GoPro HERO3+ and Motorcycles: How To Get Started

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GoPro HERO3+ and Motorcycles: How To Get Started

The dream of capturing high-quality, personal riding footage has turned into a reality thanks to the GoPro HERO3+ action sports camera. Ready to join the crowd of GoPro warriors? Here’s how to get started.

First Choose The Right Model

The HERO3 comes in three versions: White, Silver and Black. The White Edition is the base model, the Silver has more features with more capability and the Black is as good as it gets. The Silver and Black editions are also slated as a Hero3+. Depending on your needs the White may suffice, but if you’re trying to go for a high quality, pro look, the Silver or Black editions are your only options.

This comparison chart  from GoPro details the specs and will help you decide which GoPro to pull the trigger on. Many RA staffers commonly use the Silver.

Opening The Box

So you’ve got yourself a brand new toy. Before shooting any footage, watch this informative tutorial made by the fine folks at GoPro:

 

Mounts

You have a HERO3+, hopefully the Silver or Black Edition, and you’ve got a motorcycle. The trick is finding a stable way to attach the camera to your body or your bike to minimize vibration and maximize stability. GoPro has many different mounting systems that you can use.

It is important to remember that stability is your friend and vibration is your enemy. Whenever you use a bike-based mount, engine and road vibration will be a factor. Even if the camera appears to be stable the slightest vibration can mess with the camera’s sensor and make your footage wavy and distorted.

A trick to combat engine vibration is to place a piece of rubber or foam between the mount and whatever part of the bike you are mounting the camera onto. The foam or rubber will act as an extra cushion, hopefully eliminating any unwanted vibration. The effectiveness of this trick is of course dependent on the bike’s level of vibration and the location of the camera mount.

If you don’t want to deal with motorcycle vibration issues you can always attach the camera to your body. Using a helmet mount will give very stable POV footage, or you could go with a chest harness or any of the available body mounts. Attaching the HERO3+ to your body will help stabilize the camera and in turn allow you to capture higher quality footage more easily.

GoPro HERO3+ and accessories
GoPro HERO3+ and accessories

Settings

Are you using the GoPro to document your daily commute or to shoot cinema quality footage to impress your friends? What you use your GoPro for will dictate the best settings you use.

The Silver edition allows you to shoot 1080p at 60, 50, 30 and 25 fps and has a Protune mode for post production optimization. The Black can shoot 2.7k and 4k cinema quality footage at various frame rates and also has a Protune mode. It is easy to get excited by the high definition capabilities of the GoPro but shooting at the highest setting is not always the right choice. Here’s why.

Choosing the right setting depends on how you plan on editing the footage on your computer and your computer’s capabilities. The issue with the high-quality settings is that the files those settings create are huge and your computer may not be able to handle them.

Before choosing a setting you should make sure that your computer meets the general system requirements for HD playback. Once you’ve established that your computer can support the HD playback you will want to start out by experimenting with various resolution settings and frame rates.

 

The resolution and frame rate you use will depend entirely on what you are shooting and computer’s capabilities to handle the file size. For example, if you plan on capturing slow-motion footage, the higher the frame rate the better.

Finding the right setting may require some experimentation, there are many resources and forums online that provide tip and tricks that go beyond getting started.

Now that you are familiar with your new camera it’s time to get out there and start experimenting with shooting. Mix it up, try things and see what works for you.

Do you have a GoPro HERO3+? What settings do you use most to shoot bike footage? How do you mount your camera?

  • Christopher Murdock

    So, was this written before the Hero3+ was released or is it really about the Hero3+ with older Hero3 images?

    • http://www.RideApart.com/ Jen Degtjarewsky

      It references the Silver & Black Hero3+ – white does not come in +. Also, good catch, have asked our producer to update the images.

  • Christopher Murdock

    As for mounting, on my Z750S I have a 3 quarter fairing, so I can get a nice forward facing view with the front fork via that. I also put a stick on mount on the rear swing arm for shooting people behind me. The swing arm setup tends to get a lot of vibration however.

  • Swisser

    Depending on the footage you’re trying to get, your most limiting factor will be battery life. I tried to use it as a commuter cam, and it would eat through a fully charged battery in 25 minutes at 720p at 30 fps. Using it for short shots it works great, but as a “dash cam”, no.

    • Scott Otte

      I’m using the White and shooting at 1080 at 30 fps and I can get home taking the long way and still have a bit of battery left. It’s at least a 45 minute ride or longer.

  • Scott Otte

    I just got the White for Xmas. So far I’ve just mounted it off the left side of my helmet. http://motocynic.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/new-toys-2/
    I’m hoping to actually figure out editing next =P

  • Joseph Brassard

    The stock GoPro editing software isn’t half bad, especially for people like me who aren’t videographers. And it’s free, so there’s a big win. I’m using a third party RAM handlebar mount, thing is pretty rock solid and got better reviews than the GoPro OEM version. I’ve gotten decent battery life, too, from my 3+ Black edition.
    I did spring for third party spare batteries and a wall charger. Keep two of those with you, and a spare microSD, and you can shoot all day.

  • Shane Duffy

    I was hoping for some more details on Mounts for photo shoots and creative mounts that can be constructed for some great shots.

    • Scott Otte

      I was too.
      Hopefully they’ll get around to it. While we’re waiting Pashnit has a mini section on the different locations that you can mount the camera. http://www.pashnit.com/product/gopro/gopro_mounting.html

      • Shane Duffy

        That link is great, just what I was looking for. thanks!

      • http://www.RideApart.com/ Jen Degtjarewsky

        Yep, we will. Wanted to do a very basic into first

  • zedro

    The problem with the hero (and most action cams) is they don’t have a recording loop feature if you want to use it as a surveillance type device. I want to use it to commute as a constant dash cam without managing the recordings, just let it run and only keep however long the memory will store.

    • socalutilityrider

      My drift HD ghost has that exact feature, for me it added a ton of value

      • zedro

        I thought it was only for short 5 minute intervals (like if your trying to do a trick) and not run the whole memory, or did they update it?
        Don’t understand why Hero missed this, probably could be implemented in a firmware update.

        • socalutilityrider

          Sorry for the delay in getting back to you-yes, in the latest firmware update for even the older Drift cameras they added that functionality.

          I.e, not the “tagging” function for exactly what you’re talking about, but more the Russian dash cam rolling loop type of deal. I really wish I had had that function going the other night during my commute back home from the office.

          You never expect anything to happen to you, and then boom, out of nowhere, I was targeted by a road rage dude who deliberately swerved a BMW 7 series at me while going over sixty. If I hadn’t taken so many training courses and learned how to swerve properly, I would of been in hot water.

          Point is, everyone lies when the cops are called, as this guy did, and it would of been nice to have some video evidence of his ferociously entitled and psycho actions on the road that night.

          • zedro

            No kidding, I bet people just seeing the cam would tend to back off or relax a bit. I was thinking of just installing a very obvious dummy cam to my rear fender just to back up tailgaters. I have a small bore DS bike and I can’t pull away to safety like the bigger bikes can.

            • socalutilityrider

              I had that same thought, but at least out here in Socal, most people are so wrapped up in their own situation that they don’t even notice the camera. Maybe if it’s mounted on your helmet with red light blinking, but even then I would be surprised if anyone noticed out here. Check out Drift though, at least they added that functionality to a high spec action cam. There are many ebay dash cams out there, but after a year, I continue to be impressed by the Drift. Easy menus, simple to understand, great lens that is really hard to scratch (surf with it, sand gets everywhere), remote and now wifi to your cell phone. Really great piece of kit.

    • A P

      HD-Hero owner here… The newer GoPros have a looping option to choose the length of clips, and does over-write the oldest files. Check the GoPro site for exact details, segments at intervals between 5 minutes and an hour (? think you have to look at the user Manual to find the available selections). They use the term Chaptering when describing how the camera breaks the video into manageable file sizes.

      Older GoPros did not have the looping option, requiring you to manually erase latest file or format the entire card to make space.

      Also, the Whites may only be available direct from GoPro while supplies last. The Whites are no longer available up here in Canada from retailers like Best Buy or local camera shops, nor Cdn online re-sellers. Since GoPro will not ship USPS, the shipping/brokerage-fee cost of getting one across the border via courier means I might as well buy a Silver or Black locally…

      I’ll be buying a Silver soon to replace one of my HD-Heros that vibration killed the power switch. Works fine otherwise, just shuts off and hangs up recordings randomly. Given I probably had close to 1000 hours on it, no complaints. Any lesser product would have been destroyed long before that.

    • Mofles Gutz

      I use a VIO POV HD with remote for “in case of” purposes. Has a seperate recorder so if the cam gets smashed the recorder still works fine and won’t be a total loss . The cam features a loop and forward mode and clip mode. Times for the loop mode can be changed from 1 minute to up to 20 minutes I believe.

      • Guest

        Here it is

    • Truthbot

      My hero3+ has that feature

  • zedro

    And no one has commented on how mental that snow ridge ride is?

  • runnermatt

    GoPro has free video editing software available for download from their website. It is pretty basic, but allows one to edit for length, stitch clips together, choose from various preset light settings or manually tune the lighting. The big thing is the 3D video function. It wasn’t mentioned in the article but GoPro has a kit you can buy that allows you to use two of their cameras to film 3D footage. I think the made the software and made it free because customers would buy the 3D kit but had no way to use the footage as regular video editing software that has 3D capabilities I’m sure isn’t cheap.

  • akrokdesign

    Not that GoPro is bad. I went with the Sony Action Cam instead. Got the older version (was on sale) but the new one got Live View remote. Which is pretty dope.

  • Paolo

    No reviewing the competition? Contour, Sony Action Cam…?

    • JohnnyWaffles

      1) The article is called “GoPro Hero 3+ and Motorcycles: How to Get Started”

      2) Contour went out of business last year

      3) Defer to #1

  • gregory

    Does anyone know of a camera that can also make a GPS video of a map?

    I’d like something like GoPro chest- or head-mounted video clip that can be synced with a Google Maps, say, video clip. The map video clip would show a dot, or whatever, on the map as I’m driving along; like the GPS map “videos” that show up on screen in any good suite of navigation software.

    Is it possible to make a “map video”, showing your route as you drive along, and having it sync with the actual ride footage?

    Any ideas?

    • A P

      I have suggested GoPro add a GPS feature (an optional “back”) that imprints speed/time/date/coordinates on the video) but nothing to date.

      If you really want simple, inexpensive GPS logging, get a bicycle one. Much cheaper than a full-on GPS, particularly a motorcycle-hardened one, much smaller to mount, battery charge lasts days so no need to wire it to the battery.

      I would avoid the cheapest ones, vibration destroyed my first bicycle GPS. Now have a Garmin Edge 200, easier than the other one connect to computers and load files into map software.

      You’ll have to look for video/gps/map display synching software, guessing someone will have done it… “there’s an app for that” LOL!

  • Fabien

    I was really hoping to know what is the best resolution to shoot while riding ? I’ve tried 720p Superview in 120fps (only available with black 3+ I think) so far. My old laptop could barely play the videos but the Macbook pro of my friend could ! i’ll try 1080p in 60 fps next time. What resolution do you guys use ?

  • Ayush Shukla

    I own a GoPro Hero 3+ Black edition and my main fuss is with the microphone. It captures too much wind noise. Any cool solutions to prevent too much wind noise from getting captured? I was impressed by something like this: http://oliviatech.com/furry-stickover-windscreen-for-gopro-hd except its not for Hero 3.