Tim Humphreys gives us some detailed GoPro tips to help you shoot some super nice looking footage and stills. Read on and learn from the master...
As much as you'd love to sometimes, there's little escaping from the fact that selfies are a global phenomenon in modern-day everything. Right now, you do well scrolling through your Facebook feed and not coming across at least a handful of perfectly posed duck faces and news articles about people trying to top themselves because they couldn't take the perfect one (no no, seriously, that actually happened).
We figure that if you're going to jump on the selfie bandwagon, you may as well take one while doing cool shit.
So, we hit up the undisputed king of the snowboard selfie, Tim Humphreys, for some advanced GoPro tips. Tim indulges us with a short story explaining how he manages to log the incredible footage he does - using just a pole and his little grey box of tricks.
Which GoPro Housing Is Best To Use?
It's a wonderful sunny day, and I'm headed up to the mountain. The park looks immaculate, there's a GoPro in my pocket, and I'm trying to prove to instagram that I have what it takes to be on the popular page...
I have an absorbent microfiber lens cloth with me in case I bail or get sprayed by some snow.
I opted out of the safety my camera housing provides for GoPro's 'The Frame' housing because it's nice outside, and there isn't an extra pane of glass between my camera and the most epic selfie I've ever shot.
I roll up to the hill and get a few laps in without my camera to warm up and get a few crashes/quad corks out of the way before I start filming.
GoPro Settings and Shooting Tips
I have a few ideas in mind, the camera comes out, I set it to my video mode of choice, lens is clean, time to get some shots!
On my GoPole Grenade Grip, I point my camera down a little bit, hold my arm straight out and up to check the framing, and adjust the angle of the camera until I'm satisfied. I set my gopro to 960p100fps because I want to have some nice slowmo, 4:3 fills an instagram square more than 16:9, and I like the extra framing on the top and bottom I can crop to adjust if I want to make a 720p movie for web.
I aim the GoPro away from my big orange Neff Cheezburger jacket towards the snow and trees when I press the record button so the white balance doesn't get all funky. I hold my arm straight out around shoulder height and drop in.
It's a whirlwind of spinning off jumps, gapping onto rails, and frontfilps galore! The whole time though, I try to keep my arm out and as straight as possible to maintain the perfect camera angle. It's weird doing some tricks and trying to keep my arm in place, so I swap my GoPro to the other hand to make them a little easier.
Shooting Stills with Burst Mode and the Wifi Remote
After a few intense runs of filming video clips through the park, I decide to take a few chill laps and switch to shooting still photos. I've found that less is more when shooting stills. I opt for tricks like a frontside boardslide versus a cab 270 to front board because they will be the same photo!
I connect my remote to my GoPro hero3+ black edition and navigate to the photo burst mode. It's set to deliver 30 photos over the course of 3 seconds after I press the record button.
I slip the remote into the palm of my left glove, and hold out my camera with my right hand. It's an awkward sensation trying to snowboard with things in each hand, but it's worked the best from all my trial and error. I don't have to put both hands on my camera while I'm riding up the wedge of a big jump, and my shadow is less likely to ruin the exposure of the photo burst because it locks for the burst when you press the shutter button.
I search around my left palm with one of my fingers to find the shutter button on the remote hidden inside, and rest it on top ready to pull the trigger at the exact moment I want to... Then a cloud covers the sun. I wait up a second for it to pass because the light needs to be good for the shot to be clear and crisp. Finally... I thought that cloud was never going to pass.
Shooting Stills with Burst Mode and the Wifi Remote (part 2)
I put my arm out straight like I'm shooting video and start pointing it straight at the jump line. I'm picking my line into the first jump, and waiting for the moment right as I start going up the jump takeoff because there's a small delay. I hit the shutter button on the remote through my glove.
I'm halfway up the jump about to start unwinding my body when the camera starts beeping like crazy letting me know when it's shooting every photo.
Arm still straight, I snap off the end of the jump and look at the little ant people spinning around way below me for a second until my landing comes into view. I had the grab, the camera felt like it was in the correct position, and it was still shooting photos right up until I landed and rode away.
I could connect my camera with my phone to double check, but I know I got it. Instead, I ride straight out of the landing towards a hot tub full of cute girls in bikinis and jump in with my snowboard still on.
Extra Shooting Tips
I like to use the 4:3 video modes (960p100 and 1440p48) for selfie and followcam shots because the GoPro image sensor is actually 4:3 so it gives you a wider view on the top and bottom. I then crop it to 16:9 and can adjust up and down in case my head or feet go out of the frame. It's more work in post production, but I blow a lot less shots. It's also great for Instagram because it fills the square frame better when you scale to fit it.
-Always check the lens and clean spots off every time before you record. This includes looking to see if the inside of the housing is fogged. Fogging happens to me occasionally while riding powder days, or shooting in water. You can get re usable moisture absorbent squares to put in the housing, or fold up a little piece of a napkin and stick it in the housing under the camera.
If you use an extender pole like the GoPole Reach, strap the remote near the handle so you can record video or trigger photo bursts with the hand you hold it in.
-Protune on the GoPro is a video mode that is built to be used with their Cineform Studio software. The raw footage looks pretty washed out compared to a non protune video, but once converted with the Cineform Studio, it looks far better. I always have ProTune on.
-Trial and error. You never know until you try!