Tag Archives: gopro

How to easily make a long GoPro video more interesting?

YouTube Timelapse vs. Microsoft Hyperlapse. Which one is best for you?

This article shows you how to edit in an easy way, with an easy program, your videos you collected and didn’t dare yet to post, maybe because you have no time for cutting, or simply you don’t find them interesting enough.

During the skiing season I’ve seen many people wearing a GoPro over their helmet. Yet I search information about slopes on youtube and I hardly find videos about the slopes.

I think that sharing is caring: if you film something you can easily cut it and publish a video on youtube. Your videos can potentially help other people who haven’t been in the same place and would like to see something from the first person perspective.

In this little guide I show you how to publish some videos, without losing too much time. Because cutting a nice video can take really a huge amount of your free time, which for some of you is a no-go.

[This article is still work in progress. Please come back for updates or at least don’t complain that it’s incomplete. I wanted to publish fast some of my experiments and then add more in my free time.]

GoPro Studio

Recently a friend of mine, also owning a GoPro, told me that he uses GoPro Studio to edit his videos. Go Pro Studio is easy to use and available for free and it’s available for both Windows and for Mac. Here an introduction on how GoPro Studio works.

Step 1: View & Trim

gopro-studio-step-1-convert

You have to import your gopro videos (it won’t make a copy, it just open them), you have to convert them before you can actually do something with them. In the Advanced Settings you can choose “High Quality” and select AVI/MOV (it doesn’t really matter which format you choose. It’s just a container and the resulting file will wight the same), as well as defining where to save them. You can also resize them, change frame rate, remove fish eye effect and speed them up.

gopro-studio-step-1-advanced-settings

Step 2: Edit

gopro-studio-editing

When your videos are converted you can select them and add them in a timeline (like iMovie or Final Cut) and cut them further. You can add also the same video multiple times if you wanna cut some parts in it. Final Cut is better for this. But say you wanna just cut a bit of the beginning and a bit of the end, it’s very practical.

gopro-studio-step-2-playback-pane

Step 3: Export

Here you can select some presets for exporting. The one I use most of the time is YouTube. You can also select “Custom” and define what you want.

Notes about GoPro Studio

(to be updated) As this chapter needs some updated I just added the user manual for reference. There you find all you need: GoPro Studio User Manual (for Windows) If the link doesn’t work, try here (you find even the Mac version): GoPro Product Manuals

What you can do with GoPro Studio: add videos, select beginning and end, add a fade in and fade out effect,

What it missing: transition effects (Final Cut Pro X has a collection of much better and nicer transition effects). When you add multiple videos in your timeline, gopro studio connects them with a “+”, which means no transition effect. If you click that “+” it creates a default transition effect that sometimes you may not like.

Example/test of video lightly edited and exported with GoPro Studio

As reference, see screenshots above.

My source GoPro file: 1.54 GB. 1080p, 50 fps. I did this video by wearing the GoPro head strap. Probably it would have been better to use the bike mount for GoPro but I didn’t have it (if you buy such accessories from Banggood.com instead of buying the originals from gopro, you save a bunch of money).

In Step 1 I opened it with GoPro Studio and in the Step 1 I added it to my conversion list, then I clicked convert. 1-2 minutes later the file was ready. The resulting file can’t be opened with VLC. It’s an intermediary file for GoPro Studio and the AVI weights 10.8 GB.

In Step 2 I chose the standard blank template, then I dragged 2 times the same video in the timeline. Then I selected the beginning/ending for the 1st video and n the playback pane I set a fade in effect of 1.5 seconds. I selected a nice 5 seconds ending for the 2nd video and finally added a fade out effect. This process, without counting the waiting of the conversion, costed me around 5 minutes (I didn’t want to lose too much time).

In Step 3 I exported the video, leaving “YouTube” the default option, and finally published it on YouTube. I got an MP4  file weighting 419 MB.

Then I went to my YouTube channel and uploaded it. Here the result:

Attempt 1) original


As you can see, the video is long (7 minutes of boring biking in the city of Zurich) and it’s even shaky. In a few words: it sucks. If you publish a sucking video like this, please at least put in the description -in the 1st sentence- that its boring so at least you save yourself from many bad comments. Actually you can even disable comments, even better 😉

How to make a boring video a bit more interesting in YouTube

As initially promised, I’ll revel a few tricks to enhance a video that sucks. Actually YouTube helps doing so.

Attempt 2) YouTube stabilized

YouTube can detect a shaky video and stabilize it. I abbreviate Stabilize with “s” in my videos, for reference. I also save the enhancement as a new video, so I can keep the original for comparison purposes, or enhance it later with different options.


As you can see, the video is still boring because it’s damn long. Who will lose 7 minutes of his life to watch this, unless really interested in this particular route by bike and its dangers?

Attempt 3) YouTube stabilized and Timelapse 2x

I was thinking, to save people’s time I could speed up the video. I actually tried directly 4x but here you can see the result 2x:


The video is a bit faster, but still too slow and still boring. But at least it suck a bit less, which means we are going to the right direction.

Attempt 4) YouTube stabilized and Timelapse 4x


Personally I was quite happy with this result. 4x makes the video look like a race in the city and it’s quite fun (and funny) to watch. You can put probably something like a Charlie Chaplin movie song, or one of these funny piano tunes to make it really look funny. Since I had no time I skipped the music. I guess that for the music it’s personal taste: often I watch videos while ‘m already listening my music, in that case I always have to turn the youtube audio off, but that’s me, obviously a video with a cool soundtrack is nice. Be careful: most of the “cool songs” are copyrighted, so if you make a really cool movie with lots of views you can’t even monetize it because you are using copyrighted material. So better keep it silent and the copyrights are all yours.

Attempt 4 b) YouTube stabilized and Timelapse 6x


I did this video for just for testing and comparison purposes after generating the hyperlapse videos (see next chapter). I guess 6x would make sense on a boat or on a plane or so… for this video it’s too fast. 4x for me was the perfect result.

Conclusion

Without being an expert in cutting videos and without a big amount of time I managed to generate 1 video, upload it on youtube, then try a few options. The most valuable one is for sure the stabilize option combined with Timelapse. I had to try different timelapse speeds and in a total of 3 attempts after uploading the original I managed to get a decent video.

Be careful, the stabilize option alone can give you weird results. Here an example:

Crap Sogn Gion, Pise 49 (stabilized)


As you can see, in this video the stabilization creates some weirdness… see some zoom-in and zoom-outs during the video? Or the sky moving strangely?

Crap Sogn Gion, Pise 49 (original)


…and the original shaky version is not better 😉

Crap Sogn Gion, Pise 49 (stabilized, Timelapse 2x)


Wih 2x timelapse the weridness in the sky doesn’t go away. It’s still there but faster. Also in skiing note if you do many turns the video will be always boring anyway, with the timelapse, turns look even faster, thus if you are like my wanna vomit by watching the video if the turns are too fast 🙂

Crap Sogn Gion, Pise 49 (stabilized, Timelapse 4x)


Skiing in timelapse 4x is too damn fast, I don’t like it at all. See what I mean that it always depends on the kind of video you have? Biking in the city, 4s was ok, but not for skiing.

Note about YouTube

Please add accurate meta information in your videos, at least a few tags that make sense. In English and/or in your native language. Add also a description. If you feel like sharing the location, do that too. Finally if your video gets many views you can even get some money for your work by monetizing them with skippable ads or overlay ones. I prefer skippable ads so at least I don’t need still to close the various overlays during the video. I hate those.

How to make a video more interesting with Hyperlapse

Hyperlapse is a new technology developed by some Microsoft employees. Check this article out: First-Person Hyperlapse Videos. Check also: Introducing Hyperlapse from Instagram.

I was waiting since a long time the availability of the Hyperlapse software for the public. You can apply as tester for the Android app, get the Windows phone app or download the Windows Preview release here: Microsoft Hyperlapse.

Unluckily, the Hyperlapse editor doesn’t allow to put together more than 1 clip so I just took my initial GoPro file and cut the beginning and the end, without adding myself in the end as I did in my first GoPro Studio cut.

Another limitation of Hyperlapse for Windows is that it’s adding a watermark in your bottom right part of your videos. I searched some forums and this happens because it’s in Preview release. I believe they do it to advertize this new amazing technology and probably they want to sell the software. Let’s see…

In Hyperlapse I opened my 419 MB file exported by GoProStudio. By default the timelapse is set to 8x, so I just tested it with the advanced option. The result is quite an OK video: too fast, but somehow it doesn’t look like a crazy race/funny like in the normal timelapse 4x, so hyperlapse can be a good option if you don’t want your video to look too funny.  Also it’s quite good to speed up a long video without losing too much. The file was a 56 MB MP4 and I could see some compression artifacts. Probably you won’t notice them in YouTube, because all youtube videos have compression artifacts

Hyperlapse 8x, advanced


As previously said, not happy with the compression artifacts, I opened my initial high quality (hq) file recorded with the GoPro (1.54 GB) and tried to generate the timelapse using that one. The result had a much better quality, and the size was 203 MB. Here the final result:

Hyperlapse 8x, advanced (hq)


I wonder if you can tell that this video has a better quality than the previous, because YouTube applies a massive compression on your uploads, so for me they both show heavy compression… but I’ll upload the 203 MB file somewhere so you can see the file before being processed by youtube. Let me know what you think.

For the sake of comparison purposes, I generated also 4x and 6x:

Hyperlapse 4x, advanced (hq)


The 4x hyperlapse looks too slow for me, but maybe because I liked the 4x timelapse from youtube, which looks more frenetic (so this one in comparison looks slow). What do you think?

Hyperlapse 6x, advanced (hq)


I think that this 6x hyperlapse video is ok, fast but not too much, maybe the best of the hyperlapse series. The 8x is really too fast. What do you think?

Conclusion

If you read the entire article or at least clicked the various videos and checked my comment under each one of the, you get an idea on what I like and dislike. Objectively I can only say that depending on your time availability, your computer type (e.g. on a Mac Hyperlapse is not available yet) and the type of video you did (gopro mounbted on a bike, skiing, car, flying?) one technique could be better than the other. Just try them out and judge yourself.

What do you think? Which video is your favorite and why? Please comment!

Hope this articled helped a bit and made you want to publish some of your skiing videos one time or another. With hyperlapse, or timelapse, whatever. If you want you can share your results in the comments!

Cheers, Paolo

Cheap drones under 300 USD to attach your GoPro

You are looking for a drone and you don’t like the cheap ones with built-in (low quality) cameras. Most importantly you want to attach your GoPro (or a similar action camera) and you are looking for a good deal? Check this article, it’s updated to contain the best drone of 2016.

A good place to browse is BangGood. I personally bought a few mini RC quadcopters, spare parts for my drones and many other electronics: USB power banks, battery chargers, cables and even smart phones for amazing prices. In a few cases I received defective product. I just had to prove with a video that the product was defective and received a new one for free, without the need to return the defective one. I call this awesome! Some products can be delivered from the USA or from the UK warehouse, but the best prices (and cheapest – even free delivery for small items) are from the default (Chinese) warehouse. You have to understand that the delivery from China can take up 2-3 weeks or even a month depending where you live and what you order. In Switzerland I mostly receive my orders in 2-3 weeks, exceptionally up to 4 weeks. I never had to pay customs. The prices listed in this post are taken from the Chinese warehouse.

Introduction

Below you’ll find a list of drones I’ve found for you, but if you do your research (which you should do) I’ve created a list of things to check before buying:

  • Check if the gimbal for the GoPro is included, its quality, and how it works. Some models have a generic one, some have a stabilized one, some can be extended with a separate gimbal…
  • Check the flying distance.
  • Check if the package has the transmitter included or not.
  • Check if the GPS is included and has a “Return Home button” or fail safe landing feature.
  • Check on youtube footage taken by normal people with the drone you wanna buy.
  • Check on rcgroups.com or in some other RC forums what people say about the drone you wanna buy.

Abbreviations

  • RTF: “ready to fly”. Everything you need is included in the package.
  • BNF: “bind-n-fly”. Transmitter, battery, battera charger not included in the package.

Cheap alternatives to the GoPro

If you don’t have a GoPro, or you need a cheaper action camera, you can buy one of those (camera prices last checked and updated on 2016-05-27):

Browse action cameras on banggood for more choices.

Here a YouTube comparison video between SJ4000 SJCAM vs AMKOV SJ5000 vs GoPro HERO 3 BE vs SONY AS100V.

Drones under 300 USD worth checking if you want to connect your own action camera

Here comes the list of drones capable to carry a GoPro or similar (e.g. a Xiaomi Yi is a very good alternative) action camera.

I start listing two models which on my opinion are worth listing even if they come with their own integrated camera.

3DR Solo Quadcopter

3dr_solo_gopro

3DR Solo on Amazon – if you own a GoPro 3 or GoPro 4 and you can order from Amazon (USA): this is the drone for you! It’s THE drone made for the gopro. The price sunk from the initial 1000+ USD to less than 300 USD, thus it’s really an interesting drone. I’ve put it at the top of the list because it’s the one with the best quality/price ratio. Buy it with the gimbal and send your gopro in the sky for great aerials. Enjoy.

UPair Chase One Quadcopter

Note: not to be confused with the “old” UPAir Chase quadcopter (there are many bad reviews about the old model). The company was acquired and they developed a new improved version based on the old drone. It has almost the same shape, but many improvements.

new_upair_chase_one

New UP Air UPair-Chase UPair One 5.8G FPV 12MP 2K & 4K 24FPS HD Camera With 2-Axis Gimbal RC Quadcopter – 180+ reviews, Rate: 4.9/5

Price: 310 USD 2K camera, 384 USD: 4K camera (last checked and updated on 2017-01-06)

  • Flying time: 16 minutes “full load”, 22 minutes “aircraft alone”
  • Control distance: around 1km
  • Video feed distance: around 800m
  • GPS: GPS stabilized flying (like a DJI Phantom) and return home feature
  • Gimbal: brushless gimbal included. Note: the camera is attached to the gimbal (like a DJI Phantom series camera).
  • FPV: telemetry included, monitor included!
  • App control: the drone has even an app (just like DJI Go)

You can choose between 2 models: Full HD 1080p (at 60fps) which they call 2K and a 4K model that comes with a camera that shoots 4K at 24fps.

Update: since the camera is integrated in the gimbal, it’s not possible to attach a GoPro, unless you buy a separate gimbal, but then you may need more customizations (telemetry, FPV…).

This drone looks like a copy of the DJI Phantom 3 drone and it’s very promising. Definitively if I had to buy my first drone I’d give this a chance.

If you consider that a cheap action camera costs around 70 USD, a gimbal costs also around 70 USD, and telemetry (antennas + monitor) would cost definitively also around 100 USD, this drone is really a bargain! Even if you have to use its own camera and not your GoPro.

Xiaomi Mi drone

xiaomi-mi-drone

Xiaomi Mi Drone WIFI FPV With 4K 1080P Camera 3-Axis Gimbal RC Quadcopter

Price: 420 USD (last checked and updated on 2017-01-06) + 10% voucher (coupon code: 95c89f) 42 USD discount = discounted price: 378 USD

Description:

Camera: 1080P Wifi FPV
Gimbal: 3 Axis
Smart Battery: 5100mah 17.4V
Flying time: 27 mins
Maximum distance: 1km (even less if you consider wifi interferences e.g. in an urban area)
Weight: 1376g (to compare, a DJI Phantom 3 standard with battery weights 1216g)

Features:

  • 1080P Wifi FPV camera, 3-Axis gimbal
  • Video resolutions: 1920 X 1080p 60fps 1920×1080p 30fps 1280×720p 120fps
  • 720p preview resolution (on app)
  • Control via Mi Drone app (Android) / Mi Drone app (iOS)
  • Pointing flight feature: the drone can fly to the point you touch
  • Orbit feature: fly around a point
  • Waypoints feature: set waypoints on a map for autonomous flights
  • 4-propeller system with detachable shields
  • 17.4V battery 5100mAh, 27 minutes non-stop flying
  • Camera attached to a 3-axis gimbal, stabilizes up to 2000 vibrations per second
  • GPS + GLONASS + vision-based positioning
  • Autopilot options: automatic take-off + landing, waypoint flight path planning, tap to fly on map, circle an object on the ground
  • Intelligently detects low battery and returns home automatically
  • Real-time location tracking for easy retrieval even post crash
  • Hovers automatically at the edge of no-fly zones
  • Built-in PCB antenna array in remote control for maximum reach
  • Modular design and foldable landing gear

I own a Xiaomi Mi 4c phone, some friends in Europe own Xiaomi phones too and they are all satisfied. So the Xiaomi brand is well known and has good feedback. The drone looks promising, however, according to some reviews I’ve read so far it has some strange limitations such a beginner mode that can be unlocked only after a certain amount of flying time. Also they say it’s lightweight, but it actually weights around 100-150g more than a DJI Phantom 3 drone. But it has a good “modular” design: for traveling you can fold the landing gear, remove the camera and it will fit better your carry on baggage. It’s still not as portable as a DJI Mavic Pro, but for this price what do you want? Last but not least, to be honest with you, consider buying a DJI Phantom 3 Standard (on Amazon) for 400 USD (UPDATE 2017-01-12: when I updated this, it was available for 400 USD, a real bargain, now I see it at 480 USD which is still good to me, but if those extra 60 USD and the fact the the Mi drone is more portable make a difference for you, you may give a mi drone a try, but I still believe that the Phantom 3 is way better and recommend it more), which is on my opinion a better drone. The Mi drone wins only in portability and in some countries it may be just a bit cheaper than the DJI Phantom 3 Standard, but I believe a DJI drone is always worth the investment.

Cheerson CX-20 (also known as Quanum Nova)

Cheerson_CX_20_Auto-Pathfinder

as you can see below, the Quanum Nova is exactly the same as the Cheerson CX-20, just rebranded and renamed.

quantoum_nova_fpv_gps_waypoint_quadcopter

Cheerson CX-20 Open-source Version Auto-Pathfinder Quadcopter RTF (ready to fly)

Price: 216 USD (last checked and updated on 2016-12-28)
8% OFF Coupon Code: bggcx-20

Check my article Things to know if you plan to buy a Cheerson CX-20

  • Flying time: about 15 minutes with the standard 2800 mAh battery of course.
  • Charging time: about 2-4 hours (with an Imax B6-AC battery recharger: less than 1 hour)
  • Control distance: about 300m
  • GPS: GPS multi-rotor autopilot system, Come Home button, waypoint flying, stay in the same position etc.
  • Software: Mission Planner (for Windows), APM Planner (for Mac) etc.
  • GoPro Gimbal: included (a better gimbal is recommended if you are into aerial videography).

Syma X8G

syma-x8g

Syma X8G 2.4G 4CH With 8MP HD Camera Headless Mode RC Quadcopter

Price: 120 USD – Syma X8G on Amazon: 106 USD (last checked and updated on 2016-12-28)

For this amazing price you get a drone with a GoPro clone.

  • Flying time: 10-12 minutes
  • Charging time: 70 minutes
  • Control distance: 100m

Wltoys V303 Seeker Quadrocopter

Wltoys-V303-Seeker

Wltoys V303 Seeker Quadrocopter 2.4G FPV GPS RC Quadcopter for GoPro on Amazon

Price: 275 USD (last checked and updated on 2016-12-28)

XK DETECT X380

xk-detect-x380

XK DETECT X380 X380-A X380-B X380-C GPS 2.4G 1080P HD RC Quadcopter RTF

Price: 296 USD – XK Detect X380 on Amazon: 290 USD
(last checked and updated on 2016-12-28)

It looks like the Wltoys v303 listed above and it can be purchased in several editions. The edition with the gimbal for the gopro (X380-C) costs much more and it includes an action camera, but you may buy a gimbal separately and the costs should be more sustainable.

Kai Deng K70C

kai-deng-k70c

Kai Deng K70C With 2MP Wide Angle HD Camera Gimbal 3D Rolling RC Quadcopter RTF

Price: only 70 USD (last checked and updated on 2016-12-28)

Be aware that for this price you can’t expect a good quality. But if you want a cheap drone (maybe your first drone) just to see how it goes, this one could be good. It even comes with its own action camera which you can unmout and try your GoPro. Again, check the reviews in the banggood page. Personally I’d invest a bit more and take a better one (like the UpAir) or spend less and take a mini drone without camera.

Blade 200 QX BNF with SAFE

Blade_200_QX

Blade 200 QX BNF with SAFE on Amazon

Price: 141 USD (last checked and updated on 2016-12-28)

BNF = transmitter not included

High performance brushless motors.

“The Blade 200 QX can also carry a GoPro, but it’s probably around the maximum payload for that quad, so flight performance is likely quite affected.”

Flying 3D X6

Flying_3D_X6

Flying 3D X6 Plus 5.8G FPV With 720P Camera 2.4G 6CH GPS RC Quadcopter RTF

Price: 188 USD (last checked and updated on 2016-12-28) the price went up to 220 USD and now is down again to 188 USD.

Flying time: 4-15 minutes
Control distance: about 500m
GPS: Come Home Button

A racing drone

Look at these videos: Mr Steele YouTube channel

If you are excited about this kind of videos and this kind of flying, you probably wanna consider to buy a racing drone.

Check these 2 kits which on my opinion are really good to begin with.

Eachine Racer 250 FPV

eachine-racer-250-kit

Eachine Racer 250 FPV drone with i6 transmitter, 7 Inch monitor, HD camera, RTF

Price: 280 USD (last checked and updated on 2016-12-28)

Eachine Falcon 250 FPV

eachine-falcon-250-kit

Eachine Falcon 250 FPV drone with FlySky i6 transmitter, HD Camera, RTF

Price: 233 USD (last checked and updated on 2016-12-28)

This kit is amazing for a starter. If I had to buy a new drone right now as first model to play with, I’d go for this one and I’d attach a Mobius camera to it.

Final considerations

Maybe all the drones listed above are still too pricey or you are not yet convinced if this hobby is for you or not? Then do like me, start with a mini toy quadcopter without camera, fly it inside, outside and have some fun. Also a mini quadcopter is a very good present for a kid. A quadcopter with a camera can be dangerous for a kid. I’ve seen it with my eyes. Kids tend to focus on the smartphone/app, not on the quad. Teach them the opposite: to check the quad, then after many hours of experience with some mini quadcopters you can give them a camera drone.