Common GoPro Video Settings Explained

Finding the right GoPro video settings is similar to solving a puzzle. There are so many different options to choose from, making it very confusing for first-time GoPro users. However, the standard GoPro video preset of 1080p and 60FPS is perfect for most videos.

Hi, it’s great to meet you. My name is Larry, and I’ve been using GoPro cameras for nearly 10 years. I started with the GoPro HERO4 Black and currently use the GoPro HERO10 Black. 

Throughout the last 8 years, I’ve tested every video setting on GoPro cameras and am excited to explain them to you today.

Let’s learn about GoPro video settings!

GoPro Video Settings: Overview

It can be extremely overwhelming the first time you look through your GoPro video settings. I know because I’ve been there myself. 

For this reason, let’s take a closer look at each of the video settings inside a GoPro camera.

These include:

  • Resolution
  • Frame Rates
  • Field of View
  • Stabilization
  • Auto Low Light
  • NTSC/PAL
  • Manual Audio Control

GoPro Resolutions Explained

Resolutions are defined as the number of pixels an image contains. Larger resolutions have more detail than lower resolutions. For example, a 1080p video is higher quality than a 480p video because it has 600 more pixels. 

Let’s look at the best use cases for each resolution:

ResolutionDescription
5.3KHighest resolution on GoPro camerasOffers incredible ultra HD videoWide 16:9 aspect ratio
5KUltra high-resolution videoTall 4:3 aspect ratioExcellent for point of view (POV) footage
4KPerfect for 4K televisions or monitorsBig file size and shorter battery life4x Full HD
2.7KExcellent video quality with medium file sizeCan use digital zoom during editing
1440pProduces a sharp full HD imageTall 4:3 aspect ratio
1080pThe most common resolution1080p is equivalent to full HD
720p or lessLow image qualitySmall file sizeSuitable for smartphones

Depending on your GoPro camera model, you may not have all of these resolutions available. Older GoPro cameras don’t offer higher resolutions like 5.3K and 5K. 

The resolution number indicates the number of vertical pixels on the video. For example, a 1080p video is 1080 pixels tall and 1920 pixels wide. 

Another key trait to remember is that higher resolutions produce bigger file sizes. Therefore, a large 5.3K video may take a long time to transfer to your computer and upload to YouTube. 

GoPro Frame Rates Explained

Frame rates are defined as the number of images captured by your GoPro per second. For example, 30 frames per second (FPS) makes it so your GoPro captures 30 images a second and stitches them together to form the video. Higher frame rates allow you to create cinematic slow-motion shots.

Let’s take a closer look at the GoPro frame rates setting:

Frame RatesDescription
24 FPS (PAL & NTSC)Cinematic frame rateLow-quality slow-motion capabilities
25 FPS (PAL)30 FPS (NTSC)Standard TV-style video shotsUnderwhelming slow-motion capabilities
50 FPS (PAL)60 FPS (NTSC)Suitable for action shots2x slow-motion capabilities
100 FPS (PAL)120 FPS (NTSC)Suitable for faster action shots4x slow-motion capabilitiesNot ideal for low light conditions
200 FPS (PAL)240 FPS (NTSCFor the fastest action shots8x slow-motion capabilitiesBad video quality in low light conditions

As you can see, higher frame rates are suitable for fast-paced action shots that require a lot of detail capture. When you’re shooting fast-paced action shots at 60 to 240 FPS, the higher frame rate prevents motion blur. Higher FPS also allows you to add slow motion while you’re editing your GoPro footage.

However, low frame rates like 24 FPS and 30 FPS are the standard frame rates used in movies and television shows. Although you can use slow motion for lower FPS videos, the effect isn’t as smooth as it would be if you used higher FPS. 

Similar to GoPro resolutions, higher FPS videos produce larger file sizes than lower FPS videos. Furthermore, you can now upload 60 FPS videos to YouTube, as long as the video is shot in 1080p or 720p.

GoPro Field of View Explained

Field of view is defined as the area visible to the GoPro’s camera sensor. GoPro offers 170°, 120°, and 90° POVs. When you change your field of view setting, it’s similar to changing your camera lens. The video resolution stays the same, but your angle of view will differ.

Here’s an explanation of each GoPro FOV setting:

Field of ViewDescription
Superview: 170° FOVIdeal for action shotsCaptures the widest angle possibleOffers the signature GoPro look and feelGreat for shooting shaky and unstable shots
Wide: 120° FOVSlight fish-eye effectMore compact than Superview
Linear: 90° FOVThe most “normal” looking camera angleSimilar to a DSLR wide lensIdeal for non-action shots like vlogs, b-roll, interviews

GoPro Stabilization Explained

GoPro offers a video setting called electronic image stabilization (EIS). You can use this feature to minimize shaky shots. This setting is fantastic for action shots but should only be used during the daytime in the sun. However, using stabilization during low-light environments may distort your footage.

In recent GoPro models like the GoPro HERO10 Black, the EIS feature is called HyperSmooth. You should turn on HyperSmooth to film shaky footage like biking, snowboarding, skating, and other fast-paced activities.

StabilizationDescription
Stabilization ONIdeal for shaky action shotsStable cinematic look
Stabilization OFFIdeal for low-light shotsGreat for tripod use

GoPro Auto Low Light Explained

Auto low light is a GoPro video setting that improves your video footage quality in low light situations. For example, auto low light will produce a brighter and clearer video if you’re filming during the sunset on a cloudy day.

Auto Low LightDescription
Auto Low Light ONYour GoPro will automatically adjust its frame rate to compensate for lightNot ideal for smooth slow-motion shots
Auto Low Light OFFFor bright scenariosGreat for tripod use

GoPro NTSC/PAL Explained

NTSC and PAL are the two primary video formats used around the world. More specifically, NTSC and PAL are two different electrical frequencies. NTSC offers higher frame rates while PAL offers lower frame rates. 

This is because the US power grid operates at 60hz, while the European grid operates at 50hz. If you film 60 FPS footage in a location with a 50hz power grid, your footage may produce an odd flickering wave at times. This is caused by lights pulsing at 50hz, but since your camera is running at 10 FPS faster, it produces waves and flickering. 

Nonetheless, I recommend using NTSC as you’re filming with your GoPro because it offers more FPS.

GoPro Manual Audio Control Explained

Manual Audio Control is a feature that allows you to improve your GoPro’s audio performance. With Manual Audio Control, you can manually adjust your GoPro’s audio settings. However, Manual Auto Control is set to AUTO by default.

Let’s take a closer look at Manual Audio Control’s features:

Manual Audio ControlDescription
AutoYour GoPro automatically switches from recording in stereo and applying the wind noise reduction
ONYour GoPro lets you choose between Stereo Only or Wind Only
Wind OnlyYour GoPro applies a wind reduction filter It produces less background noise but lower audio quality
Stereo OnlyYour GoPro records without any filtersIt offers higher raw audio quality but every sound is recorded, including wind and background noise

GoPro Protune Settings: Overview

In addition to the standard video settings we just discussed, GoPro cameras include advanced video features in GoPro Protune. 

GoPro Protune allows you to adjust:

  • Shutter speed
  • White balance
  • Sharpness
  • Exposure value compensation (EV comp)
  • ISO 
  • Color

However, these are advanced settings that will take some time to learn and use properly. That’s why GoPro cameras work in automatic exposure mode by default. Therefore, GoPro Protune is turned off by default as well.

GoPro Protune gives you more control over your video quality by allowing you to adjust specific recording settings.

Let’s take a close look at each of these settings.

GoPro Shutter Speed Explained

When recording video, shutter speed is the amount of time that each individual frame is exposed for. More specifically, shutter speed determines how long the camera’s shutter stays open. 

Therefore, shutter speed can be used to adjust the brightness of your videos. Slower shutter speeds cause your image sensor to be exposed to light longer, increasing the brightness of your videos. The opposite is true for faster shutter speeds.

In video, shutter speed is indicated in fractions of a second. While the shutter speed you can choose depends on your frame rate, you can choose from:

  • Auto
  • 1/FPS
  • 1/2xFPS
  • 1/4xFPS
  • 1/8xFPS

For example, if you choose 1/2xFPS and are using 60 FPS, your shutter speed would be 1/120th of a second. 

In general, the Auto feature does a great job of keeping a balanced image.

GoPro White Balance Explained

White balance is a useful setting when you’re working in different lighting conditions. It’s essentially a color corrector that compensates for the different color temperatures of light. For example, bright sunlight has a different color temperature than a shaded area. 

By default, white balance is set to Auto, which is perfectly suitable for everyday shooting because it will provide the most natural-looking videos. 

But if you’re filming in challenging lighting conditions or trying to match the color to other footage, changing the white balance can be extremely useful.

You can choose from these white balance options, measured in K for Kelvin:

  • 2300K
  • 2800K
  • 3200K
  • 4000K
  • 4500K
  • 5000K
  • 6000K

A higher Kelvin temperature offers warmer lighting, and a lower Kelvin temperature produces cool light or overcast conditions.

GoPro Sharpness Explained

Sharpness controls the sharpness of your GoPro footage. Sharpness applies software algorithms to find the edges of your video image and then increase their local contrast. When applied, sharpness makes the footage look crisper and more edged.

Here are the sharpness options you can choose from:

  • High: Ultra-sharp video quality and the same level of sharpness that’s used when Protune is off
  • Medium: Moderate level of sharpness
  • Low: Softer video that’s more flexible for post-production editing

GoPro EV Comp Explained

EV comp, or exposure compensation, affects the brightness of your video. The EV comp feature allows you to manually correct your brightness for environments with contrasting lighting conditions.

For example, if you think a scene is too bright, you can lower the exposure settings to increase the video’s quality. By default, exposure is set to -0.5.

You can choose from -2 to +2 for your exposure settings, in increments of 0.5:

  • +2.0
  • +1.5
  • +1.0
  • +0.5
  • +0.0*
  • -0.5
  • -1.0
  • -1.5
  • -2.0

GoPro ISO Explained

The ISO setting provides more control in low light situations. It modifies the camera’s sensitivity in low-light environments by creating a balance between brightness and the resulting image noise. A higher ISO limit generates brighter footage, while a lower ISO limit produces darker footage. However, a lower ISO limit also delivers reduced noise.

The ISO limit options are:

  • 100
  • 200
  • 400
  • 800
  • 1600
  • 3200
  • 6400

When you use a higher ISO limit, the video quality will be brighter, but it will also contain more noise and blur.

GoPro Color Explained

The color setting allows you to adjust the color profile of your GoPro video footage. By default, the color option is set to GoPro Color, which offers vibrant and saturated video footage. 

However, you can also set the color to flat, which produces neutral colors. The flat option is great to use if you plan on color grading your video during post-production editing.

FAQs

Below are a few popular questions surrounding GoPro video settings that may offer additional information. 

What is the best setting for GoPro video?

The best video settings for GoPro videos depend on what type of content you’re shooting. In general, you should use a higher resolution and frame rate when shooting fast-paced action content. You can use lower resolutions and frame rates if you’re filming slow-paced cinematic content. Personally, I film most of my content in 2.7K with 30 FPS, 60 FPS, or 120 FPS.

What resolution should I use on GoPro?

Higher-resolution GoPro videos provide better video quality. However, 1080p is the most common video resolution used nowadays and provides full HD video. Nonetheless, 4K and 5K video resolutions offer incredibly high-quality footage that you can upload and share on YouTube.

How many frames per second should I use on my GoPro?

You should use 24 FPS for cinematic shots or in environments with low lighting conditions. However, you should use 30 FPS for the majority of your content. 60 FPS and above are only needed if you’re adding slow-motion in post-production. 

Closing Thoughts

I hope this guide was helpful for you as you’re learning about all the different video settings your GoPro camera offers. The best advice I can give you is to play around with all the settings and film a lot of videos. Then, you can see what type of settings are best for your style of videos.

But now I really want to hear from you. Do you have any additional questions about GoPro video settings? Which settings are your favorite? Drop a quick comment down below and let me know!

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