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GoPro Video + Dive Computer Data (part 1)

I’ve been scuba diving since 2002 and taking pictures underwater since about 2003. I’ve been using a dive computer for as long as I’ve been diving. My first dive computer was an Aeris Atmos Ai. The data cable for that computer was expensive and I didn’t see much value in what it provided. I’ve used paper logs since my training dives and been happy with them.

Last year I got a Shearwater Perdix Ai, which I really love. It uses Bluetooth to transfer data. Shearwater provides multi-platform software (iOS, Android, PC, Mac) for syncing your data to their cloud. This makes editing my dive logs electronically pretty convenient (I still keep paper logs).

I got a GoPro this summer and have used it to shoot video the entirety of a few dives. The Shearwater dive-log software can can export a time-series CSV log of a dive (time, depth, tank pressure, etc.). Data can be collected in 2, 5, or 10 second intervals.

I decided I wanted to figure out how to overlay the data from my dive computer’s logs onto the whole-dive videos I’d shot.

I did some searching and the best solution I came up with was DashWare. DashWare looked like it might meet my most basic needs, but it had some serious drawbacks.

  1. It is no longer under development. The company is now working with GoPro and no longer supporting or developing DashWare. It is now free if you want to try it.
  2. It’s a Windows-only application. While I do have a Windows box, my primary laptop and desktop are both Mac. I edit while I’m traveling and I don’t really want to produce video in a VM.
  3. It either bakes the (data + existing video) into a new video or it will produce a green-screen video from your data which you can then combine other video editing software. I believe I need to be able to edit after the overlay is in place (so I can edit the source video and overlay at the same time). If I allow DashWare to bake the overlay into the video, it will incur an addition re-encoding when I edit. If I use the green-screen output, I will incur reduced quality as that video will undergo an additional encoding and will likely have green-screen-related artifacts.

Since the drawbacks seem to be pretty big, I kept looking.

I already own Final Cut Pro X and would likely want to do any editing in that tool, so I started to look at how it would be with FCPX.

As best as I can tell, “Plugins” for Final Cut Pro are generally made with Apple’s Motion application. I bit the bullet and bought Motion.

Will it Final Cut Pro X along with Motion allow me to overlay data from my dive computer’s logs onto my GoPro video?

Tune in next time to find out more!