If you happen to ever used GoPro’s Karma grip, the Media Mod gives you deja-vu. Aesthetically, it is much like the half that housed the digital camera. Together with the actual fact you will should take away the GoPro’s battery cowl to hook up with the USB-C port. That is smart, nevertheless it additionally means you do not have easy accessibility to the reminiscence card, which was a main perk of the Hero eight’s new design (as you now not wanted a “body” mount).
There are two different quirks that you will immediately encounter. The Media Mod has a cutout on the backside so you may entry the digital camera’s built-in mount fingers, however the thickness of the mod means you do not have a lot room to entry/tighten the mounting pin beneath it — particularly if it is a shorter model one. It is even worse when you’ve got the pin on the appropriate as you take a look at the digital camera, because the mod seems to be designed for the pin to go on the left. It took me virtually 5 minutes to take away a mount the primary time I did it the “fallacious” manner. Fortunately, most pins could be tightened with a screwdriver/penny/key, nevertheless it makes for a slower, clumsier expertise if you happen to’re altering the mount on the fly.
The second factor you will discover, when you’ve got the sunshine accent and wish to add it to the highest chilly shoe on the Media Mod, is that you simply then will not be capable of take away the GoPro with out eradicating the sunshine mod first. Its place up prime prevents the latch door from totally opening. There may be, nonetheless, one other chilly shoe on the aspect, so utilizing that one would keep away from that scenario.
The mod additionally provides somewhat little bit of weight and heft, however the setup remains to be simply pocketable, particularly if you happen to’re utilizing a small mount just like the Shorty. Take be aware: the Media Mod is not waterproof in any manner, so it is a dry land solely gig. I am unsure who was planning to make use of this whereas browsing precisely, however at the least know you may’t depart it on in case your vlog takes you into the water.
And vlogging very a lot is what the Media Mod is about. Individuals have at all times used GoPros for video blogs, however they got here with sure challenges. Challenges GoPro has been steadily squashing — most notably with the addition of HyperSmooth stabilization within the Hero 7. With that one function, the newer GoPros grew to become extra viable self-shooting choices for these in search of a small setup.
One trade-off that is still (till now?) was audio. The GoPro’s inner microphones do a good job for ambient sound, however if you happen to needed higher audio in your monologues you wanted to make use of an exterior mic. This both meant recording into one thing else completely (and synching it later in publish), or shopping for a mic connector accent. Not solely was this an additional spend, nevertheless it additionally frolicked the aspect of your GoPro in an ungracious method.
With the Media Mod, you truly get two options to this drawback. First, there is a built-in microphone. GoPro says it is truly two mics in a cardioid array, so you may select whether or not to report from in entrance of the digital camera or behind it. You will must dive into settings to swap, nevertheless it’s good to see each choices right here — particularly for these of us preferring to stay behind the digital camera.
The second choice is the aforementioned three.5mm jack. It is positioned across the again, so the cable will not get in the best way of the lens, and you’ll put on your favourite lav mic as you run and gun. I suppose, technically, you possibly can feed different three.5mm sources in right here (like music) if you happen to’re feeling experimental.
For probably the most half, the built-in mic goes to be your go-to choice. It is a severe improve from a GoPro’s inner microphone and does not require you convey a mic (one with a cable at that). With the mod linked, you will dive into settings and select whether or not to report from the entrance or the again. There’s an choice for “stereo,” too, however that is simply placing you again to the digital camera’s microphones (however good to have the selection must you want it).
In my testing, the distinction between the mic on the mod and the GoPro’s native mics is stark. I would cease in need of saying you will not want your costly Rode mic (or related), however for a stable improve with a tiny footprint, it is actually going to make your video blogs sound much less “roomy” and extra skilled.
After I recorded the identical audio utilizing a GoPro within the mod and one with out the distinction is evident. The recording from the mod has extra concentrate on the voice, and extra achieve, however there’s additionally extra noise — it is not so much, nevertheless it’s there. With the native GoPro audio, my voice was muddier and roomier, however with much less noise. This was whereas testing at dwelling at my desk.
If you happen to enterprise outdoors, the distinction is much more pronounced. The identical traits carry over (extra achieve, a bit extra noise but additionally fuller, thicker voice recording). I took it to a grocery store (I do not know why, however I needed to begin it… someplace). As I moved round speaking to my good friend, our voices remained clear, whereas background noise gave the impression to be pushed additional away. Within the mod-free GoPro, the extent of our voices was a lot decrease and thinner.
In a single remaining take a look at, I did the walky-talky vlogger factor on the street. It is right here the place I really feel the mod actually shined. Once you hearken to the native GoPro audio first, it sounds effective, however switching to the Mod’s audio and shutting your eyes, it sounded far more skilled.
The distinction can also be (perhaps much more) obvious when testing the identical setup, however talking from behind (with the Media Mod set to “rear”). With the mod, audio is evident as if somebody is narrating the clip. With out, it is extra like somebody is talking within the room… someplace.
Regardless of the wealth of third-party equipment for GoPro, most shotgun mics are designed for DSLRs or cameras with a shoe mount. To work with a GoPro, they’d additionally want the aforementioned mic adapter accent. On this context, the Media Mod is a sublime resolution that comes with added perks (that three.5mm port or HDMI output, for instance).
There are a number of sensible quirks, however you will possible get used to them quickly sufficient. However if you happen to continuously swap your GoPro between mounts, or need quick entry to the reminiscence card, you will wish to issue that in. Most of all, the Media Mod units the stage for the GoPro turning into far more versatile, as the opposite two mods (show and light-weight) depend on it to mount to the digital camera. If you happen to’re interested in increasing the performance of your Hero eight, subsequently, that is the logical place to start out. Or at the least as soon as it begins delivery later this month (January 23rd).