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If you’re someone who wants to record your fishing adventures to post online or just for yourself, you’re more likely than not going to be using a GoPro. I use the GoPro Hero 8 and in this post, I’m going to be showing you the exact settings I use to get the best quality videos.
One thing I will mention is that these settings don’t apply only to the Hero 8. They should still apply to some of the older versions as well. I’ve tested out pretty much everything and the settings I’m going to talk about have been as good as I can seem to get. We’ll be talking about what resolution to use, how many frames per second you should be filming in, and what Protune settings you’ll want to turn on.
Why Your GoPro Footage Sucks
I’m sure you’ve tried recording some video in 2/4k, uploaded it to YouTube, and wondered why it still sucked. I was in the exact same boat and couldn’t for the life of me figure out what was wrong. The good news is that it’s actually NOT your GoPro. Your GoPro footage sucks because of YouTube.
Whenever you upload your video, YouTube will compress it to make the file size smaller. The two compression methods YouTube uses are VP9 and AVC1. If you recorded your video in 2/4k and your video sucks, it was probably compressed in the AVC1 format.
Here’s how to tell what format your video was compressed:
- Go to your video.
- Right-click and look for stats for nerds.
- Under codecs you’ll see VP9 or AVC1.
If you recorded your video in 1080p or less, you’ll only get the VP9 codecs if you have a big channel. Otherwise, you’ll get the AVC1 codecs. The only solution here is to record in a higher resolution.
If you recorded your video in anything above 2k and your video codec was VP9, the quality should be good. If you filmed in those higher resolutions and you’re still getting AVC1, we’ll have to make a few adjustments.
In my experience, anything that’s uploaded in 4K should automatically get the VP9 codecs. You might have to wait a couple of hours for YouTube to fully upload your video though. Anytime I upload a 4k video, the quality isn’t the best for the first couple of hours. Upload your video, list it unlisted, and wait for the video to be available in at least 1080p and VP9.
If you record your video in 2k, you still might get the AVC1 codecs. This would happen to me whenever I used iMovie to edit my videos. What you’ll need to do is make sure you’re exporting your video at the right size. What you need to do is make sure you’re exporting your video at 1440p. When you do that, your video should get the VP9 codecs.
What I’ve had the best results with is using the MP4 format when I export (above). You’ll want to use the H.264 Encoder and make sure the right Frame Rate is selected (60FPS). If you have the option to select “Best Quality” do that. Also, make sure your resolution is at least 1440p (it’s 2160 in the example above). This will make sure you get the VP9 codecs.
Resolution & Frame Rate For Fishing
When you’re recording fishing videos, the best frame rate to film in will be 60FPS. This will give you the smoothest video and you’ll be able to slow down any part when you’re editing. 30FPS is normally completely fine but there have been a few times when a fish has jumped and it didn’t really look the best. 60FPS will pick that up a lot better.
When it comes to the resolution, you’ll want to use whatever your GoPro and computer can handle. The best resolution for making fishing videos is going to be the highest resolution that can be filmed in 60FPS. My computer can’t edit 4k 60FPS video so I have to record at 2.7k 60FPS. If you have an older GoPro and can only film at 1080p 60FPS, go with that (you just won’t get the good compression).
Other Video Settings
Lens: This is pretty much how much zoom your GoPro will have. You can film in narrow, linear, wide, and superview. For fishing, you’ll want to record in wide or superview. I like to use the wider setting because it doesn’t have as much of that fisheye look. If I need to capture as much picture as possible, I’ll switch to superview.
HyperSmooth: This is how much image stabilization your GoPro will have. Nobody likes a shaky video so this feature is pretty important. You have the option to pick between on, high, and boost. Boost is the best but can’t be used on all modes. It also crops part of the video and that’s why I don’t use it much. I’ll normally use HyperSmooth On or High.
Bit Rate: High. Why? Because it’ll give you a much higher quality video.
Shutter: Auto. The GoPro seems to do a pretty good job at this.
EV Comp: 0. I might change this slightly depending on the light conditions but 90% of the time it’s on zero.
White Balance: Auto. This is the easy option and works pretty well in all conditions. If I’m doing daytime filming where there are changing light conditions, I’ll set this to 5500K.
ISO Min: 100. This is always set at this level.
ISO Max: 400. This setting works well in most conditions. If I’m filming in direct sunlight, I’ll lower this to 100. If I’m walking through a dark forest, I’ll raise this to 1600.
Sharpness: Low. I think this makes the video feel more “real” looking.
Color: GoPro. I’ve been pretty happy with this setting.
Raw Audio: Off.
Wind: On. Nobody likes hearing wind.
Additional GoPro Tips For Fishing
One thing that’s made things a lot easier is having the right shortcuts on the screen. The section where you can adjust your video settings and Protune also has a section for shortcuts. My shortcuts are Lens, White Balance, ISO Max, EV Comp. This lets me quickly change settings without having to level the screen.
Get at least 2 batteries and SD cards. The bad thing about GoPro is that the batteries suck. There isn’t a whole lot worse than having a battery die and it’s most likely going to happen at the worst time. I also like having a second SD card because things can go wrong with that as well.
Stop recording when something exciting happens. If you have a good catch or something funny happens, stop recording. It’ll make things a lot easier when you’re editing because you won’t have to dig through hours of recordings.
Let me know your thoughts and any questions you have. Like this article? Feel free to give it a share!
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