GoPro Goes News–Incorporating GoPro As A Regular News Camera–Part One

Published On April 26, 2015 | By Mike Carroll | KCRA-TV, Mike's TV News Stories, Shooting News

I am fascinated by cameras and always looking at new cameras and thinking of how I can use them in my job of shooting news to make pictures that are interesting for me to shoot and for the viewers at home to enjoy.

GoPro cameras have been used mostly to capture footage under extreme and unusual situations — helmet Point-of-Views of skydiving, skiing, mountain biking are the obvious examples.

I — on the other hand — have been interested in using the GoPro not as an unusual camera, typically a “B” camera, to incorporate unusual footage into regular, everyday news photography — but as the “A” camera shooting the primary footage.

I am interested in using different cameras and their inherent formats and adapting them to using in my job as a TV news photographer at KCRA-3 TV news in Sacramento, California.

For the story above about revitalizing a depressed and decaying business area in downtown I needed to have shots of storefronts that were about to be either renovated or demolished. For as long as I’ve been in the TV news business we’ve always shot buildings on with a full-sized ENG camera on a tripod. The same-old, same-old, same-old. I often wonder if the viewers even recognize what they’re looking at because it’s the same type of shots of buildings anywhere. I decided not to use any ordinary shots of buildings.

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I needed something new! I needed to see these same old places in a new way!!!!

This was a job for GoPro!

I pulled out my GoPro Hero 3+ — which I should point out is actually my sister Margo’s camera, she’s just loaning it to me to experiment with. I have it on the end of an extendable selfie stick, set the camera setting to “Upside Down” and walked along the length of the block with the GoPro upside down and just above ground level to get a dynamic sort-of-fisheye-lens Point-of-View shot.

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For another shot in the story I needed a shot of what is now a vacant lot where a building had been and which is on the other side of an 8-foot wall. A shot I could not have gotten with my Sony HD XDCAM unless I was able to talk my way into a surrounding building and shot down from a higher level. But and easy job for the GoPro! I just extended the selfie stick and held the GoPro up. Now–voila!–a clear shot of the whole vacant lot!

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When shooting a press conference — which is always a (no offense to the person seen speaking at the podium) boring shot of a person speaking at a podium — I had very limited time so I locked the Sony HD XDCAM down on a tripod and got it rolling on the person at the podium, then ran around for a few minutes with the GoPro Hero 3+ and grabbed B-roll cover shots.

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I did the same thing with a couple interview shots. I rolled on the interview with the Sony HD XDCAM and shot simultaneous footage with a moving around GoPro. Back in the truck on the laptop I synched up the audio waveforms of the GoPro sound to the interview shot with the wireless stick mic and got a crystal-clean GoPro interview bite.

Just a matter of using a new tool to gather everyday news footage in a refreshing new way.

After all, news is supposed to be new, isn’t it?


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About The Author

Mike Carroll joined the digital revolution in 1999 with a Sony TRV900 camcorder and Final Cut Pro, when it was only Final Cut Pro and not version 2, 4 or a Suite.

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