The GoPro Wi-Fi Remote controls up to 50 GoPro Hero and HD Hero2 cameras equipped with a Wi-Fi BacPac from up to 600 feet (180 meters). The system isn’t complete yet — there will be an iOS/Android compatible GoPro App available in the fall.
That will expand its usability, reps claim, as you can see in the below video.
The GoPro app will use your smartphone or tablet as a live video remote and allows video and photo preview and playback. I have a test unit. Here’s a first look.
You’ll be able to transfer your favorite videos and photos from your GoPro to your smartphone or tablet to share with friends, as well as live stream video or share photos and videos directly to the web from a Wi-Fi BacPac equipped GoPro, wherever you have a network connection — that includes the capability to use your smartphone as a hotspot.
Right now, the system will only pair up with the GoPro Wi-Fi Remote. So I tested the Wi-Fi Combo Kit — it includes both the remote control and the Wi-Fi BacPac.
In addition to the electronic parts, the GoPro Wi-Fi Combo Kit comes with two USB cables. That’s just for charging the batteries. The Wi-Fi Remote has a special Attachment Key connector that serves multiple purposes.
The USB interface clicks right into this connector, which does double-duty as a metal key ring fastener. A velcro wrist band is included that lets you wear the device as a bracelet or strap it to a pole or tripod.
The Kit comes complete with two GoPro back doors — one waterproof, the other with holes for better sound recording from the tiny built-in microphone.
The Wi-Fi system requires the user to first update the camera firmware. This goes for older models as well as for GoPro’s newer HD Hero2 models. It’s pretty much a painless process. You use GoPro’s free Cineform Studio software as the updating interface and follow the on-screen instructions.
The Wi-Fi BacPac and Wi-Fi Remote are factory paired, so you can start using the system immediately. I tried the Wi-Fi BacPac menu options and found the options for connecting to a network, a tablet/smartphone and a remote all to be in place, ready for use when the GoPro App became available. You can buy individual Wi-Fi BacPac kits to control additional GoPro cameras from a single Wi-Fi Remote. These BacPacs must be paired with your Wi-Fi Remote before they will work.
The pairing process proved to be painless, except for your fingers, as it does require some cycling through the menu system on the camera itself.
When the system has been properly set up and batteries have been fully charged, you can start using the camera with the Remote instead of the on-board buttons. The Wi-Fi Remote is actually much handier than the camera controls, which are small and sometimes a bit hard to handle. The Remote lets you cycle through the camera’s modes and start and stop a recording. The LCD screen shows the same information as the one on the camera.
As long as the Wi-Fi BacPac is on and the Remote is connected, you can also turn the camera off and on again with the Remote. The distance at which the Wi-Fi Remote works is over 150 feet (45 meters) with reinforced concrete walls blocking the devices, but unless there are no obstacles you won’t get much farther than 400 feet (120 meters).
One Wi-Fi Remote will control up to 50 cameras, but you can’t have one do something different than another. If you want that kind of freedom and power, you’ll have to buy Wi-Fi Combo kits for as many camera clusters as you wish to operate independently from each other.
GoPro’s Wi-Fi system fits in a strategy that should make the camera fit for cinematographic and broadcast use as much as for amateur video.
When GoPro releases its Protune firmware update later this year, the HD Hero2 cameras will be the only action cameras capable of shooting at 24p and a bitrate of 35 Mbps with a Technicolor 3D-color LUT (LookUp Table). Technicolor delivers an almost identical CineStyle LUT for the Canon 5D MkIII. It will make professional color grading possible without degrading the footage.