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.
Oh, and did I tell you that we are editing videos for clients such as yourself?
So make sure to check that out if you need help with your videos.
Back to the article now.
Alright, let’s get to it.
What is the GoPro Field of View?
The Field of View is the normal observable area that’s visible to the naked eye. It’s also the range of the visible world that you can see through a device such as a camera.
So the GoPro Field of View is a setting within your GoPro camera that 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.
In DSLR cameras, the FOV is determined by the distance between the image sensor and the lens.
The higher the distance between the two, the narrower will be the field of view. In a typical camera, the angles between the lens and sensor are as follows: Superview-170 degrees, Wide-130 degrees, and Linear-90 degrees.
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 as 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.
Regardless of the camera model, from Hero 3+ to Hero 10 Black, users have five field of view options to choose from. Out of the five, only two come with the fisheye effect. We shall shortly discuss all five 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.
This will require a little bit of work in post-production but it works great and you will end up with a 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 a 4:3 aspect ratio and stretch it to a 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 scene – 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 that 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.
What is Wide Field of View?
Users can either call this Normal or Wide FOV. In the earlier models, this FOV was referred to as the Ultra Wide FOV.
It’s the default setting, which comes with the largest FOV next only to the Superview. The Wide Field of View also comes with the fisheye effect.
Users can set the FOV to Wide for action and normal use. I would recommend this option for water activities, surfing, skiing, hiking, motorcycle activities, mountain biking, and family adventures.
Opt for a Wide FOV with the following resolutions: 720p, 1080p, 2.7K, and 4K.
What is Medium Field of View?
The Medium FOV is self-explanatory. In this FOV, the camera focuses the zoom on the center.
This FOV doesn’t come with the fisheye effect. We recommend the Medium FOV for capturing scenery/landscape footage.
What is Narrow Field of View?
Similar to the Medium FOV, the Narrow option focuses on the center.
This has the smallest FOV and is ideal for filming objects at a distance.
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.
GoPro Hero 10 FOV options available for photo and video
There are only five FOV options. So, selecting the one to use would be pretty straightforward and easy, right? No.
Not all GoPro cameras come with all five options. Some FOVs are frame rate, resolution, or model specific.
Here is a list of information of FOV for GoPro Hero 10 Black:
How does changing Field of View affect the photo and video?
We know that changing the FOV determines the content that makes it to the photo. But, there is more.
The field of view you choose influences the look and feel of the video and photo.
How does the Field of View affect the quality of the photo and video?
Changing FOV can sometimes influence the image quality.
For example, selecting the Narrow FOV will considerably crop the final image.
You’ll see a damn good photo in 720p resolution. But you’ll start noticing pixels as the display size is increased.
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.
And if you don’t have time to browse through all that footage and edit your GoPro video, hire us.
Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send you a really good offer.
Cristian Stanciu is a freelance video editor, owner, and post-production coordinator of Veedyou Media – a company offering video editing services to videographers, marketing agencies, video production studios, or brands all over the globe.