopro
By johndoegopro (Dec 21, 2012)

You have to see this video (1st video on the page) - I wouldn't try this with your GoPro camera though!!! Could be useful to get some amazing aerial shot from a drone:

https://dslrpros.com/Products/tabid/94/CategoryID/59/List/0/Level/a/ProductID/68/language/en-US/Default.aspx

1 upvote
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Dec 27, 2012)

Awesome. I really want to try that with my GH3 or the GoPro.

1 upvote
kwcompco
By kwcompco (Dec 13, 2012)

Just got mine and I'll be using it to capture Bass Fishing fishing techniques from my boat, capturing live footage, reviewing baits, etc. I want to post these videos on youtube after editing. Should be fun. I just ordered a HD wind mic for it as well. I got the HD Black edition with remote. As stated above I just go it so I'll be trying it this weekend. Any advise would be helpful!

0 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Dec 27, 2012)

I have already paid for my GoPro 3 and my GH3 with the money I get from posting reviews on youtube. A channel on youtube with fishing reviews sounds really cool.

You could do some really neat stuff with the GoPro and fishing.

0 upvotes
Awes33
By Awes33 (Dec 7, 2012)

Hey, I am going to be getting the new GoPro 3, never had one before, and am totally new to digital video. I really appreciate your review, but you reviewed all video modes except the 240 fps mode? I am getting this camera to shoot very high speed rocket launches up close - below is a link to rocket of mine shot with the hero 2 at 120 fps. I really want great detail, but the things moves so fast that I also need the frames. Do you have a recommendation for the mode to shoot in? One more comment, seems that raysrule81's comment is important - isn't the whole point of digital video these days so that we can watch on our computers, mobile devises? If these higher quality modes don't work without dumbing them down, what's the point?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEGKsbPBg18

0 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Dec 27, 2012)

I am not crazy about the 240 FPS mode. The resolution is just too low. However, I have seen some cool stuff with it. You just have to shoot carefully with that mode.

Really the 120 FPS works well for slow motion in good light. However, 60 FPS actually works well in not so good light. For rockets try 120 FPS. If that is not good enough then try the 240 FPS mode.

I only shoot slow motion in low light so the 120 FPS and 240 FPS modes are not great for me.

1 upvote
raysrule81
By raysrule81 (Nov 21, 2012)

hey, i got my gopro hero 3 black edition a few days ago and was very disapointed. I turned on the 2.7k mode and expected it to be amazing. But since I use a Windows computer, I use Windows Media Player to play my videos. This built in software never failed me in the bast with my Gopro hero 2 a while ago. but now it does. Whenever i take a 2.7k video on the hero 3 and then watch it through Windows Media Player, it is VERY choppy and it doesnt play the audio! this if recording at 30 FPS but its acting like its playing at 10 FPS. Videos play perfectly on 1080p 30 FPS with no chopiness and it also plays the audio with the video. Why is it that when i record at 2.7k 30 FPS it looks EXTREMELY choppy and theres no audio? Is it because Windows Media Player can't handle the file???? Even in GOPRO CINEFORM STUDIO and WINDOWS MOVIE MAKER can't handle the file and makes it choppy! PLEASE help as i think im the only one with this problem and i need to record with it ASAP to shoot stuff. HELP.

0 upvotes
KeithHopkin
By KeithHopkin (Nov 24, 2012)

Hi raysrule81,

I haven't used the Hero3 just yet but I have noticed when shooting with ProTune on my Hero2 my computer has a hard time playing back this format since the bitrate is much higher. Your best bet is to render this video in your editor at a different size/bitrate. In a digital workflow most people like to use ProRes HQ and then maybe re-import into the project. It's a bit of a hack and I've done this before. It's getting time for some hardware upgrades again.

0 upvotes
degent
By degent (Nov 26, 2012)

I feel your pain! I have the same GoPro and my vids stutter on my macbook, i do however get perfect audio so it must be a software issue. Im hoping the extra frames are hidden in there somewhere. I also found out you cant use the GP3 with the iphone app, wtf.

0 upvotes
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (Dec 1, 2012)

"I also found out you cant use the GP3 with the iphone app, wtf."

The GoPro folks promise the GP3 BE update to hit the AppStore on 14/Dec. Hopefully I'll be another happy camper then - here in Europe, we're still waiting for these cameras to arrive. (Pre-ordered it via the local eXpansys.)

0 upvotes
makofoto
By makofoto (Dec 18, 2012)

With the increase info you guys need faster computers to get smooth play back ... it all goes hand in hand ...

0 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Dec 27, 2012)

2.7K video is processor intensive. If you don't really need the extra resolution then 1080p @ 30 or 60 FPS will work very well.

1 upvote
Przemas80
By Przemas80 (Jan 4, 2013)

Hello,

I just bought my gopro 3 black. I have gopro hero 2 for 2 years. Also have macbook pro. I am very sd that there is no possiblilty to play movies or edit greater than 1080 on my device. What equipment should I have to play 2,7K smoothly ? There was no information about the requirements on gopro website. That is not very good for beginners and film making rookies like me. Should I change graphic card or something? thx

0 upvotes
mudpierory
By mudpierory (Jan 30, 2013)

I had the same issues with playback of 2.7K being choppy on my 2011 Macbook but found that using VLC to play it back worked a charm. Also make sure you copy the videos off the camera first.

0 upvotes
berdiseba
By berdiseba (Feb 6, 2013)

Great video man!
I have a question, what would be the best set up to shoot snowboarding videos and photos with this camera? I will mount it on the pole, and hold it while riding.
Thank you!!

0 upvotes
lostintheamazon
By lostintheamazon (Feb 14, 2013)

thank you that was very helpful! but what is the difference between 2.7k cin and 2.7k? I have been shooting at 720 30fps and the video was still very choppy hopefully no longer!

0 upvotes
msbeezy
By msbeezy (Mar 11, 2013)

Here's a few notes on my experience with this device..
I just received 2 new gp3s.
I run mac ,,,the first updated fw thru Safari fine and would connect via ipad or iphone fine and fast. The second just would not function properly although it seemed to update fine.
Finally after a frustrating couple of hours and reformatting 2 new sdmicro cards I tried to update fw manually and voila..works like a charm.
I have not done any extensive video testing yet or taken the wifi controls out of box to set them up but the app for both devices as I say work great.
And to the original poster not sure about your gp3s but all lights eventually go out after a full charge is achieved..

0 upvotes
Fox Talbot X1 UK
By Fox Talbot X1 UK (7 months ago)

Someone mentioned Pal and NTSC.
I live in PAL country, lol, but I use the NTSC setting. Why? Because I want to shoot at 60fps at 720p ( the setting most pros use). I don't plug my Hero directly into the TV, so it doesn't matter whether I use PAL or NTSC.
I take my shot clips directly into editing software. then I export in the codec I need for the task.
My website is www.amphotographica.com/ and there is a YouTube link in my sidebar. Please subscibe. You will see me posting some Hero3 black flim clips over the coming months. I am prparing for a 2 week ski trip in Jan to France, so I will be posting some clips soon after.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Total comments: 58