A little camera can help you do big things


The GoPro Hero2

I’m headed back to Africa in two months for Fred Hutch, and I need to do more than still photography on this trip. I want to produce and deliver video from the field. However, producing “good video” is harder than it sounds. Hell, producing bad video is harder than most people will ever know. Sadly, I know it all too well.

I struggle with video production. I don’t do it often enough to have muscle memory with my gear. I get overwhelmed and frustrated, and that allows me to make stupid mistakes. It’s a big problem. One of the things I need to do is become much more familiar with my video equipment. There needs to be less friction between ideas and production. I need to practice, practice, and practice.

Another thing I need to account for on this trip is weight. I’m going to be a one-man-band. That means I have to go with small equipment. Every ounce counts when you have to carry it. With that in mind I’m pulling out a GoPro camera that’s been sitting on a shelf for a year. I don’t know why I haven’t picked it up until now. I could claim I’ve had other fish to fry, but that’s just an excuse.

For those of you unfamiliar with the GoPro, allow me to do the introductions. This little camera is a marvel. It is one of the things making media production more accessible to millions of people. You can use it to make still photos, and shoot HD video. It blurs the line between stills and video by empowering you to shoot time-lapse shots somewhat effortlessly. Many people are also mounting GoPro cameras on drones to produce epic aerial video shots that just weren’t possible before if you didn’t own a helicopter. It took me about 30 minutes to read the manual and begin making pictures and shooting video. It took me a few more minutes to figure out how to shoot time-lapse shots. This little video sequence incorporates the first two shots I made. I’m suddenly feeling a flood of ideas, and I’m going to spend the next couple months building up muscle memory and a bag of visual tools I can use to begin making better video stories.

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