GoPros have been capturing photos and video since 2004—and they remain the top choice when it comes to picking an action camera that can go just about anywhere.
The recording quality of these devices has been steadily improving over the years, and the brand has been adding new features that are worth knowing about so you can get the most out of your camera.
These tips and tricks will work with every GoPro Hero model released since 2016, all the way back to the GoPro Hero 5.
1. Record clips quickly
Sometimes, you’ll want to get recording as quickly as possible, and that’s where QuikCapture comes in. This feature lets you turn the camera on and start recording (using the latest preset) with the push of a single button.
To use it, make sure you enable QuikCapture, as on some models it’s off by default. Swipe down from the top of the touchscreen, then swipe left, and go to Preferences. Pick General, then QuikCapture to turn the feature on or off.
With the camera off, you can then tap the Shutter/Select button on the top of your GoPro to turn the camera on and start recording immediately. To begin a time-lapse video instead, tap and hold the Shutter/Select button for three seconds.
2. Put your GoPro into stealth mode
Having your GoPro light up and beep can be helpful, as those signals let you know the gadget is registering your button pushes and has started filming. But you might not always want to have these settings on.
Swipe down from the top of the touchscreen, then swipe left, and choose Preferences. Go to General and Beep Volume, so you can pick from High, Medium, or Low. You can also completely mute the GoPro by swiping down from the top of the touchscreen and tapping the musical note icon. When it’s gray, the device is muted.
To manage the LED lights on the front and back of the camera, swipe down from the top of the touchscreen, then swipe left and pick Preferences, General, and LEDs. You can pick from All On, All Off, and Front Off Only.
3. Create a looping preset
Your GoPro has a looping feature which is essentially a continuous recording mode, much like a dash cam on a car. The idea is to allow you to film until you get your perfect shot.
To enable looping, you’ll have to create a preset. Tap the current video recording mode on the touchscreen (the bar at the bottom with the video settings in it), then tap the icon in the top right corner (two horizontal lines with arrows above and below them), and then tap the plus symbol.
Pick Looping as the mode, then set your video options as needed. Note the Interval setting, which determines how much video your GoPro records before it starts overwriting the start of the clip. This setting prevents you from running out of storage space.
4. Control your GoPro with your voice
It’s the nature of action cameras that you’re not always going to be able to find and press the shutter button in time to start filming—you might be surfing, gliding, or kayaking, for example. That’s where voice control comes in.
Swipe down from the top of the touchscreen on the back of your GoPro, and the first icon on the left of the top row is the voice control one—it looks like a person speaking. Make sure it’s blue (that means it’s enabled) before you start talking to your camera.
You need to say “GoPro” before anything else so the device knows you’re talking to it. Two of the most useful commands you can use are “Start recording” and “Stop recording.” You’ll also be able to switch modes by saying “video mode”, “photo mode” or “time-lapse mode”. The GoPro community website has a full list of voice commands you can check out and learn before your next adventure.
5. Save yourself some battery life
GoPros aren’t particularly known for their stellar battery life, but there are various ways to get more juice in between charges. Breaking the connection with the mobile app, even if it’s just temporarily, is a good start. On the touchscreen, swipe down and then left, then go to Connections, and Wireless Connections, and choose Off.
You can also make sure your GoPro is powering down quickly when it’s inactive. Open Preferences by swiping down and then left on the touchscreen. Then select General and Auto Power Off.
If you’re not working in direct sunlight, you might also want to reduce the display brightness to extend battery life. From Preferences, select Displays, and tap Brightness to set it up how you like it.
6. Switch to (or prevent) vertical videos
If you hadn’t noticed, we’re all using our phones to watch videos these days, so you might want to shoot some vertical footage. It’s simple: Just rotate your GoPro and the video mode changes automatically.
That’s all well and good, but it means you might accidentally start shooting portrait video when you mean to record landscape video, and vice versa. You can lock your camera to the current orientation by swiping down from the top of the touchscreen and tapping the orientation icon: it’s second from the right on the bottom row, and it looks like a square with four arrows coming out of it.
To stop your GoPro from moving out of landscape mode when you move the camera around, you can also open Preferences (swipe down and then left on the touchscreen) and choose Displays, Orientation, and Landscape.
7. Tap and hold for more options
The touchscreen at the back of your GoPro is handy for controlling your device and changing the settings, but you can get even more functionality out of it by pressing and holding some of the buttons and icons you see on your display.
For example, tapping on the video settings panel (at the bottom, in the center) takes you to a list of video quality presets. But if you press and hold the panel, you get all of the individual video quality settings, including resolution and bit rate.
There’s also the zoom button in the bottom right corner (the magnifying glass). You can tap on it to change the zoom level, but you can also tap and hold it to put a different function down there, like the timer or the white balance setting.