GoPro Hero5 Black tips and tricks: How to shoot amazing videos

Hints, tips and hidden tricks for GoPro fiends
GoPro Hero5 Black tips and tricks

The GoPro Hero5 Black is the best action cam money can buy right now. Thanks to its new 2-inch touchscreen display, it's also a damn sight easier to use than its predecessors. Just because it's easier to use doesn't mean you'll be making the most of it though.

With one-touch recording and stunning 4K video being captured off the bat, it's all too tempting just to press record and let the camera do its thing. Delve a little deeper though and the latest GoPro is filled with innovative, must try features. Don't know where to get started? Don't worry, these GoPro Hero5 Black tips and tricks will sort out your video game.

Take a photo with your voice

Like Siri in your Apple Watch and Alexa in your Amazon Echo, the GoPro Hero5 Black plays host to its own voice-controlled digital assistant. It might not have a cutesy name like the others, but it works just as well, and lets you take snaps and trigger video recordings.

To activate, you'll need to swipe down from the top of the camera's touchscreen and tap on the symbol that looks like a head. Now you can start chatting to your camera when it's out of reach, such as fitted to your helmet or on the end of a selfie stick. Commands such as "GoPro, take a photo" or "GoPro, start recording" will deliver the desired results, as will requests to stop recording, drop a HiLight tag and even turn off the camera.

Turn off those annoying beeps

GoPro Hero5 Black tips and tricks: How to shoot amazing videos

Whether you're enjoying the tranquility of the wilderness or simply sat on a train watching back that day's footage, the last thing you want is to have you calm broken by the shrill beep of the Hero5 Black. Every power-up and button press is plagued by the silence-killing beeps of the action cam. It doesn't have to be though.

Swiping down on the camera's screen with present you with the 'Preferences' option. Tap this and scroll through the list and you'll see the 'Beep Volume' control. Select this and you can rifle through a selection of beep volumes or, if you so desire, turn them off completely. Silence really is bliss.

Shoot in slow-mo

4K's the big buzzword of the moment whether it's the TV you just bought to adorn your living room's wall or the top-end recording capabilities of the latest flagship GoPro. Don't let this top-line feature restrict your shooting options though. Yes the Hero5 Black's 4K skills are impressive, but in certain situations, it's better to trade in pure pixel count for something even more impactful.

If you're willing to sacrifice a bit of resolution, you can increase the frames-per-second rate. Massively, too. With the FPS count able to be cranked up all the way up to 240, this means you can capture moment-defining slow-motion footage. To enable this, you'll need to click the FPS number at the bottom of the screen when in the video capture mode. This will bring up a number of options ranging from a paltry 15fps to the sloooooooooooow-mo 240fps.

Change up the default mode

GoPro Hero5 Black tips and tricks: How to shoot amazing videos

The Hero5's one-touch capture mode is brilliant. When the camera's asleep, press the shutter button and not only will the camera be turned on, it will automatically start recording the instant it's active, too. You're not restricted to jumping direct into the video mode either. If you want, you can change the default launch mode to whatever you like, you just need to know where to look.

That place is is found under the 'Preferences' tab you can find by swiping down on the screen. Here you'll need to find the 'Default Mode' option and give it a press to reselect your standard capture mode of choice. It's not just video or stills you can set as your default launch mode, either. If you're really into capturing timelapse or burst photos, these can become your new go-standard. Prefer loop shots or the video with photo mode? No worries, they're on the Default Mode's list of options too.

Use your phone as a remote viewer

The Hero5 Black's 2-inch display is great for letting you line up the perfect shot. When the camera's strapped to your chest or attached to your helmet though, that screen's out of sight and a bit of guesswork comes into play when it comes to film framing. Or at least it would without this handy trick.

Download the GoPro Capture app and using the camera's inbuilt Wi-Fi network, you'll be able to wirelessly connect your phone to your camera. Not only can you then use your phone to view the camera's recording in real time, you can also use it to trigger and stop recordings, capture photos and even change the camera's settings and shooting options.

Save your battery

GoPro Hero5 Black tips and tricks: How to shoot amazing videos

It might be great at capturing stunning footage and standing up to some seriously rough treatment, but battery life isn't exactly the Hero5 Black's strongest feature. You'll get an hour of shooting out of it, but when you're on the side of a mountain, hours from the nearest charger, that's not much. Don't worry though, there are a couple of things you can do to extend the life of the camera's battery.

First off, if you swipe down to launch the menu and hit 'Preferences' (yep, that route again), you'll be able to find the 'Auto Off' option. Entering this menu will let you alter how long your camera will idle along unused before automatically turning off to save power. As standard it's at 15 minutes, but you can drop it down to 5 mins with a couple of presses.

Also under Preferences, you can turn GPS off - a major battery saver - reduce screen brightness and even reduce the time the screen stays on after you've pressed record. Yes, you'll still want to carry a spare battery of two for all day shooting, but it will give you a little bit more peace of mind.

Lock the screen

The last thing you want is to get to the bottom of an epic biking run or up from a hefty, video-worthy crash and realise you've accidentally stopped the recording or screwed with the settings by accident. You can avoid such mishaps by locking your camera's screen.

Swipe down to launch the settings and give that padlock shaped icon a press to lock the screen. One locked, accidental presses will be rendered moot and you'll need to swipe-down and physically press on the screen-filling padlock to unlock the screen again.


Create quick edits on the move

Basic editing tools are available directly on the camera, but when you need to do more than clip a video, you've usually got to spend hours sat a computer picking out seconds of shots from hours of footage and piecing it together with a variety of transitions and a sound track. GoPro's own smartphone-based editing app 'Quik' can do it all for you though.

Select a bunch of videos and stills you want included, pick a theme and that's it. The brilliant software will do the rest for you, creating a fast-paced video that's finished with seamless transitions and a fitting beat. It's surprising just how good this app is an, amazingly, it's completely free.

Turn the lights down low

That red flashing LED atop the GoPro is a great way to know when you're recording, and let others know when you're recording them. It's not always ideal though. Shooting against a reflective surface - like facing in through a pair of ski goggles or through a window - and that blinking light can be a video-ruining eyesore. Fortunately though, you can turn it off.

To do this you'll need to swipe down to launch the setting menu then select the 'LED' option under the 'Preferences' tab. Here you'll be able to scroll through a number of options including 'All Off' which, yep, you guess it, turns all the LEDs off.

Tweak the field of view

GoPro Hero5 Black tips and tricks: How to shoot amazing videos

GoPro footage has a distinct look thanks in large to its super-wide angle lens. While this is great for fitting everything in when your out and about being active in places with vast, sweeping landscapes, it can also distort items and people close to the camera. The Hero5 Black now features a number of field of view (FOV) shooting options.

When in video mode, an FOV menu is available in in the shooting options. Letting you get closer to the action and flatten the footage, you can switch out the camera's normal shooting for a 'Linear' FOV option. Make sure you're happy with the choice you make for each shot though. Although you can flatten GoPro's fisheye angle slightly in post, if you select the Linear shooting option there's no going back and widening the field of view again after shooting.

Drop a HiLight tag

Capturing footage is fun. Piecing it together in a meaningful, impactful edit can be a slow, time consuming and laborious process. HiLight tags can help speed the whole thing up. These are markers you can drop in video as it's recording, giving you a shortcut in the editing suit to clips you know are going to be worth using.

Usually dropped before attempting a big stunt or after seeing something seriously cool and share-worthy, you can add a HiLight tag simply by tapping the menu button on the side of the camera while it's recording. That's it, job done, pin dropped.


Shop for recommended action cameras on Amazon

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$399
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Garmin Virb Ultra 30
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