Sabyasachi Patra

Go Pro Hero 4 Impressions

Go Pro Hero 4 Impressions

I have the Go Pro Hero 4 in my hands since last year. Prior to the Go Pro Hero 4 Black, I had the Hero 3 Black. I had skipped buying the Go Pro Hero 3+ as the update was incremental and I didn’t feel it was sufficient for my needs.

The Go Pro Hero 4 Black is popularly known as Go Pro 4 and shares the same small form factor of its preceding Go Pro cameras.

Go Pro Hero 4 black

The Go Pro4 has the 4K resolution as its selling point. It can shoot upto 30p at 4K. At 2.7K resolution the Go Pro Hero 4 Black can shoot upto 60fps and at Full HD ie. 1080p at 120fps, as well as a host of other frame rates like 720p at 240fps which I don’t use. The Go Pro can also shoot 12 Megapixel still images and has a time lapse video mode.

The Go Pro 4 can shoot in 4K by using its entire sensor in a Super wide mode. So one needs to be very close to the subject, else everything will appear tiny. Ofcourse, it also has its applications, as one can now shoot wide establishing shots with it. While shooting for a sports documentary for HBO, I also put the Go Pro 4 through its paces to test its real world application and whether some shots from this camera can be used for broadcast.

At the starting of this video clip the establishing shot of the stadium was easily done through the Go Pro. The next shot of the pole vault could easily show the vault, landing and then moving away of the athlete in a nice continuous motion. Ofcourse it was only possible by mounting the Go Pro on a Steadicam Curve, as holding the Go Pro simply by hand induces too much jitter.

Since I was shooting with the C300 from one end of a sprint race, it was not possible to cover both the starting as well as end. I choose to be at the finishing tape and placed the Go Pro on the ground at the starting blocks. Since I had to rush back to my position after placing the Go Pro, the placement was not right and more of the ground was in the frame. For a 1080p ie Full HD finish, I tried cropping up and the Go Pro holds ok if you don’t do massive push and pull of the files. Remember that one can hook up the Go Pro 4 with a smart phone and can easily control the framing, unless you are a person like me who doesn’t have space for a smart phone.

Later I tested the Go Pro 4 at Sundarbans shooting wide range of subjects from labourers carrying sand, cooking inside a motor boat, crocodiles etc.

The Go Pro Hero 4 Black, comes in water proof housing like the previous models and can be submerged upto 131 feet deep. While I have never in my life dived to such depths, I did briefly try exploring the shallow waters of Chilika lake. One can have interesting results of flora and fauna even in shallow waters.

Unfortunately the Go Pro 4 can’t be used in the low light. Beyond ISO 400, it throws up too much of noise which is not acceptable by my standards. While shooting for a documentary on weavers, the light level was too low for this camera and I quickly gave up shooting with it.

Another challenge is the curved horizon that I get in the files. This problem was more acute in the previous Go Pro 3. At the moment, one can straighten the horizon by using some plugins during post processing. Till the next version of Go Pro, we have to live with this problem.

This is a tiny little camera which appears like a toy. Though people initially look at me when I am shooting with it, they soon feel that this is another guy using a small camera and are not much bothered. So it kind of gives anonymity that one so much needs while shooting.

At 499 USD plus the cost of additional batteries, back LCD, charger etc, the cost quickly goes up. It has the potential to do certain things well. When the camera is stable, light is good and there is not much movement, a few shots from the Go Pro can be inserted among other shots. So I do have it in my camera bag for times when I can make use of this little camera.

People who don’t need the 4K and who don’t need high speed shooting can buy the Go Pro Hero 4 Silver which is 399 USD. It can shoot at 2.7K at 30fps.

Click on the link to watch the Go Pro video –

One more video with a Go Pro 4:

You can buy this camera from Amazon India by clicking the following link:

Sabyasachi Patra
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Sabyasachi Patra

Sabyasachi is an award winning Cinematographer and shoots for international broadcasters, feature films and corporates to make a living. He is a passionate wildlife filmmaker and photographer and has won awards and accolades for his documentary 'A Call in the Rainforest'. He has been striving to make his films and photographs full of life and emotion and write articles to educate and evangelise the need for conserving the last tracts of vanishing wilderness and wildlife in our country. He hopes that his wildlife films, photographs and writings force people to pause, look, ponder and ultimately take action.
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