Words On Wednesday

2016-07-06 Playing with the GoPro

After a period of dormancy, I’ve recently picked my GoPro back up to shoot some new videos.

Receiving the Hero 3

Back in 2014, I got a GoPro Hero 3 White Edition for my birthday. I didn’t and still don’t do much exciting stuff, but I wanted something to record videos at the pool or doing water sports. While everybody recommended getting the highest end Hero 3 Black Edition, I knew I didn’t need it. I’m not shooting for commercials, I don’t have to have the absolute highest frame rate or quality. I just wanted a camera that I could take in the water without destroying it.

For a few weeks, maybe a month or two, I recorded quite a bit with the GoPro. I took it with me on a tubing trip down the Green River (without a floaty backdoor, but luckily I didn’t lose it). I shot several videos of swimming in the pool at our apartment. I even recorded my wife’s pinning ceremony with it, since we didn’t have anything that would shoot in higher quality.

Eventually, I stopped using it at all. This wasn’t even a gradual decline. Soon after the pinning ceremony (or maybe even immediately after), I put the GoPro and few accessories I had in the box and sat it on a shelf. Part of this was probably due to the fact that I didn’t really have the time to do anything interesting, what with moving into a new house and raising a young child. Another part was likely a lack of inspiration. In any case, I didn’t touch the thing for probably a year and a half.

Picking it Back Up

A few weeks back, we were planning what to do on Memorial Day. Neither my family, nor my in-laws really do anything for the holiday. We eat hash and shoot the breeze. While investigating, my wife discovered that Gravitopia in Greenville does a kids-only jump for an hour every weekday morning. Normally, I’m at work during this time, and there’s no way she could take both children by herself. However, since I get Memorial Day off work, I could take Cameron and let him try it out without getting trampled by bigger kids.

We decide that I’m going to take Cameron, while she stays home and keeps Easton. I hate that she can’t go, but it really would be a fruitless effort to bring Easton along. He couldn’t jump anyway, and she would have to keep up with him out in public, rather than the comfort of home. She was certainly upset that she wouldn’t get to see him jump, so I offer to video it. I already had a head mount for my GoPro, so I could just let that record while we do our thing.

I rummaged around until I found the GoPro and accessories. To prep, I pulled everything off the 8 GB SD card and wiped it, charged the battery, and set the timestamp since the camera had reset. Shooting a few test videos, I calibrated the head mount to be focused about where I could see Cameron during most general activity. Even if the video wouldn’t be perfect, I at least wanted him in the frame for most of it.

We went to Gravitopia, and both of us had a really good time. I got some great shots, so I figured I would try my hand at editing them into a single video. Obviously, professionals can afford good editing software and spend a lot of time learning their craft. I’m broke and I don’t really care to spend a lot of time figuring out something I only do marginally when I want to publish something. Though GoPro has its own suite of video and photo editing software, I’ve never even seen it. Back in school, I did do some work in Windows Movie Maker, so I figured it would be the easiest software to do my editing in.

See the video on YouTube.

I’m not an expert, but I finished what I set out to accomplish: I consolidated the highlights of several short clips into a single video and set it to music. It doesn’t look great, you can tell the transitions are very basic, but it was good enough to show off what we did at Gravitopia.

Hopefully, I can hone my editing and videographer skills into the future. As I mentioned, I don’t do a lot that’s worthy of recording, but I’d rather have a few polished videos that I’ve edited together than tons and tons of videos I shot with my phone and forgot about. I grabbed some footage from our day on Lake Jocassee for Father’s Day, as well as tubing for my brother-in-law’s birthday. I figure the more I practice editing, the better I’ll get at making good quality videos.

Any videographers out there, I’d love to hear any tips or criticisms you have. I’m definitely new to the field, but I’m willing to learn. If you’ve used other editing software that you find easier or more powerful than Windows Movie Maker, let me know. I’d like to avoid spending money on it if possible, but I’ll try whatever.

Meta:

Words: 869 | Characters: 4635 | Sentences: 48

Paragraphs: 14 | Reading Level: 11-12th Grade

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