The GoPro is a great little action camera, and you don’t necessarily need the latest and greatest one either for some great results, take a look at my retrospective review of the GoPro Hero 8 if you want to know more about that. However, once you’ve captured your footage and have edited it together – you still want to make sure that you can export a file that offers good quality and fidelity, whilst keeping a sensible file size.
We’re going to be taking a look at some exporting settings that I’d recommend for action camera and GoPro edits in Premiere Pro and DaVinci Resolve, exploring the results of different bitrates, resolutions and codecs and how this affects your final export. Of course, you may have to make slight tweaks and adjustments based on what you’re filming but these should provide a good baseline to experiment and begin with.
What settings are we adjusting?
The settings that we’re looking to adjust are the bitrate, resolution, codec and format. The main thing we’ll be focusing on is the bitrate and codec/format as the resolution is likely dictated by your capture resolution.
The bitrate is how much data is being used to store frame data within a video file. For example, a bitrate of 70 megabits per second will allow you to store a lot more data than 10 megabits per second – whilst both will try their best to accommodate your project settings, a low bitrate can sometimes struggle to hold enough data to provide a clear image to the viewer, which can lead to a blocky visual when playing back media.
The resolution is more up to your preference, I usually capture at 2.7K as this gives me a high enough resolution for recording my bike rides without overwhelming file sizes although you can apply this to 1080p or 4K footage – definitely feel free to experiment with settings to figure out what works best for you. There’s then file formats and codecs to think about, for personal use H.264 in an MP4 format works well as it’s accepted and plays back on pretty much any website and device — whilst also keeping file sizes sensible.
So, let’s move over to Premiere Pro and Davinci Resolve to see what this looks like in practice.
When you’re ready to export your video, head over to the Export tab at the top of the Premiere Pro window. Make sure that the file format is set to H.264 to start off with, but then let’s change the basic video settings to match our timeline sequence, this can be done by clicking the “Match Source” button, this will match the resolution and framerate from the timeline to the final exported file.
Scrolling down, there will be two checkboxes to tick to ensure we get the highest quality render out of Premiere Pro:
- Render at Maximum Depth
- Use Maximum Render Quality
Scrolling down a bit further, the bitrate setting is the main setting that we’re looking to adjust as this allows us to let more data be stored into the video file. Let’s set this to 70 Mbps so there is a lot more data available for each frame to work with.
Now this is all set, you can export your video.
When you’re ready to render your video, switch to the Deliver tab at the bottom of the screen. First of all, you’ll need to set a filename and location for the render to be saved to.
Now, let’s change the format from QuickTime to MP4 and set the codec to H.264. Make sure that the resolution and framerate match your timeline and expectations and now let’s adjust the quality settings.
Change the bitrate from Automatic to Restrict to, this will let us manually set the bitrate instead of DaVinci resolve setting it for us. Unlike Premiere Pro, DaVinci Resolve uses kilobits per second, so this will need to be set to 70000 (seventy thousand) to give us a 70 megabit per second render.
All the other settings can be left as is, but feel free to take a look into them if you wish. You can now add your video to the render queue and render your video.