Here are my tips for recordings with gopro in aviation:
I was using the Gopro during my flights for more than since one year, and I have personally noticed the improvment in the quality of the pictures I take.
First, I have started with the Gopro Hero3 white edition, with a lot of problems (freezing while using, you had to take the battery out to restart it, etc.). Some of the problems were fixed with the time, but the resolution, and video quality are bit limited in comparation to the newer models.
The images were good only if there was enough of light and to be honest, the quality of the images with it’s 5mb is worse than pic taken with an average mobile phone. Like a friend of mine said: a couple of years ago 5mb was something extraordinary, well, in the case of Gopro it isn’t.
After I’ve purchased the Gopro Hero3 Back+, I went over night from “zero to hero”, literaly. The quality with it’s 12mb is much better, better sensibility in lower light, so you can use it much better. The images doesn’t have to be edited necesarily, because the quality is really good (the white version images do have to be edited to get some desired effect).
If I would have bought at the beginning the black model, it would have been a pretty difference from the beginning. Now I am really happy even habing both of them; one can be placed during the flight on the wing, second one in the cockpit form ATC recordings and for selfies in the cabine 🙂 🙂 :-).
I have learned a couple of things in the past year I’d like to share with you, how to make some nice images with the gopro.
1. The most important thing is to not forget your camera at home! Imagine my face arriving at the airport searching the camera in my bag where I usualy put it in, and it is not there!!! I took it out to make some selfies and forgot it somewhere at home!! Should I abbort the flight? Of course not, but it is a pitty…
2. Always charge the battery full before you go out for flight. The battery life is very poor, if you have used it a bit in the last days, the battery drains quickly, so probably after the engine start-up it will be dead… I always charge the batteries before the flight.
3. The battery holds up to around 1 hour if you keep the wifi turned on, recording and connected to the App on your mobile. You can either use the remote, which I’ve discovered is consuming a bit less battery tham the App, or purchase and pack pac, which I’ll try out on my next flight. This should give you double battery life, so it should hold up to 2 hours recording aproximately.
4. You can adjust the position of the camera on the plane using the app on your device to see the desired position you’d like to record. After this, turn the recording on, and turn the wifi off. On this way the battery will last longer.
5. The wifi itself is not that problem; I saw a video on youtube, where the battery holds up to 24 hours with the wifi on and the camera off. So eventually, if you use the remote control, you can record the part of the flight you wish and turn it off. The only problem is, if it responds correctly once you wosh to turn it back on; it happened to me, that the camera stayed frozen ( not because of the temperature) and you can’t get out to reset it. That is why I chose to let it turned on during the entire flight.
6. The Gopro Black+ has a nice option to record and take pictures simoultanously. You can set it for example to take a pic each 5,10, 30 seconds… The bad thing is, that the pictures are not taken in the best resolution of 12 mb, but I believe at only 7mb. So you loose quality. If you really wish to take a sharp image, let the camera on, change the mode to photogtaphy and take the picture. You have of course fly the plane and handle the navigation and ATC as well. 😉
7. Editing. The app is a great invention; you may export the movies or images into your phone or ipad and edit them. However, there are better programs for editing, and it is better to edit them on the comouter, and adjust a bit the colors, etc. The videos are pretty heavy ( I only use the 1920×1080 resolution), tried the 4k as well, but the 32gb card gets to small for this. Actually, the 32gb card is sufficient for a couple of hours recording.
8. Exporting of a still image using the gopro editor programme. Maybe you haven’t catched the right moment to take the picture, but you have recorded the whole flight. It is possible to find the best capture of your flight and simply export it as a still image using the editor. You have the desired shot, but the quality is lower, so it is better to make a burst of pictures with your gopro and use one of these…
9. Get some inspiration on internet. Search and follw some nice aviation accounts to get inspired so you can try to make images like that. Every time you will learn some new things and your images will get better. You will even feel totaly comfortable having the camera installed outside the plane. I remember my first flights, I was pretty scared! 😉
10. Try to not to use ‘long arm’ when installing the camera outside the plane. Try to keep it as close as possible to the fuselage to avoid the vibrations and you will obtain more stable image as well.
I think these are probably one of my best shots I made, but it takes patience and good luck!
Hope you have enjoyed this post and it will help you to take better pictures or movies. Do you have some other advise worth sharing?
Which one is your favourite? 🙂