New Zhiyun Gimbal. The Smooth 5S

We only found out about this late this afternoon, and so far, with no official press release, details are basic but what we know is:


Upgraded with a powerful built-in fill light and embodying the spirit of Make-It-Real, SMOOTH 5S offers an integrated yet simplified way of filmmaking for everyone. With the classic 3-axis design, you can create inspiring content with no angle limitations. SMOOTH 5S makes your one-man crew.

Key Features

 Orthogonal 3-Axis Structure-Unleash Full Creativity

 Explore more potential with the trustworthy stabilizing performance

 Versatile Movement Collection-Fantastic Vortex Mode

 Magnetic + Built-In Fill Lights-Light Up Your Imagination 

 Two Modes For Cinematic Dolly Zoom Effect

Prices vary from $349 to $449 depending on the combination you buy. We have discovered a website with more info here, and as soon as we get the official release, of course we’ll let you know!

But on the surface, this does look the beans for the serious smartphone videographer we have to say.

Tutorial: Inception still image using Photoshop

Whilst this tutorial creates the imkage of the horizon moving away and above you, it is also a technique that can be used for a backdrop insde a space station for example, where the floor is at 90 degrees to the horizontal due to centrifugal force.

The technique was also used by Arthur C Clarke (the writer of 2001: A Space Odyssey) in his RAMA series which if you have not read it, is well worth the read.

There have been rumours for years that this was to be made into a movie and financed by (and directed by and starring) Morgan Freeman.

Still waiting though.

Slo-Mo Footage from a DJI Pocket 2

This happened by sort of accident today, and I have to say I am impressed.

The subject is a metal sculpture in the park at Koombana, here in Bunbury. I simply took the DJI Pocket 2 camera out, thought I had put it in “Video” mode but inadvertently selected Slo-Mo as the screen is very hard to see in sunlight. and walked from the back to the front, handheld.

The footage has not been touched. This is straight from the camera.

Related Stories: 

With its stabilisation can a GoPro benefit from a gimbal? Absolutely. Here’s why.

There was a question in one of the Facebook GoPro forums today. Someone asked which gimbal they should / could get that would suit a GoPro 10.

Various options were mentioned (my recommendation having tried it is the Zhiyun Crane M2S), but a couple of members scoffed at the thought.

Their reasoning was that the in-camera electronic stabilisation of the current GoPro is more than enough, and a gimbal would offer no advantages.

This is plainly not true if you think further than simple stabilisation.

A gimbal is also incredibly useful to get into tight places and still retain that stability. Think low down or high above your head shots, especially in a fast-moving environment. You get a much firmer “hold” of the camera than handheld will offer.

Another example is the “around the corner” type of shot where the camera is poked around a corner to reveal something. This is very hard to do handheld or even with a selfie stick and retain stability.

(I am guessing this is why Zhiyun use the “crane” moniker by the way as the gimbal is acting as a pseudo crane in many cases).

In low light, you retain stability even if the shutter speed has been slowed and the aperture opened, again giving better stability than in-camera will usually give.

Depending on the model, you can easily add other devices such as mics or lights, thus giving more flexibility (the M2S has a built-in video light complete with magnetic add on colour filters and other Zhiyun models even have a decent built-in mic).

So as you see, a gimbal can be a bit more than a glorified Selfie stick!

New DJI OSMO Action3

It appears that DJI has discarded the design used in the Action 2 with its modular magnetic clamping system and reverted to the “standard” action cam design of old.

All we have seen is photographs, a video and some details of specs, but the new one looks interesting to say the least.

For starters, it can be mounted traditionally from the base ond also vertically, is waterproof down to 16 meters without any external casing, has a 160 minute battery life and will operate down to -20C. Interestingly, the battery in the OSMO Action 3 is still removable allowing battery changes whereas GoPro with its new model 11 has apparently opted for a built in battery. The OSMO Action 3 battery also supports fast charging with an 80% recharge possbile in 18 minutes the company says.

There are also dual touch screens, a 155 degree field of view, 4K footage up to 120 frames per second and built in stabilisation modes called RockSteady and HorizonSteady.

The sensor is said to be a 1 1/7″ unit with special colour sensing and white balance technology. Voice control is also available for the first time I am aware of in a DJI product.

They have also played with the audio recording abilities it seems with wind reduction built in and the option to tell the camera from which direction to pull the audio.

The DJI MIMO app has been upgraded incorporating a lot of new features including support for live streaming, editing and more.

Pricing is around AUD$520 for the main unit and there is a swag of new accessories available too.

I have requested a test unit of course and will do a complete review as soon (and if) one materialises.

Tutorial: The Camera Does NOT Create the Image. Or Going Beyond “A” for Auto.

If you are new to shooting your new GoPro or DJI drone and want to learn how to get those fantastic shots you see from experienced usres, here is a starting point that is very easy to digest and get you up and running and on your way.

I write occasionally of recurring themes I see in the various newsgroups and social media sites I frequent, as well as in questions received from readers here at Auscam Central.

Another common one is “what camera do I need to … (fill in the blanks yourself?”

Let’s get one thing straight up front.

The camera does NOT create the photo.

What it does is record a moment in time – or moments over time in the case of video – according to the a) instructions given to it and b) using the available light for that purpose.

If all you are doing is recording a memory and have no desire to be in any way creative, by all means set the camera or camcorder on “A” for “Automatic” and simply press the button. People have been doing that since the camera obscura was invented by the ancient Greeks and Chinese – no-one seems to know who came first.

And then you can stop reading right now.

Basic Factors

But if you want creativity in your photography or video shoots, then you need to become familiar with a few things, and once understood, these will take you beyond the “happy snapper” level.

These factors apply no matter you are shooting with a smartphone, GoPro, mirrorless 4/3rds model, dSLR or even a cinema camera.

The basic rules I apply to my Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro are identical to those to be used on any other camera device.

They revolve around the 6 parameters of:

  • Light
  • Aperture
  • Focus
  • Shutter Speed
  • ISO
  • Composition


Firstly, and pretty obviously, if there is no light, there is no way you can capture an image. But as important as having light is how you use that light. My friend Peter Aitchison, one of Australia’s best photographers, once said to me photography is “painting with light”, a phrase that has stuck with me.

Have a look at any decent TV drama – I favour BBC productions, especially the period dramas it does so well – and watch how light is used to create a particular ambience, emotion or tension as well as simply lighting the set.

Lighting is a specific skill and is why there are separate people in TV or film industry who specialise only in lighting. In the credits, they are often called the Gaffer.

The properties of light you need to understand to get best effect include of course colour, but also colour temperature and strength.

I have a feature on the basics of lighting on the Australian Videocamera website at

Aperture, focus and shutter speed

These three are intertwined and changing one will affect the other.

The aperture on a camera (some call it an iris in video) dictates the amount of light reaching the sensor to record the image. By using the aperture settings you can make sure there is enough light to create the image (prevent under exposure) or lessen the amount of light to stop an image getting overexposed.

Aperture is measured in f stops – f2.8, f5.6, f8, f11, f16 and f22. The larger the number, the smaller the “hole” – the aperture- to let the light on to the sensor.

In conjunction with the lens and focal length of the lens, you can also dictate what is called the depth of field in an image. This can get complicated, but in essence it is what part of an image is in focus and what is not.

For example, using depth of field you can set the aperture in concert with the lens so the subject 2 metres from you is pin sharp focus, but the background is blurred. A form of this is the so called “bokeh” effect.

Note: Cameras such as GoPros and many drone units have a fixed aperture of usually around 2.8. This means you have to use alternate methods to get any effects / techniques obtained by changing the aperture. One way is to use ND filters and there is a tutorial on that here.

Focus might seem obvious but there is a skill involved in this too. Getting the subject and keeping it in focus might seem like a no-brainer, but in video especially, sometimes you want to switch between what is in focus to something else being in focus, so this is something that needs practising.

Shutter speed is how long the shutter stays open to catch the available light, and again, by controlling this you can get some interesting effects.

In sport, with a fast shutter speed you can freeze a race car but blur the background, or with a slow shutter speed, get that dreamy moving water look.

Image Courtesy Ross Gibb Photography

Shutter speed also plays a major role in creating slow motion, and there is a tutorial on that here.

I did a tutorial on depth of field, focus and shutter speed during one of my trips up north to Exmouth and you can read that here.


In the “old days” this was called ASA and referred to the “speed” of a piece of film stock. The speed was a reference to how it reacted to quantities – or lack of – light.

This still applies today, but of course in the digital world there is no film as such.

Modern day cameras have astonishing ISO ranges and what they do is increase or decrease the sensitivity to light. This means that in low light, cranking up the ISO assists in the exposure, but be aware, as ISO increases, so does the graininess of the image and this is caused by digital “noise”. Once again, while upping the ISO can compensate for low light, you cannot beat adding the real thing.


Composition refers to how the subject(s) in your image, and the image overall “looks”. The whole idea is to make an image that is either pleasant to the eye or assists in telling the story. Or both.

Of course, if the story demands it, a composition can also create a jarring image.

As a sideline, checking the composition of an image makes sure there are no glaring errors. A classic example of this was in the 1960s with the UK version of the TV show Robin Hood which of course was set in the Middle Ages.

The show’s titles started dramatically with Robin firing an arrow from his bow and the camera following it. Sadly, someone forgot to check the trajectory and consequently the arrow flew neatly past a long line of telegraph poles.

A common newbie mistake is finding you have a tree or other object growing out of someone’s head.

Composition is an art form to itself and most of it comes from watching others who have been doing it for years (think directors like Stanley Kubrick for example) and sheer trial and error.

There are some tools there to help you though and one basic one is the grid lines you can overlay on your viewfinder / LCD on many cameras.

The most common “rule” in composition is the Rule of Thirds, but this by no means has to be followed religiously every time. The aforementioned Mr Kubrick fastidiously ignored it, breaking every convention in the book by always having his subject at the dead centre of the camera frame.

At the very basic level, before pressing the shutter release you’ll get used to critically looking at how the image in the viewfinder or LCD looks, and scanning your eye over it to make sure there are no things such as shadows encroaching on the image, the horizon is straight, no foreign objects have snuck into frame and so on.

If you want a very good composition reference guide, Adobe has one here.


I have only scratched at the surface of these subjects, but hopefully have given you a starting point to investigate further and hone your skills to make a better and more creative photographer / videographer.


Gimbal Modes Explained (updated)

I have been playing a lot with gimbals of late. I have models here for review from both DJI and Zhiyun, and each is aimed at a specific target, or more correctly camera type, from smartphone to a big bruiser such as my Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K  and upwards.

I also have the DJI Pocket, which has become my day-to-day camera of choice due to its flexibility, feature set and of course the gimbal camera.

Now gimbals I have found, add a level of complexity many I gather find tricky to understand, at least in the beginning. All of a sudden you are thrown into a sort of 3D world in terms of gimbal movement, and it can be frustrating getting you head around it.

I know initially I did. So here goes a quick explainer.

There are 3 axes to a gimbal, and these dictate where the lens is pointing and at what angle. While a student of geometry would call them the x, y and z axes, in gimbal terms they are the tilt, pan and roll axes.

Rotate (Pan) Tilt Roll

With a camera and gimbal – or the DJI Pocket 2 – you have the ability to lock some of these axes and therefore force the lens to act and point in a specific direction.

Using the DJI Pocket 2 as an example, these modes are called FPV, Follow and Tilt Lock.

In FPV (First Person View) mode, all three axes are unlocked. This means that no matter what direction you tilt or rotate the camera, the lens will follow that orientation. The best analogy of how footage will look is to think of what you see when on a roller coaster. Your head (and therefore line of sight) will follow the curves, dips and so on of the roller coaster and when in FPV mode, this is how the gimbal will also react. With careful planning, using FPV mode allows you get some really creative shots.

In Follow mode, only two of the axes are unlocked. In Follow, the lens will stay in the same orientation as the camera body when tilted, but when you rotate or roll the camera, the lens stays in the same orientation, that is, it becomes independent off the camera body’s orientation. In short, the horizon will always remain level making this mode ideal for vloggers or if you are, well, following, someone or something (or yourself).

When Tilt Locked the gimbal is locked on two axes and unlocked on one, the pan axis. When the camera is tilted or rolled, the lens will hold its current orientation, but when you pan the lens will follow the camera’s orientation. Use this mode when you are filming something on the same level but want to have the option to move the camera up or down but still keep the horizon level.

There are two more things that make these modes even better and these are FaceTrack and ActiveTrack modes.

If you want to track an object, frame it up and then double click it on the Pocket 2 display screen and the gimbal will then follow that object. If it is a person, the Pocket 2 will automatically search out the face of the subject and track that.

If you have the Pocket 2 in Selfie mode (the lens facing you) it will automatically enter FaceTrack mode.

  Tilt Pan Roll
FPV Locked Locked Locked
Follow Unlocked Locked Locked
Tilt Lock Locked Unlocked Locked


DJI Pocket 2 Accessories

Last issue I mentioned why the Pocket 2 camera from DJI was a better for me in many of the things I do as against the GoPro Hero 10.

That probably needs some expanding (for those that are interested), so apart from the gimbal system – which is THE major feature, allied with Active Track – what other things appeal to me more?

Some of the accessories I have obtained over the years take the Pocket 2 from being what it is out of the box – which is still damned good as it is – to a regular little marvel. Something I would have expected perhaps to see on Star Trek or Dr Who in the 70s.


First and foremost is the Do-It-All Handle that I mentioned in the comparison article.

This is like a Swiss Army Knife in a sense with, as the name suggests, it has a whole bunch of accessories in one small unit. The least obvious, but actually useful, is that it extends the length of the Pocket 2 giving to me at least, a better feel and flexibility in handling. Second, as it contains both Wi-fi and Bluetooth modules, you can use it with Bluetooth headphones and wireless microphones.

There is a built-in speaker so when you play back your footage, you can hear the audio. Additionally there is a 3.5mm audio port so you can plug standard headphones in too.

Finally, a ¼” thread lets you attach the Pocket 2 to a standard tripod mount.

If there is one drawback, it is that …

Charging Case

… to put the Pocket 2 into the charging case, you must remove the Do-It-All Handle. But the positives outweigh the negatives really, as with this, you can recharge your Pocket 2 while on the road. In fact it will give you an extra 4-hours of charge.

The Charging Case also allows storage of a pair of microSD cards, up to m4 ND filters and two smartphone adaptors (1for iPhone and 1 for Android say) all in a rugged case that protects the Pockets 2 from damage. It has a USB-C port so can be easily topped in the car or from a power bank.

Phone Clip

The Pocket 2 is unique in that with a smartphone adaptor, it can connect directly to your smartphone’s USB-C or Lightning port. That is, no cables needed. But this can be a little unwieldy.

If you have the Phone Clip, you rest your phone inside this which clamps it securely and gives you much more stability. The Phone Clip also gives you a ¼” tripod mount.

Mini Control Stick

If you are not using the phone adaptor, this instead slides into that port and gives you direct physical control over the camera’s gimbal camera rotation / direction / tilt / pan and zoom capability.  

It also lets you switch between the various gimbal modes and is very responsive in operation.

Wireless Microphone Transmitter,

Now this little gizmo has not one but two party tricks. In conjunction with the Do-It-All-Handle, you can plug a standard microphone with a 3.5mm connection into it and transmit audio straight to the Pocket 2. But it is also a wireless mic in its own right too!

Additionally, it can act as a remote shutter release.

Wide Angle Lens

This is one item I don’t have but am seriously thinking about. The DJI Pocket 2 Wide Angle Lens increases the equivalent focal length to 15mm, upping the field of view for the Pocket 2 to 110°. It is simple to attach (it uses magnetism) and will even store in the Pocket 2 cover.

So is there anything else I’d add? Yes. And I have them on order now.

ND Filters

I learnt of the usefulness of ND filters some years back and now all of my cameras and drones have a set – except the Pocket 2!

So what does an ND filter do? For that, I’ll point you to a tutorial I wrote some back at but in short, they are used to control light.

One of the most common images you will see when you can be pretty sure an ND filter has been used is a water shot – surf, waterfall, stream over rocks etc – where you get that beautiful blurry motion of the water. An ND filter allows you to keep the shutter open longer but not let so much light in your image is overexposed.


A mini tripod is also a great thing to keep in the camera bag and many manufacturers make great ones for use with the Pocket 2. I use one from Manfrotto that came with my Sennheiser MKE400 Mobile Connector Vlogging kit and the Phone clip works brilliantly with it.



I find that in the camera / video business, accessories are like lures for fisherman. It’s easy to get caught out and buy stuff you’d like but probably never use. There are many more things I would like to have, but what I have suggested here covers just about all bets.

The only thing I haven’t covered is an underwater housing (there is one available but I doubt I’d use it) and a really secure car mount.

I haven’t had the need as yet to bolt my Pocket 2 to the exterior of my Monaro, but if I ever did, I’d use the Do-It-All-Handle with my suction mount from CamerGrip that I have had for many years (and these I am led to believe are used by the boys from Top Gear / The Grand Tour.

Finally, don’t forget to download and install the DJI MIMO app as this will greatly increase the flexibility of use of your Pocket 2.




GoPro Hero 10 or DJI Pocket 2? Dilemmas, dilemmas

If you have bitten the bullet and decided to lash out and buy a small, portable camera that takes video and stills and is versatile, you may be tossing up between a GoPro Hero 10 or a DJI Pocket 2.

Or perhaps you have never even heard of the DJI Pocket 2?

And some may say “Why not compare the Hero 10 to the DJI Action 2”?

As for the second, the major reason is that both the Hero 10 and the Pocket 2 are self-contained units. They do not need add-ons to function and therefore are, to my mind, more similar than a Hero 10 and Action 2.


The form factors of the two cameras could not be more different. The GoPro Hero 10 follows the tried-and-true method employed by GoPro since the inception of the range, albeit the body is now bulkier than earlier models, and the ubiquitous GoPro mounting brackets, or fingers as they are known, are now incorporated into the body and foldable.

There are two LCDs – one front and one rear, a single shutter button on the top and a function button on the side.

A hatch on the side covers the battery, SD card slot and USB-C port. This hatch is removable allowing cage mounts to be used as well as the Media Mod. Despite its appearance, this cover is waterproof allowing the Hero 10 be submerged up to 10 metres, although anecdotally, some have had issues with water leakage and therefore it is recommended the underwater housing be used.

The lens, which is really a lens protector, is removable so that the Lens Mod accessory can be easily added. The majority of functions on the Hero 10 are performed by a combination of swipes and on-screen menus.

There is a single on-board mic.

Unless you have a “cage”, there is little way of adding accessories to the Hero 10. Everything is done via the finger mounts.

The DJI Pocket 2 by comparison has a long upright body and the major party trick of this camera is the fact the lens is gimbal mounted on the top. The rear houses a small LCD screen that allows commands and menus to be access via tapping and swiping.

Under the LCD are 2 button controls. One selects between video and still shots and the other is record on/off. Above this is a “universal port”, which as the name suggests allows the addition various options. For example, out of the box the Pocket 2 comes with USB-C or Lightning adaptors that slide onto the universal port.

Another supplied adaptor allows more control over the gimbal and its functionality as against using screen swipes and menus.

One side of the Pocket 2 has a power button and other contains the SD card slot. The base has a single USB-C port for charging or adding other peripherals. Audio is captured via 4 on-board mics with built in wind noise reduction.

The Pocket 2 by itself is NOT waterproof by the way, you need the optional housing for that. And like the Hero 10, apart from the universal port, you cannot add any external devices to the Pocket 2 without special DJI adaptors.


The Hero 10 is capable of up to 23 megapixel photos and 4K 120 frame per second video making it ideal for slo-mo purposes up to 8x. Video stabilisation is built in via GoPro’s HyperSmooth technology now at version 4 and works extremely well. Additional functions include TimeWarp 3.0 for time lapse plus a special night mode, HindSight to get 30 seconds of recording before pressing the shutter, Scheduled and Duration Capture and Live Burst.

You also get live streaming capability at 1080p, auto upload to the cloud options and voice control.

Standard battery life is rated at around 2 hours. Heavier duty batteries are available.

A complete description of all these is available in my review here.

The DJI Pocket 2 camera has a whopping 64 megapixel sensor. Photos can be up to this size and maximum video is 4K Ultra at up to 60 frames per second. Similar to the Hero 10 you also get Timelapse and Hyperlapse modes, with an additional MotionLapse which is like Timelapse, but the gimbal allows the following of a subject while shooting.

There is also HDR shooting available in the Pocket 2.

As mentioned, you get 60fps / second at 4K slo-mo, but if you drop down to 1080p, this ups to 120fps.

The inbuilt battery and non-replaceable is rated at 140 minutes.

Of course, the inclusion of the gimbal gives the Pocket 2 a wide range of functionality with panorama shooting and ActiveTrack (following a subject automatically) being the standouts. Indeed, in conjunction with the stabilization, the obtainable results are quite stunning.

The design of the Pocket 2 is also well thought it allowing single handed use in many circumstances.


GoPro has revamped its Quik app and I’ll have a separate review of that very shortly. In short, you get the basic necessities for editing your footage such as trim, colour controls, cropping and video speed options. A clip management system is included, and you can also auto-sync edits to music with the app.

A similar system is available for the Pocket 2 via the Mimo app, with camera movement, transitions and allowing the inclusion of music.

Both apps are quite capable in what they intend, but there is no substitute for a proper editing program and in both cases, I recommend DaVinci Resolve It’s free, available for Mac, Windows and LINUX and as basic or as comprehensive as you want it to be.

I have a couple of tutorials including an intro to the program and how to organise your footage plus a beginners editing tutorial aimed specifically at action cam and drone users. You can see these here and here.


The GoPro range has spawned a whole world of accessories, and the finger mounting system is now the de facto standard for the majority of this style of camera. Any number of mounts and add-ons are available from GoPro and 3rd parties. I have a box with probably 30 different types of mounts, then there are waterproof housings and the aforementioned Lens Mod and Media Mod in addition to a Display Mod (add on screen) and LightMod (waterproof LED light).

3rd parties have not jumped at the DJI Pocket 2 with the same enthusiasm sadly, but from DJI itself you can get a range of add-ons including a “Doo-It-All handle, microphone transmitter, wide angle lens, waterproof housing and much more.

Of all these, I highly recommend getting the Do-It-All handle as this give you a built-in wireless module, Bluetooth, wireless mic receiver and a ¼” tripod mount all in a single unit the main camera simply slots into.


So how do they compare?

The truth is that there is room for both in the serious outdoors camera bag. If you want a versatile camera for mounting on a surfboard, mountain bike, motor vehicle, rock climbing helmet or even your dog, then the Hero 10 wins hands down.

If however you want a camera for hand held work, then I recommend the Pocket 2. The addition of the gimbal especially with ActiveTrack gives it an edge in many situations the GoPro cannot emulate.

In short, I’d say the Pocket 2 is the more versatile camera if you want a hand held but the wide range of accessories for the GoPro is hard to beat for a situation mounted unit.

If it were me, and I only had a choice of one, for what I do the DJI Pocket 2 is the better choice. Your mileage will no doubt vary, and I suggest you write down your expected needs and wants and weigh them up against each camera’s capabilities and options before purchasing.


The GoPro Hero 10 is available for $749 in its basic form. The DJI Pocket 2 is $599 so slightly better in pricing (we got our numbers from Melbourne based Videoguys).

It’s hard to suggest essential accessories as everyone’s needs vary, but at the very least I’d recommend for the GoPro you get the protective housing ($89 and for the Pocket 2, as I said, the Do-It-All-Handle ($159).


Is the GoPro a ‘Proper’ camera. You bet. And more than you may know! Unlock some secrets here.

I had a look at the manual for my Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K this morning. And as you’d expect for such a complex piece of gear, it is a goodly size.

155 pages to exact

So how many pages do you think the “humble” little GoPro 10 camera has. I mean, it’s only a so called “action cam” so doesn’t need a lot, right?

Well it might surprise you that the little GoPro manual is itself 153 pages!

So what might you have been missing?

I know many people have GoPros of all model numbers and variations, and without to much of an exaggeration, it is safe to say, that just as many users do with “standard” camcorders or cameras, and indeed smartphones, most put it in “A” for “Automatic” and leave it there.  Which is a shame as they are then missing out on some gems of capability that would raise the level of their photography and videos and add capability found in more expensive and supposedly “sophisticated” camera and camcorders..


The first thing you might want to do is create some of your own presets. A preset lets you create a series of settings and save them for use in particular situations. A simple example might be ‘wide angle at 1080p resolution and 60 frames per second’. Once saved under a name, you can quickly recall it and save having to go through the manual setup, saving enormous amounts of time when you need that specific setting to get the perfect shot.

Once you understand more of video / photography and your GoPro, you can then also go into the ProTune mode and play around with advanced settings such as Colour Profile, White Balance, ISO, shutter speed and more.

Gosh, just like a REAL camera hey?

Power Tools

The next thing to be aware of are the inbuilt Power Tools in the latest GoPros. These are a suite of smart capture settings such as Hindsight (which records up to 30 seconds of video before you press the shutter button. This means you’ll have less chance of missing the perfect shot, especially useful in situations such as sporting events, or fireworks displays say.

You’ll want to make sure you have all your capture settings in place though before starting HindSight, as you cannot change them once it is on. Also be aware that Hindsight will use up battery juice faster than normal use.

Another goodie is Liveburst which captures a burst of shots both 1.5 seconds before and after the shutter is pressed. Again great for sport and fireworks as examples.

If you know a particular event is going to happen but cannot be there, another PowerTool, Scheduled Capture, allows you to set the GoPro to automatically turn on and capture a shot any time up to 24 hours in advance. In conjunction with software like PhotoPills that will tell you the exact time of sunrise / sunset, moon rise / moon set, golden hour / blue hour etc according to your location by latitude and longtitude, this mode is brilliant to get shots where you cannot be bothered getting up or can’t be there for some other reason.

A variation on this is Duration where you tell the GoPro how long to record for before it stops. You can set increments from between 15 seconds to 3 hours (you might need an external battery for that). You can if you wish, set a ‘No Limit’ which will continuously record until out of memory or battery, whichever comes first.


In QuikCapture mode, simply pressing the shutter button will start the GoPro recording without the need to turn the camera on. QuikCapture is on by default by the way, but if you want to turn it off, you do it from the GoPro Dashboard (the Rabbit symbol).

HiLight Tags

If you want to mark a spot when recording to make it easy to navigate to that during playback, when recording press the Mode button. But a much sexier way is to take advantage of the GoPro’s Voice Control system.

When you are recording and want to mark a HiLight, simply say ‘GoPro, HiLight’!

Additionally if you edit with the GoPro Quik app, it uses HiLights to make sure it includes the highlights in the video.


Did you know the GoPro can record in Landscape and Portrait mode and once you are in a specific orientation you can lock it so it stays in that mode? Even upside down (useful when mounted on a car windscreen).

Time Lapse

As the name suggests, this lets you take a series of frames of video at set intervals. Additionaly, you can “speed up” time with the TimeWarp mode. In Time Lapse mode, this uses the fantastic stabilisation ability of the GoPro in conjunction with Time Lapse to get super smooth video whilst on the go. This is how they get those shots of clouds moving quickly overhead for example.

Live Stream

If you want to share you video in real time with others, your GoPro can act as a webcam.  This requires a bit of setup and I’ll go through this in another article, but if you are anxious to get started, go to www,

Exposure Controls

In simple terms, exposure is how much light is being used in a photograph or video and is dependent on such things as shutter speed and aperture settings. Your GoPro can set these automatically based on the scene, but for creative purposes, you can override any of these settings – and more – to get just the effect you want.

To do this, tap and hold on the view screen until a set of brackets appears. Once they do, drag them around the screen and the exposure will be set based on the area inside the brackets. If shooting on snow or over water, it is almost a given you will do this to make sure you do not overexpose an image.

Voice Control

As I mentioned earlier the GoPro has a fabulous built in voice control system letting you perform a whole bunch of actions just by telling it to. These include ‘GoPro start recording’ and then of course, ‘GoPro stop recording’. But you can also change modes from video to photo to time lapse or any combination of these. There are more too, so have a look at your manual or on the web to get a complete list.


If you really want to get into the engine compartment of your GoPro, check out the ProTune settings where you can get right into setting the very basics of your camera in terms of its image capture. I alluded earlier to these with shutter speed, aperture and ISO, but you also have colour settings and bit rates, frames / second, exposure compensation, sharpness, audio settings, wind noise reduction and more you can play with.

The Manual

The manual for your GoPro contains detailed information on everything I have touched on here, and if you don’t have it yet, you can get one from the web. The one I have is for the GoPro 10 and is at as a PDF you can download.


So, the next time a photographer or videographer with a big flash camera or camcorder sneers at your “little” GoPro, rest assured that technically, most of what they can do, so can you. And it fits in your pocket.

Better yet, ask them if their super-dooper model45 whizzbang can go underwater?

(If they mention zoom lenses they will have you there however. Just tell ‘em you’ll get closer to the subject.

But whilst not a zoom, you might like to check out the GoPro Lens Mod).

By the way, for our GoPro camera, lenses and accessories, we like Videoguys in Melbourne. Their service and pricing is excellent and you can order online.