GoPro, like many pioneering products, has become more than just a brand name. Today GoPro represents not only a type of action camera but also a lifestyle – active, groundbreaking, and always on the move.
Your camera – GoPro, iPhone or any other – has an enormous potential that goes well beyond recording your daily life, travels, and even extreme adventures. GoPro is a good example of how a device well-known and available to many people can become a professional “movie maker”.
The power of GoPro has long ago been discovered by Hollywood filmmakers. In this article, we’ll show you what amazing stunts this tiny action cam can pull – sometimes even without us noticing!
GoPro in Space
One of the giant leaps for the small action cam was moving to Mars in the 2015 movie The Martian directed by Hollywood legend Ridley Scott.
In The Martian, the GoPros were not only a technical solution and an essential part of the storyline – they were starring.
For example, there were GoPros strapped on as body cameras on the astronauts, and GoPros acting as webcams for the astronauts to record messages for their families.
The Martian might be the biggest cinematic integration of GoPro in a Hollywood release. The use of these miniature action cameras helped to capture Mark Watney’s (played by Matt Damon) personal struggle on an intimate level giving a unique angle to scenes in the movie.
Ridley Scott revealed that the GoPros became sort of a character in the movie. It turns out that they were all actually recording when Damon was speaking into them, and the footage was used in the final cut of the film.
The Martian has been praised for being rather scientifically accurate, and that’s certainly true for the use of GoPros in space.
NASA actually does use these tiny cameras on many of its missions. Check out this dramatic spacewalk from the International Space Station, recorded with a GoPro.
This video is also a beautiful example of how to edit GoPro video files for a stunning result. It goes to show that a few GoPro video files can go a long way.
Hardcore POV shots with GoPro
As we return to Earth, let’s meet Hardcore Henry – the first action film almost entirely shot with a GoPro. Another noteworthy thing about this 2015 feature film is the unusual point of view (POV) footage that resembles a video game.
This movie tells the story of a man who wakes up a cybernetic super-soldier with no memory and faces a series of misadventures. Watch the trailer of Hardcore Henry and notice the POV shots at the core of the movie’s visual frame.
To capture the first person point of view, Hardcore Henry was filmed predominantly with an innovative mask fitted with a GoPro HERO3 camera, as regular GoPro headbands would make for footage that’s too jerky. The team built a custom mask for filming needs. A few times even two GoPros would be fitted on the mask for backup reasons or multiple exposure levels, or to send footage via wifi.
The operator and co-producer of Hardcore Henry Sergey Valyaev revealed that several GoPros fell victim to the film’s insane stunts and had to be written-off.
Get a taste of the action in this behind-the-scenes video
After trying many different masks, rigs, and helmets, the final solution was fixing the camera on the actor’s…. mouth.
GoPro and the Furious
High frame rate, point-of-view action footage, and excellent image quality have turned GoPros into highly demanded gadgets by many Hollywood filmmakers.
For example, the 2013 thrilling drama Captain Phillips used a GoPro for in-air skydiving shots and included POV of actors as they were landing in water.
GoPro and Fast & Furious are equally famous for audacious stunts. Furious 7 – the latest episode of the saga – used GoPros to bring a breathtaking experience to the viewers and high-speed action scene lovers.
Shall we attach parachutes to some cars, throw them out of planes and add a few skydivers to the mix? Why not!
This might be how the Furious 7 stunt coordination team came up with this mind-blowing scene. Of course, GoPro was a great help for recording these aerial shots.
Blockbuster fans can never get enough of action, so Hollywood filmmakers have to keep coming up with innovative techniques. In his blog, world-renowned cinematographer Shane Hurlbut explains why he chose GoPro for many scenes in Need for Speed:
“We needed a camera that could take the abuse of car tonnage landing on it, tolerate being lit on fire and flung off of bridges to a 150 foot death fall. One camera came to mind and that was the GoPro Hero 3.”
Hurlbut, director of photography of many multimillion dollar movies, wrote this detailed article on how to use GoPro in an action blockbuster. He’s also prepared a Camera and Lens Breakdown in Need for Speed action scenes. Can you spot the GoPro shots?
We’re likely to see even more box office hits shot with GoPro. Especially since the recent release of GoPro HERO6 with improved image quality, higher dynamic range and better video stabilization.
Thinking of making your own action video? Here’s a tip for you.
Get a video editor for your GoPro footage
Once you have your GoPro video files, you’re well on your way to an incredible video. For best results, submit your raw footage to a professional video editor.
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