Slo-Mo with the GoPro HD Hero2

Static Camera & Moving Objects @120fps

By now we’ve seen hundreds of really amazing videos with a GoPro strapped to someone’s helmet, snowboard, jumpsuit, surfboard or bike – but I wanted to explore the capabilities of the GoPro HD Hero2 shooting at 120fps in a stationary and tabletop setting and let the action happen around it… in Slo Mo!

Underwater – the Pool Test

Disclaimer: Keep in mind that this test was done around Christmas time with an unheated pool (around 44ºf) so I apologize for no examples with bikini-clad women diving into the water, so I had to scrounge around for objects I could easily retrieve from the pool after I tossed them in. 🙂

I set up the camera attached to a light stand and rigged a short brace to help control the swaying in the water when the GoPro got splashed. Here you’ll see the mount and the GoPro’s lens just below the water line. The LCD BacPac helped me line up the shots a bit easier than just “guessing”. It’s a real time saver, but does add to the overall weight of the camera/housing.

Mounting the GoPro just below the water level

Since we have a dozen orange trees in our back yard, I had some obvious smaller objects to use, plus I knew they floated so it would produce a cool recoil/buoyancy effect after tossing them in the water. But I also needed something larger and heavier to toss in… then, it presented itself right before my eyes, but I just didn’t have the heart to do it.

No animals were used in any of these experiments!

So I remember from my college days how well patio furniture flies into the pool so I gave that a try instead.

I did two runs with the objects, just to see how the GoPro HD Hero2 focuses on objects far and near – especially underwater. My first pass I tossed in a couple oranges about 5ft from the camera and then tossed in the patio chair about 10 ft. In the video below it looks like they’re both much further away, due to the FOV of the GoPro lens. My second attempt I got more organs and threw them in right in front of the camera, just avoiding hitting it and I think the results are far better. I did the same with the chair, but it’s difficult to distinguish what you’re looking at that close.



If you’ve never been body surfing and “eaten” it on the pounding surf to find your swim trunks and mouth full of sand when it’s all over, then pay close attention to this video to see what that experience can be like. 😉

I positioned the GoPro at the edge of the incoming surf on a fairly flat beach so it wouldn’t really get “pounded” but just gently washed over as the tide was receding near sunset. In hind-sight, I would have better secured a base that would go deeper into the sand, but I wanted the lens on the GoPro to be just above the sand’s surface to really get this effect.

The first wave in was fine and all worked well, but I didn’t reposition the GoPro and the second wave took it out. Luckily the receding water wasn’t too strong so I was able to run after it before it took off to sea! Watch all the way to the end and you’ll see me dashing in after it.


Slo-Mo Comparison: 60fps and 120fps

I was intrigued to see how the GoPro HD Hero2 compared to the original GoPro at 60fps – primarily to see how it handled color, clarity and how the sensor reacted to the motion of fast-moving objects in front of it.

In this side-by-side comparison, I had both cameras running side-by-side only a couple inches apart with the same settings, lighting, etc. I’ve slowed the playback to 20fps for both clips, in-sync.


I then did a test comparing the 60fps clip to a 120fps clip in the GoPro HD Hero2 and was very impressed with the results. What a difference in clarity the 120fps delivers when played back at 20fps!

The LCD BacPac on the GoPro HD Hero2 really helps set up shots quickly!


Slo-Mo in Motion

In my previous review of the GoPro HD Hero2, I included a short test with 120fps Slo-Mo of a micro-dolly move around a glass while pouring into the glass. You can read the whole review and see the setup I used to create this video by CLICKING HERE

Links to other GoPro articles in this series:

Slo-Mo with the GoPro HD Hero2 – Static Camera & Moving Objects @120fps

The GoPro HD Hero2: A Real-World Wide-Angle View – An In-Depth Look at GoPro’s Latest Little Dynamo!

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

Support ProVideo Coalition
Shop with Filmtools Logo

Share Our Article

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…