GoPro, maker of inexpensive HD point-of-view minicams, has new software that dramatically increase the cameras’ dynamic range and bit rate, writes Adrian Pennington. GoPro Protune will likely see the cameras being used, not only on reality shows, documentaries and extreme action sports content as it is now, but also higher end professional productions. David Newman, senior director of software engineering for GoPro explained: “We had feedback that the GoPro HD was hard to colour correct, that the fame rates don’t necessarily match with other cameras used on a production, and that there were artefacts in the colour correction process. “We decided to make a single mode which turns the camera into a digital cinema version of the GoPro. The bit rate goes up two-and-a-half times from 15Mbps to 35Mbps compressed as Long GoP H.264 - a huge data rate for Long-GoP compression.” Using Protune with GoPro CineForm Studio post-production software provides additional benefits such as enhanced colour correction controls. “It takes 24p as a frame rate so it can sync with other cameras and instead of leaving a rec 709 saturated image it outputs a log curve so we get up to 11 f-stops of dynamic range from this tiny camera,” he said. “This capability allows us to intercut with cameras used in professional environment without a frame rate conversion.” The log curve has been created with the colour science expertise of Technicolor which permits neutral colour profile, allowing for greater flexibility in a colour correction and reduced sharpening and noise reduction for improved image quality. Footage that goes this route is claimed to closely match that of the Canon 5D. “You don’t want the camera technology to define what you can do – you want your cinematographer to define it,” said Newman. The software will be a free firmware upgrade available for the HD Hero2 camera this summer. Also new is a lightweight Wi-Fi BacPac that attaches to the back of the miniature HD camera. Control is by either a GoPro Wi-Fi Remote, which can be worn on the wrist, or a free app for Android or Apple smartphones. Up to 50 HD Hero2 GoPro cameras can be remotely controlled and their images streamed live remotely via the unit. If controlled via an app for iPhone or iPad, up to 50 of the live streams can be viewed and selected for use. One video stream can be recorded direct to the Hero2’s SD card while sending another stream via Wi-Fi to the web or device. The entire BacPac and Remote kit costs $99. www.gopro.com
GoPro, maker of inexpensive HD point-of-view minicams, has new software that dramatically increases the cameras’ dynamic range and bit rate, writes Adrian Pennington. GoPro Protune will likely see the cameras being used on higher end professional productions.