Gopro hero7: How do I get good images

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Brian Smith
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Gopro hero7: How do I get good images

Post by Brian Smith » Thu Nov 21, 2019 9:01 pm

I have been trying a Gopro with my sea kayak and am very disappointed with the results. Either the subject is too distant, even though I have got in close. Or the voice activation fails, or the centre 1/3 of the image is the bow of my kayak. I've tried video, burst and single shots. I've tried deck, head and paddle mounts, all with the same poor results. Any tips on how to get good images would be appreciated. Failing that, anyone want to buy a goprjo?

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Re: Gopro hero7: How do I get good images

Post by Northern Blue » Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:19 am

I’m always in the market for an extra GoPro if the price is right !

You make a very valid point though, it’s not always easy to get a good shot without the bow of the kayak featuring heavily. I’ve given up using mine on voice activation, as any wind or surf noise makes it less than useless. I tend to use it on short video grabs mostly now and edit still images out of it at my convenience.

It’s easier when worn on my helmet, as I can turn my head away from the boat and frame a good shot to either side, positioning the boat to facilitate that.

A lot of deck mounted shots can be cropped to remove the boat, but again, you need to be able to see the shot you want beforehand and position the boat accordingly, knowing you will be cropping it out later.

Get imaginative with different places you can mount the camera. I’ve got a few good action shots from that wide angle lens, just by turning the camera round. Yes, I get to stare at my ugly mug on the images, but it can be fun, especially in surf or while rolling.

A friend, Doug Wilcox has turned out some fantastic images, by mounting his camera at the side of the bow of his ski, looking back along the boat while travelling at speed. He might be kind enough to add them here if he sees this.

As a last resort, position your boat and frame your pictures to deliberately include the boat to add to the ambience of the pic.
Image

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Re: Gopro hero7: How do I get good images

Post by Northern Blue » Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:20 am

Image

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Re: Gopro hero7: How do I get good images

Post by Northern Blue » Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:25 am

Image

Image

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Re: Gopro hero7: How do I get good images

Post by Northern Blue » Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:30 am

Ps. One more tip..... I’ve wasted so many good shots in the past due to water droplets or dried salt on the lens causing blurred images, I habitually wet and wipe the lens now. Depending on the conditions, a bit like a windscreen wiper going ;-)

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Re: Gopro hero7: How do I get good images

Post by Franky » Fri Nov 22, 2019 10:05 am

I try to work with the limitations of the GoPro format, rather than against them. Because of the wide-angle lens, what the picture shows will never be what you saw. So I select shots from my footage where the curved horizon and the extenuation of distance help to create a sense of movement or drama. Similarly, the bow of the boat - I consider it a "feature" that provides contrast with the natural hues in the rest of the photo.

If you want flexibility, I would invest in a waterproof camera to complement the GoPro. I've filmed seals on my GoPro, and they come out as barely-visible black specks. In the end, GoPros are for filming video, not taking photos.

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Re: Gopro hero7: How do I get good images

Post by Jim » Fri Nov 22, 2019 1:20 pm

Franky wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 10:05 am
In the end, GoPros are for filming video, not taking photos.
That's kind of true, for real landscape photography a gopro would be well down your list of possible cameras (a viewfinder would be high on most people's priorities), but there are many times when you simply wouldn't be able to set up for a shot with proper stills camera, such as at sea in a small wobbly boat, which is where a gopro comes into its own, especially if you are able to work with voice control or remote control. Also, the time lapse mode has great potential if you have that kind of artistic flare so even if you give up with using it in the boat, it might be something you hang on to for camp shots showing tide coming in or out, or darkness falling etc.

If you want to eliminate some of the initial setup guesswork, switch to app control and use your phone to preview the camera view whilst you adjust the mount position and angle, as I recall you can also change settings there so can try the different fields of view, although even narrow is fairly wide in the overall scheme of things. One of the biggest problems I find is tightening the mounts sufficiently by hand, so I carry a phillips screwdriver with my gopros, this however means I have to commit my mount setup before launching so using the app to preview in advance is very useful, when I remember.

As for landscape photography at sea, it is simply challenging whatever camera you use. Things you can see by eye will often by indistinct dots in a photo. Your brain is able to ignore blank foreground and background (sea and sky) so you mostly notice the band in the middle where the sea and the sky meet, the camera doesn't blot out anything and the middle band comes out as a thin line in the middle of vast expanses of blueish tints. If you try to reduce the field of view to cut down the sky and sea, you lose the edges of what you are looking at and it no longer seems as impressive/interesting. You can crop the sea and sky out of a photo later to make a panoramic effect, just shoot in highest resolution so you maintain as much detail as possible in the band you want to keep. I have often done this with sea kayaking photos although the only examples I can find are canoe or land based and too big to post inline (all cropped out of normal aspect ratio images, from a DSLR):

https://scontent-lhr3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/ ... e=5E8C2175

https://scontent-lhr3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/ ... e=5E40AEE9

https://scontent-lhr3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/ ... e=5E4E9BAA

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Re: Gopro hero7: How do I get good images

Post by adventureagent » Fri Nov 22, 2019 3:25 pm

Brian Smith wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 9:01 pm
I have been trying a Gopro with my sea kayak and am very disappointed with the results. Either the subject is too distant, even though I have got in close. Or the voice activation fails, or the centre 1/3 of the image is the bow of my kayak. I've tried video, burst and single shots. I've tried deck, head and paddle mounts, all with the same poor results. Any tips on how to get good images would be appreciated. Failing that, anyone want to buy a goprjo?
Some of these issues might be best presented to tech support at GoPro. The my old GoPro 3 has given good results, but I end up with heat from the camera causing steam reduced images.

The other thing you can do is use some inexpensive video editing software. That's another learning curve, and time, but lotsa fun. You can extract fabulous stills from your videos with the software, too.

Lots of boring stuff as examples here:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCK-0p7 ... subscriber
CELEBRATE LIFE: PADDLE by ALL MEANS !

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Re: Gopro hero7: How do I get good images

Post by Brian Smith » Fri Nov 22, 2019 6:28 pm

Thanks everyone for some really great comments and advice. Clearly I need to rethink how and when I use the GoPro and get a new waterproof compact camera (the last one sank) The best images I have got from the gopro are similar to some of the excellent examples you've shown, all extracted from a video. But they were all on the very first trip, since then I've not got anything worth keeping.

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Re: Gopro hero7: How do I get good images

Post by ARP » Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:18 pm

I feel your pain too. BUT, I love the quality I get from the GoPro (mine is just a Hero 4 Silver). I'm learning slowly and painfully with the setup (set narrow and 180/60 now), and also with editing software. I don't know if the microphone on your is better than the 4 but I bought a Sennhauser case and microphone and us a remote button (there are cheaper versions than the GoPro one) and that might solve your voice activation challenge?

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Re: Gopro hero7: How do I get good images

Post by ARP » Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:19 pm

Northern Blue wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:19 am
I’m always in the market for an extra GoPro if the price is right !

You make a very valid point though, it’s not always easy to get a good shot without the bow of the kayak featuring heavily. I’ve given up using mine on voice activation, as any wind or surf noise makes it less than useless. I tend to use it on short video grabs mostly now and edit still images out of it at my convenience.

It’s easier when worn on my helmet, as I can turn my head away from the boat and frame a good shot to either side, positioning the boat to facilitate that.

A lot of deck mounted shots can be cropped to remove the boat, but again, you need to be able to see the shot you want beforehand and position the boat accordingly, knowing you will be cropping it out later.

Get imaginative with different places you can mount the camera. I’ve got a few good action shots from that wide angle lens, just by turning the camera round. Yes, I get to stare at my ugly mug on the images, but it can be fun, especially in surf or while rolling.

A friend, Doug Wilcox has turned out some fantastic images, by mounting his camera at the side of the bow of his ski, looking back along the boat while travelling at speed. He might be kind enough to add them here if he sees this.

As a last resort, position your boat and frame your pictures to deliberately include the boat to add to the ambience of the pic.
Image
WHAT A LOVELY PHOTO!

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Re: Gopro hero7: How do I get good images

Post by Franky » Wed Nov 27, 2019 10:22 pm

adventureagent wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 3:25 pm
The other thing you can do is use some inexpensive video editing software. That's another learning curve, and time, but lotsa fun. You can extract fabulous stills from your videos with the software, too.
Oh yes, I would always get stills from videos, rather than faff about with the limited photo-taking functionality native to the camera.

I use Sony's Vegas Movie Studio for video editing and extracting photos. I don't think it's sold first-hand any more, but it's worth trying to get hold of a copy, as it comes with a permanent licence, unlike modern applications that you keep having to fork out money for every year to continue to use them.

Vegas Movie Studio is not officially supported on recent versions of Windows, but I use it on Windows 10 and it's fine.

PS GoPro's own video editing software is pants - poorly designed, and crashes constantly.

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Re: Gopro hero7: How do I get good images

Post by Northern Blue » Thu Nov 28, 2019 8:39 am

Franky wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 10:22 pm
........PS GoPro's own video editing software is pants - poorly designed, and crashes constantly.
I wonder if that’s a compatibility issue, as all I use is GoPro’s own editing software and I’ve never had it crash. It is pretty basic though.

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Re: Gopro hero7: How do I get good images

Post by Jim » Thu Nov 28, 2019 11:38 am

If you want advanced editing capabilities DaVinci Resolve is ideal:
https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/uk/pro ... ciresolve/
The free version does way more than you are ever likely to need, the maker mainly makes editing hardware and seem to give away an amazingly well featured version of their software as part of their marketing strategy! (There is an also more advanced version you can pay for).

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Re: Gopro hero7: How do I get good images

Post by Franky » Sun Dec 01, 2019 1:13 am

Northern Blue wrote:
Thu Nov 28, 2019 8:39 am
Franky wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 10:22 pm
........PS GoPro's own video editing software is pants - poorly designed, and crashes constantly.
I wonder if that’s a compatibility issue, as all I use is GoPro’s own editing software and I’ve never had it crash. It is pretty basic though.
It might be a compatibility issue. I can't remember exactly what kept going wrong with it - I think some features just stopped working fairly regularly, requiring me to restart the software. Whatever it was, it was frustating enough for me to decide to fork out money for Vegas Movie Studio, which has proved to be a good reliable and feature-rich program for my limited needs.

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