Trial and error: Confessions of a new GoPro user

Staff Writer
Brownwood Bulletin
Steve Nash

I’ve received hundreds of emails from readers clamoring to see the clever videos I’ve made with my new GoPro camera. Truthfully, I haven’t received a single email on that topic. But just because my three faithful readers haven’t asked to see them, I know you’re out there and I know you want them.

I’m not quite ready to post any videos, and that would be because? I haven’t actually made any that are worth posting, as I’ve just been messing around with it, making short videos just to see what this baby will do and amusing myself with the voice commands.

But you three, your patience shall be rewarded. I shall make videos (and let’s not forget still photos) that I shall gladly share. Gotta give the three what they want.

What can you do with a GoPro? Though still strictly a GoPro neophyte, I think the answer to that question is, anything you want to. Anything you or anyone else can think of. I’ve Googled uses for a GoPro and there are endless websites filled with ideas and sample videos — including one from a Hula Hoop and even one from the inside of a running dishwasher. It was fascinating to see what actually goes on in there, but I’m not sure if I have the nerve to try that.

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I don’t remember when I started wanting a GoPro. I was influenced by some of the GoPro videos I’d seen from Matthew Hinman when he was at the Bulletin. I recall one in particular in which he had worked in short clips from his GoPro into a longer video taken with a larger camera. It was a very well done video, both with the camera work and with the editing.

All of my strictly amateur video work has been with a single camera and editing in iMovie. The thought of adding a second camera, and one with some unique capabilities, appealed to me.

Earlier this year I told wifey I’d like to get a GoPro. I was only half-serious as I never thought she’d agree to the expenditure. But agree she did. It took awhile to finally make it happen, but I bought a Hero 7 Silver just a few days before our trip to Colorado. Have I mentioned previously that we made a trip to Colorado last month? Wifey, Julia the yootette and I flew to Denver with yoot the elder and his fiance Tiffany, and we rented a car and drove into the mountains.

I was so busy with work and other obligations, I barely had time to wrestle the GoPro out of its user-unfriendly packaging and box before our visit to Colorado. I ordered a package of mounting accessories from Amazon, which arrived in a carrying case. Eagerly opening the case, I was dismayed to see it contained pieces that looked like partial or total replicas of the lunar lander. There was no time to try to figure out what all that stuff was.

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In Colorado, Tiffany, who is an experienced GoPro user, helped me sort through the attachments and identify their purpose. As we prepared to head out for our whitewater rafting adventure, my theory was that I would install the chest strap mount over the outside of my life jacket, but that was by no means possible. Instead, I wore the chest strap in a normal fashion and then donned the life jacket. I hoped the GoPro would peek out between the two halves of the life jacket.

I had not yet learned that the GoPro will respond to voice commands — simple ones, anyway, namely, start video, stop video and take photo. The only part of the camera I really had access to was the start-stop button on the top. I was unable to interpret the beeps. Did one beep mean I had started a video and three beeps mean I’d stopped, or was it the other way around?

I did manage to shoot some lengthy video of our two-hour journey down a 12-mile stretch of the Gunnison River. Unlike my fateful tubing trip years ago on the raging Comal River, I did not fall out of the raft, nor did I lose my glasses. (Have I previously mentioned that?) The video I did obtain, unfortunately, was marred because the very wide angle lens of the Go Pro captured large segments of the two halves of my life jacket, leaving only a very narrow portion in the middle of the video that showed the river, the cliffs on the riverbank and the other members of our party in the raft.

I wasn’t terribly disappointed. GoPro and learn, sez me. I’ll have other opportunities to get it right.

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Wifey, Ralph and I are going kayaking on Labor Day at either Lake Brownwood or Fabis Park (that’s still to be determined). It won’t be as interesting as the Gunnison River, but after learning from my mistakes, I’m ready to make a real video with the GoPro.

One of the mounts I have is a floatie that attaches to the wrist with a short lanyard. I’m not totally sure how it will work to paddle with the lanyard and floatie attached to my wrist but I’m sure I’ll figure something out. I always (sometimes) do. Another possibility is to attach it to the front and/or side of the kayak with a sticky mount. But I’d want to have a way to secure it to my person; otherwise, if it falls off, my GoPro will sleep with the fishes.

I’m looking forward to figuring all of this remarkable little device’s possibilities and showing off my efforts to you faithful three.