Using a GoPro HD Hero to Create Stunning Videos

helmet cam

The GoPro HD Hero is a revolutionary camera because of it's size, weight, price, and last but not least it's quality. It's capable of creating amazing results in many different environments, but ending up with the best results isn't always as easy as you think.

Over the past 10 years I've been creating extreme sports videos. I've learned a lot about shooting and editing and the most important thing to know is that video creation is a trial and error process.

Here is how I use the GoPro to create my videos.
Before I even begin shooting I try to create a vision in my mind of what I want the video to look like. The clearer the picture of the final project, the better, so if you have a particular song in mind then include that in the vision.

Try to think about the location you are going to and what features stick out. Are there any jumps, gaps, untouched powder, obstacles that will make the video more interesting? If so, figure out how you can incorporate them into the video and what angles will make them stick out the most. One of the best pieces of advice I can offer is to always shoot multiple angles at each spot you ride. Showing one angle doesn't always give off the best view of the location but if you can edit together a sequence of the same trick with different camera placements, you're set.

With the GoPro you not only have the option of placing the camera on the ground or on a tripod, you also have tons of self-mounting options. I tend to stay away from the helmet cam (although this seems to be the #1 camera placement for amateurs) because it doesn't show what you're doing. My favorite mounting options for Snowkiting are on the board using the suction cup mount [See figure 1.1], on the bar using the seat post mount [1.2], on the lines using the KiteHero Mount [1.3], in the hand [1.4], and on a tripod or the ground [1.5]. You'll notice from my videos that the angle I use most is with the camera on the ground because it shows a full-body view of where I am and what I am doing.

helmet cam helmet cam helmet cam
Click on thumbnails to enlarge photos

helmet cam helmet cam
Click on thumbnails to enlarge photos

Now that you have an idea where you're shooting and know what angles you'd like to get, you're ready to go out and ride. Of course you're going to explore new spots to shoot each time you ride and sometimes you'll be hitting a spot for the first time, but at least you'll know exactly what's possible and which angles will turn your vision into reality.

Since the GoPro doesn't have a screen, you need to become familiar with it's field of view and keep framing in the back of your mind at all times. Although there are no set rules for framing shots, there are some general guidelines to follow to make your video more viewer friendly.

Headroom: When shooting yourself, keep in mind how wide the lens is. If you point the camera directly at your face, you're probably going to have too much headroom. [Figure 2.1] Point the camera down a little bit to ensure that your head is near the top of the frame rather than in the centre.

Leadroom: When shooting yourself from a profile perspective, try to frame the back of your head against one side of the frame so that the direction you are looking has empty space in front. This space shows that you are moving in this direction. [Figure 2.2]

helmet cam helmet cam
Click on thumbnails to enlarge photos

Proximity: To make the video more editing friendly, always try to shoot multiple proximity's so you can edit from one to another. It always looks better cutting from a wide shot to a close up rather than a wide shot to a wide shot. Variety is priceless.

Now that you've shot all your footage, you're ready to begin the edit. Stay tuned for my next blog describing the editing process I follow using footage from the GoPro.

Check out one of my latest snow kiting videos featuring GoPro HD footage using some of the mounts mentioned above like the suction cup mount

The Ordinary Days of Winter from Big Fall Productions

Thanks for tuning in.

Brendan Schnurr
~Big Fall Productions

See • BrandsGoProHelmet Cam ResourcesTutorials //


By Nick B
10 03 2010 at 10:34 AM

Where in this video did you use the kitehero mount?  I didn’t see any views looking from the lines down at the rider.

By BigFallProductions
10 03 2010 at 05:28 PM

Hey Nick,

Sorry, that was a typo and we’ve fixed it up now. I didn’t use the kitehero mount in this video but will soon in an upcoming one.

By enric
24 09 2010 at 03:43 AM

Sick post and video. Really helpful for another kite-gopro enthusiast. One question, my suction cup mount flops over when I go through choppy water and ive tried tightening all the screws down. Does this happen to yours too?

By james
21 11 2010 at 11:39 AM

wicked video! and thanks for the great write up, i bought my gopro hero 960 last wednesday, and i’m trying to learn all the tips and tricks i can before my sd card arrives this week, hoping to get some good shots from my truck while 4x4ing, and from my snowboard when i finally get out later in the year!!

By PointOfViewCameras
21 11 2010 at 02:06 PM

Thanks Guys! So good to hear you like these tips. Let us know if there is anything else we could help with.

By Simone Keith
18 01 2011 at 07:57 AM

Hey Brendan,
Awesome video! Just got a Hero this last week and hope to explore its potential some more. Question. 36 seconds into you video, you perform a rack focus on the snow board itself. How did you do that with the Hero? Or did you use another camera? Just curious. Thanks!

By Lance
18 01 2011 at 05:49 PM


nice tips, I just bought one of these and am heading off in a few weeks to the snow. Do you have any advice regarding what mode to shoot in? I understand that 720 is twice the frames but in your experience in snow is there much difference between how choppy the result is when using 1080?

I’ve watched a fair few vids and they look so sharp but they look smooth as well so I’m not sure what they have been using because no one says…

any advice?

By Blackg
28 02 2011 at 12:15 AM

What a great video!
Like it a lot! Very nice job man!
Like snowkiting to!!!

By ben
04 05 2011 at 02:12 PM

Any ideas how to get rid of wind noise when its mounted on a car? Ive used the open back but anything over 15mph all i hear is the wind!

By PointOfViewCameras
04 05 2011 at 04:00 PM

If you’re getting excessive wind noise, we suggest that you use the waterproof back door to dampen the sound or consider mounting the camera inside the vehicle such as on the windshield using a suction cup mount.

By theo ballas
26 11 2011 at 09:56 AM

pls let me know how to programm a stage of ipsc shooting or center…960hd or 1080 or 720?
i mean shooting at 15-20m paper targets or metal plates 20cm diameter
tks for yr help

By Katsu
08 01 2012 at 12:45 PM

Hey i just got a gopro SD hero for my 2011 christmas and i was so excited until…i tryed it out….its really not as good as the HD gopro’s atall!! it dose this really annoying thing where it cant adjust the lighting quickly. Please tell me that it works allot better on bright sunny days because i have been trying it out on dull days. Can you produce just as good videos with an GOPRO SD without the quality of HD?

By PointofViewCameras
09 01 2012 at 12:24 PM

The discontinued SD HERO can hardly be compared to the quality of the HD HERO. There were 2 versions of the SD HERO, the 54° narrow angle and the 170° wide angle. Video is shot in standard definition with a resolution of 512x384 pixels. The HD HERO models are capable of filming in full 1080p HD. Both models are designed to give the best footage in normal daylight conditions but can be used in lower light conditions as well.

By Boris
22 10 2012 at 08:11 PM

Nice video, I like your song choice, most people would use a fast song for sports action. One thing though - cameras tend to be fooled while filming and taking photos in snow conditions. They expect neutral landscape and adjust the exposure accordingly, so the snow appears gray. You should make corrections in post (increase berightness) to make it white again.