GoPro Fusion Workflow

I’m an avid skier and love capturing video of my trips. I’ve invested heavily in GoPro tech over the last few years but have consistently been frustrated with the footage; the mounted camera never seems to be pointing the right way. So, I thought I’d try the GoPro Fusion which — in addition to capturing incredibly smooth digitally stabilized footage — also allows me to choose the direction of the frame in the edit, after recording… Amazing!

As seems to be common with GoPro, the hardware and video quality is excellent — Here’s some random footage from a recent ski trip to Vail:

However, also as usual, the problem with GoPro kit is the software and user experience: it’s pretty poor.

In particular, I find that my iMac does not recognize the camera and can’t directly import files. On a PC it recognizes the camera but messes up the export frequently, and it’s very slow. The internet recommends that the better workflow is to pull the files off the SD cards directly. But that is pretty complicated, especially if you have a lot of files.

The files are split across two SD cards — one for the front camera and one for the back. And if you try to import too many files into GoPro’s Fusion Studio it goes nuts 🤯.

So, the best workflow requires that you pull the files off the SD card then organize them neatly into folders. Clearly, this is a task best scripted so I created a command-line utility called fusion-copy to help. The project is open-sourced over on GitHub: https://github.com/joshtwist/fusion-copy

What does it do?

The script copies (it does not delete) your files from your Fusion SD cards to a destination folder of your choice. It organizes them into dated folders and then groups the files by the file number (Fusion creates files with a four-digit numbering system). It also tags the folders to help you identify the type of the capture with either “(Video)” or “(Image)” in brackets. Here’s what the folder structure looks like after import:

  • /destination-folder/
    • 2018-11-17 Fusion
      • 0012 (Video)
        • GPBK0012.LRV
        • GPBK0012.MP4
        • GPBK0012.WAV
        • GPBK0012.THM
        • GPFR0012.LRV
        • GPFR0012.MP4
        • GPFR0012.THM
      • 0098 (Image)
        • GB010098.JPG
        • GB010098.JPG

Hardware

I bought a great-looking Anker USB hub and 2 fast SD card readers as shown below:

anker_usb

Links to these products on Amazon:

Now I can easily work from both SD cards simultaneously, which is way less hassle. The script should work if you only have one card reader but it’s more convenient if you have two.

Installing the script

The script was written in NodeJS so you can install via NPM, it’s super easy. Just open a terminal window and execute the following command:

npm install fusion-copy

If you don’t have node or NPM installed, follow the instructions here first: Installing Node and NPM.

Running the script

Once installed running the script is easy

fusion-copy -v FusionSD -d /Volumes/YourDrive/YourDestinationFolder/

A few things to note:

    1. You should name your SD cards a name, I call both of mine “FusionSD”. This is the default in the script and makes it easier.
    2. The files are enormous so copying takes a long time… I added a progress bar to the script but patience is still required. Go get a coffee whilst you wait ☕️.

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 5.12.56 PM

Importing into Fusion Studio

Now the hard part is over, you can simply import the files using the ADD MEDIA function in Fusion Studio as shown below:

2018-11-23 17.16.00.gif

Video

Here’s a video explaining this workflow – if you’d prefer to watch vs read:

Important

A few things to note:

  • The script shouldn’t delete the original files off of the SD cards. To be safe, I’ll leave this for you to do manually.
  • The script has not been tested on Windows – no idea if it works. Feel free to try it and let me know how you get on.
  • ⚠ Use at your own risk, it’s a simple script created in a few hours and ut has not been thoroughly tested.

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