Using GoPro 4K video to create Panoramic Imagery – The Basics

[Group 1]-GOPR0046.00_00_31_13.Still013_GOPR0046.00_01_19_12.Still034-15 images

This image was created from taking frames from GoPro Hero 4 Black 4K footage. The basic principle here is that the GoPro stills are shot at the same resolution and size as a frame of 4K footage.  When you take a frame from that file, you can either work on it in an editor or you can do your processing in the video before exporting the stills.  Since we are getting the same quality in the resulting image, 4K video capture can give us better and faster results.

Here is the basic process:

  • I use 4K 24fps mode on my GoPro Black Edition camera. I also use Protune and GoPro Color selections with no spot metering in exposure.
  • Fly up and video the same area that you would snap stills  for a panoramic view.  Angle the camera up as far as you can go and rotate either direction from one end of the target area to the other. then tilt the camera down leaving at least a 50% overlap from the last rotation.  Rotate back the other way to the other end of the target area. Repeat making as many rows as needed to capture the desired area..  (now use the rest of your battery for filming the area since you are already up there and in 4K mode)  Then land safely and head to the computer….
  • In Adobe Premiere load the video you just shot. You can either apply post processing to the video now or to the still images later.  I usually apply only lens corrections before exporting.
  • Frame through the video rotations exporting a TIFF still that has at least 50% over lap from the previous frame export.  Do this for each level of the pano rotation until you have all the images you need exported.
  • Use Adobe Photoshop or Autopanogiga to stitch the images together.
  • Post Process the final image in Adobe Lightroom or your preferred application.

Those are the basics, more detailed tutorials will be coming soon. I use this method for most of my aerial stills taken with the GoPro Hero 4 Black Edition Camera.  You can do complete 180 degree spherical panoramic captures in under 3 minutes this way.  If you were taking stills it would take much longer and you would have a long post process anyway.  This process takes less battery time and therefore allows you to capture more in every flight.


If you were to do this for a 180 degree spherical pattern, you would end up with this as a resulting panoramic image

Hollywood 180 spherical


These are some of the techniques we show you at where I am developing the aerial cohort curriculum.  I will be posting more detailed tutorials on this process soon.