10 Ways to Get the Best Out of Your GoPro

First Blog Post
First Blog Post

Posted: July 19 2013

So you have a GoPro and you’re not sure of the best way to use it? We’ve put together a mini guide that should help you capture the best footage that you’ll enjoy over and over again.

1. Know Your Mounts

With such a large array of mounts available, it’s often hard to know the best way to mount your GoPro to get the best footage possible. The way you mount the GoPro will dictate the look and feel of your movie so it’s important to think about it before you start.

Filming on a bike? The handlebar mount produces footage which is a little bumpy. Use a chest mount instead as the human body will smooth out the little bumps nicely.

2. Tell a Story

Storyboard and plan what you want to shoot and think about how you want your video to start and end. If you go out without a plan, you’ll end up missing something.

3. Mix up the Angles

Whether you’re skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking or whatever it is you’re filming, be sure to capture as many different views as possible. Watching 5 minutes of the same view can get a little boring so mount the GoPro in as many different ways as you can.

4. Attach the GoPro to Something Different

Mount it on your dog, the vacuum or a musical instrument. Don’t limit yourself to only sticking the GoPro on yourself and get creative!

5. Practice, Practice Again and Then Practice Some More.

Due to the fact that the GoPro doesn’t have a screen, it’s a little difficult at first to work out what you’re actually filming. If you’re following a person, you need to be a lot closer than you think; stand too far away and that person will be a tiny figure in the middle of the screen. This leads nicely into the next point…

6. Use the App

Whether you are using Android or iPhone, download the GoPro app so that you can control the camera using your phone/tablet. If you’ve tried to navigate the menus on the tiny LCD screen, you’ll know that it can take a lot of clicks before you get to the settings you want. Using the app allows acess to all of the settings on 1 screen, and as a bonus, you can also see a preview of what you’re filming!

7. Mix in Some Photos.

The GoPro is great at shooting video, but don’t forget that it can also capture images as well as produce great time-lapse shots. To make your video more interesting, break up footage with still images or timelapse sequences and make the most out of these great features.

8. Know Your GoPro

The Gopro camera, especially the Black version has so many settings and resolutions so take some time to get to know what is possible. Learn which modes work best for each situation and use what works.

As a go-to default when using the Gopro 3 Black edition, I will almost certainly use 1080p-60fps in Wide although if you want a less fish-eye look then use the Medium mode. If you’re looking to film some slow-motion and don’t need the full HD, I’d go for 720p-120fps Narrow which produces a great clean image.

Abe Kislevitz has done a great job in looking in detail at all of the different modes available, and highlighting which ones will do the best job for different purposes. If you want more details of what he found, you can read his blog posts on the links below:

Understand Your GoPro – Part 1
Understand Your GoPro – Part 2

9. It’s all in the Edit.

You may have captured some of the best footage in the world, but now you have the task of digesting it and getting out the best bits to show off to the rest of the world. Take your time with this stage because if you rush it, you’ll impress no-one.

The sound quality captured on a GoPro isn’t the best in the world so you’ll want to add some music, but be careful with copyright wherever you are in the world.

10. Know the GoPro Limits

The last point is just a little note to remember; the GoPro is a great camera and we love them here at Xtreme Hire but it’s important to know its limits.

  • Battery life is one of the biggest limiting factors with the GoPro 3, especially in colder weather. Knowing how long you expect the battery to last will focus you into capturing only what you need and nothing more. 1 and a half hours is typically what you’ll get out of a full charge, but throw in cold weather, or turn on the wifi and you may only get an hour of recording.
  • You can’t zoom a GoPro. You want the subject to fill the frame? Then you have to get closer to your subject; zoom with your feet.
  • There is no manual focus. If you want really arty shots where you need to pull focus, or just have your subject in focus then the Gopro is not for you. When you use the GoPro, Most of your frame will be in focus but there are people out there that produce replacement lenses if you’re brave enough to take apart your GoPro!
  • Low light performance on the GoPro isn’t great, so if you’re looking at doing a lot of indoor video with not much light, then the GoPro may not be for you; the GoPro is definitely an outdoor sunny day type of camera… If you do have to film indoors, use a lower frame rate such as 30fps which will allow slightly more light in than 60fps.

So go on, get out there and start filming and keep the tips above in mind. Don’t have your own GoPro yet? Why not hire one from us and take it for a test drive or if you’re feeling ready to take the leap, why not buy your own GoPro Hero 3 Black from Amazon?

Amazon have a huge range of GoPro products and accessories, so why not go and take a look for yourself..

Shop on Amazon for GoPro Products

In our next few blog posts, we’ll start to look at some of the points above in more detail so stay tuned and come back soon. Thanks for reading!

BONUS TIP: If you want to capture really steady footage but don’t have a steadicam, try this out.. Hold the GoPro against your chin! Your head is a lot more steady than your arms so you’ll get smooth footage without any extra mounts. This tip will work if you’re walking, or standing still; just turn your head slowly for a great smooth panning shot.