Exploring the Unknown

Exploring the Unknown

Friday, May 19, 2017

To Vlog or Not To Vlog? Setting Up My GoPro Hero Session!

When my Kodak EasyShare P850 Camera went the way of The DoDo several years ago so did any thoughts I may have had of filming my rides. I wasn't vlogging per se, as I can't stand the sound of my own voice. If anything, it was highly stupid of me to be filming with a handheld camera whilst riding. This time I opted to go with a purpose made action camera that could be attached to Bella, Bambi or even Darwin in a secure fashion that didn't involve either me holding it or using duct tape. Cue the GoPro Hero Session. But, wait, why does Ted Forbes review a GoPro Hero4 Session? Because they are one and the same camera! Only, GoPro has lowered the price, removed some accessories and essentially made it its entry level camera.

My first proper short film (I use the term 'proper' and 'film' loosely) was The Wolf Pack and consisted of a mixture of pictures and video of two buddies and I riding some wonderful back roads in the Eastern Townships. As you can see, Youtube kindly offered to straighten my video and in doing so made an otherwise disastrous first attempt look somewhat passable. My Youtube Channel includes several of these early attempts at filming my rides. However, I have also made it a mission to upload better quality videos by other folks since those early days. It wasn't until Percy himself brought up the idea of a joint project that I even considered trying to film my rides again.

Pic © Best Buy
Percy had recently purchased a Ricoh WG-M2 Action Camera Kit. I had every intention of buying the same camera until I came across the GoPro Hero Session on sale at Best Buy. Unlike the GoPro Hero4 Session, it comes with one camera mount instead of two. The latter reflects GoPro's drop in price. I also purchased the GoPro Handlebar/Seatpost/Pole Mount and a Lexar Media 64GB 95MB/s microSDXC Class 10 Memory Card. When your GoPro Hero Session is set to 1080p/60fps you have a total of 5 hours and 22 minutes of available space on the microSDXC card. That works out well considering that the GoPro Hero Session's battery life is 2:28. The battery is internal, so I'll be picky as to when and where I'll be recording. I'll be using my missus's Nikon Coolpix for picture duty.

Pic © Best Buy
As for the GoPro Handlebar Mount, admittedly I had originally purchased the GoPro Large Tube Mount but returned it. It's just too big (said no woman ever - *sigh 😏) having only fit my left handlebar grip. I suppose that I could have fitted it at the bottom of Bella's frame but inevitably I could never enjoy riding again knowing that a $200 camera was precariously close to the asphalt - let alone speedbumps and Quebec's notorious potholes. However, the GoPro Handlebar Mount works perfectly on 7/8 and 1 inch bars or in my case, Bella's indicators. If you own a Moto Guzzi V7 Racer take note that there is absolutely no space on the clip on bars for the GoPro Handlebar Mount. No worries, her indicator stems will work just as well. 😜 Worse case scenario I'll use the adhesives on my helmet. The kit also came with a new higher mount for the GoPro which I diligently exchanged the stock mount for.

There are three GoPro Apps to help you adjust the settings of the GoPro Hero Session. I opted to download the Quik™| Desktop app because I prefer working on my laptop. GoPro Studio is part of this app and seems to be a pretty intuitive movie editor compared to Microsoft Movie Maker of yore. I don't own a cell phone and would like to keep it that way. There are many options available via the apps but honestly, I managed to set my GoPro at 1080p/60fps without it. Out of the box it was set to 1080p/30fps. There are tutorials on Youtube to help you make your footage feel more cinematic, let alone entire websites like MotoVlog to help you get started off on the right foot. I also found the GoPro Support Hub to be useful. I'm a simple fella with simple needs. Whilst many of you may argue that GoPro Hero5 Black and GoPro Hero5 Session would have been better, I'm not willing to spend the extra money on an action camera just yet. 

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month!
GoPro or Go Home!
As first impressions go, my only concern was how warm the GoPro felt whilst charging via USB on my laptop. I have read that this is common. Getting started felt overwhelming but I think that had to do more with my inexperience with action cameras. There is plenty of help and support from both GoPro and likeminded folks online. If anyone reading this has any advice don't hesitate to share. Otherwise, if this little GoPro can survive a summer with my kids, sandy beaches, Bella's vibrations and my general clumsiness then GoPro may have a lifelong customer. Otherwise I'll just stick to blogging.

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