Best Hiking Settings for GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition

I was recently asked what settings I would recommend for hiking videos with the GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition. Here’s my best advice (watch my video for examples).

Frame Rate
I think 30 frames per second (fps) is sufficient for most hiking unless you move at a very fast pace, or tend to pan quickly (not recommended). If you are manic and like to move the camera around and a fast clip, then go to 48fps. I don’t use 60fps unless I’m moving very quickly (driving or riding a bike, etc) – or if the subject is doing so (people running, riding on ziplines, etc.).

Field of View (fov)
I usually use medium for most of my walking and commentary – especially for shooting stuff that’s reasonably close to me. The medium fov with the Hero3+ is pretty satisfying with a moderate amount of fish-eye effect. For grand wide landscapes (standing at the edge of a gorge or canyon, or atop a mountain – then go to wide fov. I don’t use Superview much, but it could look nice for moving quickly through exciting and broad vistas. Superview distorts significantly in all by the middle portion of the frame – but it’s a cool effect. You can see what I mean in my video example.

Video Size
I still just mostly shoot 1080p – but the 2.7k option is quickly becoming one of my favorite shooting modes. 1080p still rules YouTube and the 1080p TVs are currently the cheapest and most available. But 4k is just around the bend. 2.7k vid will look nice even on the 4k sets – and 2.7k allows for some artificial zooming as I illustrate in the video on this page. 4k on the Hero3+ is still only 15fps – which renders it useful only for slow panning or stationary shots. I love it – but won’t use it much until GoPro releases a version that can handle 4k at 30fps – that will change everything!

Protune – or Standard?
I must confess that I like the color and editability of standard video from my Hero3+. There’s no doubt that if you take Protune video and convert it to Cineform Codec with the free GoPro Studio Software, you have amazing color, contrast and sharpness editing options – but darn it, those Cineform files are HUGE. It does make a difference if you want the highest level of color editing possibilities – but the standard video looks very nice, is smaller and more convenient to pull straight into a non-linear editor like Premiere Pro CC.

Hope this helps folk!

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