When it comes to downloading your GoPro footage, the process really couldn’t be simpler.

The latest models of GoPro all feature software that will automatically activate as soon as your GoPro or the MicroSD card from it is connected to a computer. Once the camera or card is recognised as GoPro, the software then takes over automatically downloading the footage and stills to your Movies or Video folder.

It also checks to see if there are any updates for the camera. If there are it will prompt you to download ready for installation.

Downloading automatically is, of course, the easiest solution, the other is to download and organise the footage manually.

The type of card used by GoPro is MicroSD, so if you want to use a card reader you’ll normally need an microSD to SD card adapter. This is usually shipped with the MicroSD card.

The other way to connect is to simply plug the camera directly into the computer using a USB cable. The USB fitting is of the USB Mini-B type on Hero’s upto 4 and USB Type C on the Hero5, with a standard Type A connector on the other end, which is common on most modern computers. The USB connection used by GoPro is USB 2. The USB socket can be found next to the MicroSD card slot. To connect to a computer just connect the cable and the GoPro will appear on your computers list of drives.

It is at the point of connection that GoPro’s software will automatically start and prompt you if any software needs downloading.

Close these windows down and open up the GoPro drive, for mac this will appear on your desktop, Windows you’ll either be prompted to open the folder or download the content or you can find it in your My Computer section of your machine. Here you’ll be faced with all of the files that are stored on the GoPro. Open up the XX folder and then XXX here you’ll see all the images and video content that is stored on your GoPro.

Automatic downloaded

The choice of how you download your footage and images from your GoPro to your machine is up to you, just make sure that you have a system and stick to it, otherwise in years to come you’ll find it difficult or impossible to find and locate the images and footage you want.

If you choose not to use GoPro’s own automatic download system then you have a couple of other choices. Use the computers own software or do it manually.

Automatic downloads are a great way to keep things consistent just click download when prompted using either the PC’s or Mac’s default software. Both of these proprietary applications will automatically copy the files to your computers hard drive. Taking Image Capture on the mac as an example this software enables you to download your images directly to your pictures folder, what it unfortunately does is to simply dump the entire contents of you memory card into the folder with no organisation.

To avoid having hundreds of files filling up the pictures folder use the destination dropdown to select Other and then create a new folder to copy your files to. A good naming convention is to start with the year, then month then date. The reason for this is that when it comes to locating your footage and images later you can filter by year and look through the folder easily on chronological order. So your folder within your Videos folder should look like 20161120 – GoProForest, here we’ve added a brief description of what was filmed again so we can find the footage we want easily at a later date.

What if not all of the footage on the card was shot on the same date or even the same event

If you want to divide up the footage, say some was shot on Sunday the 15th whilst out on a ride through the forest, and then the rest was footage from a birthday on the 20th then simply use the standard details list ordering feature that is standard with both mac and pc to firstly organise the files and then shift one or other to a new folder. So in this case you would have two folders 20161115 – GoProForest and 20161120 – GoProBirthday.

Manual organisation

It’s often just easier to organise the files manually, and here you need to decide if you want to divide up your video and images or keep it all together. Although there is a strong tendency to keep images and video together I would recommend splitting them, keep your images in the Pictures folder and video in the Movies folder this way you’ll always know where you are.

When it comes to manual download start by creating a folder in your movies folder that is labelled with the year, month then day this is the same as the naming convention for those using automatic downloads and end the folder label with something descriptive, so you’ll have a folder named 20161115 – GoProForest in your movies folder. If you have images as well then add a similar names folder to your pictures folder.

Now open the GoPro card and copy the video content to the folder in the videos folder and the images to the one in the pictures folder.

Organising both manual and automatically

Now that your footage is safely stored on your machine it’s time to get it organised and ready for editing and backup. So with the named folder create a series of new folders; Rushes, this will contain all of the raw unedited footage that you have created, Edit; for any files you have edited, Project: this will store all of the project files, Final: a place to keep the final export once you have finished your project and finally Assets: this will contain all of the extras that you include in your movie, so this could be logos, overlays, titles or even music and voice overs. This might sound like overkill but as long as you keep things organised the rest of the process will be smooth sailing and will help avoid frustration in the future.

Now copy the footage files across to the Rushes folder and you’re then ready to start editing your GoPro footage.