One thing that I’m feeling like I never did enough of was post some of my video footage from my older cameras. I’m not claiming to be some epic videographer, but then that’s the point isn’t it? I’m just a guy with a camera that he lugs around in public and takes photos and videos. My footage is what most anyone who spends fifteen minutes poking at the basic camera settings could accomplish.
Plus, I often go wandering in some odd and interesting places and have given up being shy about recording the world around me.
So my resolution with the new GoPro, the Hero6 that I picked up just one week ago, is to share more of my footage. That is, not even sharing so much the highly produced and edited stuff… rather just posting more clips here and there of some of the better stuff.
Maybe a one minute reel of me walking around somewhere curious.
Or a few shorter clips strung together of a photo expedition.
Or the raw pieces of one of my running-with-a-camera adventures put end to end with some royalty-free music overlaid onto the clips.
It doesn’t count for much, but I know its the type of stuff that is useful when I buy a camera answering questions like: how will MY footage look because I’m NOT a highly paid stunt photographer with a team and a lighting rig and the option to only show you the best four seconds I captured after two straight hours of shooting. I’m just a guy who pulls his camera out for fifteen seconds here and there when the opportunity arises in real life. How will my video look?
Sure enough, after weeks of postponed ship-dates and a frustratingly mysterious pre-order process, the GoPro Hero3 Black I purchased waaaaay back in early November arrived in the hours before we were leaving town for the wedding of my brother-in-law. And while one might imagine this would be an idea time and place to test out a new video camera, I never did get around to shooting any video during that particular event.
I don’t do product reviews, by the way.
Instead, having taken two full days of vacation time for the wedding, we got back home a little early on the second day (so Claire could attend Kindergarten) and I was left with a sunny and mild winter weekday, a bunch of free-time… and a brand-new action camera to put through it’s paces.
I don’t do product reviews, by the way. So, this isn’t a run-down. It’s a sweet piece of technology but as a guy who fashions himself more of a junkie about the actual output of the camera and less about what’s inside, I could have spent hours fiddling with settings and trying to scope its capabilities and limitations. Instead, I just took it for a couple outings, and had a look at what it was capable of without any hardcore fine-tuning.
The camera was a bit of a whim purchase. Occasionally I do a bit of work on the side — designing websites or logos — and the agreement we have in our house is that side-job cash is uncommitted capital for frivolous purchases. So, dishing out four hundred and fifty bucks from my fun-money-fund to buy yet another camera — while a little extravagant — is all solidly based around feeding my ongoing photography addiction. And this time, at least from my first day’s impressions, it was worth it.
The problem with (um… impact of) getting a new camera is two-fold:
1) You tend to get new equipment and need to spend a lot of time learning how to use it. Cameras all have their own personalities. They handle light in different ways, the react to shutter-presses uniquely, they push data around in patterns that may seem arbitrary, but can impact how you use the camera, and…
2) You rarely get a camera and have an immediate and perfect opportunity to use it. Apart from a wedding (which I’d never use a brand-new out-of-the-box system to snap important shots) for which I was more a participant than anything else, it was just a random week-day in December. You end up seeking out opportunities to snap or record… mundane as those opportunities might be.
For example, in learning how to use the camera and seeking out an opportunity to use it, I just went for a walk in the nearby park.
The result: some random video of various ways of moving the camera. I walked, ran, panned, got in close, grabbed some distance, and even set it on the ground to record. I back-lit, side-lit, under-exposed and applied that real-world contrast test that so many cameras fail in an epic way: snow. But the Hero3 passed with flying colours.
No sooner had a hacked the Outing One footage up onto YouTube, than my daughter came home from school wanting to spend some QT with her old man. Her idea: Minecraft. My idea: tobogganing. I won.
The GoPro came with a small assortment of mounting tools, bits, bobs, and stickies. One thing I find myself doing too often is “saving” the add-ons for “just the right thing.” Problem is, you save all this stuff, never use any of it, and a year later you’ve got a pile of pristine equipment and no footage or photos. But a quick visit to GoPro’s website will tell you that extras are a dime a dozen — well, actually six for $20 — and to save them is just silly.
So, I said frak it, and I peeled the sticky tape off one of the mounting brackets and stuck it front-and-center on our new(ish) wooden toboggan. Action Cam meet Action Kid.
The result of an hour of tobogganing on a December afternoon, GoPro Black mounted snugly to the front of our sled, was a really cool video of us walking to the hill, climbing, sledding, playing, falling, and having a great time…. none of which I can show readers here because I set it to some copyright music and it’s not getting uploaded.
But, I did try out some of the other features, all of which pair super-great with the included wifi remote. My new favourite: burst-photo mode. While it might seem silly to take up to 30 photos in as little as one second with the single push of a single button, it’s not until you’re out in the field (or in our case, on the top of a hill) with a camera mounted to fast-moving object that you realize the awesome implications of this. I set the camera to 30 photos in 2 seconds (half it’s full capability — but it seemed more appropriate for the purpose.) Face the camera at the subject, give the subject a firm push over the edge of the slope, wait a fraction of a second, and hit burst…go!
Result? Thirty sequential photos of a five second toboggan ride, twenty-eight of which are either (a) identical or (b) crap… but two which are damn-near-priceless.
Those I can post.
I think we’re going to have some fun with this new toy.