The first time I used a GoPro I wasn’t too sure what to expect. These tips for using a GoPro will help any new users or will be a nice reminder for any veteran GoPro user. The GoPro is awesome. Seriously, the quality of the video and the ability to take a camera places I am reluctant to take my Canon is priceless. It also makes you a bit more adventurous – it’s like a little buddy sitting on your shoulder urging you to take risks you may not have been willing to take without it. Needless to say, we’ll eventually get 1 or 2 of the most recent versions.
Without further ado, here are our 7 tips for using a GoPro Hero for the first time.
1. Bring at Least 1 Back-up Battery
This is crucial. The battery life for the GoPro 3 is not the greatest. After recording for 30 min, you are about a third of the way through your battery. No bueno for when you are out all day long. Fortunately, I purchased a back up battery and brought a portable recharging cell along with just in case.
2. Keep the GoPro Software Current
I didn’t have admin access to the GoPro since I borrowed it from my very generous co-worker, but the software version was at least two versions behind. I think that may have been the reason the recordings would stop sometimes without me knowing :( Make sure the software is current to avoid bugginess. It is a tech gadget after all.
3. Keep the GoPro Cover Clean – Big Duh
This is a pretty basic general photo tip, but when you are out and about with your GoPro it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and forget to clear the cover lens. There are a handful of photos that have water drops obscuring the image and a handful of selfies where our faces look like we’ve been marked for the evil scorned sprit from The Ring to come get us (see below). **Shivers** And, so I have a tip: licking the cover helps prevent water beading up. Yes, weird, but it really does work.
4. Use a GoPro Monopod or 3-Way Grip
A Monopod or 3-Way Grip serves multiple purposes for a GoPro. For one, it helps to keep your camera nice and steady. Seriously, I can’t believe how steady some of these videos are, and I wasn’t even using the standard monopod (long story short, I repurposed an iPhone monopod which unfortunately had some drawbacks). It also allows you to shoot higher or further out than you could with, in my case, short, stubby arms. For example, it was fun to pop it out of the sun roof of our rental car or over the edge of a cliff we wouldn’t otherwise dare get near. The monopod can also help to get your beautiful face in a shot when you don’t have someone else to ask to take it. Lastly, it can serve as a way to go hands free when you have something to stuff it in. One thing I did was stick it in my hiking bag and got some cool 3rd-person POV footage of me while I hiked up some steep and literally hands-on trails.
5. Don’t Forget to Include Yourself in Videos
Going through some of my videos I wish I would have turned the camera to get my face or at least the back of my head. Including yourself adds a bit of visual interest and personal connection. So, peak in at least a few shots, and you will be happier for it.
6. Learn How to Operate the GoPro Basics
One thing I failed to do before using the GoPro was learn how to operate the wireless remote. No matter how many times I tried to connect the remote to the camera it didn’t work (this may have been a result of the outdated software – remember tip #2?), which is sad because I could have used it to get more interesting photos. I’m sure it is relatively easy to figure out when you are not in the field, but I didn’t look it up before I started traveling when I had no access to the Internet. So the lesson is to learn the basics and become familiar with the equipment before starting your journey.
7. GoPro Captures Wider than it Does in Height
Another duh, but somehow it is easy to forget that the GoPro captures video in a shallow rectangle (in a proportion that is more rectangular than the camera itself). I know I forgot. There are some videos where I thought I was recording a hummingbird or a crab and they are just out of the shot. If I would have angled the camera up just a wee bit more, I might have scored some Animal Planet worthy videos. Maybe. See the video example of my painful lesson below.
Any of you GoPro people out there have any tips or resources to share with us? Please post in the comments and let us know!
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