Words On Wednesday

2016-09-21 GoPro Video Production

What goes into making a GoPro video? With a few GoPro video edits under my belt, I figured it might be time to share my typical production steps between shooting the footage and publishing the finished product.


Obviously, the first step of making a video is shooting the raw footage. At its most simple, this could really be boiled down to pointing the camera at something interesting and pressing record. There are, however, certain nuances and tactics that go into capturing my shots.

For one, I like getting interesting camera angles. So many GoPro videos are a simple head mount or chest mount, POV perspective on the action at hand. This is all well and good, and I’ll even get some POV shots for most of my videos, but I like to change it up as much as I can. Maybe get a few shots from a fixed position, with only the subject of the shot moving. If I can hold the camera in a position that someone typically couldn’t get to themselves, I can usually get some neat footage. Basically, I like to give the illusion that I have multiple cameras in multiple places, but in reality I only have my one GoPro.

Another key part of shooting the original footage is recording as much as I possibly can. You can always watch through the footage and cut out the boring parts. No matter how bad you want to, you can’t time travel back to the event and record more. Mind you, I do have to keep any given video within the size of my MicroSD card, but I try to max it out with as much video as I can get.


After I shoot the footage, my next step is offloading the videos to my PC and watching them all to see what I got. I have a GoPro backup folder that I leave everything exactly as it was, no name changes, no trimming, no alterations at all. For any given event, I create a new folder and copy all relevant videos to it. I then watch through all these videos, adding a brief descriptive title after the GOPR#### file name. While I could replace the original file name entirely and sort the shots by date, I like to have an easy link to the original file.


The most labor intensive part of creating a video is editing the footage. Many people invest tons of time and money into buying all the best video editing software on ultra high end hardware, and color correcting until everything is perfect. I personally just like to keep things as they were and collect all the most exciting bits together. Does this mean that my videos are less than what they could potentially be? Absolutely. However, I still have the original raw footage, so I could always return later and do new edits with better processing tactics.


While there are countless software options available to do video editing, I use Windows Movie Maker. This decision would be criticized by many, as WMM is tremendously basic and not very powerful. There are plenty of free video editing software options available, many of which are much more capable than WMM. However, I have experience with WMM and I can’t say that about any other editing software. I could learn another software, sure, but I can get done what I need to get done in WMM much more quickly and easily at the moment.

Eventually, I would love to try my hand at some of the other free video editing software options. Figure out some of the strengths and weaknesses of each, and create videos that can really wow my audience. Once I decide to start color correcting and putting more time into editing for the best result will probably be when I tinker around with other software options.


I have some general tactics that I usually stick with when editing a video. Normally, I make the video flow in chronological order. In cases that a particular shot just fits obviously elsewhere, I’ll deviate from my norm to make things flow a little better. Otherwise, the final video is almost always in the exact same order that the events transpired. This sequencing appeals to my pragmatic personality and desire for normalcy and order.


The music for my videos is usually something that just comes to me as the perfect fit for the material. Bouncing around at Gravitopia aligns perfectly with House of Pain’s “Jump Around.” Tubing on Lake Jocassee couldn’t fit better with “Wipeout.” Some of these connection are obvious. Other times, it’s more about how the song feels. If the video is laid back, I want some softer music. For action-heavy footage, I want something driven with a fast tempo.

For now, I use licensed music that I’m familiar with. However, this has the limitation that my videos may be preceded with ads, and will always be rejected by the GoPro company. The better option, and what I eventually want to transition to, is royalty-free music. There are tons of sites with royalty-free options, but this is obviously not music I’m familiar with. It’s much easier to think of a song I know for a video, than it is to listen to hundreds of tracks lasting multiple hours just to find something that might work.


The last step in creating a video is publishing it for other people to see. There are several options for video sharing, but the most adaptable and ubiquitous is YouTube. Instead of dealing with Facebook’s awful video hosting and trying to find a neat and tidy link that I can share to anyone in a text message, I just put the video directly onto YouTube. In much the same way that I do with my blog from WordPress to Facebook, Twitter, and such, I then share that YouTube link on my other social media platforms. The one downside is that the video doesn’t automatically play in a Facebook news feed, but I’ll deal with that for the convenience of YouTube.

Final Thoughts

The videos that I produce now are far from perfect. The GoPro I use isn’t the best possible camera available. The hardware and software that I use to do my editing are fairly low end and free, respectively. I don’t bother with color correcting, and I spend very little time doing much to tinker with the video.

On the other hand, I am actually publishing my videos, which is better than I can say about a lot of GoPro users. Plus, these videos can serve as a reminder of the work I once created. Even after I get top tier hardware and maybe eventually pay for professional editing software, I can look back and see how far I’ve come. These are the best that I can create right now, and they make my footage available for other people to see.


Words: 1160 | Characters: 6381 | Sentences: 62

Paragraphs: 22 | Reading Level: 11-12th Grade


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