Not a day goes by without me being asked a single question. “Is the GoPro Media Mod worth buying?”
Not quite true, but from time to time the question has popped up. Well it did once anyway. A while back.
So I thought I’d answer it here.
So what is the GoPro Media Mod?
The Media Mod is a casing that the GoPro 8, 9 or 10 fits into but leaving access to the front and rear screens. It works similarly to shell cases that previous GoPro models used, with a snap down hinge to lock it into place. One major difference with the Media Mod though is that the battery / SD card cover needs to come off thus rendering any waterproofing inoperative.
The reason for this is that inside the Media Mode a USB-C connector marries in with the USB-C port on the GoPro camera.
Built into the Media Mod is an external polar pattern microphone covered in a foam windbreaker. In my testing this works best when the subject is in front of the camera and close to the mic (as you’d be when Vlogging for instance). When recording from behind, or indeed at a distance, there seems to be some reverb inserted into the audio which is not ideal.
All is not lost though as there is also a 3.5mm socket letting you plug in an external mic, and with either a RØDE Videomic or Sennheiser MKE400 the sound was much, much better. There are not one but two cold shoes on which you can mount a mic or other device such as the GoPro Light Mod.
Above the external mic port is a USB-C port. The most obvious choice for this is to charge the GoPro camera battery meaning you have no need to remove the camera from the casing, but it can also be used to transfer data from the SD card to a computer.
In my usage, I found the USB port also ideal for connecting an external powerbank to give longer shooting times, and depending on the power rating, have managed up to 6 hours + on a GoPro Hero 9 Black. You do need to go into the menu settings on the camera and tweak a few things though.
This has been the most problematic part for me and gives a mixed bag of results depending on what I am doing. My primary function is to send data to an external monitor when shooting. A typical scenario is to have a number of GoPros connected to my Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro with a single OSEE field monitor acting as a control monitor for all 4 cameras (with the Blackmagic Design ATEM Control Software) or a 7” OSEE monitor acting as an external monitor for a single GoPro.
The main problem is that once connected (after being suitably configured in the GoPro menus to act as a clean feed), you lose the GoPro screens and have to do everything in menu changes / camera settings by a little bit of guesswork.
I also get a fair percentage of drop out where for some unbeknownst reason, the GoPro just stops sending the HDMI signal. The only almost common denominator I can find is that using cheap HDMI cables can be a culprit.
Of course your mileage may vary.
I use the Media Mod on two different cameras, a Hero 9 and a Hero 10 and they do what I want them to do. Well mostly with the caveat of the HDMI issue. But I cannot escape the sneaky feeling the concept has been a little thrown together technology wise and probably the next version will be a better proposition.
The GoPro Media Mod is USD$79.95 for the GoPro Hero 9 and 10 and USD$47.99 for the GoPro Hero 8.
You can get them from https://gopro.com/en/us/shop/mounts-accessories/vlogging-camera-mods
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