GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition

 
 

I recently upgraded to use the new GoPro Hero 3 Black edition video camera for filming rolling. This new model is substantially smaller than previous GoPro models. It also comes with a plethora of new modes of operation. Two features were of particular interest to me. First the low light performance has been enhanced, and second a new mode allows 120 frames per second (fps) 720p High definition filming. Most online videos playback at 30 fps so this allows video to be slowed down to one quarter speed for great slow motion playback. The video below shows me going through a series of rolls all slowed down to one quarter frame rate. I am not yet sure if I can see any substantial improvement in quality of the low light performance, and the video is impacted hugely by the relative position of the light when underwater.

Rolling practice from Christopher Crowhurst on Vimeo.

Previous editions of the GoPro cameras came with convex lens covers. The Hero 3 editions all come with a flat lens cover. The flat lens cover allows the camera to focus underwater and hence the new models do not need the additional purchase of a dive housing. Unfortunately a new battery size is used so all the spare batteries and battery chargers I had acquired for the previous models are now obsolete. The Hero 3 also uses mini SSD for recording, so any regular size SSD are now useless. The new models come with built in WiFi which means you no longer need to additional WiFi backpack attached to remotely control the camera. I found that after rolling the WiFi remote control would lose contact with the camera. When I returned to be above water the camera and the remote would reconnect after about 15 seconds and then I could adjust or turn off the recording. I used one battery and it lasted for for the full session (two hours), I recorded about 15 minutes during that time, and the battery showed about two thirds full at the end. The new model is certainly more convenient, no longer needing the additional components for the remote, but unless you need the additional higher speed filming it is an expensive upgrade for little quality gain.