Tips & Recommendations for Best Use
Changing from Hero to MAX Mode
- Click here to see how to change between Hero and MAX mode on the GoPro MAX 360 camera.
- MAX Mode Oberservation
- When taking actual photos on the Max (not screenshots) or recording 360 videos you will not be able to see what you are recording live. It is too intensive for the GoPro to stitch it together live. You will either have to film it while going up blind, or film and record small spots where you can slowly adjust the camera to film. It will record but it may not focus on exactly what you want it to when you can’t view it live.
- Hero Mode Observation
- Can view and snap screen shots of the flue while streaming video to your device.
- MAX Mode Oberservation
Storage & Use of Photos
- While you will have unlimited storage for data, videos, and photos on GoPro.com and can create albums and share photos and videos they are not the easiest to get into reports and the 360 photo and video formats are not standard file types.
- SCREENSHOT: Because of this our technicians take screenshots of what they would like to document to include it in their reports or in our archives. These are then saved directly to the device you are previewing your inspection on live. This allows us to include all the photos, along with time stamp information, in our archives and store them as we normally do all of our other inspection photos.
- SCREEN RECORDING: You can also use the “screen recording feature” if you would like to save it directly to your device in an easier to use format.
Perspective Photos & Scanning
- Play around with the zoom in/out features. Because this is a 360-degree camera you can zoom in and out to provide perspective from the area of interest to the top or bottom of the flue. Sometimes it is advantageous to look up and down the flue at the same time. This can help orient clients as they look at the photos.
- Then you can zoom in and around to provide the clearest image possible.
- While you can look around, once you have a particularly clear angle with good spacing to the walls of the chimney you can simply spin the rod in your hand gently and pause for any shots you need or want to take.
- Be careful pulling, wedging, or bending the housings and lights through extremely tight spots as the weak point in the IF2 is the cold shoe design on the GoPro Light Mods themselves. In the IF3 the housing is very sturdy but if you put enough weight on it something will give.
- The easiest way to break a light off the IF2 housing is the yank it through masonry or factory built dampers. Slow down and pull the housing around the damper and you will rarely if ever break lights. Most lights I have seen broken are due to being in too big of a hurry and getting it wedged in a damper when a lot of force has been applied.
Keeping Connection in Masonry Flues or Old Homes
- In old homes and old masonry chimneys where products containing asbestos may be present, or where lead paint may be present, the WIFI connection on the GoPro devices can have a hard time communicating. While I have run the GoPro MAX up to 40′ without losing connection I have also lost connection after passing the first floor penetration less than 10′ up.
- To address this we use a CAT6 cable with both ends flayed out and attach one end near the camera at the top of the rods, and the other end left laying on the hearth near the phone or tablet being used. The CAT6 cable conveys and augments the signal enough that it will keep connection in order to complete the inspection.
- In the IF2 housing we have to use tape (electrical or duct are recommended) to secure the cable near the GoPro housing.
- In the IF3 housing we have engineered a slot into the base of the design near the rod adapter where we can set screw it into place. The base of the camera can touch the wiring at this location.
- PRO TIP: In longer runs or where enough materials interfere with the WIFI signal you may have to keep the end of the CAT6 cable underneath or touching your phone or tablet in order to keep a connection.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I best perform an inspection from the rooftop and still record or screenshot the photos I want for my report?
- We often inspect from the rooftop and lower the camera down into the flue and have found that while you can use your ipad or tablet to screenshot pictures this often requires the use of two hands to press the buttons properly given the distance between the buttons. A cell phone on the other hand can easily take screenshots with one hand. We use our phones to take screenshots with one hand while holding the rods/camera with the other.
- PRO TIP: Whether scanning from the top or the bottom you can use two fingers and spin your entire view completely over to orient yourself however you wish.
How do I get the best resolution during live preview and why is it not as high resolution as I expected?
- During live preview on the GoPro360 your resolution will depend largely on the strength of your connection between your GoPro and your viewing device. If you move the rods/camera too quickly or if connection is poor then the quality of the image will be lower than anticipated. The camera is still streaming and taking photos or video in high quality HD if you record and review it later on the computer.
- There are also additional apps and programs that GoPro produces to look at and edit footage in HD mode. We have not used these programs and cannot speak to their function, design, capabilities, or limitations.
Why can’t I film/take video and see the live preview?
- When taking a video in 360 mode the camera is taking a very processor intense video and thus cannot live stream while videoing. If you would like to video a specific area or defect and live stream at the same time, just click the button on the screen, or on your phone, to change from 360 mode to hero mode. In hero mode you can take a video while viewing it live as well. During this video you can thus also take screenshots while videoing as well. Remember though that hero mode only looks straight to one side.
What case do we use to keep it fully assembled and not take it apart between use?
- ROUND CASES: Currently we use some old Chimscan camera cases that are made from round sewer pipe. A round pipe section or PVC tube that is at least 6-8” in diameter would work as well. Once you have a round case to carry the camera in be sure that every time you put the camera away inside the case you change the direction you slide it into the case. This is to prevent memory in the whiskers and help keep them as straight and flexible as possible.
- SQUARE/RECTANGULAR CASES: We have also used pelican hard cases.
- DEVELOPMENT: We are currently in the process of sourcing components for carrying cases for the IF2 and IF3 kits but have not yet completed these endeavors. Please send us a message to 970-644-1172 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be added to the list to be notified once we have completed our own carrying case.
What can I do with broken lights if any break off in a tight chimney?
- If you have any broken lights at any point they can be siliconed into one of the standard GoPro light base/accessory adapters and then the lights can be hooked to other GoPro items such as the headlamp assembly. You can then use these lights with the headlamp assembly and replace or augment your standard headlamps with these as well.