5 Tips For Capturing Epic GoPro Footage: How to Document Adventure Like a Pro
Owning a GoPro can make you the hero of your own adventure—your very own Evel Knievel—and we’re no stranger to curating epic visual tales in our stock footage library. From casual videographers and stuntmasters to the pros like Peter Jackson and Ridley Scott, GoPros have proven that thrilling, professional quality videos don’t have to come at a steep price. Is it any wonder that POV footage is 2017’s biggest trend in video?
Gone are the days of bulky and burdensome camera rigs that made capturing high quality shots a living nightmare. The accessible size and price of the GoPro has made it easier than ever to get unique and professional shots. Whether you’re strapping the camera to your helmet while ascending Machu Picchu, or you simply want to create an awe-inspiring timelapse while trekking across the U.S.—Forrest Gump-style—we’ve got some handy tips to get you started before you begin capturing your most epic of adventures.
1. Begin With The End in Mind
Storyboarding your film is a crucial part of great storytelling. You shouldn’t just wing it, which is why we lead with this tidbit of advice: have an idea of the visual story you want to tell. You might be thinking to yourself, “Nah, man. I just like to go with the flow and see where the moment takes me.” If you are, you’re doing it wrong.
You don’t have to become the next Alfred Hitchcock, but planning out your shots will make all the difference in your work—it’s how you hook your audience in. Try to match each shot you take with a visual narrative. Connect the dots of your story with each editing point. Don’t film only close-ups or only wide-angle wide shots. Plan for variety and mix it up. Try a few establishing shots, a nice medium close-up, and a POV or two. Think about what happens after a pan or a zoom. We even recommend writing a checklist of shots you want to capture—this will create greater efficiency for your day of shooting. In fact, it’s a trick our contributors use regularly. Don’t doom yourself to mediocrity.
Here we see an establishing shot of a swimmer:
And another interesting angle that is a more personal POV:
2. Get Creative With Your Positions—er, Angles
This is what GoPro was made for. Taking everything to the extreme—including your POV angles. Professional videographers with some of the most successful action clips in our Contributor Marketplace utilize this practice. The GoPro is incredibly compact and durable when encased, so don’t be afraid to take risks. Its strength allows you to exercise the right side of your brain and get creative when planning your shots.
Think action! Think adventure! If you were climbing a mountain, couldn’t your GoPro fit where your foot would? How about standing it up on your surfboard? Or attached it to your dog? The possibilities are limitless because the GoPro goes where no other camera can. So get creative.
This could mean surfing a barrel wave while angling the camera at your only-slightly-intimidated face:
Or jumping out of a plane with dozens of others while hovering precariously over beautiful Ecuador—talk about an aerial shot:
Or maybe zooming down the open highway at 75 mph and capturing the spirit of freedom and rebellion:
3. Gear Up for Battle
If you think you can get by shooting high-intensity action shots without any gear, you may want to rethink the methods to your madness. Many pros don’t shoot their projects with just their beautiful minds and skilled hands, they also use a multitude of gear, including mounts, stabilizers, filters, and casings. You wouldn’t walk onto the battlefield without a weapon or shield, would you? Luckily, GoPro is such a popular brand that there are hundreds of compatible accessories out there.
For an underwater shot, try using a red filter to balance out the blue and green tints that naturally occur while diving and shooting:
Put a selfie-stick to good use to glide side by side down a mountain:
Try using a chest mount to get a different—and naturally stabilized—shot of your extreme sports racing:
Or to capture the most epic shots of your extreme sporting, try a helmet mount:
4. Customize Your Settings
The automatic settings on the GoPro are sharp and efficient, allowing the camera to do the exposure, white balance, and focus calculations for you. However, the more you use it to capture your epic shots, the more you’ll want to play with the settings. Try perfecting the white balance depending on your scenery—indoors or outdoors. You can also tinker with the Field of View (FOV) between wide, medium, and narrow.
Depending on the model you’re using, you can also adjust the resolution settings for a framerate up to 60fps (frames per second) at 4K resolution or 240fps at a 720p resolution. The higher the framerate, the more wiggle room you have to play with slow motion effects in post production. Playing with these settings can lead to some incredible results and expand your knowledge in videography. Of course, you can’t go wrong with the traditional 1080p at 60fps and a ratio of 16:9.
Slow motion allows you to capture impressive stunts with impeccable quality:
5. Post Production Is Your BFF
You started this journey in videography beginning with the end in mind. You brainstormed your epic variety of shots. You got the gear that would take your shots to next-level video wizardry. You learned the ins and outs of your camera’s capabilities and had an incredible day of shooting. Now you’re ready to edit those shots together—what exactly does that mean?
The usual first step to editing anything of quality is to be selective with the shots you choose. How can you best tell the story you want to share with just the right amount of clips? And more importantly, choose an inspiring audio track to time your edits to.
Using Adobe Premiere or other editing program, cut from shot to shot on the beat of the track you choose. You can even edit in sound effects to really crank up the production value and excitement of your video. Just make sure to pay attention to the pacing of your edits. Many audiences have shorter attention spans—especially if you’re filming a high octane adventure.
Like what you heard? Download this inspiring and uplifting audio track here.
Looking for more GoPro adventures? Discover footage from a fresh point of view with our royalty-free Membership Library and Contributor Marketplace.
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