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The GoPro HERO2 is Good at Capturing Things We'd Rather be Doing

11.14.11 @ 8:44AM Tags : , , ,

The GoPro HERO2 was released a couple of weeks ago, but I wanted to mention it here despite being late with the news. I have no desire to make this blog exclusively about $10,000 cameras just because I’m in line for one, and this $299 weather-proof, shock-proof, idiot-proof wonder is a prime example. The HERO2 claims to be twice as sharp as the first version (though they’re both 1080p), with better low light capability and an 11 megapixel sensor. Unchanged from the first edition is the fact that it’s often used to capture envy-inducing activities, which the following video demonstrates perfecty (pretty much everything except the shark part):

If you want to nitpick… there’s some CMOS skew on those helicopter blades. That’s about it. It’s $300 and it goes anywhere!

Okay, so, to bring this back to independent film… I was lucky enough to meet with Doug Liman as part of the IFP and Lincoln Center program, Emerging Visions, and it was fascinating to hear a big-time Hollywood director talk about all of the obstacles he’s faced not only on the set of huge blockbusters like The Bourne Identity and Mr. and Mrs. Smith, but also to hear of the issues he faced when shooting Swingers ON FILM with a budget of only $200k. As part of a discussion about the budget of Man-child, one of his responses was, “well, maybe you’ll have to come up with a way of shooting the basketball scenes that no one’s thought of. Attach GoPros to the actors and just leave them in the shot, or something.” I’m not going to take it that route — though there are a number of POV shots — but his attitude was inspiring, which is “find a way to get it done no matter what.” And while I don’t think the GoPros are right for Man-child, I do have another narrative/interactive project that they might be right for… first things first though!

Link: GoPro HERO2 at Amazon (three versions, Outdoor, Motorsports, and Surf)


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  • I’m thinking of the typical basketball film angle: GoPro on the hoop.

  • Get real and place inside the ball.

  • Have ‘em play 2 on 2, with each guy wearing one via the Chesty mount. Swap shots libeally between cameras and spinkle in some super-slo mo. That’d be intense.

    I own 4 of the HD HEROes, and they really allow you to let your imagination run rampant. Sure wish I could upgrade them to the HERO2…

  • I love the GoPro. It’ really nice to have a camera that you can throw into harm’s way without a thought. I’m really looking forward to using them in a car chase very soon.

    Shot this film with one last summer:

  • My only complaint about this camera is the mandatory fisheye: wouldn’t a rectilinear 24mm-equivalent make more sense? (maybe even 28mm could do). This fisheye effect renders the camera useless for many situations, IMHO

    also, does it come with a twixtor license, or what? :)

    • I was shooting this summer some underwater for film project with 5D and had HERO with me as well. Since I just got my monofin I had some fun just letting it sit on the ocean floor ( about -15feet ) :)

    • CraftyClown on 11.14.11 @ 2:12PM

      There are three field of view options with the Hero 2; wide, normal and narrow. Narrow has no fisheying to it.

      • yes, but it is still using the same lens, so I’d bet it still has lots of barrel distortion, probably enough to show the kind of horizon bending that make me hate a lot of the Hero 1 footage

        • Various programs (AE, PS, Motion) have plugins for reducing barrel distortion. You can even use it on the timelapse stills by batching from PS. Timelapse stills are big enough to do some BBC Earth-style panning of timelapses.

  • The gentlemen of StillMotion created a fabulous POV camera with a HDSLR on a helmet for NFL shots. This may create some great unique shots on the court, with more control over settings, as opposed to submitted to the auto-function of GoPro’s:

    • This one of the most mesmerising video that I have ever seen. That music just went so well with the energy of the content. Although at 1080P on a 1080p monitor, quality leaves a lot to be desired. Would’nt it be great if there was a gropro sized camera but with a large sensor, high bit rate codec, more exposure control, 60fps at full HD 1080p and with interchangeable lenses. That would be a dream camera. ….Oh wait..there already is….SONY NEX 5N.

  • GoPros are what got me interested in filmmaking. I got my first one a couple years ago to make some off roading videos with and then I just ended up going nuts with them. Here’s one of my latest off road videos that you can see the great angles you can get. I’ve even attached them to the safety flag (whip) before. This one was all done in After Effects. It was shot at the Imperial Sand Dunes (hence the completely pointless star wars theme). It’s all in fun.

    GoPros are the good stuff. Looking forward to trying one of these HD2′s out.

  • sfmuckraker on 11.17.11 @ 3:38PM

    Wearable camcorders are a great concept and currently very trendy. Nevertheless, I think it takes immense talent as a wearer and even more talent as a post-production editor to create clips that don’t have the viewer puking.

  • I’m getting a GoPro Hero 2 because the only camera I currently own is a Canon 5d mark II and as you know it only shoots at 24p and 30p. No 60p, I got twixtor and I want to do some slow motion stuff. Also I’ll just slap it on a tripod or stick it to a wall and use it as a second cam.

    On a side note, Koo your wordpress skills are amazing. I just recently got into it and love it. Now I really appreciate what you’ve done with the site. My website link is at the bottom, it’s for my small videography business, any tips would be much appreciated.


  • Love my GoPro Hero1 and will look into buying the Hero2. My only complaints about the GoPro is it’s only useful in bright locations (most indoor video is poor) and the underwater video is never sharp (unless you buy a third party case with flat lens cover). All daytime content in this video was shot with a GoPro: A LOT of stabilizing in post was needed to make this video watchable, but I think the final product is good, especially considering I wouldn’t have been able to use a higher quality camera in the dusty desert environment of Burning Man.

  • You can get an HD lens for gopro and no ‘curves’ with that. Require to remove the WA lens and screw in the HD lens from Sunex.