Going Pro with Action Cameras!

GoPro cameras: you’re just as likely to see them on movie sets as you are on the helmet of some pre-teen rolling down your street on a skateboard. They are not the perfect camera, but they are the perfect tool for a variety of different situations.  There are a lot of “action cameras” on the market these days but GoPro is the brand that has done the most to make themselves a true professional caliber tool, that’s why we use them at Brainstorm.

A confession: I’ve been working as a production professional since 1995. At the age of 40 I have recently started skateboarding again, after a 20 year hiatus. I have 2 GoPros in my bag at all times, you know, “just in case.” I’m not sure what says about me.

This little camera is a great way to show off big events and projects. Brainstorm media started using them to create time lapse projects of million dollar industrial installations, as seen here:

However, one of our favorite clips continues to be from our work at Capital University. You can see 8 hours worth of work transforming a gym into a grand graduation hall, in just under a minute:

The wide angle lens lets you pack a lot of information into each frame. When used properly, you can set a scene and highlight a subject all in one frame, like in this example on a shoot for United Way:


GoPros are not cheap, but they are by far the most inexpensive cameras in the Brainstorm quiver. That, combined with its compact size, allows me to take chances that I would never take with other cameras. Sometimes the biggest risks lead to the biggest rewards.

I get excited every time I get to use GoPros on a professional shoot, but when I pull one out of the case, clients almost always have the same look on their face. A look that says “we’re going to use THAT little thing?” That’s where the GoPro phone app is really handy. You can show clients on the set that yes, it really works, and that the shot looks really cool too! It’s funny that the mobile app designed for the skateboarding teenagers I mentioned earlier has made many a vice president a lot more comfortable.



I must also admit, sometimes I use the camera just to amuse myself. Not long ago, duty called and I found myself on a flight from DC to Boston. Just after I got to my seat on the plane I set up a time lapse to shoot over the wing as we flew. It looked like the picture to the right:


What happened next I found fascinating. Many of my “peers,” obvious business travelers, would shoot a funny look at the rig, and then try to not make eye contact with me, and proceed to their seats. Then down the aisle bounces a boy, I’m guessing he’s about 12. He has a hat twisted a little to the side, a back pack almost as big as he is, and a skateboard under his arm. He was the only one who spoke up about my contraption, “Sweet rig dude, you shooting time-lapse or straight video” So if nothing else, shooting with a GoPro keeps me young… or at least connected to the young.


Whether making skate and ski videos with my sons, or out on a job for Brainstorm Media, I’m always playing/working with my GoPro cameras.  Don’t hesitate to ask what I’ve come up with lately! Can using a GoPro can add excitement or a unique perspective to your next video? Give us a call!

– Stewart Williams

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