After getting my first action cam Hero7 Black in late 2018, I've been addicted to shooting various photos and videos in full HD or 4K resolution wherever I go for relaxing, especially during the travel time.
I have to say that the video quality is really awesome. However, the playback things have bothered me a lot, because I often encounter a lagging problem when playing those high-definition GoPro videos on my Windows 10 based DELL. 4K is the hardest-hit part. When I import some to Adobe Premier Pro or Sony Vegas for easy post-production, it still lags at preview window. I tried using my MacBook Pro to watch and process them. Unfortunately, it's even worse with more lags.
I was wondering why it's so hard for me to play such 4K/HD GoPro videos on my computer smoothly with no lag until recently I start to make things clear by going through related forums and getting advices from tech geeks.
Well, if you have the same GoPro videos lagging problem on player or editor software with me, let's get together to have a look at possible reasons below, each of which is given related troubleshooting tips. If you are fed up with the overhaul stuff and are sure of the playback issue is caused by your poor computer configuration, you can do a quick fix with VideoProc right away.
Fixing keywords: Upgrade the playback rig; Compress/Convert GoPro video
Since most GoProers, including me, prefer to capture 1080p full HD and 4K, sometimes high-fps slow motion footages (in HEVC/H.264), to obtain crispy image quality, it will have a higher requirement on end playback machine, for example the most commonly used Windows and macOS computer.
A 1-min 4K@60fps GoPro video (with ProTune on) eats over 600MB memory, imagine how big file size it will be when recording a complete sports journey like boating, surfing and such. Handling huge GoPro video files should take a large amount of system resources and as the GoPro video data increases, so does the importance of a fast CPU and enough memory space.
So among computer hardware components, CPU, RAM, video card and hard drive are the main culprits for GoPro video lagging playback. If any of them lags behind, your GoPro video will look lagging and choppy. Just like me, it's right the less talented Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-2300 CPU @ 2.80GHz and extremely limited RAM (2GB) that stop my high-resolution and high-speed GoPro videos play on my DELL normally.
In view of this, here I collect some system requirements for smooth GoPro 4K & HEVC video playback.
Hardware Requirements for Smooth 4K Video Playback and Editing
|CPU:||<2.8 GHz||2.8 GHz - 3.8 GHz||4.2 GHz|
|Easy-level||Integrated Graphics (support 4K external displays/8GB RAM)
• 4th generation Intel® Core™ processor family (Intel Haswell based CPUs) - (Intel® Iris™ Pro Graphics 5200 / Intel® Iris™ Graphics 5100, Intel® HD Graphics 5000 / 4600 / 4400 / 4200)
• AMD A10-7800 APU
|GPU:||Discrete Graphics (support 4K external displays)
• Nvidia GeForce: GTX™ 970/GTX™ 980/GTX™ TITAN Z/GTX™ TITAN Black/GTX™ TITAN/GTX™ 780 & 780 Ti/GTX™ 770/GTX™ 760 & 760 Ti/GTX™ 750 & 750 Ti/GTX™ 690, 680, 670, 660, 660 Ti, 650, 650 Ti BOOST, 650 Ti
• AMD A10-7800 APU
|Hard Disk:||5400rpm HDD or SSD||7200rpm HDD or SSD||15000rpm HDD or SSD|
|Operation system for GoPro HEVC Playback and Editing (64-bit is recommended):||Windows: Windows 10 computers using the Intel Kaby Lake (or equivalent) processor and newer.
Mac: macOS High Sierra or later computers using the A10 processor and newer.
Macbook® – 2016 or newer, Macbook Pro – 2016 or newer, iMac – 2017 and newer, iMac Pro – 2017 or newer, and 27-inch 5K iMac (2015-2017).
A beefy machine is highly recommended to build for deep GoPro players. But if you have no plan to upgrade your old machine right now, you can choose an alternative way to solve GoPro video lagging issue - resize/compress/transcode it with an easy GoPro video processing software.
As mentioned above, VideoProc gives all-around solutions for different GoPro video sources that are lagging on player or editor. Please follow the steps below to fix the annoying playback error right away on your Windows or macOS computer.
Open up VideoProc and click "Video" button to pop up a video processing panel.
Click "+Video (Folder)" button to import GoPro video(s) with lagging playback issue. Drag and drop is also available here.
VideoProc provides several ways to fix GoPro video lagging playback or editing. You can take one or more methods listed below according to your actual situation.
If your hardware or software has bad compatibility with HEVC codec, you can convert HEVC GoPro video to more friendly output format from "Video" tab, for example, "MP4 H264".
If your hardware or software is weak to deal with 4K which you don't need to play on 4K monitor, you are suggested to downscale video from 4K to 1080p or so after clicking "Codec Option".
You are also free to decrease bit rate and frame rate to reduce file size. GoPro has bumped up the bit rate of Black7 to 78 Mb/s maximally when taking 4K video. So if you are to upload it online, you can reduce its value a little bit to cater for sites like YouTube.
- If you want to compress video size with parameters unchanged, VideoProc enables you to do so by cutting, cropping, trimming and splitting in its editor section or toolbox. >Resize GoPro Video
Click "RUN" to start transcoding or compression. VideoProc would enjoy a high processing speed by using hardware acceleration automatically when it's available.
Fixing keywords: Adjust cache value; Re-install/Upgrade Software; Proxy Edit; Turn on/off hardware acceleration; Transcode GoPro video
When hardware is qualified to handle GoPro videos, the software may still make video lagging and stuttering due to some improper settings or codec missing/conflict.
Cache setting is the most typical one. You have to know that when the video playback speed exceeds that of video decoding, source GoPro videos will be lagging and choppy. And when the video processing and playback speed doesn't match that of its audio file, you will see video pictures lag behind the audio. Taking VLC, PR for instance, if video lags when their cache is defined in a high value, say 1000, you can try to lower it to 300 to see if there's any change on frame skipping.
Speak of video editing tools like PR and Vegas, proxy ingest is worth a try to transcode large GoPro video before editing. Transcoding is an universal workaround when software fails to address some video codecs like HEVC.
Hardware acceleration usage is another cause for video lagging playback. Therefore, toggling hardware acceleration setting is another troubleshooting method.
Fixing keywords: Update driver; Keep power setting to high performance
If your computer is decent to keep up with the GoPro videos in high resolution, frame rate or bit rate, but it still lags a lot, you're suggested to check whether the hardware driver is not upgraded in time. Keep the drivers up to date or if necessary uninstall and install them to receive normal performance.
Power mode of the computer may also have effect on video display, so on Windows (10) PC, check and alter "battery/power saver" set to "high performance" under control panel -> power options.
Fixing keywords: Local hard drive transferring; External high-speed transferring
I placed this reason in the last one for that in a few cases certain GoProers get used to watching big GoPro videos directly from GoPro's SD card, but not keep them locally on the hard disk or SSD over USB 3.0 or similar fast connection to obtain the fastest possible playback. In these cases, even a fast graphics card has no idea on video lagging problem.
If you have no idea on throwing away the lagging problem after trying all fixing tips related to software, driver, and hardware settings, it's time to invest a new machine or directly process GoPro (4K/HD) video with VideoProc once for all.
This all-in-one video processing software is also capable of stabilizing your shaky GoPro footages, removing fisheye or annoying wind noise from your clips, forcing audio video sync in one click and do more video edits like rotating, flipping, adding subtitles/effects/watermark and more.
 Hardware Acceleration [wiki]: In computing, hardware acceleration is the use of computer hardware to perform some functions more efficiently than is possible in software running on a more general-purpose CPU...
A.J. McCann, started at Digiarty as a web editor and moved up to a tech writer later, focuses on giving all-around but lifestyle reviews & tips on hot gadgets, photography, multimedia post-production and related error solutions. Considering himself a master-of-none, he has a mania for daily reading covering a wide range of subjects. He also loves playing ball-games and practicing meditation in the leisure time.
Aiming to be the leading digital media company, Digiarty Software, Inc. is dedicated to providing professional and innovative multimedia software for all Windows and Mac users.