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GoPro HERO9/HERO10 for Skydiving

Posted by Mark Kirschenbaum on

This is a a no BS article. If you are looking for fluff, go elsewhere. If you just want the meat, continue on. 

FIRMWARE

Keep your firmware up to date! The easiest way is to use the GoPro App. Manual updating is possible directly from GoPro Inc.

GoPro HERO10 Current Release v1.20 (Released 12/15/2021)
GoPro HERO9 Current Release v1.60 (Released 06/22/2021)

RTFM

Seriously, before asking any question, take a look at the user manual. It's a wealth of information. 
GoPro HERO9 English User Manual

IMPORANT NOTES

The GoPro HERO9,10 is a high speed camera. Therefore you MUST use an extremely high quality card. Don't use the card that came with your Android in 2010 and think it's going to work, it's not!
These cards get extremely fragmented over time. Its important to Format the card and not just erase the data periodically. In addition, if you are flying cameras for money, look into investing in a new set every one to two years as flash memory starts to wear out.
As Third Party Batteries come out, avoid the temptation to use them. You're camera will come to a crashing halt eventually.

MOUNTING

Many manufacturers including ourselves are making 3d printed and milled mounts. We maintain a list below but this is by no means an endorsement.

SETTINGS

The "Lens," Frame Rate, and Resolution all depend on what you're doing with the video and how fast of an editing station you own.
The Superview, Wide, Linear, & Narrow settings are relative to how close you want to fly and the "look" you want for your videos. Physically, how much distance between you and your subject in the door also plays into this setting. Competitors know too well how this setting plays into their decision tree.
Remember, SuperView is taking the whole 4:3 sensor and squishing it to fit a 16:9 aspect ratio image. It's not always the best view for outside footage, but great for inside video.
Most of us recommend not doing the digital zoom on the camera, and applying a crop in post if you must. There are some nasty artifacts if you turn this on, so it should be avoided.
As far as Hypersmooth 3.0/4.0. Try it with Boost on and off for your body position and see how it looks for you. At this time, we recommend just the Hypersmooth on setting and not going to "boost" mode.

SETTINGS PROTUNE

As per the guy who does the Image Quality for GoPro and is a Ninja Cameraflyer (Alex Cashman)
[For the GoPro HERO9, this may no longer be the case on the HERO10 with the latest firmware. Do some tests!]
I drop the EV to -0.5 or -1, Medium sharpness, high bitrate seems to be the happy place for my skydiving. Out of the box the camera is tuned to please influencer types (oversaturated, over sharpened), and exposure is balanced under the assumption the subject is either very close to the camera, or a landscape. For skydiving our subject is usually a small percentage of the FOV, and therefore tends to have some highlight clipping and contrast issues since the camera is prioritizing pretty much everything BUT the subject (treating it as a landscape, essentially). Dropping the EV will help keep the highlights and colors from over-saturating.

Settings In a Nutshell

Outside / Everyday
Resolution: 2.7k 16:9
FPS: 60
Lens: Wide
Sharpness: Medium
EV on HERO9: -.5 to -1
EV on HERO10: 0.0 to -0.5
Bitrate: High
Hypersmooth: On
Color: Natural (HERO 10)
Inside / Tight Angles
Resolution: 2.7P 16:9
FPS: 60
Lens: Superview
Sharpness: Medium
EV on HERO9: -.5 to -1
EV on H10: 0
Bitrate: High
Hypersmooth: On
Color: Natural (HERO 10)
Records
Resolution H10: 4K 16:9 
Resolution H9: 2.7K 16:9 
FPS: 60FPS 
Lens: Linear
Sharpness: Medium
EV on HERO9: -.5 to -1
EV on HERO10: 0.0 to -0.5
Bitrate: High
Hypersmooth: On
Color: Natural (HERO 10)
Tandem 1080 or 2.7K Workflow
Resolution: 1080P or 2.7 16:9
FPS: 60
Lens: Wide
Sharpness: Medium
EV on HERO9: -.5 to -1
EV on HERO10: 0.0 to -0.5
Bitrate: High
Hypersmooth: On
Color: Natural (HERO 10)
Notes: Match resolution to export's output if not providing full resolution files.
Competition
Resolution: 1080P
FPS: 60 or 50 depending on country
Lens: Wide
Sharpness: High or Medium inspect for glow around team's gloves
EV on HERO9: -.5 to -1
EV on HERO10: 0.0 to -0.5
Bitrate: Low
Hypersmooth: On
Color: Natural (HERO 10)
Color Grading in Post
Sharpness: Low
Color: Native
Client Has Black Jeans with holes & White Converses
Color: Vibrant
Sharpness: High
Selfie Stick: Engaged

HEAT/ COLD

The GoPro HERO [9,10] is a high speed electronic device and therefore does not like the extreme heat nor cold. Like your cellphone overheats at the beach, your GoPro will quickly overheat if left directly in the sun.
Likewise, the LI-ION battery does not like being frozen. If the camera will be subject to extreme coldness, it's best to turn on the camera and keep it in standby mode for a while before exit. This will warm up the electronics and therefore the battery. Trying to turn the camera on, after it is frozen, may not work.
The new GoPro Enduro battery helps in colder environments. 

SKYDIVING MOUNTS FOR THE HERO [9, 10]

(Alphabetical)
Loop 3D - Skydive Mounts & Other
https://www.facebook.com/Loop3D.Mounts
Schier Concepts
www.schierconcepts.com
Simon Huntridge
Simon Huntridge
Grellfeb, Collette Tech, Chris Warnock
Inventory still available at your favorite distributor

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