GoPro 101: how to get started with GoPro
Get started with our beginner’s guide to GoPro.
08 Feb 2019
If you’ve got your very first GoPro (or are thinking of buying one), but you’re not sure where to start, you’re in the right place. This article will have you capturing great footage in no time. Here’s our beginners’ guide to GoPro.
Get hands on with your GoPro
First things first. Take it out of the box and get to grips with it. Get familiar with the touchscreen and menus, and play about with the settings. You can use it straight away, but if you alter a few of the settings and see how that changes things, you’ll have a better understanding of what the settings do – and what’s best for you.
For example, a higher resolution will give you higher-quality photographs – but, of course, it will mean your battery life will be reduced, and you’ll be able to fit less video onto your SD card. 1080p (HD) should provide all the quality you need, and it’s what most professional broadcasters use. Some GoPro models go up to 4K – that’s four times the number of pixels as HD – but you really don’t need it, and it’ll drain your battery. This is also something to bear in mind when selecting your FPS (frames per second) settings. The higher the FPS, the more space and battery you’ll use.
Field of View is another setting to look at. You can choose from wide-angle mode – ideal for sports and action videos – or linear mode, which gives you footage as you see it. With linear mode, there’s none of the distortion that you get from the wide-angle lens – it’s a more accurate picture. Play with the settings and find what suits.
Any accessories I need?
A hand grip or selfie stick is a cheap and easy place to start – especially if you’re looking to start vlogging, or want to put yourself in the action.
If you want to show your travels from your car, a suction-cup mount is a must. Simply mount your GoPro on a window or windscreen.
It you want to make a time-lapse video, you’ll need a tripod. Well, you won’t want to stand there holding the thing for hours, will you? Again, for vloggers, a tripod will certainly make life much easier.
And for serious adventurers, a chest mount or head strap will take footage of everything that’s happening front of every. Every moment of the action will be captured.
With your settings and accessories sorted, you’re ready to go.
When should you use you GoPro?
Our answer to that is all the time! OK, you may think it more exciting to record footage when you’re white water rafting or climbing a mountain, but who’s to say you won’t also get great footage when you’re walking the dog or cycling to the shops? You might even get something unexpected. Always have your GoPro with you, and avoid the frustration of missing those interesting moments.
Don’t run down the battery
We’ve already mentioned battery life, but it does make sense to manage this so you don’t have to keep replacing your batteries. Things like screen brightness and WiFi can affect battery life, and obviously leaving the GoPro on when you’re not using it isn’t going to help matters. Always carry spare batteries and keep them charged up.
How do I edit my videos?
If you use an Apple device, iMovie is a free and simple app you can use, and it’s ideal if you’re just starting out. You can browse and share your videos, edit easily, add text and effects and mark your favourite moments for later. You can also create a soundtrack, and add slow-motion, fast-forward, split screen effects and more.
Of course, being a free app, there are limitations, and if you’re looking for something more advanced, video editing apps like Final Cut Pro (Macbook) or Adobe Premiere (Windows) are worth a look. They’re used by YouTubers, and can give your video a professional look. GoPro, indeed.
• If you’re taking photos, be sure to take more than one, just to be sure.
• To give yourself every chance of getting the shot you want, go to settings, then time lapse, and select 0.5 seconds. Then select multi-shot mode when you’re ready to start snapping, and it’ll take a picture every half a second – so you can expect some good ones in there.
• Different angles make for very different shots – pointing down at yourself will make you look smaller, pointing up will make you look taller. Slight angles up or down capture more of your surroundings. Play with your angles before your big trip.
• Make sure your screws are nice and tight to avoid slippage – and therefore, wonky footage!
Let us know your tips and tricks in the comments below.