The 10 GoPro Tips You Must Know Before Buying One

go pro tips

You want one but you don’t know if it’s worth the splurge. GoPro action cameras have enjoyed a rapid rise in popularity in the last few years. Ever since Nick Woodman sold his first GoPro camera way back in 2004, adrenaline junkies all over the world have consistently flocked to the extremely durable and portable camera line. Perfect for strapping to one’s chest, helmet, snowboard or otherwise, GoPro action cameras became the go-to-tool for POV videos, especially in the world of extreme sports. Whether you’re snowboarding down Mount Fuji, swimming with dolphins in the Caribbean or just spending quality time with the kids on your holiday in the Med, the first person videos created by GoPro cameras capture the most natural memories when they matter most.

GoPro Tips

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Whether you’re mounting an action camera on your car, your body, or a quadcopter, you need one that’s rugged enough to take a beating but good enough to get great photos and video. And GoPro action cameras are built for just that. Their diminutive proportions, robust design, simple mechanics, ultra-wide fields of view and ability to be worn on the body and used from almost any vantage point help give video footage and stills a real sense of drama. While many of that stuff you see online actually possess a bit of professional post-production, there’s a few tips and tricks you should know when buying a GoPro. They are sure to turn your basic videos into masterpieces.

Use a mount

Try testing out different places to mount the camera to determine which spots work best for taking smooth and clear shots, correct angles, and all of the desired action. Mounting your action camera gives your shots a unique point of view. Different mounts can provide different POVs which can help tell your story to the entire world. For example, a camera mounted in a headgear can provide a great view from the rider’s eyes, but a camera mounted on the bike rear side can capture other riders trailing you – two different views from the same moment.

GoPro Tips

Find a better angle

They’re small, they’re simple and they’re rough and they can capture your life’s precious moments like never before. A GoPro offers a very wide angle of view that makes it easy to capture the action but to create truly interesting videos, you have to do more than simply set it. Change up the angle to give viewers a comprehensive view of what’s going on, rather than just sticking to one viewpoint. For example, when recording action, it’s most common to mount a forward-facing GoPro, but sometimes looking back at yourself can produce equally entertaining footage. If you’ll be repeating an action many times throughout the day, say for surfing or snowboarding, consider repositioning the camera on each run to capture a greater variety of shots.

GoPro Tips

Use different filters

GoPro action cameras are unlike any other kind of camera. They’re designed to be attached to helmets, surfboards, cars and other objects, and they’re small, tough and simple, with a lens that captures the world in high-definition video in a wide-angle fish-eye perspective. But to enhance the video quality, photographers and filmmakers alike utilize an array of filters – not like the usual color enhancing filters in Instagram – to improve the final version of the videos. For instance, there are different filters available for the GoPro Hero series action cameras that increase the camera’s versatility, allowing for more creative shots on both land and underwater.

GoPro Tips

GoPro filters are used to bring red color back into your underwater video, making that washed out blue or green footage pop with more accurate colors. Technically, the filter reintroduces the red color spectrum back into the picture, allowing the camera to select a more accurate white balance.

Stabilize the camera

One of the best things about GoPro action cameras is that they are very small and extremely lightweight which makes them portable and easy to carry. Shooting handheld helps you capture the moment allowing for greater spontaneity, however, for more stabilizing shots, nothing beats a tripod. As GoPro action cameras are very lightweight, there’s no need to get a heavy duty set of sticks for it, but do consider a tripod with a fluid pan head. This will let you make smooth pans to follow a subject or reveal a landscape. For stabilizing shots in motion, there’s nothing better than a powered gimbal. Gimbals use motors to counteract shaky hands and other motion, producing incredibly smooth footage in virtually any setting.

GoPro Tips

Use manual settings

Although there isn’t anything wrong with a GoPro camera’s automatic settings – it’s actually incredibly useful for those new to shooting video – manually tinkering with your camera’s exposure can help produce a better shot, especially in tricky lighting conditions. You get the most control over your video when you shoot in manual mode. The manual setting gives you better control over the aperture and better speed. Shooting this way takes a little bit of work, but it’s worth it, and after you experiment a bit, you’ll start to get a good feel for the settings.

Wide-angle photos

GoPro action cameras have a fixed 170-degree lens. This allows for wide-angle photos and videos. Basically, at 170-degrees, it will capture almost everything in front of the camera. To get absolutely everything, it would need another 10-degree. This wide field of view creates an immersive experience and roughly equates to the field of view of human eyesight. It’s this wide-angle that gives the fish-eye effect GoPro is famous for. The GoPro’s wide-angle is wonderful for anytime you want to capture a lot, all at once: sporting events, hiking, travel, and parties.

GoPro Tips

Go Protune

Protune is a suite of features designed to enhance an even more professional image capture from your GoPro, while still being accessible to every GoPro user. Protune has the strongest emphasis on image quality by increasing the data-rate (decreasing compression) from an average of 15Mb/s to 35Mb/s. It grants user control over things such as white balance, saturation, exposure, ISO, etc. For example, under bright sunlight, you could dial down the exposure compensation level to -1, to avoid having parts of the video or image look washed out. It also records video with less compression compared to the standard modes. Playing around with Protune can open up new possibilities.

Burst and Time-lapse

GoPro cameras are known for their video-capture capabilities, but they function as terrific small cameras as well. The ‘Burst’ mode allows for ultra high frame-rate capture – up to 30 photos in 1 second. Previously, with HERO3+ once a burst was finished capturing, it took around 8-9 seconds to process and save to the SD card. During this time the camera is inactive and busy processing. With the HERO4, the time is reduced to between 5-6 seconds for 30/1, and 3-4 seconds for 30/3! This is huge for using burst multiple times consecutively and quickly during activities like skiing. The same can be said about Time Lapse and Night Lapse modes, which create fast-moving animations of a live scene, along with Night Photo, a mode designed for capturing long exposures.

GoPro Tips

Facial Expression/Body Position

As silly as it sounds, you should decide on a facial expression you want to have in your photo. Same goes for body position – do you want to be low and steezy, standing upright, or making gestures at the camera? These are all questions that should be decided prior to dropping in as well. If you don’t think you’ve got what it takes to take perfect action shots, think again! It doesn’t take much to get an epic story. You spin it anyway and you’ll end up with something totally unique.

Plan a good story

GoPro Tips

A good story is the backbone of any good video. A strong story will grip your audience from start to finish, even if the actual filmmaking techniques are not so overwhelming. Before even picking up your camera, try to develop the idea behind what you want to capture. Maybe it’s just a simple day at the beach or maybe something a bit more complex. Either way, it’s important to start shooting with a clear direction. If you have everything prepared the story will come more naturally. Like they say, every time press record on your GoPro during an experience, you are capturing a story.

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