GOPRO HD HERO & HD HERO2 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
"taking the HD Hero to the next level...and beyond"
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GOPRO HD Hero & HERO2 CAMERA FAQ
skip to codec section
skip to HD Player section
skip to converters section
skip to editing program section
Here's a video tutorial on how to use the camera.
Turning camera on:
A common mistake is to hold the power button too long and it goes to a
different mode than you want on start up. To turn on the camera, simply
hold the power button for 1 second and let go. Don't wait until you
hear beeps before letting go or it's too late. Same is NOT true for
turning it off. You have to wait until you start hearing beeps before
letting go of the power button.
HD Hero Firmware: Firmware is available from GoPro. We have a web page dedicated just for the firmware upgrades (there have been more than one). How
do you know what version you firmware you have on the camera? To tell
what firmware you have, take a picture, then look at the exif meta
data for that picture and you will see the firmware listed. It will look
something like this: OH01.01.01.46. In the various programs, the
version number goes by many names. In Bridge it's 'application', in
Thumbsplus it's 'camera version' and in EXIF Pilot it's called 'creation
software'. If you don't have a graphics program that will display
exif data (adobe bridge, thumbsplus, exif pilot, etc), and you don't
want to download a free program (exif pilot), you can change the
extension on a gopro jpg to .txt and open it up in notebook on a pc,
wait a few minutes for it to load and near the top should be version
number. HD HERO2: No firmware available yet.
SD Cards: The version 1 HD Hero camera is very particular with SD Cards. So you'll want to upgrade to the free GoPro firmware upgrade.
Don't skimp on your card. It's your one 'roll of film' that you'll use
over and over. Recommended card for the HD Hero is Kingston classs 4
or 6 16gb or 32gb SD Card. Class 10 cards do NOT work well with the HD
Hero. Note: Getting a faster card does NOT give you better quality.
It simply saves the data faster. HD HERO2:
IF you want to use all the advanced features (10 picture burst for
example) with the HD Hero2, it is recommended you buy a class 10 SD
Card. Hero2 is not a picky with SD cards as the Hero was. Just make it
a name brand and be weary of buying on Ebay.
If the display is showing '---'
when you put in the card, then the card is not in all the way. You need
to use your fingernail to push it into the camera. It will securely
lock into place and the display will show 000. You CAN put the card in
while the camera is on.
It's a good idea to format the
card once in a while. Keeps the card working properly. Format the card
by choosing 'ALL' in the camera settings.
Undelete files from SD Card:
If you accidently delete files from your SD Card, it's pretty easy to
get them back. Most people aren't aware that when you delete a file
from your computer or card, you really aren't deleting the file at all.
What is actually happening is the directory (called a file allocation
table or FAT) is simply being changed so that particular space on the
card/hard drive is now available for use. HOWEVER, it's only possible
to undelete if you have NOT used the card since deleting the files. If
you do use the card, there's a very good chance the locations where the
deleted files were residing will be over-written by the new files. So
if you accidently delete files while on location, take the card out and
set it aside (or use an undelete program if you have a laptop on
location). There are a number of free undelete programs. Just make
sure the one you choose can undelete from an external card. Here's just
some undelete program choices: Free Undelete 2.0 Undelete SD Card Undelete PLUS.
Large SD Card Files: The HD Hero & Hero2
can continuously record video until your SD Card is full (display says
FuL). HOWEVER, there is a file size limitation on a 16-32GB SD Card.
It's 3.8GB. The HD Hero will seamlessly start a new file when it
reaches that point. Here's the naming structure: Assuming you have a
blank card, the first video file will be called "GOPR0001.MP4". When
that file reaches 3.84GB, a second file called "GO010001.MP4" will be
created. When that file reaches 3.84GB a file "GO010002.MP4" will be
created and so on. The length of time for each file varies based upon
what you are shooting because these are compressed files. If you are
shooting something that doesn't have a lot of movement (a recital), you
will get more time per file.
|Max time per 32GB card
||Max time per 16GB card
||time per 3.8GB
max file size
||4 hrs. 20 min
2 hrs 10 min
||8 hrs. 10 min
4 hrs 15 min
||4 hrs. 20 min
||2 hrs 10 min
||5 hrs 26 min
||2 1/2 hrs 10 min
8 hrs 10 min
|4 hrs 10 min
HD Hero (5mp): 8000 stills per 16GB card 16000 stills per 32GB card.
HD Hero2 (11mp): 3000 stills per 16GB card, 6000 stills per 32GB Card
The on-camera display has 3 digits, so when you've taken more than 999
pictures, the counter stops counting, but THE CAMERA CONTINUES TO TAKE
PICTURES. For the file naming, the camera puts the first 999 pictures
in the usual 100MEDIA subfolder on your SD Card, then after that, it
auotomatically creates 101MEDIA folder until it fills up with 999 images
the creates folder 102MEDIA and so on. It will do this until the card
is full. Average JPG size is 1.7 - 2MB. 8000 stills per 16GB card!
16000 stills per 32gb card. Hero2:
This camera works a little differently. The folders are instead
named: 100GOPRO, then 101GOPRO etc. The display can count up to 9,999
images! Average 11mp file size is 5-6mb.
Internal memory: Unlike the standard Hero, there is no internal memory. You HAVE to have an SD Card.
Still image size: Pixels
are 2592w x 1944h. Even though the HD Hero is still only 5mp, the file
size has gone up from the standard Hero. Average picture file size is:
2mb. So, a 16gb card can hold approx. 8,000 still images. There is
only 1 angle for stills: VERY WIDE 170 degrees. Get twice as close as
you think you should get. Hero2: Still images are 3840 x 2880 (11mb). Size varies from 5-6mb each.
Still picture mode:
Don't confuse the still picture icon (solid still camera icon) with the
time-lapse mode (blinking still camera icon). It is very easy to do
because the icon does not flash very fast. It's better if you memorize
where each mode is in the sequence. Still picture mode is the first one
after SEtings and the time-lapse mode is right after self-timer mode. Jello 'Wavy' Effect: Because of how the shutter writes from top to bottom, it is very sensitive to even very small periodic up and down motion caused by 'micro' vibrations, such as on a car, plane, or boat mount. The mount must be VERY rigid - and the regular mounts, even when clamped or bolted down, sometimes still have too much movement. If the camera can be moved up and down at all then vibration may well cause a problem. The solution is a rock solid mounting method, with no extensions on the mount, and the mount must attach to a rigid part of the vehicle structure. Or even to a windshield if there is a way to clamp it tightly to the windshield. Of course there are exceptions to this rule too. A dragster would have lots of vibration on the frame itself, so it would need some sort of rubber buffer around the mount.
Propeller / rotating Objects: This is related to the above issue of how the shutter writes from top to bottom, it may only capture part of the movement per frame. There are two ways to combat this. Increase the frame rate. Or, use an ND (neutral density) filter or dark polarizer filter. This descrxease the light to the lens, which slows down the shutter speed which gives realistic blur that the eye wants to see. Don't use a filter unless it's a bright sunny or bright overcast day.
Fixed Focus Range: From 8" to infinity. It's ALL in focus. Hero2: narrow: 10" minimum focus, medium: 9" minimum focus
Removing double-stick baseplates: Use heat from a hair dryer.
If you have video skipping on playback on your computer, it's probably
because of an underpowered computer/video card and probably not the
camera/card. A good test is to play back the video from the camera to a
TV and see if it skips. HD plays back with an enormous amount of data
every second (1080p is 12 million bits per second!!) so it puts a lot of
pressure on the video card primarily, CPU secondarily.
Short recordings: if
your camera stops on it's own while video recording, that usually means
the card isn't fast enough or isn't compatible with the version 1
camera. See SD Cards section above.
Happens when there's a corrupted video file. Pressing any button will
have the camera attempt to recover the file. Cause could be an
incompatible SD Card.
Camera records on it's own: You have the One button mode turned on. It's the first setting in the setting menu. Watch this video. Got to 5 minute mark.
With the GoPro firmware version 1 HD Hero it goes very yellow with 100w
indoor lighting. It appears that there is no color balancing at all
with the version of the camera. But the latest GoPro firmware fixes this with stills and improves it with videos. Hero2: No issues at all with color balancing indoors.
normal circumstances, you should get 2 1/2 hrs of battery life. We are
not sure what kind of battery life there is with timelapse since the
camera is only one when it is taking a picture. Additionally, we aren't
sure what battery life there is when the camera is in standby mode (live video out).
Currently, there is no external battery charger for the HD Hero battery
and we are not aware of any GoPro plans to produce a stand-alone battery
charger. Battery can be charged with any USB charger (plugging into
the camera). There are different output chargers so charge time may
vary. You can also charge and run the camera at the same time if the
charger is powerful enough (1000mAh). Normal charging mode is to
connect to a computer with a USB cable.
Fogging happens for a variety of reasons. It can happen when you load a
camera in a warm environment into the housing then go out into a cold
environment and the camera housing cools off. Since cold air inside the
housing can't hold as much moisture as warm air, the moisture condenses
on the housing. Another reasons is if you load the camera in a humid
environment, then any kind of temperature fluctuation can cause the
moisture inside the camera housing to condense.
- One solution is to buy a 1 gallon baggie, put
silica gel bags (or uncooked rice) in it, the put the camera and
housing in separately. Leave in for 15 minutes. Then put the camera in
the housing WHILE STILL IN the sealed baggie.
- The easiest way is to put the camera and the
housing separately into a refrigerator for about a minute. A/C removes
humidity. Then while still in the refrigerator, put the camera into the
housing. You may get condensation on the OUTSIDE, but this is just
temporary and easy to fix. You can aslo hold in front of your car A/C
and then put the camera inside whill in front of the A/C. Keep in mind
as soon as you open the camera during the day, you have broken the seal
and have to repeat the process over again.
- And finally, buy anti-fogging inserts from GoPro (read directions!).
Video out playback: One of the best features of the HD Hero is it's ability to playback standard and HD video perfectly. This is no small feat considering 1080p is outputting 11.5 million bits per second! If you want HD video playback,
the top round plug is only for HD video and no audio. You'll also need
to plug in the bottom cable if you want audio while outputting an HD
video signal. When both cables are plugged in, HD video gets precedence
over standard video out. If you want just standard video, only plug the red/yellow/white cable into the bottom round hole. Note HD downgrades to SD if the camera is recording. HERO2: HDMI video out remains in HD when the camera is shooting. HDMI is audio and video.
LIVE video out: With the free firmware upgrade, you can have HD live video out with audio and SD video out with audio.
60 frames per second (slow motion) :
This is a very confusing topic, even for professionals! What usually
confuses people is plugging in camera to a TV and having a 60fps video
play back at normal speed. What you are seeing is a 60fps playback.
If you were to shoot two files one at 30fps and one at 60fps, you'll see
a big difference in clarity with fast moving objects with 60fps. It
feels smoother. It also has more of a video feel to it. So, there are
two ways to view videos on a computer. At 30 frames per second and 60
frames per second (requires a relatively fast computer). How a 60fps
camera file plays in a player or editing program depends on the software
application itself. It can either play normally (displaying at 60fps)
or show in slow motion (displaying your 60fps file at 30fps). Don't
expect to upload a 60fps file to YouTube or similar and expect it to
stay at 60fps. Those websites will convert down to 30fps skipping every
With editing programs, when you import a 60fps
file, it will either accept all the frames and import into the program
at slow motion or, in the case of Sony Vegas, it will import at normal
speed DROPPING every other frame. If you want it to be slow motion,
it's simply a matter of telling the editing program to slow down the
video to 50%, then magically the dropped frames come
back. Here is an example of an R/C flip that was shot at 60fps and when
imported into the 30fps project, frames were dropped to conform to the
30fps project. However, when we slowed to file down to 50%, it looked
perfect in slow motion. Take a look.
Audio is a whole different issue with slow motion. Some editing
programs will slow it down, some will drop it all together. There is a
free program called Audacity
that will slow your audio down if your editing program won't. It will
recognize your MP4 camera file and convert it to an mp3 audio format.
Currently, there is an issue with the standard Hero and the HD Hero
going out of focus underwater. It's marginally acceptable focus. GoPro
says they are looking into the problem. Eye Of Mine Multimedia has
come up with a quick fix.
If your computer is not recognizing the MP4 format, you probably need
to add an h.264 coder/encoder codec. The camera records with an MP4
file with an h.264 video codec (compressor). This usually does NOT
come standard on a computer. See our SOFTWARE SECTION on more codec information. That software section will also give some good playback programs (mac/pc).
HD video players:
- SMPlayer (pc) : Our new
favorite player. It's fast, rubust and free. The best part is you can
easily flip, rotate the image for playback with a right click.
- VideoLan VLC Media player
(mac/pc): This is a free open-source player. Has a very easy
interface. Can play virtually any video and other media. Can also flip
videos on playback (press 'extended settings icon).
- Classic Video Player (pc): This is the fastest of them all. And it's free. If you have a slow computer, this is the one to try.
- GOM Player:
This is the most robust free HD Player. Very nice. Not as fast as
Videolan or Classic Video Player, but if you have a fast computer it
- Quicktime Player (non Pro version): Free and made by Apple (pc/Mac). It's been around a long time. Not the fastest player on slow computers.
- Online mediaconverter: This
is pretty convenient. Let you convert your MP4 to a number of other
formats. Max of 100mb for free users. Max 1GB per file for paying
- YouTube online editor:
A very easy, free online video trimmer for your already posted YouTube
videos. You can trip beginning and/or ending and put multiple videos in
sequence as 1 video.
- MPEG Streamclip:
An awesome free conversion program that also does trimming (cut out
beginning/ending of camera files). Does not install, simply has files
in a folder that you can move from computer to computer or put on a USB
drive. Also does image rotation.
Here's a good training video for MPEG Streamclip.
And odd name for a cool program. Yes, it works with HD MP4
formats. This does something none of the others do. It will allow you
to 'trim' your video (remove part of beginning and/or part of the end)
and save that shortened HD video WITHOUT having to re-render and loose
quality. And it's much, much faster. Very cool!
- Quicktime Pro: This is the purchased version. Works on Mac and PC. Not an editor, but a converter and a trimmer. Tutorial
This is a specific converter from MP4 to AVI. Does not install, simply
are files in a folder that you can move from computer to computer or put
on a USB drive.
- Aone Ultra Video Splitter: This is a great trimming program. This is a great program because all the codecs are included.
Best editing program: This is like asking what is the meaning of life. Everybody has their own opinion. We'll only delve into the basics below:
Here's a quick list of some inexpensive EDITING PROGRAMS that will work. Note you may still have to add an MP4 codec.
- TrakAXpc ($29) : This is a very inexpensive editing program ($29) that is very robust and can ROTATE a video image.
- Magix Movie Edit Pro ($69) :
This one is new to us and we really like it. What it appears to do is
when you import your HD footage, it makes a lower resolution copy for
editing purposes. Then when you render out, it renders from the HD real
file. Make editing faster.
- PowerDirector ($75): We give a mild recommendation for this one. It is fast, but lacks output format options and customization.
- Window Movie Maker: Need to convert to another format first (mpg, avi, mov).
- Final Cut Express: (Mac only). We have not used this directly.
- iMovie: (Mac only). We have not used this directly.
- Sony Vegas ($550) : (PC only) This is our favorite editing program. Very robust (not cheap) and relatively fast.
...and all of the high-end editing programs work: Premiere, Final
Cut Pro, SpeedEdit, etc. Note that Final Cut Pro only likes quicktime
files. Other formats require constant conversion every time they are
accessed. Even for high end programs you still may have to add a codec to the computer.
The above information comes from Eye Of Mine Multimedia and may not necessarily be the advice of GoPro.
GLOSSARY OF TERMS for dummys
SD vs. HD: Well start with
the most confusing terms of all. SD 'usually' means anything that is not
HD. But that covers alot: DVD, regular TV broadcasts, DV video from
camcorders. HD means 1080 and 720. There are strict guidelines as to
what HDTV is technically, however, computers have confused the issue
because they can run a bunch of other sizes and different aspect ratios
MP4: This is a type of file format. It can have any number of different type of codec compression schemes.
CODEC: This word is an acronym
for coder-decoder. It is impossible to run uncompressed 1080 HD video
at 1.2Gbps (1.2 billion bits per second) unless you have an extremely
expensive computer setup and it will fill up your hard drive FAST!!!
So, CODECs are used to compress the data down to a reasonable size.
CODECS compress the information as the file is created, then the file
is DECOMPRESSED as it is being played on a computer/tv. Codecs can also
be used for audio as in MP3. It is important to note that some CODECs
can be decode only meaning playback only. So if you have an editing
program on your computer and a specific codec is not showing up as a
choice, you may not have the compressor part of the codec. It's best to
get a compress/decompress codec. Most are free now on the web.
COMPRESION: See above CODEC for
more information. There are two types of compression lossless and
lossy. Lossless means it is compressing the file as much as possible
WITHOUT affecting the video/audio quality. A ZIP file or SIT file is
lossless. Lossy compression is a variable compression scheme meaning
you tell the system how much compression to use. Generally the more
compression, the worse the file looks/sounds. h.264 is one of the best
current compression codecs for size/quality.
HIGH DEFINITION: see SD vs HD
STANDARD DEFINITION: see SD vs HD
1080p, 720p, 960p, 480p: We'll
talk about an odd thing that TV industry does. They list the HEIGHT
first. So 1080 is actually 1920w x 1080h. 720 is 1280w x 720h. 960
is 1280w x 960h. 480p is NOT an HD format. Rather it is an SD format.
DVD: We put this in here because
there is one odd behavior for DVDs. When they were first developed,
there was no HDTV, thus no widescreen. Well when widescreen became
available, they used a 'bandaid' for DVD playback that still occurs
today. In order to get the DVD 720x480 format to fit widescreen (called
16:9 format), they STRETCH the horizontal pixels. But with the HD
Hero, it's 480p format is TRUE widescreen. it is 848w x 480h. So,
unfortunately, when you burn to a DVD, it will drop some of those extra
horizontal pixels :(
BluRay: The new kid on the
block. This is the PERFECT companion for the HD Hero. There is a direct
1:1 correlation with the pixels in the camera and BluRay. So, no
quality lost. AND one of the specs for BluRay is the ability to display
at 60 frames per second real time. This is defined when you setup your
BluRay burn file.
Interlaced/progressive: This is
one of those confusing topics and where people have strong
opinions. Original TV had an INTERLACED signal of 60i. What this means
is it drew every other line of pixel information 60 times a second on
the tv screen (interlaced). The second frame drew the opposite lines of
that same frame. So what you got was a complete frame with every 2
frames on screen. This was done to smooth out the movement because 30
frames per second can cause a a subtle flicker effect to the eye. So
the benefit is smoother movement, the drawback is you are never getting a
complete frame at one time.
PROGRESSIVE means a complete frame is being drawn each time. No
odd/even funkyness here. Purest will tell you this is the way to go.
ALL of the HD Hero formats are progressive. The problem though with
motorsports is it's often fast moving objects and you can get strobbing
effect which is a very quick stuttering of fast moving objects because
there aren't enough frames for the eye to perceive smooth action. A
really good fix for this problem is to shoot at 60 progressive frames
per second (720-60 or 480-60). You would then have the holly grail of
video: true 60 progressive frames per second for strob-free pure image
clarity. When you record at 60fps and play directly from the HD Hero
camera you'll see the clarity (if your tv supports 60fps). Note: if you
want this when you're editing a project, you have to set the project at
60fps or it will default to 30fps.
ASPECT RATIO: Old TV was almost a
square image. It was called 4:3. Meaning for every 4 units in length
you get 3 units in eight. It's also called 1.33:1. Meaning the width
is 1.33 x the height of 1. HDTV has an aspect ratio of 16:9 or 1.78:1
because it is MUCH wider than traditional TV. All the HD hero video
formats are widescreen EXCEPT 960. It is 4:3. Also STILL images are
MEGAPIXEL: Generally, megapixel
designations are a literal translation of the amount of pixels on the
camera sensor. It means millions of pixels (see pixel definition below)
and is measured by the sensor width x height. So, a sensor that has
2048 w ×1536 h pixels = 3.1 million pixels or megapixels.
h.264: Is the most popular and
most efficient HD compression codec today. Although ironically, most
computers don't have the h.264 codec on it (not sure about Windows 7 or
the latest Mac OS). Generally, you have to download a CODEC PACK in
order to see/edit a file that has a h.264 codec. What does 'h.264'
mean? To answer that we'll ask what does a 401k mean? What does a W9
tax form mean? it's just some goofy reference to some proposal that some
computer geeks came up with and that's how it stays. Most codecs are
named like this.
COMPONENT/COMPOSITE: This is one
of the few video terminologies that makes sense. Component is usually
referring to an HD signal (as in the HD component out on the HD Hero).
It means there are individual components (red, blue, green) that make up
one video signal. COMPOSITE means the signal is a composite of a few
different elements composited into one to produce the video signal.
This usually refers to non-HD.
PIXEL: The smallest bit of
information in a video/still file. Try zooming into your jpg picture
and you'll see that it actually is made up of tiny square blocks of
color. that's a pixel. The more pixels in an image, the smaller the
pixel is in relation, giving you a clearer picture. Video works the
FIRMWARE: Modern day electronics
are controlled by software because it is the easiest and most flexible
way to update a product later on. The software is usually stored on
some kind of built-in flash memory that remains intact when the power is
turned off. A firmware is nothing more than an update to the software
on that device.
Mbps: This is directly related to
a CODEC. Codecs Mbps is an acronym for MILLIONS OF BITS PER SECOND.
This tells how much information is being recorded/played back PER
SECOND. 1080p on the HD Hero is 12 million bits per second. Boggles the
mind, doesn't it???
BITRATE: This is directly
related to a CODEC. When you are editing a project and are ready to
RENDER it out to a final file, you can define how much information is
being saved per second. That's called the bitrate. For the HD Hero,
the bitrate is fixed. 1080p=12 million bits per second bitrate and
720-30 is 7.5 million.