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Hiker
Posts: 12

Best GoPro model for "production fleet" use?

 

For those of you who manage "fleets" of GoPros for long production shoots, which model have you standardized on?

 

TLDR: I'm trying to step up to GoPro for a multiple camera setup.  The HERO7 may be great, but I found the current version of firmware not (yet) reliable enough for 2-5 hour recordings.  I'd like to hear from people who manage multiple cameras.

 

My application: Backstop-mounted cameras to record baseball/softball games.  (Some videos here)

- LONG 2-5 hour recording sessions.  (via Voltaic V44 battery pack)

- 2.7K 30FPS or better

- WiFi control

- Outdoor fixed mounting in direct sunlight

 

I really wanted to like the HERO7 but my 5h shoots are probably exposing problems outside of what most users are doing (camera self-resets and turns off after 2+ hours, firmware non-responsive until hard reset) etc.  I tried HERO6 at 2.7K 30FPS because it makes the camera run cooler, but it's still not 100% reliable.  I can't imagine running 5 of these things where every take is critical.  It looks like a lot of movies were shot on HERO4?

 

Advice appreciated!  I'm OK with going down a few models or buying used if there is a model that is considered rock-solid.

 

Nomad
Posts: 2,025

Re: Best GoPro model for "production fleet" use?

I've done 24 hour time lapses and 4-5 hour video shoots with the GP4 Black and a 24 hr battery pack.  I use a battery pack over the powered USB as it ensures the camera stays watertight during any possible rain situations.

Hiker
Posts: 30

Re: Best GoPro model for "production fleet" use?

According to current reliability I would not go with GoPro.

Nomad
Posts: 2,025

Re: Best GoPro model for "production fleet" use?

Like I said, I find my GoPro Hero 4 blacks to be excellent for recording extended film clips or time lapses.  I also use two GoPro Fusions and have often recorded until the batteries run out (about 1hr 30 mins) with no issues.  I have done all night long time lapses with a GP6 Black with great success, the only time I ran into an issue was when I updated the Firmware.  I didn't realize that it set everything back to the defaults (including the "auto off" option of 15 minutes).  

 

I find there's some iffyness with the GoPro App and the Fusion camera's, but I do 90% of my editing on my Laptop so it's never a huge issue.  

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Hiker
Posts: 12

Re: Best GoPro model for "production fleet" use?

Update: After 100+ hours of tests with HERO 5/6/7, I've chosen to go with a fleet of HERO5 units.

I'm satisfied but wish this process hadn't taken so long.

 

My findings (YMMV)...

- HERO5 is the most stable, especially when using larger SD cards, and particularly when WiFi is used for remote monitoring.

- HERO5 firmware is more "crisp" and responsive, which is apparent when you use the units side-by-side. 

- Pro: GPS & 4K, both of which are required for my application.  (GPS is only in HERO5 and later models, which is why I didn't consider the workhorse HERO4.)

- Pro: cheaper

- Con: No zoom, no hypersmooth.

 

I really wanted to use newer cameras, but I found HERO6 and HERO7 more likely to crash when doing extended records with large SD cards (yes, the GoPro approved 128GB and 256GB cards).  I don't want to re-visit the heated forum threads, just to say that I did see real stability differences.  And to say that camera temperature is a decent predictor of (in)stability.  I suspect HERO7 (and hopefully 6) firmware will be upgraded, but I couldn't wait any longer.

 

One unsubstantiated theory: GoPro made a big change and switched its system chip vendor starting between HERO5 / HERO6 (from Ambarella to Socionext).  My guess is that something changed in the HW/RTOS that makes the newer systems less robust against timeouts caused by SD or WiFi hiccups.  I would assume this could be addressed by a firmware update, but users like me seem to be in the minority.