The innovations in point of view (POV) cameras in the last five years have changed the way we are able to capture our favourite action sports. However it seems sometimes that the footage people get from there action camera doesn’t quite live up to there expectations. I thought I would write a short blog on how to film skiing with a GoPro and get the professional looking results you are hoping for.
The first step in making a great edit is having a clear idea of the shots and footage you want before even leaving the house. The gift and the curse of POV cameras is that they are capable of shooting anywhere and anything, this means we can end up with hours of footage on the memory card much which will never be used or even replayed. Having a concise vision of what you want to film can save hours of trawling through your memory card waiting for a useable shot. Angles to shoot from are endless with a GoPro but where they excel is from a close intimate angle as the fish eye lens captures images at such a wide angle. With this in mind the key to getting consistently good results is making sure the camera is close to the point of action you are trying to capture. This can be achieved by the huge variety of GoPro mounts which are available and allow you to self film but is more critical if you filming somebody else.
So once you have a clear idea in your head you can go out and get the shots you want this is where a basic understanding of the camera settings comes into play. The latest GoPros are able to shoot at 120 fps (frames per second) in 1080HD or 60 fps in 4K however there are a variety of different shooting modes beneath these. So what setting should you use when, basically the highest quality shot will require shooting in 1080HD or 4K on the newest models. This setting will mean the cameras is taking in the most information it can,providing the highest image quality when replayed. However shooting in this mode means you will compromise the fps rate. This is where having an idea of what you want to achieve is important. The higher the frame rate the better the quality if you want to slow the shot down, so to achieve that super slow motion effect used so often in GoPro videos you need to be shooting in the highest frame rate – ideally anything above 60 fps will you good results when slowed down.
In regards to getting the best results in slow motion there are a couple of things to consider when actually filming. Firstly try and keep ‘camera shake‘ to a minimum; there are a vast selection of accessories to help with this from pole mounts to tripods. I recommend making the small investment as it will really improve the quality of your images. Secondly reducing the ‘background’ noise in the frame means it is easier for editing software to link the frames when slowed down. So try to film the action with a blank background for example if someone is doing a jump try to make the backdrop the sky this will result in smoother images when slowed down.
A final thought in regards to getting the most from your GoPro is choosing the days you film and how you film. If you look at any of the professional GoPro clips online you will see a common theme they are all shot on the brightest days. The images on these days will always have better contrast and will really come alive on your screen. However skiing isn’t always blue skies and sunshine if you do end up wanting to capture that epic white out powder day you will need to do some after editing. To achieve that same definition in your images you will need to increase both contrast and saturation whilst reducing exposure. The free GoPro Studio is a great bit of software to start learning the basics of editing and improve your film making skills. It also has fantastic compressor which will reduce the final file size of your edits, due to the quality of GoPro footage quite often files can be large so this a great feature especially if you like sharing you edits on social media.
Hope this has been useful and you enjoy going out and capturing your next big adventure!by