Saturday, April 14, 2018

GoPro slow motion test.

I simply couldn't wait to try the new slow motion on the Gopro 6. Full HD 1080 with an amazing 240 fps. And the voice activation is fantastic!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Cameras and fly fishing, a personal evolution.

Since its first release, i have been a big fan of Gopro. They are small, tough, waterproof and with getting the settings right the videos and pictures are great.
I owned  three gopros: the very first one, the number 3 (that one was not great) the 4 black and now the 6 black.
I didn't need to upgrade every year, but instead i waited for a big leap in technology and software.
The 6 fits all this, 4k at 60fps, and a slow motion thats amazing for such a little piece of gear, 1080 at an amazing 240fps, voice activation and many other goodies are packed in this tiny camera.
Over the years, i have tried many different set up, trying to find the right balance between practicality and quality of videos/pictures.
From a  DSLR (Lumix GH-2) + spare lens, a point and shoot camera (i do take this one when travelling, Lumix LX100) to the Osmo+ from DJI.
The Gopro was always by my side, 80% of the time. Yes it can rain a lot here in Ireland, and when you need the camera to be rolling, it has to be rolling, rain or shine.

I recently got back into vlogging, and was starting to look at the possibility in using the gopro.One big problem was the awful sound quality on the camera. Even the newer models that don't need the housing for waterproofing have a dreadful sound.
To solve  this problem  all that's needed is to hook up an external mic. Ok it's not waterproof anymore, because the side door has to be open to plug the mic adapter but at least you can plan the "talking shots" during the dry spells.
Gopro being Gopro, they had to fuck up somewhere along the way...No mic port on the camera, instead you have to buy an ADAPTER on their website for the extortionate price of 64.99€!! (but if you look around you can find cheaper, i got mine for 40€).

In the last week, i did put a pic of the new set up on social media and a good few asked for details, so there's my set up:
Start with a good support, you cannot go wrong with a Gorilla Pod from Joby. You can use it as a selfie stick, a stable tripod for time lapse, or wrap it around anything you can to create interesting shots or when its impossible to sit it correctly (moving vehicle, wind...)
Make sure to have the tripod equipped with a Ball Head, this will help to keep you shot level no matter how the tripod is set up.
Then add a Tripod mount for Gopro, easily found on ebay for very little money.

Now an aluminium skeleton frame housing to hold and protect the camera.The case need to have an opening on the side to allow the side door to open fully and to be able to plug in the mic adapter. The best case are surprisingly cheap, strongly built, with a cold shoe mount on top for the mic and a 52mm UV filter.This filter can be unscrewed and you can use different filters. I mainly use ND filters (neutral density) and polarised.The 52mm also keep your Gopro lens well protected from scratches.
Side door opens easily for the mic adapter.

To top the set up all we need is a mic (and that stupid adapter). For best results and something that doesn't take too much room i use the RODE Video Micro.

I believe this set up is going to be my main one now for general vlogging and filming.For larger project and travels i always include in my bag  the point and shoot Lumix LX100 for those more artistic B rolls & hero shots and of course the Mavic pro for aerial shots.

  • One tip for taking pictures of you and a fish when you are alone, is to set the gopro on time lapse pictures. I set mine to take one picture every second.When your trophy fish is safely in the net, you can clamp your camera and press shoot, this will take a picture every second.Only then you can take the fish out of the water and strike a few pose without the worry of waiting on a timer. By doing this you will end up with way too many pictures, and most of them will be crap, but in that bunch you always have a couple that are top quality, and some pics can be unexpected as well, especially if you let the camera roll while releasing the fish. Just remember to always be in the shot...After a few trials, you will know how far to hold the fish from the lens.Too far and you will see nothing, too close you just look like you're trying hard to make your fish look bigger...Always shoot on wide and not superwide for the hero shot.

As for the gopro 6, its now voice activated, even better!

For the mic placement be aware that once you put the dead cat (that fluffy wind breaker) on the mic, it will be inside the shot because of the wide angle. To correct this, the bottom plastic nut to secure the mic on the cold shoe is surrounded by grooves to hold the wire in place. Just pull  the back of the mic downward and secure the wire in place inside on the the groove.Your mic is now pointing slightly upwards and doesn't obstruct the frame.
The dead cat will show on screen if left like this.

Just pull it back and secure the wire.Its now out of the way .
Have an other solid 8 weeks of work here at the lodge, and i hope to test all this properly once i have more spare time.This set up will be brilliant especially when you are restricted on room and weight while travelling abroad.