The Loam Ranger’s Action Camera Setup

The Loam Ranger posts incredibly beautiful and cinematic videos to his YouTube channel of him riding mountain bikes in gorgeous places. It’s safe to say most action camera video looks terrible, and his videos stand head and shoulders above the rest.

He recently posted two videos (linked below) where he shares his setup and process for creating beautiful action camera video. I wanted to emulate this setup, so I took notes and wanted to share them here for anyone else looking to up their game.

Camera

  • While there are lots of great cameras out there, nearly everyone swears by the GoPro Hero 4 (Note this is 2 generations behind, but the camera + microphone is unbeatable apparently)
  • Don’t use that awful plastic waterproof case — thats the reason your audio sounds terrible. Use a ‘Skeleton Housing Case’ instead.
  • Use a microphone muff to keep wind noise down. A fake mustache does wonders.
  • Use the GoPro iPhone app — easier to change settings that way
  • He also recommends shooting as close to the action (low) as possible. Ideally with a chest mount and gimbal, since the further the camera is from the action (the wheels on ground), the less lively the video will appear. This is why helmet cam shots can look so boring.

Camera Settings

  • Shoot in Superview mode (4k if you got it)
  • 24 fps
  • Use Protune with the following settings:
  • White Balance: 6500k for overcast / cloudy scenes, or 5500k for sunny and daylight scenes
  • Color: Flat
  • Sharpness: Low
  • EV Comp: -1

Software

Now that you’ve captured video clips with this configuration, you need to perform some color correcting magic to make it shine. For each clip in your edit, you’ll need to do the following:

  • Use Divinchi Resolve (free) for color correction (and editing / export)
  • Color adjustment recommendations, assuming you’ve used this camera settings:
  • Gamma (Highlights) — Adjust up until they near the top of the visual spectrum
  • Gain (Shadows): Adjust down until they are near the bottom of the visual spectrum
  • Lift (Midtones) — Adjust as you see fit
  • Contrast adjustment: bump it up a bit
  • Saturation: Boost it! This is where that flat camera setting pays off
  • Sharpness adjustment: Blur -> Radius -> Reduce to ~46

Render and Export

  • Export with YouTube settings w/ some changes:
  • 2160p (or the biggest your source supports)
  • 24fps (23.976)
  • Quality: turn off ‘Automatic’ and set to 85000 Kb/s
  • Turn on Multipass
  • Render, export, upload, and enjoy

The Source

Here are the two videos that The Loam Ranger produced where he shares these tips. This blog post will make much more sense after you’ve watched them first.

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