There are many reasons why you might be thinking of ways to save storage space on your cam.

Maybe you are not willing to buy another memory card because it’s too expensive or troublesome, or maybe you are in the middle of a holiday and you just realised that you have forgotten to clear your videos from last time. Oops.

Regardless, in this article, we’ll discuss some of the ways to tweak your action cam to film more without hurting the video’s quality!

1. Adjust your video resolution

VCD to 4K digital video resolutions

This resolution only applies to video mode and in simple terms, is how many pixels are present in the video.

There’s really little to no point filming higher than 1080p or Full HD as most displays used currently are built for 1080p playback and even if you film it at a higher resolution, the difference wouldn’t be very noticeable.

Another thing you should check is the native resolution of your action camera.

Image of Firefox Icon Interpolating

The native resolution is the highest resolution the camera can record at. If you record any higher than that, the video will be upscaled, or stretched digitally, resulting in a video with many ‘blur’ parts because the pixels are generated by a software algorithm in your camera, not ‘real’ pixels, recorded by the camera.

Learn more about how action cams go about doing interpolation here.

Adjusting Resolution

changing resolution sjcam sj4000

You should already know this by now if you own an action cam. But for those who don’t, most of the times, the resolution settings will be the first tab in the settings, together with the frame rate.

Now that you’ve found it, all that’s left to do is to change your resolution settings to your native resolution and you’re good to go.

 

2. Adjust your image resolution

This is pretty similar to the video mode, except that now we are talking about picture capture mode.

Another thing to note is that it’s measured in mega-pixels (4MP, 8MP, etc), instead of pixels (1080p/2K, etc), used in video mode.

There are plenty examples of cameras utilising upscaling in order to falsely advertise their camera.

The use of upscaling is why some $30 camera are able to capture 30MP photos. However, in actual fact, it just takes 3MP photos and interpolate it (similar to example above) to 30MP.

How to Change Image Resolution

What you have to do now is to set your image to your cam’s native image resolution, which is usually determined by the image sensor of your cam.

Egs of Action Cams Photo Res Settings. Black & Yellow -Explorer Pro. White & Green – SJ4000

To change, simply hop into settings and find something along the line of ‘Capture Mode’ or ‘Photo Resolution’ or ‘Image Resolution’.

Note: If it doesn’t state anything after the resolution, you can assume it is 30fps.

Popular Examples of Cameras with Upscaled Image

I feel that upscaling of image resolution is far more prevalent than the upscaling of video resolution. Just to list a few well-known examples of action cams guilty of this: SJCAM SJ4000 (3MP) , Eken H9R (3MP) and Firefly 6S (4MP) .

Having said that, the cameras above are still really good action cameras and just because it has upscaling involved doesn’t mean it is a bad camera.

 

3. Alter Your Frame Rate Settings

what are frame rates?

Frame Rate, for those who aren’t familiar, is the frequency of frames being captured in a second.

It is measured in frames per second (fps).

For general usage, I’d suggest just recording at 30fps, or if you’ve got a bit more storage to spare, film it at 60fps. Filming it at 60fps will make the video much smoother at the expense of extra storage space.

Anything higher than 60fps is useless (unless you’re using slow-motion) as the difference is not noticeable and it’s just wasting extra storage space.

How To Change Frame Rate

resolution and frame rate settings Sj4000 sjcam
Example of SJ4000 Frame Rate Settings

If you’ve changed your resolution settings before, it should be in the same tab as that, which is the number that comes after the resolution.

As a general guideline, the best frame rate to use would be 24fps – 60fps.

 

4. Transferring to your other devices

Since we are on the page of limited storage space, another method is to transfer to your phone or computer, using it as a temporary storage first until you reach home to transfer to your hard disk.

However, this require your action camera to have wireless (Wi-Fi/Bluetooth) capability, in order to transfer the footages wirelessly to your mobile device.

Action Cam Adapter for Android Smartphones
Micro-SD Adapter for Android Smartphones

 

 

Alternatively, if your action cam does not have wireless capabilities, you can use a transferring adapter (Android & IOS available) to transfer your footages to the cloud or your mobile device.

Using your mobile device as a backup storage is pretty useful especially when you are away from home and you realised that you forgot to copy and clear your previous videos to your hard disk.

Anyways, remember once your storage space have run out, you’ve still got your mobile devices to provide you a little more storage!

Bonus Tip: Switch to H265 Video Coding

explorer k h265 video decoding
Example of Explorer K

This tip is only applicable for some cameras which are able to encode videos in H265.  It can be switched to H265 easily in the settings.

This is for the more technical people out there but in layman terms, it basically films at the same quality h264 but takes up smaller space (because of its more efficient compression algorithm) Therefore, you’ll be able to film way more at a go, without compromising any quality.

The only thing I can think that’s ‘bad’ about H265 video encoding is that it has a lower compatibility with technology as it’s still a relatively new technology. I had to update my Mac to the latest software update (Sierra V10.12.6) which was only released on Dec 2017 in order to be able to view and process H265 videos.

This is an example of a comparison I made to show the difference. I tried to make the clip as identical as possible to make a fair comparison.

h265 vs h264 video encoding

So as you can see, the difference is noticeable and for the same quality, you are able to save about 20% of memory space although this varies from one place to another.

All in all, a good addition to the camera as over the long run, it’ll save you a lot of storage and is definitely one of explorer K’s strong selling points.

Still Lacking Storage Space?

If you’re still in need of more space, you should probably consider getting yourself another memory card.

Memory cards are getting cheaper, as with many technology-related devices, thus it shouldn’t cost a bomb to buy one.

samsung evo select best memory cards for gopro
My Personal Recommendation: Samsung Evo Select 64GB

If you’re thinking about buying one, consider getting the Samsung Evo Select.  This is the memory card that is the most bang for your buck as it costs only $23 for 64GB ($0.36 per GB) and still has a UHS-I Speed Class 3, which in other words, means it is the fastest and cheapest memory card in the market as of now.

Check out my list of best memory cards for action cams here!

Conclusion

Storage is the most important thing in filming. Without it, there’s literally nothing because everything consumes on it.

Well, anyways, on a lighter note, I hope you’ve learnt a thing about managing your storage space better by abstaining from storage consuming video settings!

If you have any other suggestions, recommendations or even questions, please feel free to comment down below! I’ll really appreciate and definitely reply to them as soon as I can! 🙂

Lastly, thanks for dropping by and have a great day ahead! 😉


–>Check out my top 5 best memory cards here!<–

–>Learn how to properly backup and store your footages here!<–

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4 Comments

  1. That is a wealth of information. There is quite a few things that I would have never thought of here. Do your ever have any image quality issues when you transfer wireless? Also, why do you suppose cameras would allow you to film higher than there native resolution? Great Article!

    Kyle

    1. Hi Kyle, thanks for reading and you have asked really great questions!

      Regarding your question on whether image quality would be affected, general answer, no! This is because the image is usually taken and stored in the memory card in the action camera before it’s transferred, so the quality will not be affected by the wireless transfer.

      As for why cameras support resolution higher than the native res? I feel it’s because it makes others perceive  the camera as more superior. The manufacturers know that many people are not aware of fake 4K happening around so they purposely label their camera to be able to film 4K to appear better than the rest of its competitors! It’s that simple!

      Hope this helps and really appreciate your comment!

  2. I have my Hero 5 charging now. After reading this article I will go back and check my settings. I think I was using 4K just because it’s available. I will go to 2k to allow for post stabilization. Thanks for info it was very helpful. I know i don’t have device the play 4k except the cameras. I guess I was just mesmerized by the feature.

    1. Seems like a good idea!

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