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GoPro Max

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Created by Cluffy 1 month ago, 5 Dec 2019
Cluffy
NSW, 360 posts
5 Dec 2019 2:19PM
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To long didn't read version: Great camera very poor software support. For full review read on.

The Max is the latest 360 camera from GoPro. It has two 180 degree fish eye lenses as well as a GPS chip. The Max can also do regular video at 1080p 60 fps super wide view and this is where the gps would be more useful. I'm not sure how wide the view is but with a fish eye lens I suspect it's quite wide. GoPro also claims improved stabilisation and 360 audio with reduced wind noise. 360 audio doesn't really interest me but I can report that the stabilisation is extremely good and the reduced wind noise is definitely improved. Hardware and feature wise the MAX is a great camera but unfortunately that's where the good news ends. The problem is software support, or lack of.

Currently it is not possible to edit .360 degree footage with the GoPro Quik desktop app. The app can't recognise the files. It is possible to edit 360 files using the mobile app but I can't comment on how well it works as I haven't tried it. I have read reports of long transfer and encoding times and phones getting hot. Considering the work a cell phone is being asked to do I'm not surprised.

It is possible to edit and encode .360 video on a desktop, the bad news is you need adobe premiere to do it. Now don't get me wrong, adobe premiere is a superior piece of software, it's lean, fast and efficient. The learning curve can be a bit steep but it's far from impossible. I had to watch a youtube video to learn how to export my movie but the rest I was able to figure out. The problem is the 29$ au a month it costs to rent it.

The bad news also doesn't quite stop there. Before you can even edit the movies you need to export them and the exporting software is similarly bad. It is improving though. PC users need to use the GoPro max exporter program which is still in development. At first the program only exported in cineform format which resulted in good quality but very large files. typically a 4gb file would export to about 19gb and these files contained about 8 minutes of footage. This resulted in lengthy export times and large files but good quality video. There has recently been an update to the Max exporter with once again good and bad news. The good news is HEVC and H264 support. YAY! The bad news is cineform currently not working and HEVC and H264 currently only export in 4k and not the 5.6 k resolution required for good quality footage. The file sizes are vastly reduced though, rough 10% of the size of the cineform files. I was able to recover some of the video quality by upping the export settings in premiere but this bumped my export times out to 3 to 4 hours. This is not premiere's fault I just need a new computer.

Mac desktop users may also export .360 files using the GoPro Player app however PC users can only play 360 movies and not export. One criticism of the GoPro Player is that you cannot queue up exports but this is a minor issue imo. I can't really comment further on mac programs as I'm not a mac user.

The GoPro forums contain a lot of angry rants from people demanding answers and threatening to return the camera. most are valid complaints but some people haven't done their homework. Poor software support is not a new issue at all with GoPro, This situation goes back several generations and seems to be policy. I think it in some part reflects the markets GoPro is targeting and I believe this is expecially so of the MAX, which I believe is aimed at vloggers more than action cam users. Based on the youtube reviews I have seen most vlog makers seem to love the MAX, although a lot have also critised the software support.

I still believe the Max is a great action cam but there are limitations to where you can mount it. Basically the MAX hates being too close to anything. It messes with the stitching of the two halves of the video. The Max is meant to be used on the end of a stick, which is one of the reasons I believe the Max is aimed at vloggers. The good news is once you mount it properly the mount becomes invisible. I made myself a simple helmet mount using some carbon tube and a 40$ skateboarders helmet from rebel sport. The effect is that it looks like I have a mini drone hovering above my head and the mount is completely invisible. When I mounted the cam directly on my helmet their was a stitching issue but only on the helmet so not that bad actually. The mount shown in the picture gives a great 3rd person view, only really beatable by using a drone.

Personally I don't expect free editing software from GoPro but the problem is they have taken ownership of the 360 files with the new .360 format so they need to provide a way for people to access the damn files. The GoPro forums contain a lot posts from people buying a MAX and taking it home only to be totally unable to edit or watch anything. This has resulted in cameras being returned. Like I said before some of these guys haven't done their homework fully but it's still GoPro's stuff up. Editing 5.6 k 360 video on a phone? Seriously?

I use VLC media player to watch the 360 movies as it gives a great range of zoom compared to youtube, which limits the zoom in and out somewhat but has the advantage of keeping the horizon flat. I have added a couple of vids but resolution is limited due to the current limitations of the MAX exporter. To get the best view zoom all the way out using the keypad minus key(top right of keypad) and simply hold left mouse and pan around.





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sboardcrazy
NSW, 6853 posts
5 Dec 2019 4:04PM
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Amazing! At first I was only seeing water and it was distorting and I thought the idea was cr..p but when I moved the mouse..
How would it go on a wizmount?

snides8
WA, 1619 posts
5 Dec 2019 5:55PM
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I recon it's a pretty neat gadget
no issues using it and I only edit on the mobile phone.
its pretty neat to be able to re compose the shot within the footage.
its a major improvement on the first one not only hardware but software wise

Cluffy
NSW, 360 posts
6 Dec 2019 12:27PM
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Select to expand quote
sboardcrazy said..
Amazing! At first I was only seeing water and it was distorting and I thought the idea was cr..p but when I moved the mouse..
How would it go on a wizmount?


Hi Sue, The Max might go okay on a wizmount but you might get some funny effects on the mounting tube as it could be a bit close. The mount needs to be directly below the cam for about a foot or slightly more. The only way to know for sure is to try it. Youtube doesn't really do 360 videos justice they look heaps better on something like VLC media player.



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"GoPro Max" started by Cluffy