GoPro Video Tips for Skiers and Snowboarders
Going skiing or snowboarding this winter? Don’t forget to bring your GoPro video camera! VideoTov’s extreme sports video editor, Abe Alzouman, will help you turn your winter-sport footage into a pro video with Twixtor super slo-mo effects, perfectly timed shots, and—of course—the right song.
For inspiration, check out one of Abe’s recent projects: Three buddies went on an epic skiing/snowboarding vacation in the French Alps and used a HERO3 GoPro camera to document their vacation. Abe used their footage and B-roll to create this amazing skiing and snowboarding video.
Want to make sure your snowboarding or skiing video turns out this good? Read on, as Abe shares his expert advice on shooting your trip with a GoPro camera.
Make sure you have the right video settings to get the best results.
- Wipe your GoPro SD card regularly and keep your firmware up to date. This will prevent freeze-ups or corrupted data. Also avoid putting foreign data on the SD card.
- Lower your frames per second (fps) by half if you are filming in low light. If you’re, say, inside your hotel room and you don’t need super-slow motion, lower your fps by half. This will allow more light to hit each frame and give you a much brighter and better picture. Try to keep the camera as still as you can. And just remember to change the settings back when you hit the slopes.
- Use the right setting. To get the best results from your GoPro, some settings are better than others. Here are my top settings to use for your GoPro HERO3+ Black Edition. (If you are using previous generations, just make sure to use the highest fps settings available.)
720p: For action shots, make sure you use this setting with the maximum fps (120fps for GoPro HERO3+ Black Edition). This will allow us to get the best slow motion using the Twixtor plugin when editing your video. If you don’t want to mess too much with your settings, use this one for your whole trip.
1080p: If you are looking for quality and not slow motion, this is the setting for you. Good slow motion can still be achieved even with 1080p at 60fps. Avoid fast camera movement to get the best results.
2.7K, 4K, and 1440p: These settings allow you to select 1440p HD option on YouTube, and the quality is remarkable. But even the most powerful computers can struggle to edit 4K resolution (this is what The Hobbit was filmed in!), so I recommend using a maximum of 2.7K. I highly recommend that you keep the camera still as much as possible if you want to use 2.7K. Try using a tripod if you want to test this shot.
Avoid using 960p: This is normally the default camera setting when bought new or after having new firmware installed. Videos in this mode can still be edited; 960p gives a good horizontal and vertical perspective, but it requires the video to be stretched to scale when editing. Protune: Protune gives editors much more freedom to adjust color and brightness. If you have Protune turned on and you watch your raw footage, the picture will at first not look as great as if you had it turned off. With Protune off, GoPro compresses the footage and makes its own corrections, which limits what we can do in post-production. But with Protune on, your editor will have double the amount of color and brightness adjustment options. If you plan to have all your videos edited by a professional, keep Protune turned on.
- Simultaneous Video and Photo. This is a cool feature, but just remember that it will sacrifice half of your fps. Manually filming and taking photos is the best choice. High-quality snapshots can easily be taken from video. VideoTov can provide you with a photo album from your video footage and also improve the picture quality in Photoshop before sending it to you.
There are a few ways to take photos with your GoPro, from simple point-and-snap to multi-shot sequences to group photos. Hi-resolution photos can be animated into videos, too. In my experience, it’s best to use these settings:
Quality setting: 12MP Wide for the best photo quality.
Single-shot setting: 5 shots per second (SPS). Instead of taking just one photo, take five photos so you can pick that perfect one. Keep everyone smiling! If you are in low light, make sure everyone is standing perfectly still, or try lowering the MP quality to allow more light into the shot.
Multi-shot setting: 30/2sec. Take thirty photos every two seconds. I think this is best for action sequences such as snowboarding.
Continuous shooting: 2sec. When using the auto photo mode, I like to limit it to one photo every two seconds. This is good for group photos you want to be in and leaves you plenty of time to walk to the group, pose, and walk back to the camera.
OKAY, READY … ACTION!!!
Your GoPro is an amazing camera, and we want you to get the most out of it. Here are a few more tips:
- Get the right accessories. If you’re limited to buying just a few GoPro accessories, just get the GoPole REACH telescoping extension tool. It can virtually eliminate most camera shakes from filming by hand. (You will need the GoPro Tripod Mount to use this accessory.)
- Get closer. The closer you are with the GoPro, the more awesome it will look. When filming your friends going off a jump, get as close as you can (as long as you have faith in their jumping skills!). GoPro also looks great when it’s stationary with a cool foreground. Film friends in front of friends jumping, put your snowboards in the foreground for group photos. Try having something right in front of your GoPro.
- GET CLOSER! Seriously, it looks so much cooler the closer you are to your subjects.
- Shoot the same scenes from multiple angles (i.e. different mounts if filming first person or different filming positions if someone else is holding the camera). Doing so will allow the editor to choose among the best versions, or even better, toggle between them to create a multi-dimensional look to the sequence.
The GoPro is a great camera, and it’s easy to capture those perfect moments as long as you follow these guidelines.
I hope you have a great trip. Just give us the footage afterward, and we will do the rest!
About the Author/Video Editor
Abe is an enthusiastic kiteboarder with a passion for Snowkiting, kitesurfing and kitelandboarding. He loves filming and editing these exciting adventures as well. After studying computer video animation at Southampton Solent University in the UK, he has spent the better part of five years as a freelance video editor specializing in GoPro sports videos and slow-motion effects.