I get asked about my camera setup often enough that I decided to create a GoPro Resource Page.
Is that a GoPro?
When I first became interested in shooting video, I’d spend hours reading reviews and pausing on snippets of other videographers as they walked by mirrors to figure out what kind of setup they were using.
The more I learned, the more daunting it became.
I remember thinking, “I just want to shoot some video – what kind of gear should I buy?!”
What should I get?
Just relax. As with any gear, it turns out that there’s no right or wrong answer. Instead, ask yourself these questions:
- What am I shooting?
- What will I use most?
I looked at DSLR’s, point-and-shoots, and even just using my iPhone. After much experimentation and deliberation, I’m currently using a GoPro setup for 3 main reasons:
- Minimalist setup: compact, light, rugged (clips on outside of my bag), waterproof
- Versatility: useful for static shots and action shots/on the move, image stabilization
- Price point: fits my budget and can be replaced easily without being a catastrophe
Start Here – My 2017 GoPro Setup
Disclosure: Please note that the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I’ll earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. Please know that I’ve had extensive personal experience with all the products and I only recommend them because they are what I personally use and would recommend to a friend.
Summer 2017, I replaced my Hero4 with a Hero5 and was blown away. The image stabilization upgrade with this camera addressed its previous generation’s biggest weakness. The additions of it being waterproof without a special case made it perfect for underwater and rain scenarios.
I was also pleasantly surprised how useful the built in screen was, but furthermore, its touchscreen capabilities provide for a beautiful user interface. You continue to have the option of connecting to the app via bluetooth, so you can view and begin recording from a different location.
Shoots up to 4k, not the same image quality as a DSLR or even some of the high end point and shoots (no depth of field), but for the price point, versatility, and ruggedness, I can very easily say HIGHLY recommend. I find it a perfect fit for vlogging, home movies, and flipped video lessons. http://amzn.to/2wjdM6H
This tool is KEY. Perfect for clamping to music stands, chairs, car dashboards, cabinets, almost anything. It eliminates the worry of second-guessing whether or not you’ll need your tripod, doubles as a selfie-stick when filming yourself, and provides some additional reach in combination with the wide-angle view. Also use it as a handle for underwater shots in case your hands get slippery. http://amzn.to/29rBvEv
For the longest time, I didn’t bother with extra batteries, and just relied on an external battery pack (side note: the mini USB port on the Hero4 becomes finicky when used daily. Relying solely on that consistently became a problem within a year on multiple cameras for me). When I upgraded to the Hero5, I picked up the dual charger, and the work flow became 20x better. For long days, I keep it in my bag, and attach it to the external battery pack. I can now rest easy that one battery is always being charged while the other is being used. http://amzn.to/2gj1OWO
I used a 64GB micro SD for the longest time, but for full day trips, found myself needing to dump footage onto my external drive at some point. Since switching to a 128GB card, the extra dollars buy you peace of mind. I have yet to come close to running low on space.
GoPro officially recommends Samsung Pro Plus UHS-I 128GB with up to 95MB/s Read and 90MB/s write speed, but it’s a little pricy. Fry’s was running a special when I was purchasing these ($20, reg. ~$50), so I went with the yellow EVO’s card pictured above. As long as it’s Class 10, it’s fine.
If possible, plan to get at least two micro SD’s, and again you’ll have more peace of mind with the backup. I have two of the EVO’s in my bag at all times, and chose them simply because of the price. If your budget allows for it and you want/need the faster transfer speed, go with the PRO+.
For a full official listing of SD cards compatible with GoPro’s, click here.
Any external hard drive will work. Just don’t plan on housing much video on your machine or you’ll run out of space before you know it. I use this 2TB to work off of when I’m editing, but only after I’ve backed up the original footage on a 4TB of the same model. I then immediately clear my micro SD card so I’m not having to figure out what can be saved or deleted in the future. I’ve had both for over three years now and they are working great. Very light and compact, aesthetically pairs well with macs if you’re into that kind of thing (yes, I am). http://amzn.to/29YucpV
Perfect, what else?
If you start with the five items above, you’ll be ready to rock as you begin learning how to use the gear. If you’re looking to expand your toolkit, here are the accessories I currently keep in the rotation:
The GoPro battery lasts about an hour, so if you plan on using it while you travel, or you just don’t want to stress of running out of juice while you’re practicing or shooting, I plug my GoPro battery charger pack via the proprietary USB that comes with it into this battery, and rest easy knowing I have a backup ready at all times. http://amzn.to/29rDn0b
This is my 2nd string gear I use now when I may need multiple camera angles, but the new Hero5 has the quality and water-proof qualities of these two cameras, PLUS image stabilization, all combined into one.
The new Hero 4 Black shoots in 4K and does significantly better in low light settings than the previous Hero 3+ Black. There’s a GoPro App that you can use to turn your smart phone into a remote and viewfinder. The Music Bundle comes with the Frame housing instead of the clear, plastic Waterproof housing, which will noticeably affect your audio if you plan on using the sound from the camera. It also comes with removable instruments mounts and a mic stand adapter, which I’ve found especially useful for overhead shots. http://amzn.to/29YqmNi
You can buy the GoPro proprietary batteries or you can save about $30 with these. Best of all, you can also plug the dual charger into your Anker Charger and charge your mini-batteries as well. http://amzn.to/29oStIv
You’ll need a micro SD card for your GoPro – and you’ll run out of space faster than you think, so get a 64GB or even 128GB card depending on your budget. The different between the Extreme and Extreme PLUS is the speed, and from what I’ve read, you’ll want the PLUS if you plan on shooting in 4K. http://amzn.to/29rE0qs (For a full listing of SD cards compatible with GoPro’s, click here)
A bit pricey, but really smooths out the filming if you’re trying to get a fluid shot or plan on walking around and filming. INCREDIBLE value for the price considering camera gimbals that can cost thousands of dollars. There is a bit of a learning curve with this piece equipment, something that I continue to work experiment with and improve. http://amzn.to/29vwRsq
The least expensive of the GoPro’s, and a camera I originally purchased while waiting on a replacement Hero 4 Black to ship. I ended deciding to keep it because of it’s QuickCapture function (now also available on Hero5) which allows you to record immediately as it powers on. I also chose to keep it because of its sleek, all-black profile and shape which makes for less of a distraction. Especially useful being waterproof. This is also the camera I clip onto the Jaw Clamp in more hazardous scenarios so I won’t be totally heart broken if the camera doesn’t survive. http://amzn.to/29zrHw9
And that’s it!
If you have any questions that you think I can help answer, feel free to reach out to me on any of my social media channels at the bottom of the page @hueiyuanpan.
Shoot me a line or just say hello, I always appreciate it when people let me know if something I created was helpful.
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