In this article, we not only explain why Protune is important for getting the best possible footage, but we teach you how you can quickly implement it into your filming.
How GoPro defines Protune
‘Protune enables you to get much higher quality throughout your post-production workflow. Basically, the main purpose of the ProTune software update is to help you get more dynamic images from your camera than you are currently getting today. We really wanted to meet requests from members of our professional community.’
Essentially, Protune gives us options. And we like that.
Protune has changed several times since it’s inception during the Hero 2 days. It’s now a standard for almost all GoPro’s and can be activated within the GoPro Settings.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of Protune is the increased Bitrate. Switching from standard video mode to Protune increases the bitrate from 25mb/s to 35mb/s (depending on the model). This means more data is captured per second while filming, resulting in better overall image quality. And who doesn’t want that?
- Protune clips take up more card space!
Neutral Color Profile
Protune is about flexibility and that extends into post-production. If you’ve experimented with Protune in the past, then you may have been shocked to see your fancy protune clips look more like faded home video footage. This is because Protune is about flexibility.
Traditionally, the software within your camera will apply color corrections automatically which gives you the popping contrast and saturation we’re use to. When Protune is active however, this Color Profile is tuned wayyyyy back giving us a more neutral bases to start from. If previously, you’ve never done color correction, then activating Protune will definitely give you a reason to!
When it comes to Color Correction, the more neutral the color profile, the greater flexibility you have for color matching clips taken at different time which is essentially when making a video that’s easy on the eyes.
White Balance & CAMRAW
Another addition to the Protune Suite is White Balance(WB). For users of DSLR’s this was a welcome site. White Balance is about adjusting the color temperature of your video/image to find true white. If you’ve ever seen a home video of a child sledding in a blue toned wonderland then you know about White Balance. It’s about helping the camera set that color back to true white (snow is a common problem). By default , WB is automatic, and GoPro’s typically do a great job, but with Protune it allows us to fine tune it.
White balance (WB) is the process of removing unrealistic color casts, so that objects which appear white in person are rendered white in your photo.
- GoPro’s commonly have trouble in low light & snowy conditions. Protune can fix that.
GoPro Color vs. Flat
What is a color profile?
If you’ve ever adjusted the contrast and saturation of an image then you know the gist of color profiles. They’re a selection of adjustments made to an otherwise neutral image to better represent the colors present while filming.
If you want the maximum amount of flexibility to find that true representation then you can set the Color Profile in ‘Capture Settings’ to ‘Flat’. This will give you a neutral base so you can decide for yourself. When started out, the best thing to do is to experiment. You can always apply a filter but it’s good to get comfortable making adjustments.
With the Hero 4 came the addition of ISO. ISO measures the sensitivity of our GoPro’s image sensor, to light.
The Hero 4 has 3 ISO options: 400; 1600; 6400
The lower the number the less sensitive the image sensor is to light and the finer the grain.
If we set the ISO to 400, the image sensor won’t be very sensitive to light, resulting in a darker image. The plus side of this, is better image quality.
Grain and Sensitivity are the balancing act of setting the ISO.
When you look at the diagram below, you’ll see grain become visible as the ISO increases. This is not a good look for us!
Typically, you’ll only want to use the ISO in low light. When setting, it’s best to start at 400 and work your way up. As you increase the ISO, you’ll have to deal with the grain.
In the past while filming Protune, sharpness was not applied automatically. This meant all Protune footage required sharpness adjustments in post. This is no longer the case. GoPro has opted for three different sharpness modes. High; Medium; Low. With High sharpness being the same as non-protune footage. This makes high great for a lot of people.
Exposure refers to the brightness of our video. Affected by the Frame Rate, Aperture and natural light. Too much light results in overexposure. Not enough light, and we get darkness. GoPro provides us manual exposure corrections to dial things in.
- Too much light; can’t see detail; overexposed
- Not enough light; Too dark; underexposed
.05 is a great all-around option. You can always start there and adjust higher or lower depending on your needs.
Learning to Use Protune
To get a proper feel for Protune, it’s great to see a comparison with your own footage. If you’re able to clearly see that Protune gives an advantage then you’ll never turn back. The best way to create this comparison is with a side by side shot. Start first, by filming a shot in 1080p @30fps. Then turn on Protune in ‘capture settings’ and film the same shot with Protune activated (1080 @ 30). Setting the WB to Auto while filming in Protune will ensure WB is not a factor in the test.
(Film a Side by Side Comparison: With WB set to Auto)
After you film both shots, upload them to GoPro Studio. You’ll need to make color correction’s to the Protune clip but these adjustments open up the real advantage of using Protune. It may take practice, but you’ll probably end up preferring your color profile over GoPro’s. Especially if you’re trying to mix in footage from another camera.
Increased bit rate: no corrections
- Protune on
- WB Auto
- Sharpness High
- GoPro Color
If you want the increased bit rate without added editing time, this is a great configuration.
If you prefer the flexibility of a neutral color profile, then set the color to flat.
Increased bit rate: Quick edits
- Protune on
- WB Auto
- Sharpness medium
- Flat color
Medium sharpness tends to fall below where most people want it. This makes it great if you find the typically high contrast set automatically to be too much.
Wide open: GoPro Raw?
- Protune on
- Set WB?
- Sharpness low
With this, you can do whatever you want and you’ll have to. Start by setting the ISO which unless it’s dark will be left alone – then set the WB. After that, the rest is up to you when editing.
Protune In a nut shell
An experienced user will have the upper hand regardless of Protune. But, there’s a reason why experienced GoProers always use it. It’s better than not using it. So if you plan to film, get on da Protune train cause it’s hot. You can start now by downloading the Protune Infographic. It pulls all the best tips for filming with Protune into one place, and it’s free so it’s a no brainer.