When you don’t want to put your expensive camera far from where you’re working, or prefer to avoid hoisting thousands of dollars of camera gear on a stand surrounded by crowds of people, a simple solution is the GoPro.
There are no remote controls, no triggers to plug in, and the camera is half the size of an iPhone. The camera easily attaches to a tripod, light clamp or light stand. While the GoPro can record in still and video mode, I use it only for still images so I can create a time lapse video of the event, wedding, conference, etc.
Recently I was asked by a charity group to create a time-lapse of a playground being built in New Orleans. I was also photographing the event with my Leica rangefinders. I needed to find a simple solution for a few reasons. First, there’s not a remote method to record stills with a Leica rangefinder. Second, rain was forecast and I did not want to have my Nikon cameras 15 feet in the air around 200 people trying to build a playground within a few hours in the middle of a rain storm. So, the GoPro was an easy choice.
The GoPro comes with a waterproof housing, so rain is not a concern. Plus, instead of taking a chance on expensive gear being damaged, GoPro cameras start at just $200.
The setup is simple. The GoPro allows for the following capture modes:Single Triple shot burst Time-lapse (1, 2, 5, 10, 30 or 60 secs). I chose to use the time-lapse 10 second and 30 second settings since I was creating a time-lapse from multiple angles throughout the day. Once you have times set, a simple press of the shutter button begins the time-lapse. I mounted the camera to a large background stand raised to approximately 15 feet and placed it away from pedestrians. Each angle I chose consisted of around 300 images and at the end of the day I used iMovie to make a time-lapse of the entire day. Luckily, the rain mostly stayed away and the winds were not too strong to move the camera on the stand.
I edited the final images in Adobe Lightroom and then used Apple’s iMovie to put all of the images together. Click below to see the result.
A remote camera can be set-up to do a time-lapse at weddings and events, or to shoot stills for a second or third angle. It can be your secret weapon against a church official who won’t let you stand at the front of the church during a wedding ceremony. Because the GoPro is small, lightweight, and weather-resistant, the number of places and situations you can utilize this tool are limited only by your creativity!
About Chris Williams: Chris is a documentary photographer living in New Orleans, Louisiana for the past 17 years. While a majority of his work focuses on wedding and portrait photography, he takes every chance he can get to explore personal work. In 2009 he had the opportunity to photograph His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama and in 2010 he had a selection of his iHolga(iPhone) images displayed in Berlin and NYC. Last year his wedding work took him to Hawaii and Cabo. Recently his work was on display in New Orleans and Los Angeles and he was the featured photographer at the Leica Las Vegas Workshop in February 2012. “I always have a camera on me, even if it’s a trip down the street for pizza, who knows what may happen, you may miss that decisive moment”.