Budget Video: Creative Tips for Your GoPro

Recently I got an email from Hans who has written for Hobbies on a Budget in the past. He has some great ideas and hobbies that I’ve never tried. Remember the camera mount made out of pvc pipe? That was Hans! Today, he’s sharing how he makes movies while on his bike!

I ride my bike to work 6 months out of the year, so I figured that having a camera to record my trips would be great documentation- not only of how long my rides take, but as a safety precaution as well.

Budget Video: Creative tips for your Go Pro

Plus a bunch of my intense MTB friends have them, and their videos always come out great. I debated between the Contour and GoPro, but in the end, GoPro had more to offer me. To be sure, there were things that the Contour did better, but it just wasn’t what I was looking for.

I opted for the GoPro Hero. This is not the newest model, but at $200, I couldn’t resist the deal. I feel I should mention that the Hero 2 is for all intents and purposes a better camera. It has better low light resolution and takes better photos. However, It doesn’t offer a 60fps HD mode, which is what I was looking for (I love slow motion).

My favorite features include the following:

Wide Angles – The fisheye lens on the front helps the GoPro camera record a 170 degree angle when recording in 720HD mode. That’s a whole lot of angle. One mounted on a car’s dashboard can easily record everyone in the car, and what’s happening on the sides of the vehicle as well. This feature also makes it pretty great for panoramic shots.

Base Options – There are 4 versions of the Hero to choose from, each one for specific needs. The titles are pretty self explanatory- Naked, Helmet, Surf, and Motorsports. Each one comes with all kinds of different mounting abilities for the different activities, however they all come at the same price, which is great. I opted for the Motorsports version, which makes filming in your car a breeze.

Available Extras – The GoPro does not have a built in view screen, which at first may seem like a bad thing. Think about it this way, it’s a helmet cam, so you wouldn’t be able to see the screen during filming anyway. Plus you’re saving money by it not being there. What’s great about the GoPro, is that if you want that feature, it’s available as an ad-on! For $80, you get a screen that snaps onto the back of the camera, and comes with an extra door that will allow it to fit into the GoPro casing. Plus, you can always buy different mounts if you need them for your new extreme (or not so extreme) ventures.

Recording Format – A 16gb card can hold nearly 4 hours in the 720 mode. The only unfortunate thing about that the battery is only good for 2.5 hours at a time (extra batteries are available). It records in a compressed MP4 format, so it’s able to fit a lot onto most SD cards. Plus, there are the 1080 and 960 modes for different needs, as well as a time lapse feature if you want to take photos. Considering the Hero only has 2 buttons, there are really a large amount of options to choose from.

Durability – Check out this video. It’s
of a guy who drops his GoPro from 3000 feet while skydiving. The language is a little NSFW, but you can’t blame him. The best part is the camera is still recording when he finds it! There’s also This video about a man who had his GoPro pulled off his surfboard by a wave. It remained underwater for 2 weeks until a good samaritan found it and returned it. The case was dirty, but amazingly the inside of the camera was totally dry, and the card had no corrosion. There are other things that I like about it as well. The waterproof case makes it great for scuba diving or snorkeling!

Safety – It works great as a security camera if you should need it. As long as it’s plugged in, you could record for up to 8 hours of footage, or even more if you opted for the time lapse feature. I travel a lot, and even though I prefer luxury hotels, I don’t always get to stay in them. Because of its wide angle lens, I’m able to capture an entire room if I place the camera in the right spot. Not that I’m paranoid or anything.

At $200, the Go Pro Hero is an amazing deal. It is a great way to capture amazing footage, while not having to worry about the camera getting wet or dropped. For film makers looking to capture some unique angles, you can’t go wrong with a GoPro. There are simply endless mounting options to be found with it.

Here are my top 5 suggestions for mounting ideas with your GoPro camera:

1. Single Rod/Pole Mount – Find an old ski pole, or any pole for that matter, and affix your GoPro to the end of it. Make sure it’s facing you while you snowboard down the mountain. Check out Shaun White’s run in this massive half pipe at the X-Games. He’s also using a chest mount, which is a fantastic angle.

2. Helmet Cam Facing Down – It seems simple enough, but by pointing the camera at yourself, you can get some really interesting shots. Check out this strange
! It’s hilarious and fun.

3. Doggie Cam – You can mount it on your dog’s chest harness easily enough, or just take a strap and connect it to your dog’s back. It gives the impression that someone is following your dog, kind of like a first person perspective in a video game. It works best when the dog is not running, as you can see in this video. Still pretty fun!

5. RC Cam – Acquire some kind of remote controlled car and figure out how to make a simple mount, or a little tape. It’s a pretty unique angle. Try it with your RC boat or RC plane if you’re feeling adventurous. For those of you who need to get even higher, tie your GoPro to a weather balloon and let the show commence.

5. Dashboard Mount – While the idea of a dashboard cam is nothing new, the wide angle makes it fun to either get a shot of everyone in the car, or flip it around for a wide angle shot of the street in front of you. Speed it up for maximum effect.

About the Author
Hans Ericsson is a travel writer based out of Portland, Maine. When not writing or traveling, he enjoys making short films on a budget.

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