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What is Protune on GoPro? (Explained with Side-by-Side Photos)

GoPro Tutorials

If you’re asking What is Protune on GoPro? you’re not alone. It’s kind of confusing. You’ve probably heard a little bit about it. But, what is it? Where is it? And what’s it for?

Protune is a set of features that enhance the footage you capture with your GoPro. It works well with professional editing software. But you don’t have to be a professional to use it.

Should You Get a GoPro

What is Protune on GoPro?

When you turn on Protune you can control more settings like field of view (FOV), frames per second (fps), and video resolution. You’ll also see an option to shoot video and take photos at the same time.

With Protune, you can adjust the camera’s white balance, ISO, color capture, exposure value compensation (EV) and sharpness.

Protune will give you more options including higher video quality and color capture.

This post will answer these 4 questions:

  • What is Protune?
  • Which GoPro cameras have Protune?
  • Who is Protune for?
  • How do I turn Protune on?
What is Protune?

Footage shot in Protune will generate larger files than what is shot in the default GoPro settings. Protune files take up more space on your SD card because you are capturing more data.

With Protune’s neutral color capture (Protune Flat) you get more detail in the shadows and highlights. It’s a higher data capture with less compression than the default GoPro color capture. That means that editing is easier. You can balance out bright and dark areas while maintaining good color throughout the image.

In the next images notice the shadows on Bryan’s face and the color of his sweater. These photos received the same edits.

Protune and GoPro Color

In the top photo (Protune Flat) the shadows are not as harsh and the color of his sweater looks truer.

Why I Love Protune Flat

The neutral color capture (Protune Flat) is the Protune feature I use the most.

If you’re a photographer used to shooting with a DSLR camera, you’ll see that Protune Flat is more like shooting in RAW. RAW files maintain all of the information gathered when your photo is taken, where JPEG files are compressed.

When you first compare an image shot in Protune Flat with one shot in GoPro Color, the Protune image will look dull. You’ll think the GoPro Color footage is better. But don’t be fooled, your Protune images will look better when you’re finished editing them.

The following images have no editing other than cropping.

Protune has a flat color appearance

The top photo looks dull compared to the bottom one. That’s because with Protune Flat less editing (or compression) takes place in camera. That means you have more control and can make your photos look more like the scene appeared to your natural eye.

Here’s my final Protune shot with edits.

Editing Protune Flat is better for GoPro

When you compare this with the original Protune Flat (above top image) you can see that it captured the rich colors in his sweater and the sky. So don’t be disappointed when those Protune shots come out of your GoPro looking dull.

Which GoPro Cameras Have Protune?

Protune is available on the premium GoPro models. Protune has been available since the Hero3 model, many years ago.

There are 3 current GoPro camera models that have Protune, they are the:

  • Hero8 Black: See current price
  • Hero7 Black See current price This is only available on the Hero7 Black – the White and Silver models do not have any Protune settings.
  • Fusion 360 Degree Camera
  • Hero6 Black See current price
  • Hero5 Black 
  • Hero4 Session 
  • Hero4 Silver
  • Hero4 Black
  • Hero3+ (Protune for video only)
  • Hero3 Silver (Protune for video only)
  • Hero3 Black (Protune for video only)

Who is Protune For?

Protune is for anyone who wants a higher quality capture.

If you like to edit (or want to start) you should use Protune. If you just want to shoot and share, don’t use it.

If you are using a GoPro as a blogger, or you’re trying to draw attention to your brand, you should be using Protune. Photos and videos will look better and be easier to edit.

Here is a black and white example showing that Protune captures more in the shadows. Notice how much softer the shadow is on my daughter’s face. You can also see more detail in the stump and tire tread.

Protune Flat Black and White Comparison

In the photo on the left you can see more of her face. In the one on the right, it gets lost in shadows.

Harsh shadows and highlights make it harder to balance color while editing. Take a look.

Protune Flat GoPro Color Shadow Comparison

The above photos received the same edits. The Protune flat is more balanced and the colors look truer. That’s especially noticeable in the sky. The GoPro Color sky looks fake and her face is lost in shadows.

Here is my final Protune Edit.

Protune Makes Editing Easier.

If you don’t intend to do any editing you might want to leave Protune off.

But if you’re serious about your GoPro photography then Protune may be right up your alley. You’ll have more to sink your teeth into and you’ll feel more satisfied with the final product.

How Do I Turn Protune On?

Turning on Protune is pretty easy. But which little buttons do you push? How many times and in what order? That’s the confusing part.

Hero6 and Hero7 Protune Settings

Watch on YouTube

The Hero3 and Hero4 have a different setup. Here is a video explaining how to turn Protune on in each camera.

How to turn Protune on with a GoPro Hero3 camera

Watch on Youtube video copyright owner is Kyle Martin

How to turn Protune on with GoPro Hero4 camera

Watch on Youtube video copyright owner is Tim Humphreys

Will You Shoot in Protune?

Do you shoot in Protune? If not, will you start? It all comes down to editing.

If you want to make your photos look better by bringing out more detail in the shadows and highlights. And if you want to make your colors look truer, then give it a try. You’ll see the difference.

Learn more about GoPro settings.

But, if you just want to share photos straight out of camera, leave Protune off.

How did I do answering the questions, “what is Protune?” If you have any more questions, tips or experiences to share, please do so by commenting on this post. And please share this with your friends on Pinterest.

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Hi, I'm the Author!

Dena Haines is co-editor of ClickLikeThis: GoPro tutorial blog. She is a travel blogger and content marketer. She is also co-founder of GringosAbroad (Ecuador's largest blog for expats and travelers) and Storyteller Media (content marketing for travel brands). Work with ClickLikeThis.

13 comments… add one
  • Nathan May 17, 2016, 7:30 am

    Awesome, we are still new to our GoPro and we have just been jumping right into filming and still learning. We edit our GoPro video along with our Canon camera video together and didn’t have ProTune Flat on, so now we can get some true color in our edit with Flat on. We’ll shoot a video right now with it, thanks!

    • Bryan Haines May 17, 2016, 1:42 pm

      That’s great to hear! Would love to see your first Protune flat video.

  • Max G Jul 14, 2017, 11:56 am

    Thank you! Very informative!!

  • T Han Dec 26, 2017, 6:08 am

    I believe features on the HERO5 Session

  • Dylan Swain Jan 4, 2018, 8:39 pm

    Great article! This will make my GoPro footage so much better. Thanks so much 🙂

  • Tom Johnston Jan 8, 2018, 10:13 am

    Well done! If you want the highest quality, you want to have the most information possible to work with. I’m not very into video and, in fact, I don’t do much digital photography but I am a retired photographer. I’m a dinosaur because I still shoot in 4×5″ and 8×10″ large format film formats and print in my darkroom. But the principles are the same. For example, if b&w film is developed too long, the range of tones is compressed and the printer has less to work with. It’s always better to err on the flat side. (This also applies to film being scanned for digital printing.) A “flat” negative gives you more information to work with. Once detail is lost in highlights and shadows, it’s gone.

    The technologies are completely different but some principles apply equally to both. As a photographer for over 50 years, what you say in this article makes perfect sense and it’s very helpful for me because I’m thinking of buying an action camera. I’m completely new to this and I’m gathering information and your article is very well-done and helpful. I have seen Protune mentioned many times but didn’t know what it was until I found your excellent article.

    Thanks much!

  • Tania Feb 15, 2018, 1:11 pm

    Thx Dena , very informative, I like Gopro and used a lots for family vacation, but always avoid Protune , BUT now will try
    When is the best time to shoot with protune Dena ? Thx

  • Sergio Campos Jun 10, 2018, 9:13 am

    Where can I edit videos and photos that were filmed with Protune to make them look better and more cinematic? Thanks

  • BING Oct 24, 2018, 3:02 am

    Very clear and helpful!

  • Ben Brigham Apr 9, 2019, 3:57 pm

    Thanks Dena, extremely helpful for me! I have a quick Q: if I were to try to capture video of bird flight, say a dove taking off or landing, and I wanted a high capture rate (note to self: don’t say “frame rate”) which GoPro should I use & what are my options? Or are there apps available for my existing GoPro 5 Session?

  • Bill Pollack Apr 11, 2019, 9:10 am

    One thing you neglected to mention is that having Protune enabled results in videos that are significantly more space-consuming, in some settings. This may be significant to some users.

    For example, a 128 GB card in a Hero 7 Black can hold about six and a half hours of video at 1080p at 30 or 60 FPS with Protune turned on. With it turned off, that figure increases to about nine and a half hours.

    I sometimes use my new Hero 7 Black to record day-long motorcycle trips, and it may not be convenient to swap out memory cards mid-trip, so this is important to me.

    Your article was certainly useful regarding some advantages of using Protune, but for those times when absolute quality may be overshadowed by other concerns, I thought I’d point out this one caveat (which took me a few weeks to figure out).



  • Mark Teboe May 23, 2020, 10:00 pm

    Do I need to use different memory cards (higher write speed) to record in the highest quality without error using Protune? I’m using GoPro 8.


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