GoPro HERO6 Black Video Modes

The GoPro HERO6 Black has headline features of 4K60 and 1080p240 video modes. While there's a lot of overlap with the HERO5 Black, there are also some new options and some that have gone away.
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The GoPro HERO6 Black has new headline features of 4K60 and 1080p240 video modes. But those aren’t the only changes.

GoPro HERO10 Deals

GoPro has released the HERO10 Black. The MSRP is $499, but GoPro is currently running some great deals:

And with the new model out, it's a great time to pick up a deal on the HERO9 Black. You can get it for $349 with a free spare battery, a 32GB SD card, and a 1-year GoPro subscription. More details here.

There’s a lot of overlap with the HERO5 Black’s video modes, but there are also differences. There are some faster framerates in the high-end video modes, bigger bitrates, a digital zoom, new Protune options, and an even larger 4K 4:3 size.

Some other video modes have gone. The lowest video mode is now 720p60, and the narrow and medium fields of view have been removed, for example.

This comparison is focusing specifically on the video modes. I also have a more general overview of how the HERO6 Black compares to the HERO5 Black.

Video Sizes on the GoPro HERO6 Black

In addition to the faster framerates at 4K and 1080p, the HERO6 Black adds a larger 4K format: 4K 4:3 that is at 4000 x 3000 (regular 4K is 3840 x 2160 in 16:9 aspect ratio). That primarily adds some extra vertical space that can give more flexibility when editing so that the action is a little less prone to being cut off the top or the bottom.

Some of the smaller sizes have also been dropped. The lowest video mode is now 720p, and there’s no 480p or 960p sizes.

Here are the relative video sizes compared. If you’d like to see it life-size, click on it to open a 1:1 full-size illustration:

Video Stabilization in the GoPro HERO6 Black

From side-by-side testing I’ve found the HERO6 Black’s in-camera stabilization to be an improvement over stabilization on the HERO5 Black. I’m putting together some side-by-side examples that I’ve shot and will post them soon.

The in-camera video stabilization feature still a software implementation, and its results aren’t perfect all the time. But if you don’t have an external stabilizer handy and don’t feel like messing with it in post, the in-camera stabilization is a very useful way to get much smoother video footage right out of the camera.

Video Bitrates on the HERO6 Black

GoPro has bumped up the bitrates quite a bit in the HERO6 Black. The high-end video modes, with Protune turned on, run at around 78 Mb/s (megabits per second), a significant step up from the upper limit of 60 megabits per second on the HERO5 Black. (Because of the way variable bitrate encoding works, it can fluctuate a little from clip to clip, so it doesn’t always hit the target rate precisely.)

Higher bitrates, of course, also mean that you’ll need a microSD card that’s fast enough for the HERO6 Black to cope with the stream of data coming at it.

Protune Options

The Protune options in video mode are quite similar to those on the HERO5 Black, but there are some new options such as a broader range of ISO options and more manual white balance options.

Protune OptionHERO10 BlackHERO9 BlackHERO8 BlackHERO7 BlackHERO6 BlackHERO5 Black
BitrateLow (default)
High
Low (default)
High
Low (default)
High
---
ColorVibrant (default)
Natural
Flat
GoPro Color
Flat
GoPro Color
Flat
GoPro Color
Flat
GoPro Color
Flat
GoPro Color
Flat
White BalanceAuto
2300K
2800K
3200K
4000K
4500K
5500K
6000K
6500K
Native
Auto
2300K
2800K
3200K
4000K
4500K
5500K
6000K
6500K
Native
Auto
2300K
2800K
3200K
4000K
4500K
5500K
6000K
6500K
Native
Auto
2300K
2800K
3200K
4000K
4500K
5500K
6000K
6500K
Native
Auto
2300K
2800K
3200K
4000K
4500K
5500K
6000K
6500K
Native
Auto
3000K
4000K
4800K
5500K
6000K
6500K
Native
Manual Exposure / Shutter*Auto
1/fps
1/(2xfps)
1/(4xfps)
1/(8xfps)
1/(16xfps)
Auto
1/fps
1/(2xfps)
1/(4xfps)
1/(8xfps)
1/(16xfps)
Auto
1/fps
1/(2xfps)
1/(4xfps)
1/(8xfps)
1/(16xfps)
Auto
1/24
1/25
1/30
1/48
1/50
1/60
1/96
1/100
1/120
1/192
1/200
1/240
1/384
1/400
1/480
1/960
1/1920
1/3840
Auto
1/24
1/25
1/30
1/48
1/50
1/60
1/96
1/100
1/120
1/192
1/200
1/240
1/400
1/480
1/960
1/1920
Auto
1/24
1/25
1/30
1/48
1/50
1/60
1/80
1/96
1/100
1/120
1/160
1/192
1/200
1/240
1/320
1/400
1/480
1/960
ISO Limit6400
3200
1600
800
400
200
100
6400
3200
1600
800
400
200
100
6400
3200
1600
800
400
200
100
6400
3200
1600
800
400
200
100
6400
3200
1600
800
400
200
100
6400
3200
1600
1200
800
400
SharpnessHigh
Medium (default)
Low
High
Medium (default)
Low
High
Medium (default)
Low
High
Medium (default)
Low
High
Medium (default)
Low
High
Medium (default)
Low
Exposure Compensation-2 to +2-2 to +2-2 to +2-2 to +2-2 to +2-2 to +2
Raw Audio TrackOff (default)
Low
Mid
High
Off
Low
Mid
High
Off
Low
Mid
High
Off
Low
Mid
High
Off
Low
Mid
High
Off
Low
Mid
High
WindAuto (default)
On
Off
Auto
On
Off
Auto
On
Off
Auto Audio Mode GroupAuto
On
Off
Auto
On
Off
Auto
On
Off
Auto
Wind Only
Stereo Only
--
* Note on manual shutter: The specific options available in the manual exposure / shutter section vary by the framerate you've chosen. The available shutter speeds you'll see available will be limited to multiples of the framerate you're using. As an example, if you set it to record at 1080p60, you won't see the option for a manual shutter speed of 1/96 but you will see 1/120 and 1/240. In general, the scale goes 1/fps, 1/(2xfps), 1/(4xfps), 1(8xfps), and 1(16xfps).

I have a more detailed breakdown and explanation of the HERO6 Black’s Protune options here.

Aspect Ratios

There are two aspect ratios used on the HERO6 Black: 16:9 and 4:3. Which aspect ratio is applied depends on the shooting mode you choose.

You can see which aspect ratio is used with each video mode in the table below.

Fields of View

There are three different fields of view (FOV) in use in the video mode of the HERO6 Black.

The default Wide perspective is the one we’re all used to. It’s available in all of the video modes.

GoPro HERO6 Black Video FOV: Wide

The Superview FOV is an even wider and more distorted perspective. It’s only available in some shooting modes (see the table below for the specific ones).

GoPro HERO6 Black Video FOV: Superview

The Linear FOV was first introduced with the HERO5 models. It uses software algorithms to try to correct the fisheye distortion that results in bent horizons and lines that should be straight and that bulging look. Linear FOV is especially useful when filming from drones, but it can also be useful if you’re looking for a more normal, less-distorted perspective. It’s only available in some video modes.

GoPro HERO6 Black Video FOV: Linear

The New Digital Zoom Feature

As when shooting still photos, there’s a new zoom option. It’s a digital zoom, not an optical one, so when you zoom in you’re not getting any new detail. While I’m skeptical about how useful the zoom feature is in the photo modes, it makes more sense in the video mode because it keeps the overall video resolution consistent.

It works similarly to the zoom in smartphone cameras (without using gestures). The zoom is controlled by an on-screen slider. It’s simple and intuitive, but it isn’t particularly well-suited to smooth zoom shots while filming.

Here are some frames that give an example of it zoomed right in:

[caption id="attachment_20567" align="aligncenter" width="678"] GoPro HERO6 Black Video FOV: Wide[/caption]

Video Codecs Used by the GoPro HERO6 Black

The HERO6 Black saves all of its video files in MP4 containers (in addition to the sidecar LRV and THM files). But it uses a couple of different video codecs depending on the shooting mode. They’re encoded at variable bitrates.

For its highest-end video modes, like 4K60 and 1080p240, it uses the new and improved H.265 (HEVC) codec rather than the older H.264 (AVC) one. For the rest of its video modes, it uses H.264 (AVC).

You can see which codec is used in which mode in the table below.

Details of GoPro HERO6 Black Video Modes

ModeFPSBITRATE (MEGABITS/S)
- PROTUNE / + PROTUNE
Stabilization?CodecAspect RatioDimensionsFOV WideFOV SuperViewFOV Linear
4K6066 / 78H.26516:93840x2160
5066 / 78H.26516:93840x2160
3066 / 66AVC16:93840x2160
2566 / 66AVC16:93840x2160
2466 / 66AVC16:93840x2160
4K 4:33066 / 78H.2654:34000x3000
2566 / 78H.2654:34000x3000
2466 / 78H.2654:34000x3000
2.7K12066 / 78H.26516:92704x1520
10066 / 78H.26516:92704x1520
6066 / 66AVC16:92704x1520
5066 / 66AVC16:92704x1520
3033 / 47AVC16:92704x1520
2533 / 47AVC16:92704x1520
2433 / 47AVC16:92704x1520
2.7K 4:36066 / 78H.2654:32704x2028
5066 / 78H.2654:32704x2028
3066 / 66AVC4:32704x2028
2566 / 66AVC4:32704x2028
2466 / 66AVC4:32704x2028
14406066 / 66AVC4:31920x1440
5066 / 66AVC4:31920x1440
3033 / 47AVC4:31920x1440
2533 / 47AVC4:31920x1440
2433 / 47AVC4:31920x1440
108024066 / 78H.26516:91920x1080
20066 / 78H.26516:91920x1080
12066 / 66AVC16:91920x1080
10066 / 66AVC16:91920x1080
6033 / 47AVC16:91920x1080
5033 / 47AVC16:91920x1080
3033 / 47AVC16:91920x1080
2533 / 47AVC16:91920x1080
2433 / 47AVC16:91920x1080
7206033 / 47AVC16:91280x720
5033 / 47AVC16:91280x720

Q&A About GoPro HERO6 Black Video Modes

What does 4K60 mean?

4K60 refers to ultra-high definition video recorded at 60 frames per second. There are actually two sizes that 4K can be referring to. The one that GoPros use (along with most other consumer devices) has a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, which is equivalent to 8.3 megapixels. It is often referred to as UHD or ultra-high definition and less commonly as 2160p. Standard 4K has an aspect ratio of 16:9; the HERO6 Black also includes a 4K mode in the 4:3 aspect ratio.

I can’t edit the HEVC video files.

One issue you might run into with HEVC files is that while compatibility is improving, they’re still not compatible with all operating systems and apps. In that case, I’ve outlined a workaround for converting HEVC files.

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