GoPro Hero HD: Shooting Video & Mounting Tips and Tricks from years of my personal experience as a creative professional.
My GoPro Hero Tips
I have used every version of the GoPro Camera Systems in both professional and personal projects. There really is nothing like a GoPro, but as with any camera system, there are a few tricks of the trade to make sure that you lock in the perfect sequence that you have been dreaming of. Here are a few of my favorites. Please feel free to add your own tips below in the comment box at the bottom of the page. I may even use them in Part 2 of this article.
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Here are a few of my favorite GoPro Hero Techniques:
Tip 1: If mounting your GoPro camera with the suction cup mount make sure that you clean the surface prior to adhering suction. Any particles or debris can cause the mount to fail. I recommend that you wipe down the suction cup with some isopropyl alcohol wipes which creates a really clean surface for suction. (Be careful to let it dry before attaching to any object)
Tip 2: When using the suction cup mount ALWAYS tie a thin string to tether the camera to something secure. For example, if your camera is on the hood of a car, tie a string to the windshield wiper arm. Make sure that your string is not too long and test the length to see if your string will catch your camera before hitting an object.
Note: The measuring is kind of critical here, don’t have your camera become detached from the suction mount with the idea of it being saved by the string tied to it only to have the camera swing and hit something say like a tree. Which in my case cracked the housing. Ugg.
If you are going to mount the camera to an ATV, Motorcycle, or BMX bike I tend to like the GoPro adhesive mounts reinforced with a little duct-tape or Premium Grade Gaffers Tape (black). Gaffers tape unlike duct tape will NOT leave adhesive residue behind when removed.
Make sure that you change the position of your mounting locations. There is nothing more boring than finally editing your video only to find that you have maybe 1 or 2 good perspectives. Think about mounting the camera where you would never dream of with a traditional camera.
Here are some GoPro creative tips & tricks I have used:
– Mounting the GoPro to a boom pole and telescoping up 8ft. This works awesome for shooting bands and getting above the crowd. Some of my best footage when shooting live events comes from this technique. Note: If your going to attach this to a boom pole or for that matter any tripod you will need the GoPro Tripod Mount. These little suckers are good to have and I typically have several with me on any shoot.
Warning: Watch the ceiling though when using a boom pole and ALWAYS use a nonconducting material like plastic or wood. Never metal as you could hit a wire or open light and electrocute yourself.
– Mounting the Hero to a wheel well of a car or truck.
– Mounting the Hero to the fork of your bicycle and aiming it up at you or behind you.
Tip 5: If you are using the camera on the water for surfing or for your jet ski you will want to think about something. Some rigs can sink fast depending on your setup. I highly recommend the GoPro Floaty Backdoor as this little orange lifeguard will save your camera from certain doom if it falls off during a wet shoot. Plus the orange color makes it very easy to see.
Tip 6: If you are planning to use your kick ass GoPro in the water, or for that matter in the snow, you will want to invest in the Anti Fog Inserts. You may not even realize it when the change of temp happens fog becomes a factor and a very unwelcome visitor. This has happened to me 2 times (I finally discovered these gems) and it is something that WILL ruin your entire shoot if not remedied.
Tip 7: Don’t get caught on your shoot without a Wasabi Power Battery and Charger Kit. There is a simple rule when shooting on location, make sure you have 3x the amount of power / batteries than you actually need. This is super important! Many factors drain power including fluctuations in temps and vibration loss even with the replaceable lithium packs.
Tip 8: If you plan on shooting underwater footage with the older GoPro cameras (not just in and out of the water as in typical water shots) you need to have the GoPro Dive Housing to provide maximum photo and video sharpness underwater in all resolutions. Without this Dive Housing your imagery and videos will be blurry and the vignetting around the edges will make the footage unusable. Waterproof to 197’/60m, the Dive Housing is ideal for diving, snorkeling and any underwater filming scenario.
I recommend that if you have never tested this camera underwater you should do so before a shoot. It’s not as easy to use as a professional rig but it’s just a little tricky. The underwater footage you get will be worth every penny.
Tip 9: When it comes to audio with the GoPro’s the new generation of HD models do a really nice job. However, if you are shooting on a motorcycle or have it attached to a car going at high speeds you will always get wind noise. Wind Noise will ruin what could have been a really nice shoot. To combat this effect you may want to use something called a windscreen. The fibers of the windscreen buffer the wind from directly blowing into the mic but allows the audio being captured to still enter. Now while it’s acoustically transparent it will slightly lower your sound level due to the fibers absorbing some of the sound waves so make sure you only attach it when you are planning on shooting when moving quickly.
The Micover Stickover Windscreen uses 3M tape and will stick on the back of your HD case and as most 3M sticky products it will be there till you pry it off. I highly recommend that you get another housing for your GoPro to create a separate removable cover case that you use for windy conditions. It’s worth having a special case for high speed audio conditions if you are serious about capturing the ultimate footage.
If you want the poor man’s version you can simply use some strong rubber bands to hold it on (don’t use cheap rubber bands or tape ugg). This way you can take it on and off without much fuss.
A FANTASTIC solution for under $30 which allows you to mount your GoPro and as a bonus any other camera to almost anything! The handy tripod mount attaches your quick-release GoPro camera to a standard 1/4-20 tripod stud which is the standard for most American cameras.
The Ultraclamp was designed for use with any device equipped with a 1/4-20 tripod socket, the UltraClamp Assembly allows you to mount your GoPro or any camera solidly on moving or stationary objects including to car windows, bicycle handlebars, tables, and many other similar objects. The UltraClamp is strong enough to hold any camera or camcorder weighing up to six pounds and attaches to round or flat objects up to 1.5 inches thick and thanks to its ball and socket mount, allows the camera to be placed at virtually any angle for tough to get shots.
Do yourself a favor and grab a few of the GoPro Tripod Mounts for your kit. On one of my shoots having a few of these allowed me to setup 3 GoPro’s on tripods saving time needing to rig them to C-Stands.
320 Amazon Reviewers gave the Ultraclamp 4.5 stars out of 5
Click here to see what the reviewers had to say
Update: Recently I have see an awesome stabilizer for the GoPro cameras: (I knew they would come out sooner than later)
The new mount adapts all GoPro Hero cameras to the Smoothee and incorporates a new “tilt head” feature that allows more flexibility in capturing the moment. With included belt clip, the new Steadicam Smoothee for GoPro is ready to go out of the box. Look for a review of this handy (pun intended) rig in the near future.