Thursday, November 15, 2012

Go Pro Hero3

For the last week or so i've been testing the new Go Pro Hero3. I got the Silver Edition, which is the model in the middle of the range between the the Black and White Editions. I really didn't need the 4k at 15fps or the WiFi Remote, so decided to test the Silver Edition.

Right off the bat i can tell you that the usual Go Pro build quality is still there.... it's solid and very nicely put together. The actual camera is tiny...about the size of a matchbox. Only the waterproof housing makes it a bit bigger.

I could go into the menus and workings of it.... but it'm sure there's plenty of that on the net. What i will say is that this camera is very easy to use and the footage is excellent. The new Protune option gives you 45Mbps plus...

Another interesting addition is a micro HDMI output. This means i can maybe hook the Go Pro up to my Atomos Ninja and capture Pro Res HQ H.264 compression...just footage straight off the sensor. I can't wait to try this very soon. And because the Ninja is also pretty small and light, it will still be possible to get this little rig into some very small spaces. (I've no idea if this is possible yet... it might be a 480p output or something like the old crippled Canon HDMI outputs... fingers crossed it's full 1080p)

Here's what you need to know:

ProTune is still H.264 8bit, but also 24p and 25p at 45+Mbps!!

  • ProTune is also a log file... so grading Go Pro footage is suddenly do-able.
  • There's no crushing of the blacks anymore, no highlight roll-off and the noise reduction is reduced meaning that although the raw picture may look a bit scary, you can do your own grading and noise reduction with much more professional tools.
  • There's auto and also manual white balance. Again, much more use in post.

I did some test shots both during the day and also at night...both mounted on a moving car. The daylight shots look incredible straight off the card... the night shots not so much. I was quite disappointed with the night footage at first. It was noisy beyond belief. But... i dropped it into FCPX and had a play with it. First i dropped the exposure level of the blacks...a lot. And then i pulled the mids down a bit too... suddenly it looked a lot, lot better. Then i added some noise reduction using the NEAT video plug in. It was like night and day (pardon the pun). 

The footage now looked fantastic and completely usable. I'd still be wary of shooting without any light, but it's real contender if you need some night driving shots and you don't want to risk your main camera on car mount.

I've got the Go Pro App on both my Google Nexus 7 and iPad...and i'll be testing them soon to see how the WiFi control and monitoring works. Tomorrow i'm testing the Go Pro 3 on a Radio Controlled Helicopter again... i'll let you know how it looks and possibly post some footage.

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