Val Thorens Snowboarding – GoPro 5 + Karma Grip

So as a last minute purchase before my trip I decided to pick up the GoPro Hero 5 Black and the GoPro Karma Grip and put them through their paces in the effort to make a cinematic video of my trip. I already owned the GoPro Hero 4 Silver, and there isn’t massive difference spec wise between the 5 Black and the 4 Silver, but one thing sold it for me, the fact that the 5 Black was waterproof without a housing on it.

This is a MASSIVE deal to me as using a GoPro in a gimbal the body becomes exposed to the elements. If I was to take a tumble with the 4 silver attatched to a gimbals and buried it, chances are I could possibly cause some water damage to the GoPro. The 5 Black eliminates this by having a water proof body. Perfect, I picked one up.

I’m not going to dive into a full review of the GoPro Hero 5 Black and Karma Grip, I’ll save that for a separate video and post, but I’ll summarise¬†it very quickly below.

GoPro Hero 5 Black – Key Camera Settings

  • 2.7k 48fps
  • Protune on
  • Linear mode/view

This is the core of my video settings. The reason I don’t shoot 4k is because it’s limited to 30fps. I need at least 48fps so I can create slow motion footage in post production, so shooting everything at 48fps means when I slow everything down by 50% if needed to and it still conforms to my 24fps video timeline.

I use protune because like to do my own color grading and adjustments and protune gives a great starting place for that. It records in a flatter color profile which means I can then add the saturation and tweak the image for my desired look. If you not sure about color correction or grading then just stick with GoPro Color, it still pops nicely.

The big one, linear mode. What linear mode does is takes away the very thing that GoPro is known for, the wide angle slightly fished look. By turning this off it crops into the picture and produces standard non fish eye videos and photos. This is the key to what makes my above video look like it was shot on something other than a GoPro.

GoPro Karma Grip

I had a love and hate relationship with this. When it worked, it worked amazingly, but when sometimes it was a battle to actually make the thing work.

The Good

  • Great stabilisation
  • Amazing battery life

Stabilisation was amazing. It’s so smooth while snowboarding it makes the entire production look like it was shoot on my more expensive equipment.

The battery life of the grip itself is really quite something, and it keeps the GoPro itself charged while its on. People saw this as a downside as the grip will keep the battery topped up throughout the day and when the grip does finally run out of battery, your left with a 100% charged GoPro. I didn’t really find this an issue as most days I was still returning back to the apartment with 1/4 battery left in the grip. I personally really like this feature as it meant I didn’t have to carry around any extra GoPro batterys with me. I just put the grip on charge over night and grabbed it on the way out the next morning.

The Bad

  • Syncing issues

I did unfortunately had syncing issues quite a number of times. When you power on the Karma Grip its supposed to sync with the GoPro and turn it ready for use. Quite a lot of the time turning on the Karma Grip would send the GoPro into a booting loop for about 40 seconds before it became stable and stayed on for use. I did eventually work out half way through the week that if I formatted the SD card then these issues would dissappear. But once I had recorded some videos then the boot loop would sometimes start again, formatting the card worked again in this case.

Sometimes it would also not sync correctly. I’d power on the Karma Grip and the GoPro would not turn on. So I power off the Karma Grip and the GoPro comes to life. Then it was getting stuck doing the opersite of what it should of been doing. I found I sometimes had to power the GoPro off and cycle round a few times to get the sync back on track.

I know other people have had the same syncing issues with the grip so I’m hoping a firmware update has fixed/is going to fix these issues. Admittedly I haven’t actually checked for new firmware updates since I went away in January.

The GoPro Hero 5 and Karma Grip is such a killer combo for film making where you just need to have something small with you. If they fix/have fixed the syncing issues between the two then I have no doubt in recommended both to film makers.


Links to buy @ Amazon