Tinkering with my new GoPro Hero 5 Session

So I just got my GoPro Hero 5 session and had the chance to play around with the settings and even did some recording outside. It attached my Session to the Capture POV from Peak Design stuck to my bag and started recording my walk from the train station to the office.

Video quality is quite good. I set to 2.7k resolution at 30 frames per second. The video initially looked slanted, especially if I raise my left arm and the strap is raised. That’s because the Capture POV is attached to the left strap of my bag. I also realised that because the GoPro uses a fisheye lens, the best view is pointing the GoPro directly straight ahead. If its point at an angle, the fisheye effect from the lens will exacerbate the slant ness I see in my video.

Walking causes vibrations. More than I expected. Every footstep I made caused small vibration that even the image stabilisation can’t seem to handle very well.

Even if image stabilisation is enabled, the vibration is kept to a minimum, but the video suffers from a wavy-like effect. The image stabilisation is done through software and not hardware and it has to ‘guesstimate’ the level of compensation is needs to apply to reduce vibration. This is why image stabilisation is not available in 4K mode as the GoPro will not have enough room on the edges to compensate for the vibration.

Video files are huge. At 2.7k resolution, a simple 8 to 10-minute clip is close to 4GB. It really eats up the available space in the microsd card fast. I will definitely encounter space issues when I’m in Vancouver. No doubt I will have to resort to offloading some videos to my phone to make way for more videos to record. Then there is the hassle of uploading to the cloud before downloading is again to your PC.

Though I just made a kick-ass gaming PC, using Adobe Premier Pro just crushes my PC like tin can. The software is extremely resource-intensive. I’m starting to realise the need for an i7 CPU and 64GB RAM. I can’t even preview the final video in real time after adding simple effects and layers on top of the video before the final render. Rendering a 2-minute clip at 2.7K resolution takes more than an hour. And I don’t even want to begin mentioning about the warp stabilisation effects applied to the videos. It just takes so darn long to analyse the clips. That being said, the software is still usable, but just so darn slow sometimes. And it has nothing to do with the inefficiencies of the software, but rather the deficiencies of my hardware that is causing the slowdown.

One trick that I read is to line up all your clips for final render into one coherent clip that are satisfied with. Only then, you apply the warp stabilisation, colour correction, fisheye lens removal and any other effects that you’d like to add. You may be able to preview the video at 1/8 resolution (highly pixelated and borders on pointlessness in checking the final result before the final render) but at least it’s better than nothing.

I have added my GoPro clips into Adobe Premier Pro. My main aim right now is to see how well the image stabilisation done in Premier Pro as compared to GoPro itself. Is it worth spending time allowing Premier Pro to analyse the video and apply its own algorithm to reduce vibration. Also, I am trying to see if removing fisheye lens effect would result in too much cropping on the edges, causing my videos to lose significant real estate.

There are still aspects of video editing I have yet to experiment on, such as adding captions, titles and wording into the video and how best to transition one clip to another in certain segments of the final video.

To cap things off, as I was using the Session attached to my bag strap, I was quite happy that not many people notice me wearing it or even when I am in the midst of recording. I was able to switch off the LED light on the front of the Session, so that no one will realise that I am actively recording. Add that to its dimunitive size, and the device actually disappears from view.

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