When To Use a Polarization Filter with your GoPro®
After shooting many hours of comparison shots we now have a pretty good idea when the best times to use a GoPro® Polarizer Filter is. We have noticed that the GoPro® Hero 2 is better at correctly exposing scenes than the Hero 1. However we did find a trend of areas where you need to use a polarizer filter to save a lot of color correcting editing time.
The first and most noticeable difference is when filming anywhere near snow. Whether using the GoPro® to film Skiing, Snowboarding, Snowmobiling, Sledding, Scenic Shots, anything near snow, a polarizer is a must. Even when it is cloudy out the polarizer will still make a difference because snow reflects so much light. When it is partly cloudy or sunny out a polarizer is a must.
The second largest difference is filming anytime outdoors when it is partly cloudy. The new GoPro® Hero 2 does a good job a exposing everything on the ground but has issues with correctly exposing the sky. The polarizer filter will properly expose the sky making it a deep blue and giving the clouds more detail. The clouds reflect a lot of light as well and will blow out a good portion of your scene. When there are no clouds present the light rays will still reflect of water molecules in the air and will cause a slightly washed out look without a polarizer lens, however it will not be as bad as if there were clouds present.
The third most effective application is when shooting scenes where you must point the camera directly at the sun. The Polarizer’s Neutral Density Properties help out a lot with correctly exposing these scenes. We have had some very severe overexposed film when shooting into the sun. The polarizer was a huge help in making that footage usable.
Above are the scenarios where a polarizer filter is an absolute must for making certain scenes usable. There are times early in the morning and in the evening where you could get away with not using a polarizer in those conditions but why be limited to those times?
Using a polarizer will save you many hours of color correcting editing and will even save some footage from being trashed. Many people including myself find color correcting and editing frustrating and tedious. If you are a master at color editing then you can probably squeak by without using a polarizer filter with your GoPro®. Personally I would rather spend more time riding and less time color correcting.