Whether you’re a beginner filmmaker, just starting out, or a seasoned professional, you’ll almost certainly know what a GoPro is – essentially a range of tiny action cameras designed to capture a unique perspective of outdoor activities.
As a beginner, it’s easy to consider one of these cameras as the answer to all your problems, but before you run out and buy one, here are some of our thoughts to help you make up your mind.
They’re built like a tank
The GoPro cameras aren’t cheap, but what you definitely do get is a stunningly well built product. I always remember watching this video from Casey Naistat where he attempted to spray his Hero Session a horrible luminous green. The GoPro simply refused to be coated – you don’t need to worry about throwing these things in a bag. I would recommend picking up a cheap lens cap though to prevent any scratches.
They have a fantastically wide lens
One of the things that most attracted me to my GoPro Session was the incredibly wide lens. What this essentially means is that you can fit more of a scene into the footage.
This is both a blessing and a curse, however. You’re unlikely to miss any action, and can often simply plonk the camera down and focus on the action rather than ensuring everything’s perfectly framed – which is great.
As a beginner, however, it’s important to realise that using too much footage that’s filmed with a wide lens like this will be jarring for the audience, and this filming style can detach the audience from your content. GoPros are best used when inserting a few scenes – not for the duration of a project.
Ever so tiny
Another blessing and a curse is the size of the thing. Like I’ve already said, you can simply chuck it in a bag or your pocket, and always have a highly capable camera nearby. On the other hand, they are very easy to lose or misplace, and if you go for the Session (like I did) you’ll spend a lot of time recharging if you’re doing extended filming takes, as the battery isn’t huge and can’t be removed. If you do need a removable battery – so you can take spares out with you, take a look at one of the other models instead.
Great for timelapse
The fact that they are so small and convenient to take out with you means they’re pretty good for timelaspes – you can just pop it down and wander off to do something else while you capture that amazing footage.
The only issue with mine, and some of the others, is that the final footage can look a little washed out and lack vibrant colours. If you want a more colourful final product, then you may need to familarise yourself with colour grading methods.
GoPros are incredible pieces of technology, and they’ve certainly always beaten the cheaper competition whenever we’ve tested them.
Would we recommend a beginner goes out and buy one though?
Probably not – unless you’re specifically wanting to film action and sports from the unique perspective offered by a GoPro. While it’s fantatsic to be able to hit a button and just film without thinking too much, for most beginners, the money could be better spent elsewhere.
Chances are you’ve got a phone with a decent camera in your pocket, and the truth is you’re probably better served getting to grips with the basics using that camera, which will offer a more natural picture than a GoPro for most shots.
Of course, rules are made to be broken though, and anything that actually gets you out and about filming is alright by us!