Choosing what definition to shoot with your GoPro Hero 4 Silver can be a little confusing and bewildering. For the most part, the two main aspect ratios to focus on are 720 and 1080...but what one do you choose?
When I am out on the water I almost exclusively shoot in 1080. 1080 provides a clearer and crisper view, along with a slightly more cinematic view. I am certainly not a cinematographer, but I always try to utilize my gear to their fullest potential to help me out as much as possible. There is more than just the difference in definition though. In 720, you can shoot at a higher 120 fps frame rate in comparison to a 60 fps frame rate for 1080. I typically do not use too much slow motion, but if I do I would probably use 720 quite a bit more. I have found that for what I do, shooting in 1080 with a 60 fps frame rate does very well.
Something else to consider is the actual amount of storage and amount of memory that 1080 vs 720 takes up. Shooting at 1080 30 fps and 720 fps will have a significant amount of difference in how much storage will be taken up on your micro SD card. At 1080 30 fps, you will have approximately 4 hours 22 minutes of storage capacity with a 64 GB micro SD. At 720 30 fps, you will have approximately 5 hours and 33 minutes of storage capacity with a 64 GB micro SD. This is a big difference, but I am not really sure why you would shoot at 720 30 fps when you could shoot at 1080 30 fps. Nonetheless, if you are on a budget and plan to shoot a lot of footage, 720 30 fps could be your ticket. There is one hidden aspect of shooting at 720 30 fps vs 1080 30 fps though. 720 will cause your bit rate to go to 20 Mbps vs 30 Mbps for 1080 30 fps. This reduced bit rate will cause a much less crisp and clear image, but will still be usable for a budget photographer.
Besides overall image clarity, frame rates and storage capacity, there is not much else to consider. There are some extreme aspects to consider such as motion blur, but with a GoPro it will mot make a huge difference. My best advice is to simply experiment and find what you like. If you do a lot of slow motion, give 720 a try with a high frame rate. If you are wanting more of a cinematic look, give 1080 with 24 fps a try. Hope this helps out a little and feel free to comment and be sure to look out for future articles on GoPro Hero 4 Silver Quick Tips.