If you’re just jumping into the world of video production for your company or organization, you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on new camera equipment and lenses right out of the gate. Instead, you can start by using a GoPro.
Sure, most people equate a GoPro camera with extreme sports (we’ve all seen the clips), but they’re much more useful than that. You don’t need to snowboard down a mountain to make it a worthwhile investment. Here are some GoPro starter tips to get you going.
GoPro Starter Tips
GoPro recently released a list of GoPro starter tips, so I’m using that as my base here (with additional insight from my decade+ of experience in television news and video production).
Basic GoPro Settings
This is either the first question you were going to ask or it’s something you weren’t even aware of. Either way, there are basic settings you want to use on your GoPro.
GoPro suggests putting your settings at 1080p at a frame rate of 60 frames per second (FPS). With that said, we actually suggest shooting at 4K (if you have the storage space), 1080p, or anything in between (nothing lower than 1080p, though) at 24 frames per second. We urge 24 frames per second as your basic setting, because that’s what most online videos are shot in. We only suggest using 60 frames per second or higher if you plan on using slow motion. You can easily switch back and forth between frame rates during a video shoot.
Capture Your Surroundings
GoPro cameras are equipped with a wide-angle lens, so they’re meant to capture your subject and their surroundings. Here are some helpful starter tips to make sure you’re getting the proper shots you need.
The point-of-view is what made GoPro famous, and it can help you tell stories for your business or organization. To achieve the best point-of-view shot, GoPro suggests aiming the lens about six to seven feet in front of you (obviously, when attached or strapped to the head). They say this will make the view feel like it’s from the eyes without capturing other parts of the body.
If you’re trying to capture selfies for your video shoot, GoPro suggests aiming the lens at your belly button. They say this “will ensure you, and the world, are in your photo (or video).”
Explore Other Angles
A GoPro doesn’t have to be attached to your body or pointed back at you to be useful. GoPro encourages you to try different angles. Go hands free and mount the camera somewhere static. Just like any video equipment, GoPro cameras are meant to capture moments, whether you or others are in the shot or not.
Take this video for example. While shooting on location with a diving and salvage company, I captured this moment with my GoPro attached to a floating hand grip. This allowed me to get a shot that I couldn’t get with other high-end cameras or expensive special equipment.
You can also easily get beautiful landscape shots with a GoPro. You don’t necessarily have to capture individuals in action. A GoPro can be especially useful if you are trying to shoot a time-lapse video. Take this clip I shot of a New Year’s Day sunrise over Seattle as an example.
My best advice is to just shoot, shoot, shoot. The more practice you get with your GoPro, the better your videos will look. You’ll swing and miss a few times, but you’ll also hit some home runs. Either way, you’re growing as a videographer.
Simple GoPro Care
Just like any camera, it’s important to keep your GoPro lens clean. Your best shot will only look so good if your lens is dirty or smudged. Keeping your lens clean is simple. GoPro suggests using your shirt, a lens cloth, or any other soft surface to wipe away water spots, dust, etc.
These GoPro starter tips should help get you off the ground. We’ve set the foundation and now it’s time for you to build your skills. The key to video production success is to just have fun with it. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, especially if this is your first venture into creating video content.
What are your best GoPro starter tips? We’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and you can also find our videos on Vimeo and YouTube. If you’re looking for even more video production tips, be sure to check out Moarly Creative!