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Covering the GoPro HERO and other small Point-Of-View video cameras.


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Old April 11th, 2013, 02:38 AM   #1
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External mic mod for GoPro Hero 3 Black

I wanted the GoPro to be able to get decent audio for the sake of sync and sometimes for actual field production under certain circumstances.

The Polar Pro mic, along with GoPro's mic adapter cable that plugs into the GoPro's mini-USB port, looked like it might provide a solution, but I didn't want the camera exposed to the usual salt spray and occasional splash. And, of course, it sometimes rains, too.

Using a Dremel tool and some sandpaper wrapped around a flat micro-file, I cut a rectangular hole right where the USB port would be. The hole is sized so it just barely lets the GoPro mic adapter cable plug solidly into the camera.

The audio is with this mic isn't as good as it is with the camera's built-in mic. It sounds a bit thinner. But it's way better than what I had before, which was a 3/8" hole drilled where the camera's built-in mic is, covered with a piece of microfiber lens cloth.

The microfiber cloth is actually good enough to prevent water from getting in. I had it on a fishing kayak all day long with it getting rained on and sprayed with salt water. The camera stayed dry.

I haven't taken this setup out yet. I'm planning to add some silicone to the plug so that it forms a skirted seal over the hole when the mic adapter is plugged in. Also have to make some sort of mount for the mic so it's not just hanging off the cable.
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External mic mod for GoPro Hero 3 Black-img_3033.jpg   External mic mod for GoPro Hero 3 Black-img_3034.jpg  

External mic mod for GoPro Hero 3 Black-img_3037.jpg  
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Old April 12th, 2013, 03:02 AM   #2
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Re: External mic mod for GoPro Hero 3 Black

Looks good, Dean. Good luck!

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Old April 12th, 2013, 04:38 AM   #3
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Re: External mic mod for GoPro Hero 3 Black

Hi Dean, thanks for that info as that is exactly the same route that I'm about to do but have stopped.
I'm thinking of finding another mic.
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Old April 12th, 2013, 04:44 AM   #4
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Re: External mic mod for GoPro Hero 3 Black

Thanks, Junior.

Simon... what's good about this mod is that you can use any mic that plugs into a 3-conductor 1/8" socket.
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Old April 12th, 2013, 05:24 AM   #5
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Re: External mic mod for GoPro Hero 3 Black

Yeah that's the same setup I have at the moment other than now looking at the Olympus ME-52 mic
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Old April 24th, 2013, 03:29 PM   #6
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Re: External mic mod for GoPro Hero 3 Black

I bought an Olympus ME-52 for use with the Hero 2.

Took a chance on it as its so cheap anyway.

My main concern is to obtain a better audio track for syncing with my main non-gopro cams and digital audio recorders as sometimes Pluraleyes can be defeated by the onboard Gopro audio and cannot auto-sync the Gopro tracks. If you are a Pluraleyes user you'll know why that matters :- )

I found an example test track on Youtube and it seemed OK. But is was recorded on a beach next to the sea :- )

Just done some bench tests with speech and I am getting the strange pulsing referred to in the linked thread. This is not noticeable during regular speech but it is there if you listen out for it in silent periods.

None the less it is very usable.

In comparison the onboard Gopro audio sounded basey and muffled even though I used the Skeleton housing. The ME-52 was much better. It was however somewhat brittle compared to a regular lav mic connected to the Gopro. The lav mic also exhibited the same pulsing as the ME-52.

A big advantage of the ME-52 is that it can go straight into the Gopro without a connecting wire and can be bent 90 degrees towards the sound, thereby maintaining the Gopro's compact easy to handle form factor.

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Old May 3rd, 2013, 09:19 PM   #7
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Re: External mic mod for GoPro Hero 3 Black

I recently sent the customer service people at GoPro a link to a youtube video I posted where I'm illustrating the bass rumble (almost sounds like a gurgling brook) that's heard during silence. Or it can be heard by just plugging the external mic cable in without attaching a mic on the other end. You'll hear it when you listen using good speakers, not tiny tinny 1/2" speakers on a laptop.


I complained about this same issue a year ago when testing the Hero 2. The service rep said maybe the latest firmware update might have addressed a static problem. But this is more than static. It's rumbling, gurgling, bass frequency range. It would be hard to filter out because it's not just one tone. It's present under any external mic as well as present within the electronics of the camera without any mic attached.

Frustrating!!!
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Old May 10th, 2013, 05:48 AM   #8
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Re: External mic mod for GoPro Hero 3 Black

The way this finally played out...
After submitting more video clips to prove it wasn't interference from the bluetooth mic or from nearby power sources, GP concluded the noise/rumble/gurgle heard is part of the normal background noise within the camera.
They suggested using filtering to remove it.
At least they now know someone's noticing. Maybe in future camera versions they'll quietly (so as to save face) fix the problem.
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Old May 11th, 2013, 03:53 AM   #9
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Re: External mic mod for GoPro Hero 3 Black

I met someone who also markets a POV camera and he said he went to the factory that also manufactures the GoPro. The camera this company sells uses the same "guts" as the GoPro, although the firmware is implemented differently, with a different user interface.

From what I was told, GoPro might not have direct control over specific quality issues.
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Old May 11th, 2013, 11:43 AM   #10
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Re: External mic mod for GoPro Hero 3 Black

Interesting.
Speaking of "conspiracy theories," I floated the possibility to the GP people that the audio circuits in the camera have an inherent design flaw.
I say this based on my experience with ScreenPlay, an editing device that David Neuman designed about 15 years ago. When outputting edited programs to tape, the cross-talk between channels 1 and 2 was terrible. Neuman's now the head engineer at GoPro. Perhaps he made the same mistake on the Hero?
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