Pro Am

I walked back into the office today and it felt really weird. It felt like I had been on holiday, that is if you like to spend your holiday in a massive concrete area with no windows or clocks. People were going about their business and carrying on as normal and I felt like I had just been released on parole or something. I felt out of sync with the place, but as is the way with these things, it did not take me long to get back into it.

Around two years ago, I bought myself a GoPro camera and have been enjoying something of a hate-hate relationship with it ever since. Maybe hate-hate is too strong. Maybe it should be more hate-stroppy relationship.

I bought it for a big event and the plan was that I could strap it on my head and walk around capturing the excitement.

The plan almost failed before it started as I could not get the thing out of its box. I got the cardboard off, but it had a hard plastic casing and sat inside it, entombed on my desk while I wondered which bit was packaging and which bit was camera. Eventually I googled it and found about half a dozen well watched videos on YouTube JUST telling you how to get it out of its packaging. Not just me then, good.

The next thing was operating it and if I thought getting it out of the container was tough, I now realised why they made it so hard. It was like a test to see if you could understand the impossible directions for working the unit. I ended up doing what everyone does and found a five year old to set it up, but this did not stop me, (a) filming myself flitting around in my pyjamas when I though the damn thing was off and charging and (b) filming two hours of floor as I walked the event with it on a headband but without realising that the camera was tilted ever so slightly downward. Maybe I can sell that as an artwork installation, ‘Event Feet on Event Floor.’

The breakthrough for me came when I realised I could control it via an app on my iPad. This was much easier. Rather than trying to understand its morse code of various blinking lights, I could set it via my tablet, and more importantly, get a preview of the shot it was taking. The second breakthrough came when I found a colleague, Gary who could turn hundreds of photographs I had taken using the time lapse feature, into little movies.

For this, the GoPro is great. It has a pretty wide angle lens so it captures a lot, and the HD quality is good so Gary can zoom in and around from each photo as he builds the animation. I love Gary.

It has been a while since I used the pesky GoPro and my first job today was to check the photos I had taken, which had earned me the nickname MacGyver over the weekend. Relentlessly I would set forth, with my GoPro clamped to a broom handle which would then be gaffer taped into a position so I could get a hour or two of a photo every ten seconds on various activities. I was worried that I might have stuffed it up and left the little camera on my desk for a while without plugging it into my PC. When I finally did, my worse fears appeared to have been realised: there were only about twenty shots of the activity I had spent hours covering in the folder. Damn! How could this have happened?

The good news is, it didn’t. The cheeky little camera had put the first five hundred photos in a completely different folder just to give my blood pressure a tickle. I got them all off the card and sent them to Gary, because if I know one thing, it is that try as my GoPro might to make me look like a rank amateur, its photos and Gary’s ability with video editing software will leave me looking like nothing but the professional film maker I am not.

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