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10 Questions About: The GoPro and its Use in the Corporate Environment
Over the past several months, there’s a common trend that I’ve been noticing: cameras getting smaller, lighter, and more durable. ARRI released a mini version of the Alexa, Canon released a ME20F-SH “box camera,” and most notably GoPro’s latest Hero4 has been making micro waves. The versatility of these smaller cameras allow DPs to capture more creative imagery, a wider range of motion shots, and even give DPs the ability to mount the cameras just about anywhere, including drones for aerial footage. As the commercial and consumer industry jump on this emerging trend, there’s no doubt in my mind that the corporate world will do the same for both external marketing material and internal communication material. To learn more about the GoPro and its applications in corporate video production, I sat down with Crews Control’s resident gear head Tony Muzzatti:
Tony! So let’s start with the first and most important question: Do you own a GoPro?
I do! I have a GoPro Hero 3 Black. It is one of my favorite cameras because while it has its limitations, I find it to be sturdy, compact and able to go where other cameras cannot.
How do you think the GoPro compares to other consumer grade hand-held cameras like a Sony HandyCam?
I would buy a GoPro before I would purchase a consumer grade HandyCam for sure. I owned a HandyCam back in college, and I took my HandyCam with me to Europe when I was traveling in 2007. Now that we have smartphones with HD video capabilities the HandyCams are becoming obsolete. In 2014, I purchased my first GoPro for a trip to the Caribbean I was taking and I wanted to capture video/pictures while underwater.
What is the entry level cost of owning a GoPro?
Less than you would think. You will likely end up spending more on accessories than you will on the camera itself and it would be a challenge for you to spend more than a $1,000. That includes the camera and all the accessories your heart can desire. Now obviously you can go crazy and buy stabilizers, tripods and drones that work great with GoPro’s and those will cost a pretty penny, but those items are not always necessary, and I would sooner rent before buying an accessory I may only use once.
What are your thoughts on the Hero 4?
Well, I own a Hero 3 Black that is capable of recording in 4k @ 15fps and have yet to record anything in 4k so I probably wouldn’t utilize the Hero 4’s new feature of 4k @ 30fps simply for that fact. However, there is an advantage to recording 4k, you gain the ability to zoom or reframe your image. This is an advantage that makes it worth recording everything in 4k whenever possible. The Hero 4 also the ability to connect through Bluetooth now which is nice, and there are more options when adjusting camera setting now. It no longer comes with the remote that the GoPro cameras use to include, you must now buy that separately and the Hero 4 utilizes a new type of battery so you cannot use batteries from older models of the GoPro.
4k has really started to get a foothold in the market. Can you tell me more about the advantages of recording in 4k on the GoPro?
Well if you record a shot in 4k and then drag that clip in to a standard HD timeline (either 1080 or 720) then your video clip is going to be 4x the size of the frame (or more if you chose 720). You will need to resize the video down to HD, or simply recrop the shot. A good example of this is in a time-lapse I recorded last year where I strapped a GoPro to the west terrace of the US Capitol to capture the National Memorial Day Concert. If you watch the video you will see a slow zoom on the footage, which was achieved by digitally zooming into the clip. See, when I brought this sequence of images into my editing timeline their original size was 3000×4000, which is much bigger than 1280×720, so I had plenty of room to play with and not worry about losing original image quality when rescaling.
Can a GoPro meet broadcast quality standards?
Probably, but I am not sure GoPro wants to meet broadcast standards. I do not think GoPro cares about meeting broadcast standards because it is simply not their market, nor should it be. Their market is extreme sporting, underwater photography and providing a capture device to consumers that can go places that other cameras cannot. It might be in their future scope to create a camera that is geared to a more professional videographers taste. I do know that GoPro’s are used on some television shows that blow stuff up because GoPro’s are shockproof.
Are GoPros appropriate for video projects in the corporate environment?
I think they can be. It would depend on the context in which they are being used and the audience that the video is intended for.
Should clients consider adding a GoPro as a second camera or piece of additional equipment when they hire our crews for a corporate video production?
I think so. Any marketing department – whether it is events, product, communication, or anything really – can find a use for a GoPro. And they should, especially in a time like now when demand for more video content by consumers is so high. Keeping in mind that it’s important to use the right tool for the right job, if the job calls for a GoPro they can get it done just as good (if not better) than their professional competitors. They can be visually appealing and provide new video opportunities from angles that couldn’t as easily be captured with professional or consumer camera equipment.
What are the ways a GoPro can be used for corporate video production?
They make for excellent POV cameras so in any event where you can strap a GoPro to a person (or thing) and see an interesting perspective it might be worth using. Corporate events do not generally involve any extreme sports, but that doesn’t mean the GoPro isn’t necessary. You can get more creative and use them for other things that are not action related. Time lapse is a great example. GoPros are small and they mount virtually anywhere, so that leaves you with a lot of options to find a good angle rather than worrying about where you can put the camera. And because they are so cheap it’s possible to affordably gain access to a wide camera array.
Is the Hero4 an indication of emerging trends in higher end cameras, in terms of size?
I don’t know if I would say the Hero4 is setting any trends, but the GoPro brand certainly initiated the trend for small form, mountable, waterproof, shockproof cameras. In the extreme sports arena alone, GoPro’s have become a utility for every athlete and had a tremendous impact on the extreme port industry itself.
Any other tips or tricks you might want to share with other GoPro owners (or potential owners)?
Yes in fact I do, and it has to do with extending the battery life of the GoPro. One of the major downfalls of the GoPro is that the battery does not last very long. Depending on what format you are shooting, it can last anywhere from 1-2 hours before the battery has to be swapped out. When I need to shoot longer, I use a portable power bank that I plug directly into the GoPro. It will continuously charge the battery inside the GoPro until it runs out of juice, at which point the Battery is no longer being charged by the power bank so it now begins to drain. The size of the power bank you purchase will negate the number of hours your GoPro can run, I suggest testing before bringing into the field.
Thank you for your time, Tony! Much appreciated.
Of course, happy to help!