Firmware Upgrade for the GoPro HERO4 Announced (and Reviewed!)

HERO4 Black and Silver get New Features and Performance Boost!

GoPro recently unlocked a host of new features for the HERO4 Black and HERO4 Silver that will amp the performance, capabilities and convenience of the cameras even higher. Run a quick update on your HERO4 software to enable even more dynamic content capture. 

Announced on Feb 4, GoPro has released a firmware upgrade to their HERO4 Black and Silver edition cameras – Free of charge. This is like getting a brand new camera with only a software update! New higher FPS and Timelapse features top the list, as well as burst modes, auto rotate and more…

While this isn’t a major product rev release for the hardware, GoPro’s ability to update the firmware of your cameras to allow greater potential is a great bonus to owning this powerful little camera!

HERO4 Black and HERO4 Silver Update Features:

  • Time lapse video mode  – Capture Time Lapse videos automatically-no post-production needed. Showcase a sunrise, road trip or family gathering as a short, sharable video.
  • 30/6 burst photo – Introducing a new way to never miss a moment. Capture 30 photos in 6 seconds-perfect for longer duration fast-action activities like surfing and snowboarding.
  • Auto rotate – Automatically adjusts capture orientation to right-side up when the camera is mounted upside down.
  • Add HiLight Tags during playback – Now you can mark key moments both while recording video and playing back content on the built-in touch display to quickly find highlights for easy editing and sharing.  [HERO4 Black requires LCD Touch BacPac to utilize this feature]

HERO4 Black Only:

  • 720p240 fps video – Record ultra high frame rate video at a staggering 240 frames per second for liquid smooth slow-motion playback
  • 2.7K60 fps video – Capture cinematic, high-resolution 2.7K footage at an impressive 60 frames per second

Here’s the GoPro Field Guide – HERO4 Firmware Upgrade video:


On the day of the release, I only had time to run out and fly my DSLRPros Expedition Series P2 with the HERO4 Black to capture some stunning 2.7k/60fps aerial video. Here’s a few clips of my results: (Watch in 1080p HD, full-size)

HERO4 Black, 2.7k/60fps M (2704×1520), ProTune, Color Tuning:GoPro, W/B 5500k, ISO400, Exposure Comp:-0.5, Sharpness:Med


I’ve had a chance to run a few more tests of the new feature settings on both the HERO4 Black and Silver cameras and here are some of my findings and resulting video clips.

While it was raining like hell this weekend here in Nor Cal, I did manage to get a few tests in the horse arena, but the sodium vapor lighting wasn’t kind to the 240fps setting on the HERO4 Black. Besides the noise (was shot at 720p/240, 800ISO) you can really see the flicker of the lights captured when the part of the shot is slowed-down to 10% (23.97fps). It’s pretty amazing though how it captured the horses’ movement, but I do notice a great deal of compression in the individual frames. I’m hoping to run some other 240fps tests in better light when the weather clears up and compare with the iPhone 6.

Here’s the slo-mo video clip from today:


Some features, such as the new Time Lapse Movie require you to use the GoPro Studio software to process the image sequences. After my tests today set to 1 frame at 2 second intervals, I’d probably bump that up quite a bit for driving sequences – possibly every .5 second for a smoother video – especially using the “Flux” option, available when you slow down the playback under 100%. This simulates the “hyperlapse” effect we’ve seen on the iPhone in the past year and with the correct frame interval/timing could probably produce some pretty amazing results. I have to play with this feature some more for sure – but know that exporting will take about 4-5 times longer than normal, so be sure to give it plenty of time.

I also brought the same sequence into Adobe Premiere Pro CC and set it to 2 frames for every image, which gives it more of a stop motion effect on playback. I’ve edited both variations side-by-side in this test so you can see the difference:

I will be updating and sharing more test results over the weeks to come. Stay tuned…

To upgrade your GoPro HERO4 Silver or Black, go to http://gopro.com/update/HERO4


Jeff Foster is a published author of several how-to books and training videos in the motion graphics, animation and video production industries and is an award-winning video producer and artist. Visit his web site to learn more about his training methods, tips & tricks at PixelPainter.com


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Jeff Foster has written and contributed to several books and magazines, and has been producing motion graphics, photography and creative design for major corporations, television and film for more than 25 years. See his full…