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GoPro ups its game with 35Mb/s firmware upgrade

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The battle between action camcorders is heating up as GoPro adds 35Mb/s recording mode to its flagship Hero 2 camera

This summer, JVC introduced its ADIXXION line, offering built-in LCD and Wi-Fi at an attractive price point. Sony jumped into the fray, releasing its ActionCam and ushering in the age of super-cheap 120fps HD. And then there’s GoPro.


Facing stiff competition, GoPro, once the only name in action camcorders, needed another way to differentiate its Hero 2 from the upstart JVC and Sony models. Since the Hero 2 was still in the middle of its product cycle, no hardware changes were possible. So the company unveiled a software solution to its dilemma.

GoPro Protune answers the bell with a bundle of features that unlock the Hero 2’s professional potential. GoPro’s free software update expands the camera’s functionality with 24p recording, a neutral color profile for easier color correction, increased shadow/highlight detail with log curve editing, and reduced sharpening and image noise.

Better bitrate

However, Protune’s standout feature may be its increased bitrate. The Hero 2 previously topped out at 20Mb/s for 1080p recording, and that was only at the camera’s narrow field of view. When switching to medium or wide angle, the bitrate throttled back to 15 Mb/s for full HD. Equipped with the new firmware update, the upper-end bitrate jumps to a whopping 35 Mb/s, pretty high for a budget-friendly camera. And as I’m sure you already know, increased bitrate is a boon for action footage, enabling the retention of more detail in motion. The result is a cleaner image with less artifacting and smoother, more faithful representation of action.

Easy to upgrade

Updating your Hero 2 a snap. Simply open GoPro Cineform Studio and sync your device. The program does the rest. For the LW users out there, you should be pleased to learn that the Cineform codec is compatible with Lightworks, so transcoded footage leaving Cineform Studio is optimized and ready to cut.

GoPro delivers the goods with Protune. Now, let’s see how Sony and JVC respond. Whatever happens, I have a feeling the real winner of this battle will be the consumer.

Tags: Production