If you’re not familiar with the GoPro brand, let me fill you in. GoPro helmet cameras are those square things that are mounted to helmets worn by professional athletes. You’ve probably seen their footage in commercials, and not even realized it. When snowboarders do their sky high jumps and twist their bodies in the air before landing firmly on the ground, you get to sense what it feels like to be in their shoes (or boots) because of the footage that is captured with their helmet camera.
So how does this company have any relevance to your life? You say your schedule has more play dates at the swimming pool and birthday party bounce houses than it does world class athletic competitions? How can a helmet camera possibly enrich your life? Let me spell it out for you.
Let’s talk quality of footage. A GoPro HD camera will cost you about the same as a decent quality traditional video camera. The quality of the footage you will shoot will rival the clarity of a much more expensive camera.
Add that to the fact that a GoPro camera is waterproof and shockproof. No more stressing about the juice box spilling in the bottom of the diaper bag. No more babying the electronics more than you do the baby. This little guy can be kicked around on the floor of the minivan if it falls out of the diaper bag, and come out on the other end as good as new. It can outlast anything a two year old can dish out, including vomit and temper tantrums.
One of the things I love about our GoPro camera is that I can hand it over to my 12-year-old son and his 10-year-old cousin and let them have videotaping fun all day, with no worries that they’ll damage it. Whether they’re rafting down the creek or doing bike jumps in our front yard, the boys will wear out before my camera does. I would never consider handing over my traditional video camera, but I don’t worry about the GoPro camera. That opens up a fun new world of possibilities for my son and nephew.
In spite of the fact that they are often referred to as helmet cameras, a GoPro camera doesn’t have to be mounted on a helmet. In fact, there are accessories that will mount a GoPro camera just about anywhere, including onto our family dog (now that was some fun footage). There are mounts that would work on stroller handles and tricycle handlebars. My son loves hooking it up to our trampoline and getting some crazy shots of his newest tricks. And don’t forget that a hand held shot can capture anything your old video camera catches, including underwater tricks and laps around the kiddie train ride at the county fair. Here’s some adorable footage of a 10 month old; her dad used many different kinds of angles to shoot the everyday life of his daughter, showing the amazing versatility of the GoPro camera.
When you have a camera lying around the house that’s as hard core as this one is, you catch those everyday moments that turn out to be the most special. Like when you walk into the room and your four-year-old is pretending to read to her two-year-old brother. Or you come around the corner to find that lunch has been made by your five-year-old who happened to be craving grilled cheese with jelly. Even better, set it on the floor and catch baby’s elusive first steps.
And now to the most exciting part of owning a GoPro camera – their new apps make it easy not only to edit your videos, but to share them instantly with friends and family. The GoPro App 2.0 is compatible with a wide variety of smart phones and tablets, and makes using and sharing your video easy. This app provides a live preview of what your camera is filming so you instantly know if the shot is lined up right. Your six-year-old can film his friends underwater and you can see the footage he’s catching as you sit in the lounge chair next to the pool, cell phone in hand. When he comes up for air, you can instantly preview the footage and delete anything that didn’t come out just right, freeing up space for more filming. Plus, any frame of that video can be separated out later and become the best still shot of the day. If you want to share the video with grandparents or make friends jealous of your day at the pool, it’s as easy as copying your stills and videos to your device, then instantly sharing them through your email, text, Facebook, or Instagram. None of those options exist with a traditional video camera.
As icing on the cake, in just a few weeks GoPro is launching their free movie making software, called GoPro Studio 2.0. I previewed this software at the GoPro Mountain Games a few months ago and could not be more excited about it. I have a lot of boys in my house who take a lot of footage on their GoPro cameras – everything from jumps on the ski slopes to Lego action sequences. Until recently it’s been difficult to find a program that would turn all that footage into edited movies. No one ever wanted to take the time to learn the ins and outs of complicated movie making programs.
It seems that the head guy at GoPro had the same problem. He had shoeboxes full of SD cards and no easy way to turn them into videos he could share, so the company decided to rectify the problem. With GoPro Studio 2.0 anyone can make a movie. The format is user friendly, and the options seem to be endless. This program will marry clips taken at different resolutions and frame rates and convert them all automatically. One of the features of the new software is called Templates. Making your own video that rivals the quality and excitement of a GoPro commercial is as easy as picking out snippets of footage, dragging and dropping them into a template, and letting the program do the rest. The music matches up with the tempo of your footage and within minutes you’ll have a video you’ll be proud to share. This video was made with the new GoPro Studio 2.0 software, just to give you a peek:
Even the most mundane footage comes to life when it’s strung together with highlights and put to music. For the die-hard video creator, there are many do it yourself options with GoPro Studio 2.0, but for those of us with a lot more footage than time, Templates is the way to go. Because it’s so user friendly, I’m not the one in charge of editing those video clips anymore. My son picked up the basics very easily and can make his own movies. I’m excited to turn him loose with this software, knowing from personal experience that the more you edit your own footage, the better you get at taking quality shots when you’re out in the field. My son may not be the next Spielberg, but he’ll have great video he’s made himself to show to his own kids someday. And he’s taken over as our family historian, filming the adventures we take. I can put down the camera and let someone else be in charge of documentation for a bit.
GoPro cameras will always be used in the extreme sports. It’s fun to see the footage that comes from competitions like the Winter X Games and the GoPro Mountain Games. As a not very athletic person myself, I love living vicariously through those super athletes. But that doesn’t mean that those of us at home, still raising kids, can’t steal some of that great technology for our own purposes. If having a nearly indestructible camera that takes amazingly clear footage at my disposal is an option, I’m grabbing it. Who says that the super athletes get to have all the fun and capture all the important footage? For the grandparents in our family, that 30-second clip of a toddler zipping down the playground slide all by herself is just as exciting as any 360-degree trick performed in a snowy half pipe.
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