GoPro Hero3 Family Video Tips – Arctic Cat Kids Snowmobiling
| by JP Danko | blurMEDIA Photography | Toronto Commercial Photographer |
I just picked up a GoPro Hero3 Black Edition for a big time lapse project I have coming up. When I got it (just before Christmas) the GoPro Hero3 Black Edition was not available in stores, so I bought mine directly from GoPro’s online store (along with a crazy 64 gig Sandisk micro SD card).
While we were up at the cottage over the holidays, I decided to try out the GoPro, so I shot a bunch of video clips with the GoPro of the kids playing around on their little Arctic Cat z120 snowmobile (now the Arctic Cat Snow Pro 120 Youth Snowmobile).
(By the way, don’t ask why my kids have a snowmobile – that is all my father in law’s doing. But the kids absolutely love the damn thing – and I’m pretty sure I would have killed for one when I was a kid!)
10 Family Video Tips
This was a very simple video to record and edit, but it takes a little bit of professional knowledge to be able to pull it all together into an interesting finished video.
Here are 10 family video tips that will help you create something similar:
1. Record Short Clips
I recorded about 40 individual clips for this video – and the final edited video is only about 2 minutes long. Short video clips are much easier to catalog so that you can focus in on the good parts. Plus short video clips are way easier to work with in video editing software on the computer.
2. Record Clips From As Many Different Angles and Perspectives as Possible
This is one of the best things about the GoPro Hero3 Black Edition – you can stick that thing practically anywhere!
Never just stand in one place and hit record. Shoot wide, tight, details, high, low, from the front, back, side, top, bottom – anywhere you can think of!
For this video I mounted the GoPro to the ski, dashboard and windshield of the snowmobile – along with sweeping hand held shots and shots from ground level.
3. Record in 1080p or Better
1080p video is 1920 pixels wide by 1080 pixels high. If you cannot record in full 1080p video, record at the highest widescreen resolution that your camera is capable of. There is no reason to record in lower quality video – you can always down sample your video – but you can’t add resolution without losing quality. Memory and hard drive space is cheap – and you can always delete the portions of your source clips that you don’t use.
With the GoPro Hero3 Black Edition you can actually record in better than 1080p video – which gives you the option to pan and zoom within your clips without losing quality.
4. Keep Your Camera Steady
Jumpy, shaky video is unwatchable. Its a bit tough when your camera is mounted to a snowmobile – but generally you want to keep your video camera as steady as possible while recording. Any movements also need to be smooth and fluid.
It helps to zoom out and shoot wide where possible – and don’t zoom in and out while recording.
5. Cut Video Footage to Create a Story
Nobody wants to watch random uncut video! I used Adobe Premiere Pro because that is what I am used to. But because this was a very simple edit, I could have used Adobe Premiere Elements, or even one of the simple video editing applications such as Microsoft Movie Maker (free) or Apple iMovie ($5).
At its most basic, all you have to do is splice together the best cuts of your favorite video clips into a timeline that makes sense.
6. Cut Your Clips – Then Cut Them Again
My first step is to cut my source clips down to just their most interesting segments, and then drop them into the video timeline. Then after I start working out the story and put a more polished timeline together, I try to cut out anything that isn’t visually interesting or doesn’t add to the story.
Be ruthless – you want your clips to be as short as possible.
7. Avoid Video Transitions
Think about this – when was the last time you saw a TV show or Hollywood movie transition between scenes by using a vertical swipe transition, or any animated transition? You generally don’t see video transitions on TV or in Hollywood movies because professionals simply cut between scenes.
The only video transition that has some use is a cross-fade transition.
However, to cut between scenes effectively, you have to give some thought as to how the video will play. Usually scenes splice together well if they are of completely different. The more similar video clips are, the worse they splice together – with the wost case being two segments of video from the same clip (that is what we call a jump cut).
This is where Tip 2 – Record Clips From As Many Different Angles and Perspectives as Possible – is important. If you have a lot of different clips, it is much easier to cut them and splice them into an effective video.
8. Touch Up Your Video
All source video needs to be retouched to look good – video straight out of the camera just looks flat and limp.
To retouch your video, first adjust the overall exposure, tweak the white balance and set the white and black levels (make sure that white is 100% white and black is 100% black). Next, tweak the contrast, shadows and highlights, and color.
9. Add a Soundtrack
An appropriate soundtrack absolutely makes or breaks a finished video. Try to avoid copyrighted tracks where possible – facebook won’t even allow you to post a video if it has a copyrighted soundtrack.
There are lots of royalty free music sources online. One that I use often is called FreePlayMusic.
10. Leave The Ambient Sound In
If possible, leave the ambient sound in your finished video – even if you are using a soundtrack. Video with only a soundtrack and no ambient sound feels dead – its the ambient sound that is underneath the soundtrack that gives it life.
Of course, you may have to raise or lower the ambient audio that is present in your video clips to suit.
Have any questions? Leave a comment below!