How to Get the Best Out of Your GoPro Camera

How to Get the Best Out of Your GoPro: Tips & Tricks From a River Guide

So, you’ve finally bit the bullet and gotten yourself a GoPro camera (nice, choice!).  But now what?  That thing is a bit overwhelming at first.  And while I’m no expert, I have used a GoPro on a lot of river trips. Here are a few tips that I’ve learned along the way that will help you get best out of your new toy.

Must-haves for your GoPro Camera
  • Lens caps for both the camera and the waterproof case. One scratch on the camera’s lens, even superficial, and you’re toast!
  • Waterproof case lens replacement kit.
  • Extra mount clips (the bayonet part). They break. Pre-install the mounts on your helmet, boat, bike…wherever you plan to shoot the action.
Good-to-Know GoPro Tips
  • Don’t shoot if you’re farther than two feet from your subject. It will look a mile away. It’s great for landscapes, sunrises and sunsets but if you’re aiming to catch those Bighorn Sheep, they’ll look like tiny ships in the ocean.
  • Bring a portable charger and all necessary cabling to charge the GoPro battery, just in case. Works great, and saves your trip memories if the Wi-Fi acts up (see next bullet!).
  • It’s easy to accidentally turn Wi-Fi on, making the camera battery die quickly if you’re not careful.
  • Keep the camera inside the case when possible for protection, but don’t count on getting the best sound (even with the open back).
  • If you’re mounting the camera, use the long-handled screw. The short one requires the fingers of a ballerina.
  • For safety back-up, don’t bother with the useless tethers that come with the camera. Instead, use plastic zip-ties and cut them off when done.
  • Be very careful with the micro SD cards. They are fragile and prone to going haywire and turning off your video in a few seconds all on their own. Always eject/turn camera off before removing.
Best Shooting Modes for the GoPro
  • For shooting in slow-motion, set your GoPro at 720p 120fms (frames per second) Narrow. You’ll avoid lens distortion and get a clean image without aliasing.  You’ll end up with a softness that comes from the Narrow FOV.  The end result is great for the Web.
  • In low light situations or for capturing high speeds try shooting at 2.7K 30 Wide. You’ll notice really nice motion blur with this mode.  The high resolution also makes it ideal for cropping, re-framing, or stabilizing when editing.
  • For a more creative, slow-motion look, shoot at 1080p 60fms Medium. You’ll get shakier and more disorienting shots.

Explore Rafting Adventures

How do I use my GoPro?  Check out one of my recent videos from the river…

Some of the above advice came from Abe Kislevitz’s site. Check out his site for more helpful info.  Got some of your own GoPro tips or tricks?  Leave a comment below.


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