By Jacques Viljoen
When I first used my GoPro Hero 3 Black I was bowled over. I couldn’t comprehend how such a small camera, can capture such amazing quality video. I wanted to record everything I do with it because I just could not get enough of it. There simply wasn’t enough time (and memory cards) in a day to record everything that happened. After one late afternoon mountain bike ride, I discovered one of the GoPro’s Achilles heels. It did not like recording in low light situations. Even with just less-than-ideal lighting, the video became grainy and adding artificial light was also tricky, as it had to have gradual light, like the type you find in a studio.
So when they announced the release of the Hero 4 Models that had improved 'Auto' Low-Light capabilities, I was a very happy guy to say the least. They also added a Night mode to the photo settings.
I will admit, you will need some practice before getting that perfect night time photo. A good way to start is to take the same photo more than once, with the different settings to see what works best for you in different situations.
Protune is also now available for photos which allows you to set various parameters such as White Balance, ISO limits and more. Since this guide is about using night mode I won’t be using Protune in any of the photos.
The part that makes the biggest difference to photos in night mode, is the shutter speed. The following shutter speeds are available:
Shutter speed / What to use it for:
- Auto - Sunrise, Sunset, Dawn, Dusk, Twilight, Night
- 2 Seconds, 5 Seconds, 10 Seconds - Daw, Dusk, Twilight, Traffic at night, Ferris wheel, fireworks, light painting
- 20 Seconds - Night sky (with light)
- 30 Seconds - Night stars, Milky Way (complete darkness)
Watch this video to see how to get to night mode on your GoPro Hero 4:
Or follow this step-by-step guide:
- First, switch on your camera and go to photo mode
- Press the settings button on the side
- Once you’re in the settings menu, press the shutter button until “Night” appears. You will notice that the menu layout has slightly changed, bringing in the shutter speed menu.
- Press the mode button to move down to the shutter speed.
- Press the shutter button to select the required shutter speed depending on the application.
- Once you selected the desired shutter speed, press and hold the Shutter button to return to the main screen.
I found that the shutter speed set at 2 Seconds is a good ‘go-to’ mode.
Here are some examples of photos I took using Night mode:
One of my favourite features to use Night mode for is called light painting. If you are the creative type then you can have a lot of fun with this mode.
Here are some examples:
And this next one is by far my favourite:
Some quick tips for Night mode photography:
- Choose the right shutter speed. If the shutter is open for too long, it will let in too much light, resulting in over exposed photos, which does not look nice.
- Always have the camera resting on a solid non-moving object. For most of my photos I used a tripod, but a chair, table or rail will work just as well, depending on where you are. Even slightest movement, as I discovered to my frustration, will result in blurriness.
- Night mode is not ideal for capturing moving objects (apart from light painting). If you for example try to take a photo of yourself running, you will look transparent and blurred at the same time, much like my arm in that one photo.
I hope this guide helps you to get that perfect shoot.
We would love to see what photos you guys can create. So tweet me your photos using the following handles: @ActonGearSA and @jacquesv569 pop in #NightMode and we will put together a blog featuring your photos