GoPro is the, erm, go-to camera for extreme sports enthusiasts, people who like blowing things up and car reviewers. Its flexibility, and toughness, is well documented now, but perhaps most impressive is the constant stream of improvements GoPro makes to the range, both through new hardware and new software.
The latest bonus for Hero2 users is a firmware update that adds some incredible new features. First, the camera now gets 24p recording. The idea here is that GoPro wants filmmakers to be able to intercut their Hero footage seamlessly with content shot on pro movie cameras.
For professional users, it gets better. The new "protune" mode is turned on via a menu option, and makes more changes to the picture. The data rate is upped from 15mbps to 35mbps - a massive increase. What that also allows is for the camera to have its sharpening and noise reduction modes minimised, because the increased data gives plenty of extra detail with minimal picture problems.
There is also a new "log curve" which allows the footage you shoot to be colour graded alongside video from something like a 5D MK III and have the same tone applied to it. GoPro worked with film grading specialists Technicolor to get this right, and it's another feature that will appeal to professionals, but could also be something that gives new filmmakers cheap access to pro-level tools.
There's another part to all this, which is the GoPro software. Called CineForm, it allows you to convert your GoPro footage to a type more easily understood by editing software. But CineForm offers some tweaking options too. There are 3D convergence options, colour presets like "sepia" and a flat "protune" mode. You can also adjust the exposure, colour balance and tweak framing.
It's all free, and available to download from the GoPro website. The old method of doing firmware updates on the Hero cameras has also changed: now it's managed by the software, although it looks like it's basically doing the same thing as the manual SD-card-based updates.
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