The GoPro HERO11 Black includes sensors that can detect the rotation of the camera. Just like your phone, it can adjust the screen rotation depending on whether you’re holding it vertically or horizontally. You can even have the camera mounted upside down–it’s surprising how often that can be useful–and it will automatically rotate the image/video and screen so that it’s right-side up.
That’s a convenience feature, and it’s enabled by default. But there are also times that it can be an inconvenience.
So here’s how to lock it in place to prevent automatic rotation and fine-tune its behavior.
Landscape orientation is with the screen horizontal, wider than it is tall. Portrait orientation is with the screen vertical, taller than it is wide.
How to Lock Rotation on the GoPro HERO11 Black
Automatic rotation is enabled by default on the HERO11. If you rotate the camera, the screen and filming orientation will rotate to stay right-side up.
Basic Orientation Lock
Locking the orientation is quick and simple, but there are some things worth knowing about how it works.
For the most basic use:
- Open the main settings dashboard. To do that, swipe down from the top of the screen. The dashboard is the one with two rows of round icons.
- Rotate your camera to your desired filming orientation.
- Tap the orientation icon. It’s towards the bottom, with a square surrounded by four triangle arrows. If you’re holding the camera horizontally, it’s in the middle of the bottom row. If you’re holding it vertically, it’s toward the bottom right, second row up. Precisely what the icon looks like will depend on whether you’ve enabled Landscape Lock or not. (More on that below.)
Unlocked looks something like this:
Locked looks something like this, with an arrow indicating the orientation:
To disable the lock, simply tap that same icon again.
But something worth noting is that the precise behavior of this feature is also determined by the settings described in the next section.
Enabling Landscape Lock on the HERO11
You can also tackle things in a slightly different way with slightly different results. It’s by using the Landscape Orientation Lock. It’s mostly straightforward to how it works, but there is still a neat feature that’s worth knowing about.
You can find it under:
Preferences > Displays > Orientation
By default, the HERO11 does not restrict the orientation. That corresponds to an “All” setting here. But if you only want it shooting in horizontal (landscape) orientation, you can limit it entirely to that.
But it’s important to note that while it will limit it only to landscape orientation, you can still rotate the camera upside down, and it will automatically adjust for the menus and video footage to be right-way-up.
Put another way, the Landscape Orientation Lock by itself will prevent 90° rotations but will still allow 180° rotations.
But if you only want it to film and landscape orientation with the camera upside down, or only want it in landscape orientation with the camera angle right-way up, then you can use it in combination with the Orientation Lock icon on the dashboard screen.
When Automatic Rotation Detection Can be Inconvenient
In general, automatic rotation is convenient to have when shooting photos or playing back on the screen. Being able to shoot vertically is a feature that’s very useful in some circumstances. If you’re shooting for TikTok or Instagram, vertical videos make best use of the available screen real estate.
But if you’re shooting for an outlet that uses a more traditional horizontal (landscape) orientation, vertical video is a pain. You can rotate it in post-production, but that’s a hassle and probably going to lead to framing compromises and cropping.
Overall, it’s not a major problem, because rotation is pretty easy to fix in post. It’s very easy with still images, and still quite easy with video.
Most video editing apps include the ability to rotate footage by 90 or 180 degrees. You can also do it in apps like Youtube (under the Enhancement features). And once you do that you won’t notice any difference–the resolution and framerate all remain the same. But it’s not always convenient to do that, especially if you’re trying to browse through multiple clips. And it adds yet another thing you have to do to fix it.
So I’d rather avoid it and get the orientation correct when shooting. That’s easy when shooting with a cell phone–it’ll be pretty obvious by the way you’re holding it. But I find it crops up more often when shooting with GoPros, mainly because of the way one tends to shoot with GoPros. Their strength is shooting on the move, and there are all sorts of different ways to mount and hold the camera.
The problem is exacerbated by the lag you can sometimes get with the camera being slow to register the orientation. We’re only talking a couple of seconds, but it’s still slower than I’d like. The reason that can be a problem is that you can end up with footage recorded at a different rotation than what you want—something that’s happened to me more than once.
And once you start recording, you can’t change the rotation until you stop the recording. The shutter button works as a landscape lock button–at least for the duration of the recording. So if you’re bouncing around and the camera detects that it’s now more vertical than horizontal, it can flip into that mode. If you hit record without looking, that vertical rotation will stay locked in until you stop the recording.
So I prefer to lock the orientation and avoid this issue completely.
Things Worth Knowing
The rotation information is also embedded into the photo and video files’ metadata, telling the playback app which way to play the video or which way to display the photo. So when you go to play back the video, it might play upside down (i.e. rotation of 180°) or vertically (portrait orientation, or rotation of 90° or 270°), depending on how you filmed it.
This option of being able to lock the rotation falls into the convenience category. The setting doesn’t fundamentally change the core photo or video data. It’s just an informational value in the metadata. But being able to lock the orientation does come in handy, especially for viewing, browsing, and editing, and I tend to use the Up option (or On on the other models), especially when shooting video, where I rarely shoot in portrait orientation. I’m much more likely to be shooting in portrait orientation with stills, so the auto rotation is less of an issue for me there.
When interacting with some menu sections, you’ll need the camera to be in landscape orientation.
Can the GoPro HERO11 Black shoot video vertically?
Yes. If you’re using the GoPro HERO11 Black for filming video clips for social media sites like TikTok or Instagram Reels, you can set it to film vertically (i.e. in portrait orientation). The HERO11 has a new sensor with an aspect ratio of 8:7, which works well for sharing on social media sites at 16:9 (or another aspect ratio) with less cropping.
By default, the HERO11 will automatically rotate the recording orientation with the camera (before you start recording). You can also lock the orientation in vertical.