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Some of the most fun in shooting with GoPros is putting them in places that cameras have no good business going. That includes mounting them at points outside of arm’s reach. It might be as simple as at the end of a selfie stick or as complicated as on the hood of a rally car or on a crane. When shooting like that, you don’t want to have to be messing with the buttons and controls on the camera itself.
There are different options for controlling your GoPro from afar. With any of the newer GoPros, you can, of course, connect to the camera wirelessly from a mobile device and use the GoPro app to control the camera and access its media. That gives you the benefits of being able to access most of the camera’s settings as well as providing a live view of what the camera is seeing through the lens. But there are also downsides to using the mobile app: it sucks battery life, you have to have your phone handy (which isn’t always convenient, especially in action or damp environments), and you can only connect one device at a time. To some degree, these negatives can be addressed using one of GoPro’s dedicated remote controls. So here’s a rundown on how to connect a remote to the HERO7 Black.
To keep things simple and reliable, I’m focusing here on the GoPro Smart Remote and the Remo. There are some other aftermarket remotes available, and they’re often significantly cheaper. I’ve used a few of those and found some to work quite well. But others I’ve had issues with. There’s also an older model, the GoPro Wifi Remote. You can get that working with some of the newer cameras (I’ve put together a quick guide here), but unless you already have it on hand, there’s no good reason to choose a Wifi Remote over the better and newer Smart Remote.
GoPro Smart Remote + HERO7 Black
One important advantage to using the Smart Remote is that you can connect and control up to 50 GoPros at once. And they don’t all have to be the same model. The Smart Remote is also waterproof (but doesn’t work underwater) and has a small screen that’s useful for changing the shooting mode and checking on the camera status.
How to Pair the GoPro Smart Remote to the HERO7 Black
Here’s how to connect to the HERO7 Black with a Smart Remote.
Power on the camera and swipe down on the back screen to access the preferences. Tap on the Preferences button.
Tap on “Connections” to open that submenu.
Tap on Connect Device.
Scroll down to Smart Remote and tap on that.
You’ll then see a message to put the remote into pairing mode.
It will then put the camera into pairing mode. So now we move over to the Smart Remote.
Power on the Smart Remote. Hold down the button with the wrench (spanner) icon.
The screen will show a camera icon with two arrows moving toward each other.
Once it’s successfully paired, you’ll see a message on the remote’s screen asking if you’d like to pair another camera. You can connect up to 50 cameras to the one Smart Remote. If you do want to connect another, press the shutter button (red circle) for Yes. If not, press the power/mode button to move the cursor down to No, then press the shutter button (red circle).
GoPro Remo + HERO7 Black
GoPro has discontinued the Remo remote, but it’s still available as a connection option on the HERO7 Black’s connection settings. The Remo is waterproof and simple, with just one button and no screen. It has a shorter working range than the Smart Remote because it only uses Bluetooth, not wifi. But its headline feature is that it can be used with voice commands to control those cameras that support both voice commands and remote control connections.
How to Pair the GoPro Remo to the HERO7 Black
Here’s how to connect to a HERO7 Black with a Remo. The first part of it is basically identical to connecting a Smart Remote. Rather than repeat the same images again, I recommend looking at the ones above.
- Power on the camera and swipe down on the back screen to access the preferences.
- Tap on the Preferences button.
- Tap on “Connections” to open that submenu.
- Tap on Connect Device.
- Scroll down to Remo Remote and tap on that.
It will then put the camera into pairing mode. So now we move over to the Remo.
While it looks like a single-button remote, there’s actually a second button on the Remo. It’s a small one on the side. Push that in and hold it for 8 seconds.
You should see a small blue light start to flash on the front to indicate the Bluetooth is activated.
The camera should then display a message that it has paired successfully, and your Remo is now connected. The Remo will have a blue light flashing slowly to indicate connectivity.
Controlling the HERO7 Silver and White Remotely
While both the HERO7 Silver and White models do have wireless capabilities that allow you to connect to the GoPro mobile app, you can’t pair a remote with them. If you go into the connection settings on the camera, there’s no option for adding a Smart Remote or Remo.
How to Charge the Smart Remote and Remo
This isn’t specific to the HERO7 Black, but I mention it in case it’s useful to new users of the GoPro remotes.
Both of these remotes have built-in batteries that aren’t removable. So you need to connect the remote directly to a power source to charge it.
With the Remo, it charges using a standard USB-C connection. That’s the same cable that you use to connect the HERO7 cameras. If you’ve lost that cable, any USB-C cable should work just fine. The Remo doesn’t take advantage of the rapid charging offered by high-output chargers like the Smart Charger.
With the Smart Remote, there’s a special charging dock that looks a bit like a key. If you’ve lost that dock, there’s no way to charge the remote. The good news is that if you have lost it, you can pick it up as a replacement part from a number of aftermarket manufacturers relatively inexpensively, such as this one. The charging cable uses standard USB to charge, so you can connect it to any of the usual power sources, from wall adapters to USB hubs to power bricks.
Sometimes the pairing process doesn’t go as smoothly as it should, and despite both being in pairing mode, the remote and the camera just can’t find each other.
There are some things you can try.
Try again. Okay, so I know this sounds obvious, but it’s also what the camera prompts you to do if the pairing process fails.
Restart. Turn both the camera and remote off and then again and try again.
Reset the connections. This is usually the most effective solution for me, but it comes with the inconvenience of resetting all of your connections, not just the one. On the HERO7 Black, go to Preferences > Connections > Reset Connections. You’ll then be prompted for confirmation.
Things Worth Knowing
You don’t have to turn the camera’s wireless connection on first. That’s done automatically as part of the connecting process.
There are some limitations with using the remotes that are worth knowing about. These issues aren’t specific to the HERO7 Black–they generally apply to these remotes.
While both the Smart Remote (33ft / 10m) and the Remo (16ft / 5m) are waterproof (assuming you’ve closed the appropriate port doors with a proper seal), they won’t work underwater. Wifi signals don’t pass through water. But you can use them in the rain or getting splashed on the water’s surface.
GoPro claims the Smart Remote has a range of up to 600 feet (180m). They claim a working range of up to 33 feet (10 meters) for the Remo. In both cases, the “up to” is important, because those are in optimum conditions. In real-world shooting, there are many things that can make conditions less than ideal, including interference from other devices or physical obstructions in the line of sight. So if you’re planning on pushing the distance limits, it’s worth testing before a critical shoot.
If you haven’t bought a remote yet and are choosing one, I’d recommend the Smart Remote over the Remo unless voice commands are critical to you. Not only is it more powerful and has more features, but in my experience, at least (and, apparently, many others as well, if online reports are any indication), it can be quite unreliable.