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Does Your GoPro Footage Look Bad? Here’s How To Make It Better

Several things can cause your GoPro footage to look bad. The most common is a dirty lens, but low light, shaky hands, and wrong settings can also lead to subpar footage. If you’re trying to film in low light, you might want to increase the ISO or frame rate. Or, if you’re trying to film fast-moving action, you might want to decrease the shutter speed.

A simple fix for bad footage is to clean the lens using a microfiber cloth and lens cleaner or water. Just be sure not to use anything too harsh on the lens, as this could damage it. You can also use a lens cover to prevent your GoPro’s lens from getting scratched.

Bad footage is one of the worst things that can happen when shooting with a GoPro. It’s frustrating when you’re trying to capture a memory or document an event, only to have your footage look terrible. Fortunately, there are various ways to avoid it. So let’s dive right in!

Why Does Your GoPro Footage Look Bad?

Action sports cameras

There are a number of things that can cause your GoPro footage to look bad. The most common is a dirty lens, but other things like low light, shaky hands, outdated firmware, and wrong settings can also lead to subpar footage.

And remember: GoPros are designed to be in the elements, but that doesn’t mean they’re indestructible. If you’re mountain biking or something really intense that could result in the camera getting banged up, you may want to consider a simple accessories kit like this one (on Amazon) to protect your device.

The screen protector especially, which you can purchase separate of course (also on Amazon) can really help make sure your screen stays in tip-top shape, and a pack of several of them like we’ve linked here is appropriate, since you’ll want the option of replacing the cover when cracked.

OK, now that we’ve given a few tips on long-term preservation of your camera, let’s turn our attention back to the lens and what could be causing bad video footage!

Dirty Lens

The number one cause of bad GoPro footage is a dirty lens. It’s easy for your lens to get smudged, especially if you’re using it outdoors. Even if you think your lens is clean, it’s always a good idea to give it a quick wipe with a microfiber cloth before each use.

This will help to ensure that you’re getting the most precise possible image. If you have the GoPro mounted to your helmet, it may be covered by dust or dirt, leading to poor footage. Although GoPros are built to be tough and durable, they are not indestructible and can be scratched or have their lens broken.

Outdated Firmware

Each GoPro model has its own specific firmware. Firmware is the software that runs your GoPro and helps it to function correctly. It’s important to keep your GoPro’s firmware up to date so that you can take advantage of the latest features and bug fixes.

You can check to see if there’s a new firmware update for your GoPro by going to the support page on the GoPro website. Firmware problems may arise if an automatic update is not well executed or if you try to update the firmware manually without the proper files.

Low Light or Night Shooting

Another common cause of bad GoPro footage is shooting in low light or at night. When there’s not enough light, your GoPro will have difficulty getting a clear image.

This often leads to footage that’s dark and blurry. Even with artificial light, it can be challenging to get a clear image. If you’re shooting in low light, you might want to increase the ISO or frame rate.

Or, if you’re trying to film fast-moving action, you might want to decrease the shutter speed.

Shaky Hands

If your hands are shaking while you’re recording, it will show in your footage. This is especially true if you’re trying to shoot video with a GoPro that’s not mounted to anything.

Even with advanced image stabilization, there’s only so much that your GoPro can do to counteract the effects of shaky hands. The best way to avoid this problem is to use a mount or tripod to keep your GoPro steady.

Incorrect Settings

There are several different settings that you can adjust on your GoPro, which can greatly impact the quality of your footage. If you’re unfamiliar with all the settings, it’s easy to choose the wrong one accidentally.

For example, if you’re shooting in low light, you might want to increase the ISO. Or, if you’re trying to film fast-moving action, you might want to decrease the shutter speed. If you’re unsure what settings to use, there are many helpful guides available online.

How to Make Your GoPro Video Better

There are a number of things you can do to make your GoPro footage look better. Of course, the most important thing is keeping your lens clean, but you should also ensure that your firmware is up to date and that you’re using the correct settings for your particular situation.

1. Clean Your Lens

The number one reason for lousy footage is a dirty lens. A smudged or scratched lens will cause your video to look blurry, and it can be challenging to fix in post-production.

So, before you start shooting, ensure your lens is clean. You can use a microfiber cloth or a LensPen to clean your GoPro’s lens. If your GoPro is mounted on your helmet or another gear, you may need to remove it periodically to clean the lens properly.

2. Use the Correct Settings

The second most common reason for bad-looking GoPro footage is using the wrong settings. Each situation is different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but there are a few general tips that will help you get better results.

First, if you’re shooting in low light, ensure your camera’s ISO is set as low as possible. Higher ISOs will result in more noise in your video, which can be very difficult to fix.

Second, if you’re shooting action or anything else that requires a fast shutter speed, make sure to set your camera’s shutter speed to at

3. Update Your Firmware

Keeping your GoPro’s firmware up to date is important for two reasons: first, it ensures that you have the latest bug fixes and performance improvements; second, it allows you to take advantage of new features that might improve the quality of your footage.

To update your GoPro’s firmware:

  1. First, head over to the Support page on GoPro’s website.
  1. Next, download the latest version of the GoPro App for your computer.
  1. Once the app is installed, connect your GoPro to your computer and follow the instructions on the screen.

4. Use Stable Mounting Solutions

If your GoPro is moving around too much, it won’t be easy to get stable footage. So, if you’re shooting while riding a bike or participating in another activity that causes much vibration, make sure to use a stabilizing mount. The best solution is the Karma Grip, which GoPro makes, but several third-party options are available.

5. Edit Your Footage

Even if you do everything right while shooting, there’s always room for improvement in post-production. So, take the time to edit your footage and make sure that it looks as good as it can before you share it with the world.

How to Solve Grainy GoPro Video

Young woman with action camera

Grainy footage is one of the most common problems people have with their GoPro videos. There are two reasons why your footage might be grainy: you are using incorrect settings or shooting in low light.

You can overcome low light by using an external light source or changing your shooting angle, but if you have the wrong settings, you may need to try the following:

1. Use Low ISO Value

Higher ISO makes the sensor more sensitive to light and can brighten up a dark scene, but it also amplifies the grain in your footage. The higher the ISO, the more grain you will see. While lower ISO may darken your scene, it will result in less grainy footage.

Experienced photographers set ISO at not more than 800, and others even go as low as 200. However, even in the darkest conditions, you should not exceed higher than ISO 1600 lest you want your footage to be very grainy.

2. Lower the Shutter Speed

If you can no longer increase the ISO without developing the blurry video, try slowing down the shutter speed to allow more light to enter the sensor. A good rule of thumb is to set your shutter speed to double your frame rate.

So, if you are shooting at 30fps, set your shutter speed to 1/60. This will help produce clear and non-blurry videos. Too slow, and you increase the chances of light flickering and motion blur, so you may need a tripod to keep your camera still.

3. Adjust Aperture

Properly exposed ISO100 gives clear, bright images at apertures between f/1.2 and f/5.6. However, all GoPro HERO models have a fixed aperture lens at f/2.8 except for the HERO10 Black, which has an aperture lens at f/2.5.

The fixed apertures of GoPros mean that you cannot reduce video grain by adjusting your aperture as you would in a DSLR camera.

4. Lower the Frame Rate

Frame rate affects the amount of light that enters the sensor during each shutter’s open time. The higher the frame rate, the less light enters the sensor, resulting in a grainier video. Conversely, the lower the frame rate, the more light enters the sensor, resulting in a less grainy video. 

Do not use higher frame rates in low light because doing so would result in a blurry and grainy video. If you are shooting at night, 1080p at 60fps produces a much clearer video than 4K at 60fps, and 30 fps could be much better.

If you’re unfamiliar with frame rates, your best bet is to use Auto Low Light Mode to automatically change your frame rate according to lighting conditions.

How to Post Clear GoPro Videos on the Internet

If you frequently post GoPro videos on the internet, you’ve probably noticed that even crystal clear videos may become pixilated or grainy when uploaded to a website.

This is because most websites automatically compress video to make the file size smaller so that it can load faster on a user’s device. Unfortunately, the compression process can cause pixelation and video graininess. You can solve this depending on the site you are using to post your video.


  1. Use Youtube recommended encoding settings for the best video quality, which are H.264 video codec and AAC audio codec. If your footage doesn’t conform to the standards, you can use external software like Adobe Premiere Pro to re-encode your video.
  1. YouTube takes time to process high-resolution and large videos, so while the initial video may be blurry, give it some time, and it will eventually become clear.
  1. Set the playback setting to the highest resolution by clicking the gear icon on the top right of the video player.
  1. Shoot your video in 4K if you want to maintain the highest quality when uploaded. If you cannot do so, use post-processing edits to upscale your video to 4K. This will make your video appear more clear and more sharp on YouTube.
  1. Use a faster internet connection. Higher bandwidths allow for a smoother upload process, which will help preserve video quality.


Facebook compresses all videos that are uploaded to the site. You can avoid this by first uploading your video to a third-party site like YouTube or Vimeo and then embedding the video onto your Facebook page.

But if you have to upload your video directly to Facebook, there are a few things you can do to maintain video quality:

  1. If you’re uploading videos via Quik for mobile, ensure you toggle on the Save videos in 1080p HD feature and switch on Upload HD on your Facebook page.
  1. Computers upload better quality than mobile devices; you should therefore transfer your GoPro footage to your computer before uploading it to Facebook.
  1. Just like YouTube, Facebook requires time to process videos, so be patient and allow time for the video to become clear.
  1. Connect to a high-speed internet connection for a smooth upload process.


  1. Vimeo supports up to 8K resolution, so if you have footage shot in this resolution, uploading it will preserve video quality.
  1. Use H.264 or HEVC codecs for best results and AAC audio codec.
  1. If you’re not shooting in 8K, film in 4K and downscale to 1080p in your editing software before uploading to Vimeo. This will make your video appear more clear and more sharp.
  1. Like YouTube and Facebook, videos take time to process, so be patient and allow time for the video to become clear.
  1. Use a high-speed internet connection for a smooth upload process.