Best GoPro Settings For FPV

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.

Resolution

Recommended Setting: 2.7K Superview at 30fps, or 1080p Superview at 60fps

Popular resolution for FPV videos are compared in the following table: (assuming Protune is on)

bit rate Superview 60fps with Superview
1080p 45Mbps @ 60fps Yes Yes
2.7K 60Mbps @ 48fps Yes @ 30fps No
4K 60Mbps @ 30fps No No

For the best resolution for FPV videos from GoPro session 5 would be 2.7K at 30fps with Superview. And you should upload  for uploading you will get a crisper image than filming  at 1080p.

If you want superview with 60fps, then 1080p would be the go to option.

First of all, let’s have a look at the bit rate under different resolutions:

  • 1080p 60fps – 45Mb/s
  • 2.7K and 4K 60fps – 60Mb/s

Apparently 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.

There are also other downsides to 4K, such as the lack of 60fps, and Superview isn’t possible at 4K which is a feature preferred by many mini quad pilots.

2.7K only support superview at 30fps. The highest FPS is 48, but then you have to turn off superview to set it that high.

Exposure

There are 3 things you can change your exposure:

  • F-Stop / Aperture
  • ISO
  • Shutter Speed

F-Stop can change the size of the Apeture 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.

Setting for GoPro Session 5

Video Stabilization

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 :)

Superview

Recommended Setting: On; Use superview whenever you can, the extra wide field of view makes your footage look more stable, smoother and faster.

Protune

Recommended Setting: Protune On

I prefer to enable Protune for FPV.

Color

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”.

Sharpness

Recommended Setting: Medium

I like to leave this at medium, so the image looks smoother with a bit more motion blur.

ISO Limit

Recommended Setting: As low as possible depends on lighting; 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 100, or 1600 depends on the environment.

In a bright day you are really not going to notice any difference between 400 and 1600. IMO 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 FPV.

But if you want the most consistent and cleanest possible image, I recommend keeping your ISO as low as possible given the lighting condition.

Shutter Speed

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.

White Balance

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 2K at 16 Mbps for 30fps videos, or 2K at 24 Mbps for 60fps, and then upload to YT. Do this even if you are exporting 1080 footage. Youtube will give higher bitrate to the 2K video and it will look better.

Edit History

  • Mar 2017 – Article created
  • Mar 2018 – Added sections “Shutter Speed” and “Uploading to Youtube”

10 thoughts on “Best GoPro Settings For FPV

  1. John

    Hey Oscar,
    Im confused. My Session 5 does not have 2.4K? The closest is 2.7K and 2.7K 4:3. Whats the deal there?
    I bought the camera this week just incase that makes a difference.

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      even if you could it’s going to be useless because how large the latency is.
      Just use it for recording HD footage.

      Reply
    1. John

      No there would not be one as the latency is way too long on HD video. Youll have to run a specific system line the Connex FPB system but $$$$$

      Reply
  2. Ethan

    I have went through my session(not 4K) and there isn’t a stabilization option. Also don’t see an option for sharpness. It is set now at 14400/30. Was using 1080 and it just looked horrible.

    Am wondering if I should have just gotten the 5 now.

    Reply
  3. Scott A Lazaruk

    Hey Oscar,

    Found this useful, but … could you post a more complete set of settings?
    IE include the ones you skipped over?

    For example, turning off video stabilization. (Which I think I’m supposed to do, from searching around). Would be cool to have the settings all in one place for those who are getting started with this. thanks!

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      Hi Scott,
      I’ve only mentioned the ones that need changing, the rest should just be at their default values :)
      definitely leave stabilization off :) it makes FPV footage look worse.
      I am still experimenting with other settings i will keep updating this article.

      Reply

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