If you decide to take your GoPro out on the water, there are a few important things to know. I have put together a short list of tips that may make your outing a little bit more memorable. A few relatively easy tips may be the difference between recording a great memory or a blurry one, or worse – losing your camera. Heres a few things I’ve learned:
Tip 1) Get the floaty back door (link below). I decided to leave the LCD touch screen at home and take this instead. All your efforts will be useless if your camera sinks to the bottom of the ocean.
Tip 2) Pretend that you don’t have the floaty backdoor attachment. Personally, I don’t think its a good idea to rely on the floaty backdoor. In rough waters, it may not come back to you. And if you have it on with the suction cup, or on a pole or any heavier mount, its going to sink. For this reason it’s a good idea to make yourself some sort of tether. I use some elastic string I got cut at REI, but you can get more creative I’m sure. Tie it to your lifejacket when its on the head strap. Tie it to the handlebars or somewhere safe when its on the suction cup.
Tip 3) Bring a small towel. This one only really applies if you’re using the suction cup mount. Not only do you need a solid smooth surface to mount it to, but it also needs to be dry for best results. Its a good idea to get a small towel or shammy (often used for camping or car care) to keep the surface area dry when you move the mount. Don’t mount it to lose plastic parts, it will vibrate and your video will be shaky and nauseating. Instead, aim for larger, solid parts, or the frame / main hull.
Tip 4) Keep your lens free of water spots! This is a big one, I have had footage from an entire kayak trip ruined because of pesky water spots on the housing. Two options here – Lick the lens. Yumm! The saliva from your lick or spit will help keep an even layer of coating on the outside housing. However this needs to be done frequently, but it works well. Another option is Rain-X – although I’ve heard that this can damage the plastics so try this at your own risk. An additional alternative to rain-x is a product called Bugslide, which is used to clean plastics on motorcycles, and supposedly less harsh on the outer housing. (DONT do this on the actual lens of the camera!)
Tip 5) Bring extra batteries! And keep them dry! I brought an extra battery with me sealed in a ziplock bag, unfortunately their was a pin sized hole that allowed water to slowly get in there and ruined my spare battery. Double bag it. I’ve also found stores that sell an extra off-name battery with a wall charger for 10 bucks more than the cost of a “gopro” brand battery. It seems to work equally as well, and having a wall charger that can charge just the battery without the camera is most certainly a plus. Along with batteries, use a good memory card, with plenty of space. It’s a good idea to format the card through the camera before you use it.
Tip 6) Change camera angles. After-all, the GoPro camera is marketed as the worlds most versatile camera. Don’t get stuck with only one view of your entire adventure. Try facing the camera towards you, or in a position that allows the viewer to get perspective of the entire environment your in. If theirs multiple people in your group, pass the camera around and take some time to frame your shot, you’ll be glad you did.
Here is a short video I put together utilizing these tips.
Go out and have some fun! Then share your tips and experiences!
Music: Flashback by Uppermost.
Shot on GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition with ProTune.
Head Strap (http://gopro.com/camera-mounts/head-strap-mount)
Suction Cup (http://gopro.com/camera-mounts/suction-cup)
Backdoor Floaty (http://gopro.com/camera-accessories/floaty-backdoor)
3-way Pole (http://gopro.com/camera-mounts/3-way)
Anti-Fog Inserts (http://gopro.com/camera-accessories/hero3-anti-fog-inserts)