I will explain the different GoPro settings for the best possible FPV video quality. I have been using these settings recommended for my GoPro Hero5 Session camera for FPV, and I really like how the flight videos look.
- Learn about how to choose an HD camera for your drone in this article.
- Buy the GoPro Hero5 Session on Amazon | GetFPV
- Session Mount for Mini Quad: Banggood | Amazon | GetFPV
Recommended Setting: 2.7K Superview
The choice of resolution really depends. If you plan to export it in 1080p, then there is no point of using 2.7K or 4K, unless you do things like zooming in. I personally export my footage at 2.7K so I normally film in 2.7K as well.
Note that a higher resolution usually has higher bit rate as well, for example in the GoPro Session 5:
- 1080p 60fps – 45Mb/s
- 2.7K and 4K 60fps – 60Mb/s
But the GoPro has a maximum bit rate of 60Mb/s, 2.7K and 4K have the same bit rate. That means if you are using 4K you will effectively have less image quality per pixel than 2.7K.
And I almost always turn Superview on for my FPV footage, since 4K doesn’t support Superview in the Session 5, I had to use 2.7K in this case.
2.7K and 4K videos are very big files, your computer might struggle when editing these files. That’s one reason why you might want to work with 1080p videos instead if your computer is slow.
When it comes to frame rate (FPS), I’m normally recording everything with 30FPS because it shows less jello and looks more “cinematic” than higher FPS. If you are going to play with slow motion, then 60FPS and 120FPS are good options.
There are 3 things you can change your exposure:
- F-Stop / Aperture
- Shutter Speed
F-Stop can change the size of the Aperture to change the amount of light you let in to the camera. But you also change the depth of the view – how much focus you give to the background…
ISO is the digital enhancement of light, it’s a digital way of adding more light to the image. Generally the lower ISO the better, because higher ISO introduce more noise to your image where there isn’t enough light.
Shutter speed affects how much light it lets in for every individual shot.
By changing one setting requires you to adjust other settings as well to compensate, so it’s really a balance between them.
For the GoPro, to change exposure you only have 2 options: Shutter Speed and ISO.
There are currently two main ways to stabilize GoPro footage:
Reelsteady GO is currently the unparalleled solution for stabilization. However it’s a paid plugin which is not cheap. If you are not a professional it’s probably not worth it.
Hypersmooth is a feature in the latest GoPro cameras (on the GoPro Hero 7 Black). It’s works great and extremely efficient since everything is done automatically. But the result could be wonky sometimes for acrobatics.
Setting for GoPro Session 5
Recommended Setting: OFF; Despite how well this might work when you are holding the camera by hand, auto stabilization doesn’t work well on a drone. It makes it look even worse :)
Recommended Setting: On; Use superview whenever you can, the wider vertical field of view makes your footage look more stable, smoother and faster.
Recommended Setting: Protune On
I prefer to enable Protune for FPV.
Recommended Setting: Flat for Pro, GoPro Color for Beginners
- Flat – the video would look more neutral and low in contrast
- GoPro Color – the result would look very vivid and nice
Basically Flat Color has higher image detail and allows more room for the user to “color grade” in post editing later. Flat color is not designed for direct consumption, it’s for those are really good at video editing. If you are new to making FPV videos, maybe you should just stick with “GoPro Color”.
Recommended Setting: Medium
I like to leave this at medium, so the image looks smoother with a bit more motion blur.
Recommended Setting: As low as possible depends on lighting; 100-400 for expert users, 1600 is a good general value if you are not sure
ISO changes the exposure of the image, it works like an “signal amplifier”. The Higher ISO, the higher sensitivity to light, and it’s great for dark environment. But it also introduce/amplifies digital noise. The problem can be seen as “grainier” image.
When setting the ISO limit, you are not setting the fixed ISO the camera is going to use, but rather just the highest value the camera is allowed to use. For example if 1600 ISO limit was set, the camera could be using ISO range from 100 up to 1600.
On a bright sunny day you might not notice any difference between ISO 100 and 1600, as long as you don’t fly under shadows. But if you start going in and out of lighting, you will need more ISO for flexibility, such as 1600.
In my opinion, it might be better to give the camera room for adjustment in case you run into low light conditions so 1600 might be more suitable for the type of dynamic flying we do with these fast moving drones.
But if you want the most consistent and cleanest possible image, I recommend keeping your ISO as low as possible given the lighting condition.
Recommended Setting: Auto
I just leave it to the GoPro to manage its own shutter speed.
Shutter speed can change the exposure of the image too. The slower shutter speed, the brighter image and good for dark environment.
From my experience, different shutter speed can create a certain image look. Faster shutter speed gives you sharper and more natural image, while slower shutter speed gives you more motion blur and cinematic effect.
The general rule of thumb for constant lighting is to have the minimum shutter speed at least 2 times of the frame rate. For example for 30fps, shutter speed should be at least 1/60. With shutter speed too low, your image can look over-exposed, with lots of motion blur that doesn’t look good.
Make sure you experiment with the settings under different lighting condition for your personal preference.
Many people prefer to use ND filters on their GoPro to reduce amount of light entering the camera, which will allow them to use longer shutter speed even on a bright sunny day.
Beware that in the latest firmware updates, GoPro removed the option to change shutter speed. You might need to downgrade the firmware if you wish to have this option back.
Recommended Setting: Native for Pro Editors, otherwise use Auto or 6500K (outdoor)
White balance determines the colour temperature of your footage. Unless you are filming indoor where there is light source (e.g. bulbs) that might change the colour of the environment in an unnatural way, you should just leave this at default.
Uploading to Youtube
When uploading FPV videos to youtube, fast motion will almost always be ruined by YT’s compression. Areas where a lot of detail is required such as glass and leaves on a tree, will most likely be pixelated.
My best approach is to follow Youtube’s guideline. If you upload a video with a higher bit rate than Youtube wants, it just compresses it anyway. And it probably does a worse job than your video editor would.
Another popular approach is to export in 2.7K, do this even if you are working with 1080p footage. Even though the bit-rate might be the same when you upload it, Youtube will use higher bitrate for 2.7K videos to play it back and it will look better.
- Mar 2017 – Article created
- Mar 2018 – Added sections “Shutter Speed” and “Uploading to Youtube”