My family has been using the GoPro Hero4 Black as our main vlogging camera for several months now and we love it! There are some drawbacks to it in comparison to the Canon Elph series, though, which most vloggers use. In my review of the GoPro camera for vlogging I’ll share some of it’s pros and cons as well as how it compares to the Canon Elph series.
- My Family’s Vlogging Channel
- GoPro Hero4 Black
- GoPro Protective Lens and Mount
- Wasabi Power Batter and Oval Charger
- SanDisk Extreme 64GB Micro SDXC
- GoPro Tripod Mount
- Gorillapod SLR-Zoom Flexible Mini Tripod
- Levelator for Mac, PC, and Linux
- Adobe Premiere Pro for Video Editing
- Adobe Media Encoder
- A Complete List of My Gear, Tools, and Editing Programs
FULL DISCLOSURE: These are affiliate links to B&H Photo. It’s where I buy my equipment from due to their prices, knowledgable staff, and great customer service.
Today, I’m going to give you a review of the GoPro HERO4 Black, specifically for vlogging. Now my wife, and I, and our family, we’ve been using this for our family’s vlogging channel over at youtube.com/schmovies.
We’ve been using it for a few months now. And there’s some great pros to using this camera for vlogging, as well as some draw backs and some cons. So I want to talk to you guys about the pros and cons, and then give you some tips about how you can really maximize your GoPro HERO4 camera for vlogging in general.
Small Camera Size
First of all, the pros. One of the main things you can clearly see with this camera is that it’s small, it’s compact, and it makes it really easy to vlog inconspicuously when you’re out in public. You can hold it right here. You can hide the entire camera with your hand, and no one even knows. It’s really easy to just throw into a bag or your purse or your pocket because of its size, and makes it really easy just to take with you wherever you want to go.
Built In Time Lapse
One of the other things I like about it is it has time lapse built in and a lot of other different video modes that really let you get creative with the vlogs that you’re shooting. Especially when you’re out and doing things, you don’t have a whole lot of time to set up fancy equipment and gear. A lot of that stuff is already built into this camera.
Built In Wi-Fi
And one of the biggest things that I like about this is that I can use this while we’re traveling. And because it has Wi-Fi built in, I can transfer all my pictures and all my video clips to my phone, edit them in iMovie, and then publish them right on my phone. And I can shoot on this, edit on my phone, and publish over my LTE network or over Wi-Fi without even having to bring a computer along with me.
Capture Decent Audio
And another pro is that it actually does capture half decent audio. If you’re the only one using it and you’re just holding it, talking like this, it’s going to be great. I have found a little bit of a downside though– and getting to the cons– is that although it’ll pick up my voice really great right here, if someone’s on the other side of the room, if I’m talking to my wife or to one of my kids, it doesn’t pick them up as well.
Although there are some things you can do to tweak that. I’m going to share that with you a little bit later at the end of this video when I talk about some other tips for how to really maximize this camera.
Slow Turn On Speed
One of the downsides to that is it does take a few seconds to turn it on and get it going. Which any of you guys who are vloggers know that that’s a crucial thing because sometimes, things just happen, and you quickly need to get the camera out and start recording it right away. This one, you gotta plan ahead a little bit.
So here’s a camera that most people vlog on. This is what, my family, we were vlogging on before the GoPro. It’s the Canon PowerShot ELPH. This is a 300 HS, but there’s a lot of different forms. So I’m going to turn them both on at the same time, and you’re going to see– ready, set, go– how long it takes.
This one is now ready to shoot. This one is still turning on. And it is now ready to shoot. So it’s not a long delay, but if you need it quickly, get something out of your pocket, start shooting right away, this goes about twice as fast.
Battery Life Low
Another downside is that the battery life on this thing isn’t awesome. Now it’s probably about equivalent to what you would be used to from the Canon ELPH series or something else. So I usually, if I’m going to be gone for a couple days, I take a few extra batteries with me.
The battery is definitely good for a full day of vlogging. And by a full day, I mean your record time is actually maybe 20 minutes to 40 minutes. But if you’re doing much more than that, then you’re probably going to have a couple of extra batteries with you.
Another downside– depending on how you look at it anyway– is that the Black has no viewfinder on it. Now some of the lower models do but the Black version does not. For me, this isn’t a huge deal because I’ve been vlogging since 2006.
And so I already know exactly how I’m framing the shot and what I’m going to get. I don’t really need a viewfinder on it. But for someone of you, if you’re newer to vlogging, you want to just have that security back there so when you’re pointing it at something, you know exactly how you’re framing the shot and getting what you want.
No Image Stabilization
And another downside that some of you guys might worry about, the HEROs don’t have image stabilization built in. Which, if you’re running and walking and things like that, some of you might prefer to have image stabilization built in. I actually prefer not to have it in there.
I think image stabilization so far on the lower-end cameras just makes it look even worse. So that’s not really a con for me. But I know for a lot of you guys, that might really be a feature that you want for your vlogging camera.
How To Maximize Your GoPro Hero4
So let me give you a few tips for really how to maximize this for your vlogging. So number one, if you really want to capture good audio– which, of course, you do– then don’t use the waterproof housing on it. As soon as you clap it inside that container and seal it shut, it doesn’t capture very good audio at all.
So I got this frame. It’s just a plastic mount frame. And I’ll link up to all these in the description below this video. It does have the necessary holes I need, the size, so I can plug my cord in to charge it or get footage. And it has the hole at the top too for the Record button and a hole for the microphone as well.
But this means I can still strap– this is my old Canon wrist strap– to it. So in case I drop it and it doesn’t bounce off the floor. It gives me a little bit of security and also lets me mount it on tripods and other accessories for the GoPro while still capturing good audio. And it also protects the camera a little bit, absorbs some of the shock if you do drop it or bump it.
Protective Lens Cover
The other accessory I got for me that was a pretty big deal, since it’s not in its waterproof housing, I wanted to protect that little lens so it doesn’t get scratched when I throw it in my pocket, when I throw it in the back of a bag, or when my kids are using it. So I got these little protective lens covers. And they’re pretty relatively cheap. Again, those are linked up below also.
And they just slide right on top. And now my lens is protected. And if something does scratch or bounce off of it, it’s not a big deal. This thing is really resistant. But if it does, I can just throw this thing away, and buy a new one, and throw it on top.
Shoots In 4k
One of the nice things about the HERO4 Black is that it shoots in 4K, which means I get to future-proof videos that I’m recording of my wife, and my family, and our kids. So that in a few years from now when 1080p is an old school thing, my videos will still look good.
But the thing with 4K on here though, is that it’s only available in wide format. Which just means when I hold it out to vlog, it actually shows me, but it shows a really wide spectrum. So that it makes the viewer feel like you’re actually standing back really far away from them. So a lot of vloggers, they want a more intimate feel. And so for that reason, I actually shoot on 2.7K, which is still a lot bigger than 1080p.
And I actually shoot on the medium field of view so that it feels a little bit tighter in on me. So you’re getting this area around me instead of everything. It’s like, why is he standing so far away from me when he’s talking to me? That’s kind of the feel you get on the wide-angle view.
Having the wide and the medium fields of view actually is nice. Because when I’m just vlogging like normal, I keep it on medium so it feels a little bit more intimate. But then when I’m outside, I can put it on the wide, no problem. It still feels fine.
Or if I’m shooting in a really tight area like in the back of a car or something like this, and I need to capture really good audio– so I want to get this closer my mouth– then I will put it on the wide field of view so that I can get better audio and it doesn’t look like it’s just getting a shot of my nose. So I like having both of those built in so that I can switch back and forth to frame the best shot that I want.
Now regarding the audio, like I said, it captures great audio if you’re up close, but not if you’re super far away, which makes sense. But it does seem to still pick up some good data for the audio. So I tweak it a little bit when I edit these videos.
And the way I do that is I simply extract the audio from the video file on my computer using Adobe Encoder. And then I run all of that audio through a little free app for Mac. It’s called The Levelator. Now it’s a little bit old, but it still works just as great. And that goes through and just normalizes all my audio. It levels it so all the audios are in the equal level. So me speaking right here is just as loud as my wife who is speaking from across the room.
It’s a really quick process. And then I bring both the audio and the video into Adobe Premiere. I put the video clips down to a sequence. And then I just simply grab the Levelize the Audio and just drop that right over top of the audio from the video clips. And it seems to work great. So
Again, guys, links to all this stuff in the description below if you want to check it out. I actually love it. I would recommend it for vlogging as long as you keep the audio thing into consideration.
And if any of you guys have used the GoPro for vlogging, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. What tips, and ideas, and suggestions do you have for someone who is thinking about vlogging with the GoPro? And if you are one of those people, definitely read the other comments and the input that other people have from their experiences with vlogging with the GoPro as well. You can find all those people, really helpful people, down there in the comments below.
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