Knock on wood: I have never had a back injury. It’s pretty surprising considering the huge TV cameras I’ve lugged around for twenty years. Thankfully, the physical size of professional video cameras has shrunk over the years while maintaining incredible visual quality. One of the smallest and most popular video cameras today is the GoPro. You may have one yourself or know someone who does.
The GoPro made its debut in 2004 and is marketed to the extreme-action, X-games generation: surfing, biking, skiing, skydiving, kayaking.
But weekend warriors are not the only folks strapping on this mobile camera. Most video professionals have at least one (or more) GoPros in their toolkit, including myself. The camera is relatively inexpensive, it shoots high-quality HD video and it’s TINY.
Along for the Ride
I find the GoPro extremely useful in bringing the viewer along for the ride. It allows me, as a video producer, to get up close without the obtrusiveness of a large video camera. It is a virtual “fly on the wall” view that captures people in spontaneous, unreserved moments. Not to mention, it can turn your one-camera shoot into a two-camera shoot without needing an additional camera operator.
GoPro on Location
I used the GoPro during a “taste-testing” shoot. It captured people acting naturally without a big camera in their faces. I moved the GoPro’s position a few times, which also gave the edited piece more visual variety. My primary camera recorded clean sound via a wireless and boom mic (taste-test reaction) which I synced with the GoPro video in post.
The small size of the camera is helpful in getting an angle that would be impossible with a conventional video camera.Space was minimal during a shoot in a small audio booth at the Winspear Opera House. The GoPro allowed for close-ups of voice actors translating a stage show while not getting in the way of their individual performances.
I attached the GoPro to a light stand during an outdoor concert. I fully extended the light stand, allowing for a bird’s-eye view of the event. I let the camera record while I hustled around with my primary camera to get footage of other action. Later, I moved the GoPro behind the stage, again getting a view from high above the action.
The GoPro camera is proof that big things can come in small packages.
You can check out the GoPro footage in the final edited projects below: