GoPro’s are amazingly simple to use; you can literally unbox them and start shooting straight away. But you need to master one setting that will make a huge difference to all your videos, and that is the ProTune setting. Find out what GoPro ProTune can do for you, and what the recommended settings are.

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What is ProTune

Protune is GoPro’s advanced controls for Color, ISO Limit, Sharpness and Exposure. Basically it gives you greater control over the GoPro settings, and helps you to take control of your photo or video captures.

ProTune is intended to be used with editing software to further enhance the colors. In fact using ProTune makes files easier to edit and results in an overall better final product.

There is a downside however – ProTune makes files larger than if ProTune was turned off, due to turning up the bit-rate.

What if You Leave Protune Turned Off?

When ProTune option is turned off, the color profile defaults to GoPro (refer ProTune settings below). This will deliver great color which is suitable for sharing straight away, as there is little doubt that the default GoPro image quality is great. However I prefer to saturate the image a little further using editing software, Final Cut Pro X in my case.

Basically it comes down to this.

  • Leave ProTune OFF if you want to share your images straight out of your GoPro Camera.
  • Turn ProTune ON if you intend to edit your images to enhance the colors further using image editing software.

What Protune Settings are Available?

Here are the settings which can be adjusted when ProTune is turned on. The default settings on the GoPro HERO5 are shown in bold text.

COLOR: GoPro/Flat

WB (White Balance) – Auto / 3000K, 4000K, 4800K, 5500K, 6000K, 6500K, Native.

ISO (ISO Limit/Gain): 400, 800, 1200, 1600, 3200, 6400

SHUTTER (Shutter Speed): Auto, 1/30, 1/60/ 1/120, 1/240

EV COMP (Exposure Value Compensation) : 2.0, 1,5, 1.0, 0.5, 0, -0.5, -1.0, -1.5, -2.0

SHARP (Sharpness): High, Medium, Low

AUDIO: OFF, Low, Medium, High

PROTUNE RESET

How to Adjust ProTune – GoPro HERO5

  • First swipe left, starting from the right hand side of the screen.
  • Secondly you will see the full ProTune menu. Now you an adjust all the ProTune settings.

How to Turn ProTune Off – GoPro HERO5

  • First swipe left, starting from the right hand side of the screen.
  • Secondly toggle the ON/OFF button at the bottom of the screen to OFF.

How to Turn ProTune On – GoPro HERO5

  • First swipe left, starting from the right hand side of the screen.
  • Secondly toggle the ON/OFF button at the bottom of the screen to ON.

Recommended Settings for ProTune

It all comes down to personal taste, and how much editing you intend to do. Here is a video showing you how each setting adjustment actually looks on the ProTune image.

Most of the clips in this video are in raw mode, meaning they have not been altered at all using editing software. However, the last 2 clips have been edited using Final Cut Pro X, to show you the difference this can make to the resulting image. You can see in these 2 clips that the color has been corrected by increasing the saturation to 60%, thus giving more intense color in the post production video. This is of course to personal taste, I like saturated color.

Color:

Options: GoPro/Flat

Flat is similar to using RAW files on DSLR cameras. It looks flat straight out of the camera, but the images files retain all the information for editing. This is more compatible with editing software, and can come up better looking after editing.

GoPro setting gives you a more vibrant and saturated looking shot. Note that the GoPro option gives you the same color profile as if the Protune is turned off.

Personally I prefer to use the GoPro option, which I further enhance with editing software. I use Final Cut Pro X, and adjust the saturation up to about 60%. Although these are perhaps not the most authentic representation of the colors, I find that these videos really pop with vibrant colors.

White Balance

Options: Auto / 3000K, 4000K, 4800K, 5500K, 6000K, 6500K, Native (where K refers to Kelvin).

This will adjust the colors and tones in your shot, according to the shadows and highlights visible. I prefer to leave this on Auto.

If you do want to adjust:

  • 3000K is warm light. Examples are indoors under incandescent lighting, or sunrise/sunset conditions.
  • 5500K is slightly cool light. Examples are indoors under cool fluorescent lighting, or average outdoor lighting conditions.
  • 6500K is for cool light. Example is an overcast day outdoors.
  • Native is an industry standard optimised color.

ISO Limit/gain:

Options: 400, 800, 1200, 1600, 3200, 6400

The rule of thumb here is to take it down as low as possible, which is why I set to 400 normally. That’s because higher ISO numbers can lead to lower quality, grainy images. The default 1600 exposure is suitable for dull overcast or indoor conditions.

Shutter Speed:

Options: Auto, 1/30, 1/60/ 1/120, 1/240

I leave this on Auto, playing with this is getting into the more advanced aspects of photography.

Exposure Value Compensation

Options: 2.0, 1,5, 1.0, 0.5, 0, -0.5, -1.0, -1.5, -2.0

I leave this on 0, it is quite easy to open Protune EV to adjust the to a brighter or duller image for different light conditions.

Sharpness:

Options: High, Medium, Low

I leave this on High for crisp, sharp images. Alternatively you will get a softer image by adjusting sharpness to Low. This can then be easily adjusted either way using editing software.

Audio:

Options: OFF, Low, Medium, High

I leave this set to OFF. It’s hard to find information on Protune Audio, it’s not even listed on the Gopro Protune website. I’ve read elsewhere that it’s only useful for post-recording audio editing, which I do not bother with.

Summary of Recommended Settings:

I recommend you turn ProTune ON, and use the below settings as standard. You may wish to adjust EV COMP from time to time, but that’s the only adjustment necessary.

  • COLOR: GoPro (this depends on your skill level with editing software)
  • WB (White Balance): Auto
  • ISO (ISO Limit/gain): 400
  • SHUTTER (Shutter Speed):
  • Auto EV COMP (Exposure Value Compensation) : 0
  • SHARP (Sharpness): High
  • AUDIO: OFF

Which GoPro Cameras use ProTune?

Protune became available with the Gopro HERO3, however it was for videos only. Then with the HERO4, 5 an 6 Protune became available for both photos and videos. Here is a list by model of ProTune, which is one of the Registered Trademarks of GoPro.

1. Hero6

2. Hero5

3. Hero4 Session (Protune for video and photos)

4. Hero4 Silver (Protune for video and photos)

5. Hero4 Black (Protune for video and photos)

6. Hero3+ (Protune for video only)

7. Hero3 Silver (Protune for video only)

8. Hero3 Black (Protune for video only)

Final Say

Finally it’s worth checking out this official GoPro Field Guide video explaining the various GoPro ProTune settings. The video is a little old but the concepts remain the same on the latest cameras.

Whether you decide to turn GoPro Protune on or leave it off is a matter of how much time you want to invest in post production software editing. In reality I like to spend more time outdoors amongst the action, and less time in the editing room. At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal preferences.

Gear Used in this Video

In case you were wondering, I have upgraded my GoPro HERO 5 Black rig to include a FeiyuTech G5 Gimbal. This splash-proof hand held gimbal gives fantastic smooth footage and complements the GoPro HERO5 Black perfectly. Click the below links to find out more.

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