This last Saturday I woke up at 4am so that I could drive to the Marin Headlands, just North of the Golden Gate Bridge. The reason I got up this early was because i wanted to capture my first time-lapse of the sunrise over the San Francisco Bay with the Bridge in the foreground. At approximately 6am I found my spot and set up my tripod. I was using the new GoPro "HERO", the entry level camera from this company. I have been hesitant to purchase an action cam. I'm not a skydiver or extreme sports guy. You won't see me catching waves or jumping into a halfpipe. I wasn't sure that it would be worth the purchase for what I might use it for. So with a few hints to my Wife I received one for Christmas with a few accessories.
Setting up the HERO was a snap. After choosing the time-lapse feature I attached the tripod mount accessory to the camera and screwed it onto the tripod. I pointed it toward the bridge and skyline of San Francisco and hit the top start button. Two drawbacks of this camera are first it has no LCD screen and therefore no way to preview what you are pointed at unless you take a test image. Second, there is only one choice for time-lapse and that is one frame every 1/2 second. Luck would have it I framed the view perfectly and to tell you the truth it was nice not to have to mess with a ton of settings. I then let it sit while I took other images with my DSLR.
What would I do differently next time? When you set up for a time-lapse be mindful of where you place your tripod. I made the mistake of not setting up closer to the edge of the cliff that drops off from the area where I was shooting. Several people walked in front of my camera as well, one photographer camped out in the left part of my image for close to 1/2 an hour. I asked him to move but he refused. Not much I could do. This duration makes it near impossible to edit out without taking away from the overall movie. While I did get lucky this time I would probably take a test image to make sure I had the proper framing. When you dedicate this much time to make a time-lapse it would be a shame to find out you didn't get what you came for.
My overall first impressions of the GoPro "HERO"? I love this camera. It is so incredibly easy to use. The settings are easy to adjust and very intuitive. It would be hard to make a mistake with this camera if you put in any time, before a shoot, to become familiar with it. The videos it produces are of a high quality that look very pleasing. The colors and metering amaze me. I grew up looking at super 8 film that my brothers took and it boggles my mind as to how far we have come. My kids are very young but by the time they are able to make a film I can only imagine the level of quality that will exist. The GoPro software did most of the work but I have to admit that after it processed the images into a time-lapse I converted it to .mov format so that I could edit in iMovie. You be the judge, check out my time-lapse below.
I give this camera a big time thumbs up! I'm actually already drooling over the GoPro HERO4 Black!