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Old 01-27-16, 09:36 AM   #1
TrojanHorse 
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using a go pro at night

I haven't really fiddled with too many different settings yet but I'd like for my go pro 3+ black to be able to render license plates at night. Right now it seems like everything is just a flarey, smeary mess. You can make out what's going on but good luck positively identifying anything. Given the dynamic range limitations of the sensor, it's probably a pipe dream but I'd still prefer results that are easier on the eyes if possible.

Anybody have any tips?
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Old 01-27-16, 09:48 AM   #2
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If you have the cam on your helmet; you can try mounting a light there as well.
But I'm not sure if the light will washout the plate numbers. GoPro Hero 960HD
with a generic P7 flashlight both helmet mounted:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0d0X...6zPoymgKaIoDLA

ContourGPS cam on handlebars with P7 flashlight on helmet:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oK7...6zPoymgKaIoDLA
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Old 02-03-16, 02:42 PM   #3
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DuraTech USA,Inc. Mobile Plate Hunter-900 Automatic License Plate Recognition
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Old 02-03-16, 04:18 PM   #4
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Bit much for mounting on a bicycle, don't you think?
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Old 02-04-16, 10:33 PM   #5
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I'm not sure how much manual adjustment the GoPro 3 Black offers, but the Protune option may capture enough detail to wring out in post processing. If the GoPro is like most consumer grade digicams it will apply too much noise reduction at high ISOs, which looks pleasantly smooth but smears fine detail. The Protune option may be an alternative, although it'll require more work to recover shadow and highlight detail, and find a balance between noise reduction and detail.
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Old 02-04-16, 10:49 PM   #6
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From the reviews I've read of small, portable cameras, the best for night use is one with the Sony "Exmor" sensor.
Sony also sells the sensor to other mfgrs, and I just recently read a review of a non-Sony camera utilizing it, but I've forgotten the brand.
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Old 02-05-16, 08:24 AM   #7
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I'm not familiar with GoPros. Do they have the ability to manually set exposure controls, or lock in automatically determined exposure settings? For example, if you held it very close to an illuminated license plate at night and were able to lock in that exposure setting, it would expose the plate correctly from a distance while riding. Most everything else will be under exposed, but the license plate and other similarly illuminated things will be good.
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Old 02-05-16, 03:18 PM   #8
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It's still fairly new to me. I think you can dial in exposure compensation but not manual exposure control.

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Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
I'm not familiar with GoPros. Do they have the ability to manually set exposure controls, or lock in automatically determined exposure settings? For example, if you held it very close to an illuminated license plate at night and were able to lock in that exposure setting, it would expose the plate correctly from a distance while riding. Most everything else will be under exposed, but the license plate and other similarly illuminated things will be good.
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Old 02-05-16, 05:49 PM   #9
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I think I recall someone over at MTBR doing a test of the GoPro vs. Sony at night, or maybe it was on Youtube. The bottom line was that GoPro's had very poor low-light capabilities. I am not sure you could provide enough light to make anything readable on GoPro footage shot by street lights or by a small bicycle headlight.
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Old 02-05-16, 09:12 PM   #10
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Here is an example of what is possible at night with a high-end dashcam, and this video was made in Nov 2013: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qIMAONxCXM&t=7m10s
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Old 02-05-16, 09:35 PM   #11
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Reviews seem to agree that running the GoPro at a lower framerate will improve the light gathering. Still not great performance from GoPro, the sensor just doesn't do really well in low light. A couple of YouTube videos sold me on my Sony AS100V, which has excellent low light performance, and image stabilization.

But try the lower (30fps) framerate modes.
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