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!