Whether I’m off roading, racing my speed boat, flying a drone, scuba diving, or training to go into space, I use my GoPro cameras constantly. One of the things I have learned over the years is that while the cameras do a great job of recording video, creating something watchable ultimately depends on the use of various software applications. As such, I wanted to write this article as a way of helping those who might be new to GoPro.

Note: This article is also available as an image gallery and a video hosted by TechRepublic columnist Tom Merritt.

1: GoPro Studio

GoPro Studio (Figure A) is a free app created by GoPro that’s designed to help you to create movies from your raw footage. GoPro cameras create a series of 4 GB files as they record video. GoPro Studio can help you assemble these 4 GB chunks into a single video file, while also allowing you to do some lightweight editing.

Figure A

Admittedly, there are much better video editors on the market. The reason I have GoPro Studio installed on my computer is that it’s the tool of choice for applying firmware updates to GoPro cameras, which may occasionally be necessary. The 3DR Solo drone for example, uses a camera gimbal that is designed to communicate directly with a GoPro camera. However, using the gimbal typically requires the GoPro’s firmware to be updated.

2: GoPro App

The GoPro App (Figure B) is the mobile app designed by GoPro for use with its cameras. Although you can use a GoPro without this app, it provides an arguably better interface for controlling the camera than does the camera’s native interface. GoPro App allows your mobile device to act as a remote control for the camera and even provides a live preview. It also lets you change camera modes and access the recordings stored inside the camera.

Figure B

The GoPro app is available for free for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.

3: Pinnacle Studio 19

Pinnacle Studio 19 (Figure C) is an advanced video editor for Windows. I have written about Pinnacle Studio in various blog posts over the years, but there is one specific reason why I am including Pinnacle Studio version 19 in this list.

Figure C

For many of my adventures I use multiple GoPro cameras. Although doing so allows me to capture some great footage, having video from multiple cameras makes the editing process challenging. Pinnacle Studio 19 lets you synchronize video from up to six cameras, which makes editing unbelievably easy. It is worth noting that the number of cameras that you can synchronize varies depending on which edition of Pinnacle Studio you are using.

4: Dashware

Dashware (Figure D) is a free tool and it may be the greatest utility ever made for use with GoPro. As you are no doubt aware, GoPro cameras have long been marketed to the extreme sports crowd. GoPro customers routinely use their cameras for racing, snowboarding, skydiving, and all sorts of other activities. Dashware is designed to synchronize GPS data to the finished GoPro video. It does this by overlaying maps or gauges onto the video that is being edited.

Figure D

The thing that makes Dashware so great is that gauges exist for a huge variety of activities (and you can create custom gauge sets). Someone who is into street racing, for example, might display a speedometer and a course map. A diver might display a depth gauge. A drone pilot might display an altimeter and an airspeed indicator. Dashware allows you to tell the entire story by overlaying your video with relevant data in an entertaining way.

5: GoPro Remote

GoPro Remote (Figure E) allows your smartphone to work as a remote for controlling GoPro cameras. GoPro sells a hardware remote called the Smart Remote for $79.99, but the GoPro Remote app is available for free. The GoPro Smart Remote is Wi-Fi based, so it should come as no surprise that the GoPro Remote app works by establishing a Wi-Fi connection to the camera’s IP address.

Figure E

This app does an okay job of providing basic camera functionality, but unfortunately it does not display a preview from the camera.

The GoPro Remote app exists only on Windows Phone, but similar apps are available on competing platforms.

Also read…

Your GoPro experience

Have you used any of the apps on this list? How about other favorites? Share your recommendations with fellow TechRepublic members.