GoPro Underwater Settings
GoPro,  Scuba diving,  Underwater video

GoPro Underwater Settings

When I first started using a GoPro, I had no idea what settings to use. Resolution? Frame rate? Field of view? And what’s that Protune people keep talking about? In this post I will explain the settings that actually matter depending on what you want out of your footage so you can use the settings that will work for you.

I don’t want to do any editing

If you just got a GoPro or you just want to get the most out of your GoPro without having to do any editing of the clips afterwards these are the settings for you.

Resolution: 1080/30fps
FOV: Wide
Protune: Off
Whitebalance: Auto

If this is the type of shooting you are doing, and you are using it for scuba diving, you might want to consider using a red filter with your GoPro. Red filters are useful for when you are using it deeper than 3 meters and it adds more red color in your footage. Before I started doing more advanced editing, this is exactly what I used.

I want to turn my video in to slow motion

This is where the frame rate comes in. FPS means frames per second, and is just what it says, the amount of frames captured in one second of video. The standard, depending on where you live, is 25 or 30fps. If you would slow that down, your footage would not be smooth. So if you want the possibility to create slow motion videos, you need to use a higher frame rate.

If you shoot your video in 60fps, you can slow it down to 50%. If you shoot in 120fps you can slow it down to 25%.

The thing to consider with slow motion, is that the higher your frame rate is, the less light the camera lets in. If you are shooting in dark (deep) conditions you might want to decrease your frame rate (this is actually exactly what GoPro’s low light option does).

I want to be able to crop my video

Sometimes it’s good to be able to crop the footage to be able to “zoom in”. This is where the resolution comes in. You have two options here, 2.7k and 4k.

Before you go away on your dream scuba trip though, it’s good to make sure your computer can handle the bigger resolutions. If you want to shoot and edit 4k, you need a computer that can handle it. So shoot some video around your house and import it to your computer to make sure. It’s also worth noting, that depending on your smartphone model, you might not be able to view the higher resolution videos in the GoPro app.

I want to edit and do color correction/grading

This is where Protune comes in. It’s a set of advanced settings that give you more control over your footage. These are the two main settings you might be interested in:

Color profile

If you use a DSLR or mirrorless for video, you know that many of them come with flat color profiles. That is similar to what Protune offers. Under the color setting, you have two options: “GoPro” or “Flat”. The former is the default colors that you get with Protune off, and the latter is a flat color profile. Unedited, that footage will look a bit washed out, but this allows for easier color grading when editing.

White balance

Ever notice how underwater GoPro footage sometimes goes from blue to green and then back to blue in the same clip? That is the auto white balance trying to adjust the footage. These changes in colors makes it harder to edit. With Protune, you can set a specific white balance temperatur or using the “native” white balance. That means the camera will use its native white balance and won’t adjust it depending on the colors in the footage. I find this easier to correct and grade because the white balance (even if it’s off) will be the same for all the clips.

Other settings

You can also set min and max ISO (depending on your GoPro model, it might only be max setting available), shutter speed, sharpness and exposure compensation. If you’re not familiar with these terms already, I suggest to do some research online on the basics of camera exposure; how aperture, shutter speed and ISO relates to each other.

Example footage

This footage was shot using the settings below, and then edited in Premiere Pro.

Resolution: 2.7k/4k 60fps
FOV: Wide
Stabilization: Auto
Protune: On
Shutter: Auto
Iso min: 100
Iso max: 800
Sharpness: Medium
Color: Flat
White balance: Native

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