GoPro HERO3+ and Motorcycles: How To Get Started

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Category: Gear

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?

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