Here's a detailed guide to connecting the GoPro HERO5 Black and HERO5 Session cameras with the GoPro Smart Remote and the Remo voice-command remote.
Being able to control your GoPro HERO5 Black and HERO5 Session remotely opens up all sorts of different shooting options.
There are several different ways to control GoPros remotely. Not all of them work with all models. 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’s the most powerful option in terms of features because it gives you access to 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), you can only connect one device at a time, and it has quite a limited range. To some degree, these negatives can be addressed using one of GoPro’s dedicated remote controls.
For the purposes of keeping things simple and reliable, I’m focusing here on the GoPro Smart Remote, which is the only model that is current in GoPro’s range.
There are some other aftermarket remotes available. They’re often significantly cheaper. I’ve used a few of those. Some have worked quite well, but others I’ve had issues with. There’s also an older official GoPro model, the 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. (Besides that, I’ve run into problems when trying to connect a WiFi remote to the HERO5 Black even though it should, in theory, work. I don’t believe the Wifi Remote will work with the HERO5 Session but haven’t checked for sure.) I’ve also included instructions below for the Remo, the small button voice control remote which has been discontinued, in case you already have one on hand that you want to connect.
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.
Here’s how to connect to the HERO5 Black with a Smart Remote.1
It will then put the camera into pairing mode. So now we move over to the Smart Remote.
You then need to move to the Smart Remote.
GoPro has discontinued the Remo remote, but it’s still available as a connection option on the HERO5 Black’s connection settings. The Remo is waterproof and simple, with just one main 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.
Here’s how to connect to a HERO5 Black with a Remo.
It will then put the camera into pairing mode. So now we move over to the Remo.
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.
So now we move over to the Remo.
This isn’t specific to the HERO5, 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 HERO5 cameras. If you’ve lost that cable, any USB-C cable should work just fine, although not every USB cable works as expected, so it’s worth confirming before you head out on your travels. 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.
There are some limitations with using the remotes that are worth knowing about. These issues aren’t specific to the HERO5 cameras–they apply generally to these remotes, regardless of which model you’re using them with.
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 conditions, 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 have more features, but in my experience, at least (and, apparently many others as well, if online reports are an indication) it can be quite unreliable. The Remo has also been discontinued and becoming harder to find.
The HERO (2018) is the same as a HERO5 Black but with its features limited by its firmware. One of those limitations is that you can’t connect the Smart Remote or the Remo to the HERO (2018). That is, unless you’ve hacked the firmware to replace it with the HERO5 Black firmware. In that case, you can proceed as though it’s a HERO5 Black. ↩
This post was last modified on April 26, 2020 1:04 pm