GoPro HERO8 Black Video Modes

A rundown of the video modes and features on the GoPro HERO8 Black.

GoPros are great for taking photos. And time-lapse. But their bread and butter shooting mode has always been video. It’s really the format that defines them.

The HERO8 Black’s top video modes are 4K60 and 1080p240.1

Overall, GoPro HERO8 Black has very similar video capabilities as the previous model, the HERO7 Black, but there are a few notable differences. One of the leading ones is an improved in-camera stabilization, now called HyperSmooth 2.0.

Another major change has to do with the user interface. Video shooting modes are now assigned with presets. If you have the presets already assigned or want to use one of the default ones, it’s potentially a quicker way of accessing different sets of settings. If you’re looking to change settings ad hoc, it can be a bit slower.

Here’s a rundown of the various options available when shooting video with the HERO8 Black.

Resolutions, Framerates, and Aspect Ratios

Overall, there’s a lot of overlap between the resolution/framerate options offered on the HERO8 Black with those that were offered on the HERO7 Black. There are a few small differences–there’s now a 960 resolution, for instance. But overall, the options are very similar.

Two aspect ratios are offered: 16:9 and 4:3.

The largest resolution is 4K4:3, which results in dimensions of 4000 by 3000. The smallest is 720, which results in dimensions of 1280 by 720. Here’s an illustration showing the relative sizes and aspect ratios available on the HERO7 Black.

The fastest frame rate available is 240 fps. The slowest is 24 fps. As usual, switching between PAL and NTSC will change the available framerates. Not all framerates are available at all resolutions. The table below has the combinations available.

Here’s an illustration showing how the video resolutions available on the GoPro HERO8 Black compare with each other in terms of size.

Video Bitrates

The way video bitrates are handled on the HERO8 Black is a bit different from how they’ve been handled on previous models. With previous models, any bitrate changes were determined by whether or not you have Protune turned on.

With the HERO8 Black, there’s a specific Bitrate option that lets you switch between Standard and High. Having a separate switch means that you can use the other Protune options while still having a choice on whether to use higher bitrates or not. The reason that you might want to choose one or the other relates to the balance between file size and picture quality. A higher bitrate has potentially higher image quality, but it also has a significantly larger file size. (By file size, I’m referring to space on the memory card or disk. It doesn’t refer to the resolution size, which is different.)

The maximum bitrate available on the HERO8 Black is 100Mbps. That’s only available with 4K and 2.7K resolutions. Bitrates at other combinations of resolution and framerates drop down below that, ranging from 100Mbps at the top end down to 45Mpbs at the low end.

ResolutionFramerate (NTSC / PAL)High BitrateStandard BitratePixelsAspect RatioDigital Lenses
4K60100603840x216016:9Wide, Linear
5010060Wide, Linear
3010060SuperView, Wide, Linear
2510060SuperView, Wide, Linear
2410060SuperView, Wide, Linear
4K 4:330100604096x30724:3Wide, Linear
2510060Wide, Linear
2410060Wide, Linear
2.7K120100602704x152016:9Wide, Linear
10010060Wide, Linear
6010060SuperView, Wide, Linear, Narrow
5010060SuperView, Wide, Linear, Narrow
3010045SuperView, Wide, Linear, Narrow
2510045SuperView, Wide, Linear, Narrow
2410045SuperView, Wide, Linear, Narrow
2.7K 4:360100602704x20284:3Wide, Linear
5010060Wide, Linear
3010060Wide, Linear, Narrow
2510060Wide, Linear, Narrow
2410060Wide, Linear, Narrow
1440p12078601920x14404:3Wide
1007860Wide
607860SuperView, Wide, Linear
507860SuperView, Wide, Linear
306045SuperView, Wide, Linear
256045SuperView, Wide, Linear
246045SuperView, Wide, Linear
1080p24078601920x108016:9Wide
2007860Wide
1207860SuperView, Wide, Linear, Narrow
1007860SuperView, Wide, Linear, Narrow
606045SuperView, Wide, Linear, Narrow
506045SuperView, Wide, Linear, Narrow
306045SuperView, Wide, Linear, Narrow
256045SuperView, Wide, Linear, Narrow
246045SuperView, Wide, Linear, Narrow

Whether the file is compressed with the HEVC or H.264 codecs, the HERO8 Black uses variable compression, just like its predecessors. So, in practice, you can end up with bitrates just slightly above or below these target bitrates.

Digital Lenses / Fields of View

In all the previous GoPros, there have been different “fields of view.” With the HERO8 Black, they’re now “digital lenses.” They’re the same thing and work the same way. It all strikes me as a bit of marketing puffery. Although that’s probably being a bit harsh—they do correspond more closely to a traditional camera lens, so if you’re used to working in those focal lengths, they’re probably more intuitive (although they’re approximations of a true optical focal length).

There’s a total of four FOVs available, although they’re not all available at every resolution. This chart shows which fields of view (or digital lenses) are available at which combinations of resolution and framerate.

ResolutionFramerate (NTSC / PAL)Digital LensesPixelsAspect Ratio
4K60/50Wide, Linear3840x216016:9
30/25
24
SuperView, Wide, Linear
4K 4:330/25
24
Wide, Linear4096, 30724:3
2.7K120/100Wide, Linear2704x152016:9
60/50
30/25
24
SuperView, Wide, Linear, Narrow
2.7K 4:360/50Wide, Linear2704x20284:3
30/25
24
Wide, Linear, Narrow
1440p120/100Wide1920x14404:3
60/50
30/25
24
SuperView, Wide, Linear
1080p240/200Wide1920x108016:9
120/100
60/50
30/25
24
SuperView, Wide, Linear, Narrow

And here’s what used to be known as fields of view on earlier models correspond to the digital lens focal lengths on the HERO8 Black:

Field of View Digital Lens
SuperView 16mm
Wide 16-34mm
Linear 19-39mm
Narrow 27mm

The ranges in the Wide and Linear options are factoring in the digital zoom feature.

The standard one is the basic Wide / 16mm-34mm, which is the default one that we’re used to with GoPro footage. SuperView crams even more scene into the frame. Linear digitally corrects for lens distortion.

Filetypes & Codecs: H.264 / HEVC (H.265)

Like its predecessor, the HERO8 Black has two video codecs available: HEVC (H.265) and standard H.264 (AVC). All of the video files have the same file extension of .mp4—the difference is in the codecs that are used to encode the video data within that mp4 container.

GoPro introduced the HEVC (H.265) codec back with the HERO6 Black. It’s a newer, more efficient codec than the older H.264 one and offers better compression that results in a better combination of video quality and file size. The catch is that files encoded with HEVC are not yet anywhere nearly as widely compatible as ones using the older H.264/AVC codec. (If you’re having trouble with the HEVC files, I’ve posted a workaround here.)

On the H8 Black, there’s an option in the preferences for choosing HEVC or H.264 + HEVC. (Note that if you’re using the GoPro mobile app, these show up in the Video Compression option as “High Efficiency” and “Most Compatible”.)

But the way this is implemented is a bit confusing. The first option is obvious enough: it will use HEVC for all video recordings. The second option isn’t quite as obvious. It doesn’t mean the same as a RAW + JPG option you often find on cameras, for example, where it records both formats simultaneously. If you choose the H.264 + HEVC, it won’t record two versions. What it will do is use H.264 for most of the video options. But with some of the high-end video modes, you can still only record them with the HEVC codec. If you’re recording 4K60, for instance, it will only record using the HEVC codec regardless of whether you’ve chosen the H.264 + HEVC option. So “H.264 + HEVC” doesn’t mean “H.264 and HEVC”; it means H.264 when available and HEVC when it’s not.

Something to be aware of when using the HEVC option is that the GoPro mobile app can’t preview HEVC files in playback. You’ll have to download the entire file to your phone and then try to play it back locally.

In-Camera Video Stabilization

One of the notable new features of the HERO8 Black is the new and improved in-camera electronic stabilization, now called HyperSmooth 2.0. It’s more aggressive and better than the version in the HERO7 Black. I’m in the process of putting together some side-by-side examples and hope to post those soon.

Protune

With the HERO8 Black, the Protune options are still there, but they’re handled a bit differently than in previous models. With previous models, you had to enable the expert mode first before you could access the advanced settings. With the new model, they’re more readily accessible in normal shooting because of the way that you define shooting presets.

Here’s a rundown of the various Protune options available when shooting video with the HERO8 Black.

Protune OptionHERO8 BlackHERO7 BlackHERO6 BlackHERO5 Black
BitrateLow
High
---
ColorGoPro 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
3000K
4000K
4800K
5500K
6000K
6500K
Native
Manual Exposure / Shutter*Auto
1/24
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
1/800
1/960
1/1600
1/1920
1/3200
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
1/384
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
1200
800
400
SharpnessHigh
Medium
Low
High
Medium
Low
High
Medium
Low
High
Medium
Low
Exposure Compensation-2 to +2-2 to +2-2 to +2-2 to +2
Raw Audio TrackOff
Low
Mid
High
Off
Low
Mid
High
Off
Low
Mid
High
Off
Low
Mid
High
Auto Audio Mode GroupAuto
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).

Other Features for Shooting Video

Here’s a rundown of other key features for shooting video with the HERO8 Black.

Slow Motion (Slo-Mo)

The HERO8 Black has the same slow-motion capabilities as the HERO7 Black. In one way of describing it, it’s capable of up to 8x slow motion. Put another way: it can shoot at up to 240fps (which you can then play back at 30fps, giving the 8x slow option). It’s important to note, though, that the 8x slow motion is only available at 1080p. At 4K, the highest slow-motion rate is 2x. Here are the maximum slow-motion rates at the various resolutions:

Resolution Max Slow Motion Rate
4K 2x
2.7K 4x
1440p 4x
1080p 8x

There’s also a slo-mo icon on the back screen (the snail) that lets you toggle the playback and recording speeds. Again, it depends on the resolution and framerate you’re on. At 4K, for example, the maximum framerate available is 60fps, so if you play that back at 30fps, you’re getting 2x slow motion.

Clips

The Clips feature shoots, well, clips, of a preset duration. (It was called Short Clips on the HERO7 Black.) You can choose a duration of either 15 seconds or 30 seconds.

Obviously, you could end up with the same result with regular shooting and then edit in post, but this saves you some steps to get there. It’s perfect for quick-hit social media posts.

Live Video Feed

Like its predecessor, the HERO8 Black has the ability to stream live video from the camera through the GoPro app. This is something that GoPro is starting to lean heavily into with the introduction of the new HERO8 mods that are especially suited for vlogging. You can then share that stream through services like Facebook Live, YouTube, Twitch, and Vimeo. You can find more details here.

Horizon Leveling

This is a new feature for the HERO8 Black. It’s not handled in the camera itself—you have to use the GoPro mobile app to access it. But it does pretty much what it sounds—levels out the horizon to give the footage a more gliding, cinematic look.

Portrait Orientation

The Portrait Orientation feature allows you to film vertically rather than the usual horizontal (or landscape) orientation. This is something YouTube and some other web video services have embraced, mainly because so many people film with their phones held upright. The camera has a built-in sensor that tells it which way is up and should switch accordingly.

But one thing to watch is that once you start recording a video clip, it won’t switch the orientation. So if you start filming in vertical, it will stay in vertical mode. For that reason, there’s an option in the settings where you can lock it into landscape-only recording (it’s called Landscape Lock). Both screens, front and back, also rotate to reflect the vertical orientation.

Voice Control

Like several of the previous models, the HERO8 Black has voice control, so you can start or stop recording with your voice. You can also tag a highlight by voice command while filming. Some examples of commands you can issue related to shooting video are:

  • GoPro, start recording
  • GoPro, stop recording
  • GoPro, HiLight

Highlights / HiLight Tags

You can make notable moments in your video using the HiLight Tags feature. These can be added in real time as you’re recording or during playback. These can make it easier and quicker to find specific spots in your footage later on.

QuikCapture

This isn’t specifically a video feature, but it can certainly be used for that. It’s the feature that lets you define the shooting mode the camera powers up and automatically starts shooting in when you push the shutter button when the camera is powered off. If you want a quick way to start capturing video (or photos, or time-lapse), it’s a good option.

Looping

The looping feature records for a preset time and then goes back over to re-record over it. So it’s similar functionality as something like a dashcam or security cam, but that’s not really the best use of it on a GoPro.

It’s particularly useful when you know something’s going to happen that you want to capture, but you don’t know exactly when it’s going to happen. With a constant cycle of short clips, you can just stop it when the action has happened. That way, you end up with one short clip rather than hours of dead footage, making post-processing much more manageable and saving storage space on your SD card (and cloud storage of hard drive, if you’re uploading/downloading to either of those destinations).

The default loop length is 5 minutes, but you have the option of setting it to 20, 60, or 120 minutes.

Auto Low Light

This setting will dial down the framerate if the automatic exposure algorithm calculates that it would lead to better exposure. It’s only available when there’s room to dial it down (i.e., if shooting at 60fps, it would have room to fall back to 30fps).

Things Worth Knowing

  • NTSC / PAL. As usual, you can switch between NTSC and PAL, but the way to do it is less obvious than usual. Rather than an NTSC/PAL switch, you go to Preferences > Anti-Flicker and switch between 50Hz (PAL) and 60Hz (NTSC). If you want to access the related manual shutter speed settings for video, you’ll first need to make this switch before the shutter speeds become available (e.g., a shutter speed of 1/100 isn’t available in NTSC/60Hz mode).
  • HDMI Output. Unlike previous Black editions, the HERO8 Black doesn’t have an HDMI output on the camera itself. You can, however, add one with the separate (ie. it’s an optional extra) Media Mod.
  • GoPro HERO8 Black Manual. You can download a PDF version of the website directly from the GoPro website here.

  1. Technically, the 4K 4:3 resolution is the highest resolution at 4096 x 3072 (compared to 3840 x 2160 for regular 4K), but its maximum framerate is 30fps.

More GoPro Tips & Tricks:

This post was last modified on March 30, 2020 11:58 am

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