Last update: January 2018
What’s up, people! In this post, I am going to touch on the subject of GoPro Field of Video aka. FOV.
What it is, what it does and which settings you should use depending on the scene you are shooting.
I already covered a ton of GoPro tips and tricks in this roundup post, but I noticed very, very few people brought the FOV up.
In my opinion, this is one of the key features of the GoPro cameras and it shouldn’t be overlooked. Yeah, I know … I don’t read the manual of all the gadgets I buy either, but you want to nail this one down.
Regardless if you are just taking photos or you’re filming videos, the Field of View setting will greatly impact the way your photos or videos will look.
I’ve literally browsed through hundreds of hours of GoPro videos that I edit for customers and trust me, I know that the Field of View can make or break a scene.
Alright, let’s get to it.
What is the GoPro Field of View?
So the GoPro Field of View is a setting within your GoPro camera which allows you to select between different zoom-in levels. Obviously, when you zoom in, the actual amount of the image will start to get cropped.
If you are familiar with DSLR cameras, it’s like rotating the zoom ring on your lenses.
GoPro does that through the Field of View. But instead of using the lenses to do the zoom, it actually crops into the sensor to change between different FOV options. So the quality of the image and the resolution will be the same.
There are 3 different options you can choose from – Normal, Medium and Narrow.
GoPro Field of View comparison
Here’s how each one will look (left is Normal, the middle is Medium and right is Narrow):
Additionally, some GoPro models also have a fourth option called Superview, but more about that in just a bit.
As you can see, the Filed of View will act like a zoom.
You can find the FoV option under the Resolution and FPS menu, or, starting with the GoPro Hero 4, you can simply double tap on the LCD screen to change between different FoV options.
How to zoom with a GoPro
Obviously, the quickest and easiest way to zoom in with your GoPro is to use either the Medium or the Narrow Field of View options, depending on how much you want to zoom in.
Another way to zoom in without losing any quality is to film in 4K and then when you edit your video crop it to 1080p.
This will require a little bit of work in post-production but it works great and you will end up with nice Full HD video after you’ve cropped it.
Here’s a quick fix.
What is Superview
Let me just start by saying that Superview is just awesome. It was first introduced with the GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition.
So basically the Superview option will allow your GoPro to capture more of the vertical action. It actually combines the 1440p which has that ugly 4:3 aspect ratio, but captures more stuff on the vertical, with the 1080p format which is great because it’s wide but doesn’t capture that much of the action on the vertical.
So what Superview does is capture footage in 4:3 aspect ratio and stretch it to 16:9 wide aspect ratio. How cool is that? This way you don’t end up with the 1440p footage which has those ugly black bars on the sides. It’s just like you would film holding your smartphone vertically instead of horizontally.
Here’s what I mean.
1080p Wide FoV
Image credits go to Mitch Bergsma.
Superview mode works great for shots where you (or your subject is close to the camera). So if you are filming yourself while skiing in Austria and you want to have more of the beautiful surroundings in the shot, not just your face, Superview is a great choice.
Since we’re at it, for this kind of scenes – in which the subject stands still in the center of the shot for the whole time, you want to use something called spot meter. It’s a very useful GoPro feature which allows you to set the exposure based on a specific area in the shot (e.g. your face). It will make a ton of difference in image quality. Give it a try.
What is Linear Field of View
Starting with the GoPro Hero5 we have available a new type of Field of View called Linear. The naming is pretty self-explanatory.
This setting will basically cancel the fish-eye effect of the GoPro lenses.
So if you are taking landscape shots or basically any kind of shoots in which the subject is far away, you may want to use the liner Field of View.
If you’re using your GoPro on a drone, definitely use the Linear Field of View.
Shots in which you have the horizon line are the perfect example. Here’s what I mean.
Which Field of View to use
Personally, I like to use the Superview and Wide FoV anytime. These options work great for POV shoots or for selfie shots and for most of the action scenes.
If you are filming something which is really far away then you can go with the Medium or Narrow Field of View. Otherwise, I don’t see a point in switching from Superview or Wide FOV to anything else.
Feel free to experiment with different settings though and see which one you like best.
The guys over at GoPro go as far as recommending which FOV setting to use depending on the type of activity you are shooting.
Here are the recommended FOV settings to use for the new GoPro 6.
GoPro Field of View angles (degrees)
If you are interested in finding out the exact angles each FOV setting uses you can check out the GoPro official website for this information. I think the actual degrees don’t vary that much from one model to the other when using the same FOV setting.
Here’s how to make it buttery smooth.
Definitely, experiment with all the Field of View settings on your GoPro and see how they work.
Generally speaking, you want to stick with the Wide and Superwide modes pretty much all the time, if you are filming POV or selfie type of scenes.
If you do drone shots use the Linear Field of View.
Try the Medium and Narrow Field of View settings if your subject is further away from you.
So that’s pretty much it in a nutshell. Go out, have fun with your GoPro and be safe.