Before you buy every GoPro mounting system you can get your hands, here’s a summary of how the mounting affects the finished film.
There is a whole bunch of manufacturers making a range of GoPro mounting products. So how do you select which ones are best suited to your purpose. How to use them may be self-explanatory in terms of you simply hold it in your hand, or bolt it to something.
However, before you invest it’s better to understand how placing the camera in certain positions or at certain angles will give differing results. This will have a big impact to the end video, so take ten minutes to read below and then assess where, for your particular use, the best possible mounting points are. You don’t want to spend good money and then find that your purchase doesn’t actually fit where you wanted to put it. Invest time ahead investing cash, and do your research.
We’ll help with that by adding GoPro Mounting products and letting you have your say on whether it’s money well spent.
Body Mounting Basics
Whatever your needs the standard mounting systems give you a great base to work from. Here’s some pros and cons to help you use the supplied kit wisely, and learn from the trial and error that others have already been through.
Irrelative of what activity you practice, making something that’s interesting for the viewer will always require variety, hopefully a feeling of inclusion in the action, and occasionally an element of surprise. The camera angle, height, and especially the stability within its surroundings will influence highly on the viewing experience. Even quiet tame sports sequences may get some exceptional results provided that the camera is placed in a position that highlights the speed differentials between moving and inanimate objects.
In terms of mobility, a head mounted camera gives an excellent opportunity to catch plenty of action…just look what’s happening around you and the jobs done, right?
Well yes and no!! When mentally focused the results can be good, but be aware that man as species tends to be naturally inquisitive and head movements are generally rapid and quite random. Therefore, when you’re focused on your own ride stability can be good, but when you’re taking the more classic roll of line-side cameraman, lying next to a jump and waiting for your mate, you need to work a bit smarter. Hold your breath, move your head progressively with the action, and most of all, don’t fall apart laughing and howling at the bail out and until the films in the bag! You’ll regret the fact that you didn’t capture the whole sequence.
- Mobility and directional choice at will. Known field of vision.
- Direct involvement from a personal perspective.
- Can waste valuable GB’s of space it you’re an excitable type of person.
In some sports, the height in relation to moving objects will detract from the relative speed of the action.
e.g. Biking or skiing thought tightly spaced trees would look good, as the trees will run past at camera level. Biking at the same speed on an open field would be a less thrilling experience; if the camera had been mounted closer to the ground, at which point it disappears rapidly beneath the wheels, the relative effect would give a totally different sensation from the same ride.
Good core stability makes for a good film. If your hands are involved in the action, even better. The official GoPro mounting Chesty is the obvious candidate, but there are cheaper ways. In the ‘Homemade’ section you’ll find a home-made alternative using GoPro’s own presentation box… Innovative, whilst being pretty obvious, but above all a GoPro quality base with a small price tag!
Obviously the mobility is reduced, but if your following someone directly in front of you, then there’s no problem…unless you’re snowboarding! Don’t sweat, closing in laterally on someone traveling along side can look good; and the fact that the background is passing directly across the screen will increase the relative speed…can be a good option. Skiers have a great advantage over snowboarders on the slopes, with good hand visibility adding to the feel of the video.
If your sport is a little more passive; fishing for example, then the catch is going to appear directly in front of the lens and with a backdrop of a fantastic lake with the mountains in the distance. If you’d slapped on a head-cam for this shot you may be looking down the fishes throat, but you’re also looking straight down in the muddy puddle in front of you! Classic example; same event…different look, different feeling; combining the two during editing would work well though.
Also, be careful with positioning the camera’s angle. It’s all in relation to body position during the event. On your MTB the thing needs to nearly point to the heavens when you’re stood upright. Unless you have a very understanding audience who are prepared to sit and watch a one hour thirty climb whilst you’re sat vertically on your seat, most of the action is going to be filmed on the way down…and at this point in time your body is at the same angle as your top tube; 30° off horizontal. So set up for the action, not the car park.
- Loss of mobility
- Strapping these daddies tight can make you turn blue
If you don’t do some trial runs to check the angles you could end up with a stiff neck watching the results, so invest some time getting it right in the car park before doing your thing.
Hand held mounts
These stubby or extendable mounts are becoming popular due to the great wide angle provided by the GoPro. Holding purely on a stick in your hand is sufficient to get the complete upper torso, not to mention some of the hand that’s holding it; so be sure to grip it low and angle your forearm down away from the camera. This will give you a better field of vision without your arm blocking the immediate foreground. The wide angle should be sufficient to do the rest and provide a feeling of distance between lens and subject. Some Perspex rods, despite the price, seem to be making ground. From the small ego-cam stick, to the 3-meter (!) one that we spotted recently, the choice is yours.
GOPOLE do a whole range of sweet looking hand held systems that are certainly worth a look. Something that you need to consider is that poles are not just for you to hold whilst you ride/surf/whatever, they also allow you, as a cameraman, to place the camera in positions that you really don’t want to be sitting in. For example underneath a jumping BMX.