Anyone who knows me will know I have wanted a Go Pro for as long as I can remember but these people will also know how useless I am with technology. Not because I can’t work it – well maybe that too – but because I break everything. Knowing this I always thought a Go Pro would be great for me given its indestructible reputation. So how did my Go Pro and me get on?
I was bought my Go Pro by my lovely boyfriend to use on my recent trip to Australia and my, was it a good present. I don’t think there was a day I didn’t use it until I had well, a little falling out with it but I’ll tell you about that in a minute. I was given my present a few weeks before I left giving me time to read the manual and try to get my head around all of the different features it has. I thought I had done a good job of this, until it came to actually using it and I was a bit stuck…
I’ll quickly run through the main features of the Go Pro
- Video mode – normal video mode just like on any camera that films
- Camera mode – again normal camera mode just like on any camera
- Photo Burst – I never got the hang of this
- Time Lapse – my favourite mode
Then of course it has a settings menu too.
Pressing The Wrong Buttons
Most modes are easy to use and to switch between each mode you press the button located on the front of the camera. To take video/photo you use the top shutter button like you would on any normal camera – somehow I managed to end up continuously pressing the wrong button for each of these. I also found when the camera was in the waterproof housing – which was most of the time – the buttons became difficult to press and half of my shots are of my confused face staring at the camera. Once I got used to changing the mode I found the taking video/photo easier and I had to look less at what I was doing. The flashing red lights also helped me to know I was definitely recording or taking a photo.
Modes and Battery Life
My one pet hate for the Go Pro is how short the battery life is, I found myself charging it half way through the day in order to get all the footage I wished to. Not only that but to save battery I would turn the camera off only for when it was switched back on for the mode to return to video, this became increasingly frustrating when I wanted to use the photo mode like I had before I switched it off. Once I knew what the camera would do, i.e. switch back to video when turned off, I began to prepare for this and was able to quickly switch modes and snap the photo I wanted.
I used three of the modes mainly: video, photo and timelapse – timelapse quickly became my favourite because it was something I had been craving to use. To create timelapse on my canon DSLR I need to buy a remote and set up a program, whereas the Go Pro is properly programed for taking timelapse already. You can select how big the time interval is with the options ranging from 0.5 to 60 seconds. The video mode gives you various different resolution options but I have to say I left it on the default one. Afterwards I found out that if you change this setting you can change how big the fisheye effect is.
Other good settings which I’m yet to try out include: Upside down camera, spot meter and looping video.
Wifi and The App
When I first read about having wifi I didn’t see the point, after downloading the app and trying everything to connect it but failing I was suddenly longing to make the wifi work. Luckily the Go Pro website had all the answers and it was all down to me being silly. Anyway once I linked the camera up to the app on my phone it allowed me to control the camera from there, see what I was filming because the standard Go Pro does not come with the back screen. Having loved the idea of this app I was disappointed not to actually use it while in Australia – I soon realised the reason you have a Go Pro is to film in awkward situations or in water, places you cannot take your phone/app. Still knowing I have the option to see what I’m filming without forking out £70ish for the screen is great.
I have loved the Go Pro editing software – available free for everyone – it automatically puts all timelapse photos together in a video, allows you to edit the colour and contrast as well as the speed. It also works on videos that are not taken on the Go Pro and crops all videos to fit in the same size frame.
My Falling Out
So as I mentioned at the beginning I had a little falling out with the camera half way through the week. Basically I plugged the camera in to download the files and the screen suddenly said updating. A little confused because I hadn’t asked it to update I unplugged it and didn’t think any more of it. Until I turned it on later that day and found the screen to still say updating! I panicked and put it away again not knowing what to do. After searching the Go Pro website I found the Hero 3 tends to do this and you have to manually update the camera to solve the problem – easy. Or so I thought, the web page I needed couldn’t be found and the hostel internet was useless. Thankfully the nice man at the skydive office fixed it for me. Had I of been home with decent internet I probably would have been able to fix it easily.
To begin with I was easily confused about which buttons I was pressing to do what. I also expected it to switch back on at the last mode I had been using. Once I got my head around both of these I started capturing some good video/photo which wasn’t just of my confused face. I didn’t really play with any of the settings as I just wanted to understand how to use the camera itself first. After playing with it for a few days I got adventurous using the timelapse mode, having put the result together that night I quickly became obsessed with that mode. With it doing everything I had previously done manually on my canon DSLR to make a timelapse before. Using the gorilla pod helped to keep the tripod in the exact same spot the whole time and allowed me to attach it to most surfaces. I also made myself a small wrist strap with help from my dad – all it took was some webbing to form the strap, a ring and velcro to secure it and then a spare mount to attach it to the strap. It isn’t as secure as the standard Go Pro one but it worked well for me and save me £40! The Go Pro certainly isn’t a camera for landscape or capturing the beauty of somewhere but it is a camera for capturing action activities, timelapse or water fun. I had a bit of a love hate relationship with the Go Pro all week as I slowly got used to using it. Overall I think I could easily begin to love this camera and will eventually not be able to put it down.