Every GoPro user has their “go to” methods for shooting their sports and activities. For a surfer this may be attaching their camera to the front of their board. For a snow boarder it may be attaching their GoPro to a Chesty mount while they carve up the slopes. For a mountain bike rider it may be clamping their camera to the handle bars.
While there is nothing wrong with this, it is only utilising a fraction of the GoPro’s potential. One of the GoPro’s biggest benefits is that it’s small size and mount abilities means that it is so simple to capture any activity from dozens of angles. Shooting from a different angle is one of the best ways to liven up your footage. Even if you are best snowboarder riding the best run in the world, if all your footage is shot from one angle, it has the potential to get very boring very quickly.
This post doesn’t discuss ways to mount your camera for specific activities. Instead it gives you a snapshot of seven different angles that can be utilised for almost any activity whether it be snowboarding, surfing or even cow tipping!
As you read through this post, think about how you can utilise these angles to make your next video even more dynamic!
First Person (Shots from you)
Any shot that is taken from your perspective is known as a First Person or Point Of View (POV) shot. GoPro cameras are often called POV cameras as they are ideal for this purpose. There are two main ways you can capture your footage from a POV angle.
First Person – Body Mounted Shots
This angle is great for bringing the action to the audience – they will experience (at least visually!) your perspective on the activity you are completing. It draws the audience in and brings them as close as possible to action. GoPro offers a number of different accessories to help you attach your camera to just about any part of your body, such as the Chesty; Head Mounts; Helmet Mount and Mouth Mounts.
While this angle is great to bring perspective to your footage, its downside is that the footage is likely to be shakier than other shooting techniques in this article. Mounting the camera to your body may also restrict necessary movement for some activities, such as surfing and snorkelling.
First Person – Vehicle or Equipment Mounted Shots
A vehicle or equipment shot can be captured from a bike, car, surfboard, rifle, aircraft, kayak, fishing rod – anything you’d like, really! Technically this type of shot shows the audience your footage from the perspective of your vehicle or equipment, with the camera facing away from you so the camera can see what you see. To capture these angles, you have many accessory options such as the Handle Bar, Sportsman, Roll Bar, Suction Cap and Surfboard Mounts.
The advantage of using a Vehicle Mount over a Body Mount is the footage is normally more stable as it is attached to a solid surface. If some part of the vehicle or equipment is in the frame as well, any of its movement will be captured relative to the camera making the footage appear more stable.
The best option for a POV shot will depend greatly on the activity. For some sports, such as surfing having the camera on you board rather than your body will be preferable as it is less likely to inhibit your movement. Whereas, for activities such as skateboarding a camera on your board is less practical.
Third Person (Shots of you)
Do not let the name fool you, this angle does not actually require 3 or even 2 people. These are any shots where you are visible in the frame. Thanks to the compact size of the GoPro, it can be easily mounted in a number of different ways to capture what you are doing from a third person perspective, even when you are on your own.
Third Person from a body mount
These can be tricky to pull off but give a very interesting perspective of any activity, as essentially you’re creating a constant selfie of yourself. An example of this type of Mount would be attaching an extension arm to a helmet and pointing the camera back towards your face. This would capture your facial expressions as well as all of the action going on behind you. As the camera is so close to your face, it is important to use a wide or Super View settings on your camera if you wish to capture the action behind you.
Third person from a vehicle
In this case you mount the camera on your vehicle, pointing it towards yourself. As in the first person example of mounting your camera on the vehicle, this will normally give you more freedom of movement and a more stable shot. However, you may find that the camera position is closer to your face or body, so it is recommended that you use the Wide or Superview settings to ensure you capture everything around you.
Don’t fear, I am not suggesting that you pull a duck face, snap a photo and upload it onto Instagram – this type of selfie is more dynamic than that. The Dynamic Selfie involves using an accessory such as a pole to capture yourself, in action. This gives a third person perspective similar to the body mounted shot, however with more control over the camera.
Snowboarders and skaters are especially able to shoot amazing footage with this technique as they have their hands free so they can capture what they are doing while holding a pole. This should obviously not be attempted on a sport or activity where you need your hands such as mountain biking.
For this you can use a traditional tripod or one of the many GoPro accessories, such as a Jaw or Adhesive Mount, to give the camera a stable surface.
As a tripod is static and GoPro cameras have no zoom this is only practical when you are performing your activity in a specific area close to the camera. As a tripod remains secured in one spot, its biggest advantage is the extremely stable footage that it produces.
Third Person – With another person filming
Long before the days of selfies, when Camcorders were all the rage, almost all of personal video recording was done with one person filming other people just doing stuff.
The advantage of this is that the person filming has full control of the shot. They can make decisions in the moment, moving the camera according. This is different to the other techniques, such as those that require mounting, in which you often just set and forget. The disadvantages of someone else filming you is firstly you need another person and secondly the shakiness. Unless the other person is using a steady cam or a gimbal the footage will most likely have some degree of shakness to it.