Media Mod is a robust polycarbonate enclosure for the HERO 8 that encapsulates the camera, except for the front and back. The top corner opposite the lens is home to a directional microphone with what appears to be a figure–8 polar pattern that is slightly more sensitive at the front. Furthermore, the Media Mod has two cold shoes, one at the side and one on top. Below the backside microphone grill you’ll find a USB-C type interface, a micro-HDMI port and a minijack socket for a third-party microphone.
The cold shoes are made of metal and are very strong. I mounted a heavy aluminium Aputure LED videolamp on each shoe and shook the whole construction violently to see whether the thing wouldn’t fall apart. It didn’t. In fact, even the door latch of the Media Mod is so strong I hurt my hand trying to open it the first time. It does get better, though it will never be easy to lock/unlock — which is, of course, good.
The built-in microphone records nice, bright sound. Vloggers will like to mount their own mic, so I tried it with my trusted battery-powered sE Electronics Laser Pro shotgun mic and am happy to say there wasn’t a synchronisation problem. The sound was actually less good with the Laser than it was with the Media Mod’s, which is testament of the latter’s quality.
The HDMI out port is a different matter. It works but in my tests, I could never make it work with an older Atomos Ninja. It will only output a 100% clean signal with an extra step — clicking the eye icon in the lower control bar — and for that you’ll need to use a later-generation Atomos device like the Shogun Inferno, for example. Even then, it’s a fiddly affair as you need to tap the icon while looking at the monitor.
All in all, the Media Mod lives up to my expectations, but it all depends on what you expect from it. Whatever that may be, the Media Mod is really only a first step towards being able to monitor your recordings with a Display Mod. GoPro has already warned people the Display Mod won’t be available before sometime September/October. Thank you, COVID–19!