"Why does Hero 5 Black 4K footage look grainy? I just bought a Hero 5 Black and I've been shooting at 4K, 30 fps indoors. When I import the files and view using GoPro Quik on my PC, the footage looks extremely grainy."
Although GoPro's stock is high in action camera industry and favored by most extreme sports lovers, it puzzles you with errors from time to time. What I'm going to help you troubleshoot here is the GoPro video grainy issue.
When something goes wrong, videos recorded by GoPro Hero 8/7/6/5 look grainy. Annoyingly, your GoPro footage is likely to look perfect on the camera, but grainy on PC. Also it might be 4K UHD in Quik, but pixelated on YouTube. The reasons vary from high ISO to low light to bad SD card. For example, random ISO setting would give a grainy GoPro video when shooting indoors and at night. Don't worry, there are 13 ways you can use to reduce and avoid grainy footage.
If grainy video is not the only quality problem you meet, check this general video quality improve guide >
1. GoPro grainy video issue often happens when shooting in low light condition, for example, indoor and at night.
2. Those GoPro recording settings would raise the possibility of video grain and noise: high ISO value, fast shutter speed, and high frame rate.
3. Using an unapproved SD card might turn a HD footage into pixelated.
4. Uploading a large 4K GoPro video to YouTube with wrong compression settings would drastically degrade your video, making it grainy, blurry or pixelated.
GoPro footage grainy problem is mostly caused by improper settings with low light shooting. To solve the video noise issue once and for all, you actually need some tips of best GoPro settings for shooting at night. True, light level affects video quality a lot. No wonder that people want to make their night shots brighter. But the dilemma is there is always a compromise between noise and low light.
Light compensation can be done through three ways:
• Increase the aperture size (GoPro x)
• Decrease the shutter speed (GoPro √)
• Select high ISO (GoPro √)
Be careful with those settings, because they might be the reasons why your GoPro video turns out to be grainy or blurry. So, how to shoot a video with GoPro at night without grain or noise? Is there any way to fix a grainy footage? Read the following suggestions.
Many shutterbugs get stumped on how to shoot in low light without grain, or rather, how to set a perfect exposure. You should know that light is the linchpin in getting proper exposure. If you have to film at night, there has to be enough light in the scene, or the video will either be too dark or too grainy. It doesn't need to be as bright as day. Just find some kind of light source. Below is an example of GoPro night shots without grain.
• Capitalize on street lights
• Try different locations and angles
• Or add more light manually
A spot with enough light is just a prerequisite for shooting at night. To avoid GoPro video grainy issue, you still need to use correct camera settings, like ISO value, shutter speed, aperture, frame rate, SD cards, etc.
1. Set low ISO value
Selecting higher ISO can make the sensor more sensitive to light and digitally brighten the scene. But do not go higher than ISO 1600 when shooting in low light with GoPro. Remember that the higher the ISO is, the more the grain will be. Seasoned YouTubers always set ISO max limit to 800 or 400, while some others even lock the ISO at 200. Low ISO definitely prevents you from getting grainy footage, although it outputs video really dark.
2. Decrease shutter speed
Instead of increasing ISO, slow down the shutter speed to allow more light to enter in the lense, so that your video gets brighter without grain. You'd better keep it between 1/30s and 1/50s. Slower shutter speed will let more light in, but it also means higher chance of light flickering and motion blur. So a tripod is needed to avoid blurry videos. See also: how to fix blurry GoPro video >
3. Adjust aperture
The aperture should be between f/1.2 and f/5.6. Properly exposed ISO100 can give you clean bright image. However, you can't reduce GoPro video grain and noise by adjusting aperture as you do with other DSLR cameras. All GoPro Hero cameras have a fixed aperture lens at f/2.8, including GoPro HERO Session, GoPro Hero 4 Black/Silver, GoPro HERO 5 Black/Session, GoPro HERO 6 Black, GoPro Fusion, GoPro HERO 7 Black/Silver/White, and even the new comer GoPro Hero 8. GoPro sets exposure and white balance automatically for your shot, but there is an Exposure compensation option in Protune Mode.
4. Shoot in a lower frame rate
Frame rate affects shutter speed. Accordingly, it affects the amount of light getting in. Fps 60 gives a shutter speed of 1/60 while fps30 1/30. The higher the frame rate is, the less the light could be in and the more grain there will be. So do not shoot in high frame rates in low light. When shooting at night, 1080p at 60fps will be much clearer than 4K at 60fps. 30 fps could be better. Anything higher than 30fps leads to less desirable low light performance.
Or use "Auto Low Light Mode" in GoPro. What it does is automatically adjusting the frame rate down to 30 fps if your original option is 60 fps. It doesn't actually change the frame rate. You will still have 60 frames per second, but there are only 30 independent ones. All the rest are duplications. GoPro exposed twice for each frame to make it brighter.
5. Use officially recommended SD cards
If there is no problem with your GoPro video recording settings, then check the SD cards. You should only use the officially approved SD cards. Be aware that video grainy and some other issues happen specifically when using a SanDisk Ultra. Check the list of approved SD cards on GoPro's official website.
6. Other settings to avoid video grain
• Keep the sharpness on low or medium
• Keep the white balance on auto
• Turn on Protune Mode and set the ISO limit. Once you set the ISO, Exposure in Protune Mode won't affect your video quality whether you set it or not.
• Leave the other settings on default
If you chose wrong GoPro settings, got a grainy output but have to fix that footage, some editor software can give you a leg up. To reduce grain and noise in GoPro video, Adobe Premier Pro and Adobe After Effect are recommended most.
1. How to reduce grain in GoPro video with Adobe Premiere Pro CC
Adobe Premiere Pro CC absolutely is an ultimate professional video post production tool. Even though it is a bit hard for beginners to understand, most of the video noise reduction guides you can find online are telling about how to reduce grain with Adobe Pr. But if you are trying to fix shaky or blurry video, VideoProc should be an easier alternative of Adobe Pr for beginners. So how does Premiere Pro work with video noise? It simply blurs together the selected pixels in your frames, as a result of which individual specks of grain look less obvious.
Step 1: Download and install Adobe Premiere Pro on your computer.
There is trial version, free for seven days. After that, you need to pay $20.99 per month. Free download Adobe Premiere Pro CC >
Step 2: Import your grainy GoPro footage into Adobe Pr and add it to the timeline for video.
Step 3: Move to the Effects Panel and find "Median" in "Noise and Grain" under "Video Effects".
Step 4: Drag it onto your grainy footage and then go back to the Effects Control Panel.
Step 5: Change the radius value to make colors blend and select the mask tool. Pick a specific area of the video you want to reduce grain. If there are several areas that need to be cleaned up, apply the mask several times.
Step 6: Set the feather value and adjust the Radius based on your need. Grain should be reduced after that, although it won't be removed.
2. Reduce GoPro video grain in Adobe Premiere Pro with plugins
Instead of grappling with how to reduce grain in Premiere Pro by yourselves, an easier way is to use plugins. Most plugins have versions for different video editors. For example, Neat Video is a plugin specifically designed for dealing with grainy videos. It can be used in Premier Pro, After Effects, Final Cut Pro, Vegas, etc.
Just drag it into the timeline and then find "Reduce noise" under "Video Effects" in the Effect Controls panel. There should be an Auto Profile, which picks up the grainy area and analyze the noise level. Apply the effect and noise will be reduced.
3. How to reduce grain in GoPro video with Adobe After Effects
Step 1: Search "Remove Grain" in the Effects & Presets panel, apply it to the video and you would see a rectangle on the footage, which can be dragged around to show you the noise reduction effect.
Step 2: Adjust the settings like Noise Reduction, the number of Passes and the Channel Mode. And you will get a comparatively clear footage. Surely there are advanced settings.
4. Use proper compression settings when upload to YouTube
Your GoPro videos might get pixelated on YouTube if you upload the video with wrong compression settings. YouTube accepts 4K UHD videos and allows you to upload video in 60fps. Sometimes your HD or UHD video is in poor quality just because it is still in rendering.
Jordi was an amateur tech enthusiast, but now an editor who has published hundreds of stories covering hardware acceleration, video editing, software review and how-to guides. He is more like a "tech support" with adventurous soul, eagerly grabbing cutting-edge video technologies off in a professional yet easy-to-understand style, and enjoying gliding, diving, etc.
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