5 Professional Uses for GoPro Cameras
The GoPro has found its way into many professional photographers’ camera bags. It’s fun to use when you’re already comfortable with holding a camera, and that near-fish-eye view lets you do some pretty creative stuff with still images and video.
If you’re not already using a GoPro in your photography business, here are a few ways you can take advantage of it:
- Take ultra-wide-angle pictures. The GoPro allows you to get close to your subject to create a pleasantly distorted sense of perspective.
- Capture time-lapse footage. Shoot a bunch of still images and play them as a movie, using the time-lapse setting on your GoPro and putting everything together in GoPro Studio Edit.
- Capture video of yourself taking photographs. This technique comes in especially handy for in-depth photo essays or commercial shoots.
- Mount the camera remotely. Sometimes it’s easier to take the time to mount the camera on a pole or overhead railing than to climb and wait for the shot. After you mount it, you can watch what it’s seeing using your smartphone or device.
- Put the GoPro in harm’s way. Some situations make great photographs, but it’s too dangerous to capture them directly. Maybe you’re covering the running of the bulls at Pamplona or wanting to capture traffic on an interstate highway. Mounting the camera, getting away to a safe distance, and controlling the camera remotely prevents you from getting run over.
You probably don’t want to shoot the entire documentary with a GoPro. Instead, use it as a secondary camera, blending its footage with conventional footage. That way, you give yourself some cool choices for editing. These include:
- Tight spaces: So many times, it’s not possible to get a wide enough view with your camcorder, so don’t stress about it anymore; just mount a GoPro or two in the room for those situations.
- Capture action: That’s what the camera is designed for, and that’s how you should use it when shooting scenes for your documentary.
- Point-of-view (POV): A common practice with documentaries is to make the viewers feel like they’re part of the scene, as shown. It’s hard to think of any better way than mounting a GoPro on a headband or harness and walking through a castle, stepping in a battlefield, or maneuvering through a cave.
Real Estate Sales
Although it may not sound as exciting as capturing a surfer in a pipeline, there are many good reasons to use a GoPro to capture real estate interiors and exteriors, giving prospective buyers some informative images to consider.
Most pictures on real estate websites are ineffective images that don’t represent the property accurately. Sometimes, they show too little of the property because they weren’t shot with a wide-enough lens. Even with a moderately wide-angle lens, you can back up only so far before hitting a wall. The GoPro’s lens is so wide that you may have the opposite problem, but it’s certainly one you can work with.
Here are some ways to use the GoPro effectively in real estate:
- Capture the entire room. The camera’s ultra-wide-angle lens lets you capture a whole room from some tight spots (as shown).
- Do a walk-through. When a prospective customer can’t visit the property right away or just wants to vet it first, watching a video walk-through can be the next-best thing. Mounting the camera on a headband produces a perspective conducive to what your eyes see when walking through a crowded space.
- Go aerial. Mount a GoPro on a remote-control quadcopter, and fly it over the house to give the viewer a bird’s-eye perspective of the property.
Television News Production
The two roles may seem to be similar, but there’s a dramatic difference between the functions of a multimedia reporter and a television producer. The latter relies solely on gathering visual images; the former uses various media to tell the story.
Most news crews use big cameras, but the portable GoPro provides a unique perspective. Even news cameras with expensive wide-angle lenses can’t capture as wide a scene as a GoPro can. Also, you can mount a GoPro on a pole above the scene, which you can’t do with a news camera; it’s way too heavy (and expensive to replace if the pole breaks).
When you’re covering television news, here are some ways that the GoPro can work for you:
- Get a wide view of a news scene. Parades, processions, red carpets, and other expansive events are easy to capture when you mount a GoPro nearby (shown).
- Film in tight spaces. Sometimes, you need to capture news footage from a cramped space. Use a GoPro to fill the frame with all you need.
- Create unique visual hooks. The ultra-wide-angle lens creates footage that integrates nicely with conventional footage for both practical reasons (getting more into the scene) and aesthetic ones (getting a fish-eye view).
Extreme Sports Shooters
Extreme sports make for exciting video. Following are some extreme sports that go well with the GoPro:
- Surfing: Photographers and filmmakers have mounted cameras on surfboards for years, but it did require an expensive waterproof housing and was a bit cumbersome on the board. GoPro is small and out of the way.
- Skateboarding: Use the skateboard mount to get a low-angle view (shown), or mount the camera on a skater’s helmet to produce heart-skipping skateboarding video.
- Skydiving: Mount the camera on a diver’s helmet to capture the free fall and the parachute opening.
Because of the speeds involved in skydiving, it’s a good idea to use a high frame rate — 60 frames per second (fps) or more.