Best GoPro Settings For FPV

Here are the different settings for each GoPro cameras to achieve the best possible result with your FPV videos. I have been using these settings recommended for my GoPro Hero 8, Hero 7, Hero 6 and Session 5 for FPV, and I really like how the footage looks.

GoPro Camera Options for FPV

GoPro Hero 8 Black

Product Page: https://amzn.to/2uQr2De

The latest offering from GoPro (May 2020). It has built-in Hypersmooth 2.0 stabilization, and also being fully supported by Reesteady. Comparing to the previous Hero 7, the Hero 8 offers higher bit rate which results in sharper image. The overall image quality is the best in all the GoPro options.


GoPro Hero 7 Black

Product Page: https://amzn.to/37Mw6qN

This is the first camera from GoPro that supports Hypersmooth stabilization. However, the hardware, as well as image quality are similar to the previous Hero 6, and it doesn’t work well with Reelsteady (requires extremely good soft mounting), therefore it’s not as popular as the Hero 6 despite being newer.


GoPro Hero 6 Black

Product Page: https://amzn.to/31fvN56

Although the Hero 6 is an older model, it still offers 4K 60FPS and decent image quality which is adequate for most hobbyists’ needs. It has no built-in stabilization, however it’s one of the best choices for Reelsteady in terms of reliability. The Hero 6 is very good value for the money, and a popular options for light weight micro drones. After strip-down it only weighs 17 grams.


GoPro Session 5

Product Page: https://amzn.to/2RNbNDO

The Session 5 is often used on racing and freestyle drones thanks to its relatively more aerodynamic shape and lighter weight. It’s also crash resistant and and water-resistant. However it’s not common for professional and cinematic shots as it doesn’t have decent stabilization, and not well supported in Reelsteady.

360 Cameras

GoPro also offers 360 cameras, check out this comparison guide for more detail.

Best GoPro Settings

The table below sums up all the best settings I have found for each GoPro camera. There are two ways of video stabilization for the GoPro which requires different settings: Hypersmooth and Reelsteady (see this article to learn more).

My recommendation might help you to get started, but ultimately you should learn about manual settings for cameras in order to get the most out of them. And please make sure you test the settings before going out to shoot to avoid surprises.

For Hypersmooth (GoPro 8 & GoPro 7)

Hero 8 Hero 7
Resolution 4K 2.7K 4K 2.7K
Frame Rate 30 60 30 60
Shutter Speed* 60 120 60 120
Aspect Ratio 16:9 16:9
FOV Superview Superview
Stabilization Auto Auto
Protune On
White Balance Native or 5500K
ISO Min 100
ISO Max (Limit) 400**
Color Flat
EV Comp 0
Sharpness Low Low
Raw Audio Off Off
Mic Setting Wind Wind

* Use higher shutter speed for less motion blur, or when your ND isn’t dark enough

** See ISO Max for detail, in certain situations you might want to set this higher for extra flexibility.

For Reelsteady GO (GoPro 8 and GoPro 6)

Hero 8 Hero 6
Resolution 4K 2.7K 4K 2.7K
Frame Rate 30 60 30 60
Shutter Speed* 60 120 60 120
Aspect Ratio 4:3 4:3
FOV** Wide Wide
Stabilization Off Off
Protune On
White Balance Native or 5500K
ISO Min 100
ISO Max (Limit) 400***
Color Flat
EV Comp 0
Sharpness Low Low
Raw Audio Off Off
Mic Setting Wind Wind

* Use higher shutter speed for less motion blur, or when your ND isn’t dark enough

** The Wide settings under 4:3 aspect ratio actually has wider FOV than Superview in 16:9, because this is the full sensor image, and when you export the footage from ReelsteadyGO it will automatically stretch it to 16:9 Superview for you

*** See ISO Max for detail, in certain situations you might want to set this higher for extra flexibility.

Session 5

Resolution 2.7K
Frame Rate 30
Shutter Speed* 60 or Auto
Aspect Ratio 16:9
FOV Superview
Stabilization n/a
Protune On
White Balance Native or 5500K
ISO Min 100
ISO Max (Limit) 400
Color Flat
EV Comp 0
Sharpness Medium
Raw Audio n/a
Mic Setting n/a

* Use Auto shutter speed if you don’t use ND filter

Now, let me explain each setting in a bit more detail.

Resolution

Use the highest resolution that your computer can handle. Higher resolution results in larger file sizes and requires more computer processing power to edit and render it. It would be extremely annoying if you filmed at 4K but your computer kept crashing when editing it.

Also, there is no point in recording 2.7K or 4K if you are just going to export it in 1080p either, unless you want to be able to zoom in, but we don’t normally do that with FPV footage.

Note that a higher resolution may offer higher bit rate, you can find out in the data sheet, for example here is the bit rate of the GoPro Session 5:

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

FOV (Superview)

FOV, or field of view, is how wide the image looks, you normally have the options of Narrow, Medium, Wide and Superview.

Superview is the standard in FPV since the wider vertical field of view makes your footage look more stable, smoother and faster.

Unless you are using Reelsteady, in which case you’d probably want to choose Wide, otherwise, always choose Superview,

Aspect Ratio

There are two aspect ratios: 16:9 and 4:3.

The native aspect ratio of GoPro sensor is 4:3, so selecting 4:3 as your aspect ratio, will make use of the full sensor information. When selecting 16:9, it will simply crop the top and bottom of the sensor. In case you don’t already know, Superview is actually dynamically stretched from 4:3 to 16:9, hence the super wide FOV.

If you use Reelsteady, always choose 4:3, as the software will export a 16:9 clip.

FPS (Frame Per Second)

When it comes to frame rate (FPS), I normally use 30FPS because it tends to show less jello and looks more “cinematic” than higher FPS. If you are going to play with slow motion, then 60FPS and 120FPS might be better options.

Shutter Speed

If you don’t use ND filter, just set it to Auto and let the GoPro manage its own shutter speed.

Shutter speed affects how much light it lets into the sensor, it changes the exposure of your image.

Apart from exposure, shutter speed also affects the look of your image. Faster shutter speed results in sharper image, while slower shutter speed results in more motion blur and so called “cinematic” look.

The general rule of thumb is to set shutter speed to a multiple of frame rate, according to the “180 degree rule”. For example, 1/60 for 30fps, and 1/120 for 60fps. With lower shutter speed than that, your image might be over-exposed, with lots of motion blur that looks terrible.

Note that when you set shutter speed to a fixed value, you should use ND filter on the GoPro in order to get the correct exposure. I recommend having ND8, ND16 and ND32 filters available for different lighting condition (ND2 and ND4 basically useless).

Setting the correct shutter speed in the GoPro takes some work, because you might not be able to see live preview. Here is a trick I use: I usually set shutter speed with the camera facing the brightest area of my shot, make sure nothing is too overexposed (blown out). It’s okay to have dark areas as it can be easily recovered in post, but overexposed areas are normally not recoverable.

If you use Reesteady GO, make sure you don’t introduce too much motion blur as the software works best with clean and crisp video. To do this, you might want to use higher shutter speeds.

And I’d rather under-expose than over-expose, as this will minimize the amount of oscillation and jello shown in your footage.

Protune

Recommended Setting: Protune On

By enabling ProTune, it increases the bit-rate, as well as the dynamic range of the image, this helps tremendously when it comes to color correction and color grading later.

Color

Recommended Setting: Flat for Pro, GoPro Color for Beginners

  • Flat – the video would look more neutral and low in contrast and saturation
  • 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 who know how to color grade in post. If you are new to making FPV videos, maybe you should just stick with “GoPro Color”.

Color grading your videos is a great skill to learn. It will bring your videos to a whole new level. To do this, get a decent video editor, such as DaVinci Resolve, Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro X.

Stabilization

As explained in another article, there are two ways to stabilize GoPro videos.

Hero 7 and 8 come with Hypersmooth, and it works well. However, stabilization in any previous GoPro’s should not be used for FPV. It actually makes it look even worse :)

If you want to use Reelsteady, then you should turn the stabilization off on the camera.

ISO Limit (ISO Max)

Recommended Setting: As low as possible depends on lighting

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 high ISO introduce more noise to your image where there isn’t enough light.

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.

You should set your ISO as low as possible as high ISO makes your footage grainy and noisy.

When setting the ISO limit, you are not setting a fixed ISO value, but rather just the maximum ISO the camera is allowed to use. For example if 100 was the minimum ISO, and 1600 was the ISO limit, the camera would be using ISO from 100 up to 1600. It changes depending on the lighting.

Setting a high ISO is good for flexibility, but if you want the most consistent and cleanest possible image, it’s best to keep your ISO as low as possible given the lighting condition.

If you are shooting outdoor during the day, and you know you won’t be flying under the trees or shadow, you can set ISO max to 100 for the consistent and clean image. If you do fly under shadow, you can set this higher, such as 400 for the extra flexibility. If you fly in and out of a house for example, you can even set it higher such as 1600.

White Balance

Recommended Setting: Native for the Pro, otherwise use 4500K or 5500K. Setting it to a fixed value ensures consistent white balance and you can adjust it later in post. But if you don’t know how to work white balance in the post, just set it to auto.

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 might want to just leave this at default.

EV Comp

It stands for Exposure Compensation. Majority of the times you can just leave EV Comp at default.

When the camera tries to change exposure, it would look at the whole image and get an average value of the current exposure and bring it down or up to the middle grey value.

When you are filming in a subject that is darker or brighter than the background, and if you left EV Comp at default (0), your image will probably look over-exposed, or under-exposed. In this case you’d want to adjust EV Comp.

Changing the EV Comp value is basically telling the camera to either brighten or darken the image from the optimal exposure it perceives.

Sharpness

My recommendation with GoPro sharpness settings are either medium or low. The high setting is usually too high in GoPro cameras and it doesn’t look good. If you set it to low, you can always bring sharpness back up in post, that’s why I usually use low sharpness.

Uploading to Youtube

When uploading FPV videos to Youtube, fast motion will almost always get ruined by Youtube’s compression (in order to save storage). Areas where a lot of detail is required such as grass and leaves, will most likely appear pixelated.

I think the 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.

One popular approach is to “upscale”. For example, if your video is recorded in 2.7K, export it as a 4K video; or if it’s recorded in 1080p, export in 2.7K. Even though the bit-rate might be the same when you upload it, Youtube will allow higher bitrate for the higher resolution videos to playback and it will look way better.

Edit History

  • Mar 2017 – Article created
  • Mar 2018 – Added sections “Shutter Speed” and “Uploading to Youtube”
  • Jan 2020 – Updated GoPro list, added settings for Hero 7
  • May 2020 – Added settings for Hero 8 and included separate settings for Reelsteady

12 thoughts on “Best GoPro Settings For FPV

  1. Roy

    Following youtube’s video upload guidelines is fine except for the bitrate; there’s so much moving stuff in the average fpv video that you need a way higher bitrate than recommended. I’m usually somewhere between 80 and 160 for 30/60fps 1080p just to make sure most details make it to youtube. A 1080p 8Mbps h264 video (current recommended settings) export is gonna look bad even before uploading it to youtube.

    Reply
  2. Frank Ragsac

    Is there a hack for Hero 4 to output Video for FPV? I have the firmware version 5 and have the getfpv cable. I can’t get any video. I need it to work with my gimbal as a second camera where I can control pan and tilt. Appreciate any help. I’ve been searching the internet and nada. Except that people said GoPro disabled AV out.

    Reply
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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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