Video quality Gopro

I have a Gopro Hero 11.
I use Video, Standard, 5.3 K, 25 L+
I am not happy with the picture quality.
What are the best settings ?

Dear Philippe,
Use the Hero10, TimeLapse Photo Wide 1pic/sec produces one 5-6MB photo per second with in my eyes good detail;
recording 25pics/sec you’re still limited by write2card speed thus bound to sacrifice detail;
in addition, horizon levelling works by ‘doing something clever’ to the rectangular pixel grid to compensate for the camera not being held horizontal;
a gimbal would keep the camera horizontal, thus you’d do w/o the horizon levelling in the camera.

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I use GoPro Hero 12, but this should apply to 11 similarly. I realize this is a wall of text, so I bolded the main TL;DR points.

I record video because I want to have actual video for later OSM mapping and personal archive. So I extract images for Mapillary from the video afterwards. My focus is a balance between Mapillary image quality and video “viewability” although I lean more towards better images. From experiments and comparing to GoPro timelapse photos, these come out similar enough.

For context (because what is “best” is of course relative to context), I record videos from a bicycle, mounted on the handlebar stem, so there is a lot of bumping and shaking and turning and no gimbal. This factors significantly into some settings I chose, so this may not apply to you.

So first thing - I use GoPro Labs firmware rather than the stock firmware, because I use a couple settings that I believe are essential to good captures. This allows the camera to read QR codes for settings you cannot otherwise control or enable.

Finally, this is best for daytime capture. Anything approaching dusk/golden hour will end up noisy and too dark and you need different settings (shutter, max iso, EV, etc.). This also won’t be great in tunnels and such. But since daylight conditions are like 99.9% of my captures, I prefer consistency over rare exceptions.

So my full settings are:

  • Standard - base preset, although I override or set most values myself anyway
  • 5.3K, 16:9 (5312 x 2988) - best resolution to lens angle ratio that I found; for Mapillary I don’t really want to capture extreme sky and ground with 4:3, it’s just wasted bitrate
  • 30 FPS - personal preference, but I find 25 a bit too choppy; not doing 60+ or something because this basically halves the available bitrate per frame
  • SuperView - this captures a wide enough area without extreme distortion; also I don’t use any horizon lock/leveling - this just chops off corners and zooms in, which wastes quality (for something that Mapillary could just post-process some day)
  • 8bit - 10bit is useless unless you do post-processing
  • Color Flat - this preserves blacks better, although the overall result is “blander”
  • HyperSmooth On - personal preference, but the video is unwatchable if it’s shaky and in-camera stabilization is better than post-processing
  • EV 0 - not adding more exposure or it will blow out the sky
  • ISO 100-800 - not allowing too much noise with high ISO values
  • WB Auto - GoPro does a decent job at perceived WB, so I let it
  • Sharpness Medium - seems like an okay balance
  • Shutter Auto, but overridden by Labs:
  • Max Shutter [EXPX] 400 - I don’t allow slower shutter than 27° (if I’m not mistaken) because otherwise it’s going to get motion blurry really fast with un-gimbaled setup; 400 can still get blurry frames, like on wheel impact from kerbs, but it’s like 98% sharp
  • Bitrate High, but overridden by Labs:
  • Bitrate [BITR] 160 (from ~120 default, down from 180-200 max) - this add a significant chunk of extra data per frame making video stills almost as good as photos.
  • Noise Reduction [NR01] 1 (least reduction) - I allow all the noise to go in; with higher bitrate being able to record it, this preserves significantly more detail
  • Trust USB [TUSB] - I set it to assume the powerbank will supply enough power at all times
  • No log curves - these are only really useful for post-processing
  • 12 GB chapters - just fewer files/folders to deal with

To sum up the most impactful bits: 400 max shutter speed, 160 bitrate, no noise reduction (brackets are the QR setting codes as per These are the settings that the default firmware does not provide, but result in the largest noticeable quality improvements, at least for the specific purpose of extracting still images for Mapillary.

Note that this does require a fast SD card and the card needs frequent full reformats. SD cards are a lottery. The camera will still sometimes randomly stop recording thinking the SD card is too slow - but this is almost always the camera’s fault. I have had 8+ hour continuous recordings for 400+ GB output with no interruptions. And I’ve had it randomly fail every 30 minutes. This is just the nature of action cams…

As an example, under ideal conditions (flat road, no shaking), you can read all the important signs and text: Mapillary (don’t forget to zoom in, because default view is compressed)

Under worst conditions, in an unlit bumpy tunnel with a bright highlight, it’s only basic shapes and lots of noise, but still passable (not that any cameras can do much better here): Mapillary

Realistically, closer to dusk in something like a bumpy forest road with lots of samey-colored vegetation and contrasting low-angle sunlit sky bits is the limit of this approach (but is generally the limit for most cameras):

I spent a huge amount experimenting with all sorts of settings and these are more or less the best I found for my purposes. I am quite picky when it comes to quality, but I also realize that most captures from phones or whatever are terrible in comparison and it’s only really car-mounted higher-end dashcams that are potentially better.

One thing I should note is that I always use a powerbank with no battery in the camera. The battery will degrade quickly if left in the camera. It will also overheat quicker, especially since the above settings eat up a lot of processing power. I am also pretty sure this won’t work as an interior dashcam as it would overheat very quickly - a bike provides good “natural” cooling with constant airflow.

Also, here is an article/video I used for reference as to what is possible in low-light and thus can become very sharp in daylight: GoPro 11 Labs Settings for Maximum Video Quality


Maybe a QR code could be published in the Mapillary manual.
I do bicycle and car.
If it is easy and quality is important such as in a cemetery, I use timelapse.

@HellPhoto - Impressive stuff! Do you want to share the QR code you use? cc: @eneerhut

Sorry, I don’t really have a QR code. Most of these are on-camera. I set it up once when experimenting with multiple individual codes from the website I linked for the individual settings. I think you can group them somehow, but I haven’t done that and I dare not mess with my settings :grimacing:

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