GoPro HD Hero2

First impressions and set-up recommendations for getting the most from a GoPro HD Hero2 - by David R. Beebe

Ordered the GoPro Hero2 motor sport version as each of the kits are the same price and the suction-based car mount is the most expensive of all. Added in the LCD monitor, bike helmet strap, head strap and a Wasabi Power charger kit with 2 additional batteries. The original GoPro battery is a really tight fit so I stuck a Post-It Flag to wrap around from the bottom in the hopes that this will make it easier to remove it from the camera.

Getting started:

Opened the boxes and charged the battery. First off, there is a firmware update. Typical of the GoPro approach, their free CineForm Studio application download makes the update process simple and fast.


Changed video default to 1080:30 with field of view at 120 degrees. Don't forget to set the clock (this is the most tedious part of the set-up). I sure hope it remembers this during a battery change.

Suction Cup Mount:

I did not find this obvious but after pushing in the "Press" button to pull suction on a flat surface like your windshield, you need to flip up the lever to pull the mount into the suction cup. Otherwise it wobbles around with every bump in the road and ruins the clip. Thanks to the video for clearing this up. If your windshield has a very long pitch, you can mount the GoPro to hang under it and flip the video as it records (Settings menu). It does not flip what you see in the LCD Backpack however.


The Hero2 records .mp4 video which is not a directly editable codec so it will need to be transcoded. The help file at GoPro support for Final Cut Pro (7 not X) points to MPEG streamclip to convert the clips to ProRes 422 for FCP. If you are using FCE, you might have to pre-convert the clips as outlined in the note. I have confirmed that FCPX 10.0.2 can import the native .mp4 just fine. You can "import from camera" with the SD card in the GoPro Hero2 or a card reader, or just copy the .mp4 files to your hard drive and "import from file". Software like MPEG streamclip is not required. Also for slow motion playback of 60 fps, FCPX has conform built-in, no need for Cinema Tools which is discontinued.

The GoPro provided CineForm Studio application can also rough edit and convert the GoPro's videos but it exports a medium quality Quicktime .mov file. There does not appear to be a way to change the compression setting or the destination location from your $HOME/Movies directory.

Note: The GoPro records .mp4 so the issue where MPEG streamclip requires the QuickTime MPEG-2 Playback Component decoder does not apply to using it for editing GoPro clips. If you want to play MPEG-2 clips from some other source with MPEG streamclip, you would have to purchase this ancient bit of software from Apple for $20 to proceed. Disgruntled feedback indicates that this does not retain audio in the output file. A mid-2011 support note discusses an installer problem work-around with OSX 10.7 (Lion).

If you have to use MPEG Streamclip for transcoding, at least you can set the destination directory! Both the native .mp4 and the 10x larger .mov from MPEG Streamclip retain audio.

First Test:
Kapok Park Go Pro Hero2

Utilizing 60FPS Slow Motion in FCP:

The same GoPro tech note discusses the need to conform the 60 frame per second (fps) clip so that it expands into a 30 fps timeline. Otherwise it will shorten the clip to play at "normal speed". While FCP7 required the separate Apple Cinema Tool to do this, conform is built into FCPX. Add the clip, select conform speed from the Retime Editor and you can enjoy slow motion video at its finest.