Many of the speaking engagements I have aren’t filmed by the coordinator or event management company. I always post my slides to SlideShare as a way to get more marketing value out of my presentations, but felt like it was a shame to not have video of my presentations to post as well. Once you see my first attempt you may feel it’s a shame I ever tried. It would be prohibitively expensive at the moment for me to hire a professional video crew to follow me around and take video, so I decided to get a GoPro camera, some basic audio equipment, and see what I could do on a budget by myself. Here are the results, then I’ll tell you how I got the job done.
To start off with, here’s the hardware I used:
- GoPro Hero 4 Black
- The Frame
- Jaws Clamp Mount
- Touch BacPac
- SanDisk Extreme PRO 64GB UHS-I/U3 Micro SDXC Memory Card Speeds Up To 95MB/s
- Sony ECMAW4 Wireless Microphone
I also had a batter charger and other various accessories along for the ride, but above are the essentials. Or as you’ll see, perhaps not entirely essential in some cases.
To get the video, I clamped the camera onto the table that was front and center before the stage. Nobody noticed it other than the people sitting at the table, until I pointed it out during my presentation. But don’t worry, if you set something up like this with confidence, nobody cares. They just assume you know what you’re doing. I also didn’t ask for permission from the event organizers. Better to ask forgiveness later with this type of thing, I figure. So far so good.
I was planning on using a remote to start the camera once I was on stage, but I got worried about what I would do if somehow the remote didn’t work. Since I haven’t had a lot of practice using the remote (I just bought all this a week before my presentation) I decided it would be easier to just start the camera by pushing the button right on it, and then trim the first few seconds off in post-production.
I filmed in 4K because I knew I couldn’t pan during the presentation, plus I wanted to get rid of some of the wide angle-ness, which I figured I would do by zooming in on the 4K video so that it’s 1080. I did this in Adobe Premiere afterward. Still HD, still plenty good for my purposes. This also gives me the ability to pan, zoom in, etc. and make it look like I have multiple shots going, sort of. I didn’t do much of this, because I was in a hurry to get the video online and I’m learning as I go. Didn’t want to get bogged down in hours of editing just to do simple things. But I verified this works and can break up the monotony of a video that is a single, one-hour take.
A few notes about the hardware:
- Camera – Worked flawlessly, couldn’t be happier. Even at 4K you can film continuously for over an hour with a single battery.
- The Frame – As opposed to the waterproof case you’re used to seeing around a GoPro camera, this is a non-waterproof case. This leaves the plugs on the side exposed so you can connect a mic, or leaves the built-in mic exposed so you can pick up the ambient sound.
- Jaws Clamp Mount – This thing is kind of hard to bend and makes a lot of noise when you do. It’s not something you want to be doing in a room unless you’re ok attracting a bit of attention. I would like to investigate a quieter option. Otherwise it worked great.
- Touch BacPac – GoPro cameras don’t have a built in viewfinder, but this accessory snaps onto the back so you can tell what you’re really pointing at. Not sure how essential this is, since with the wide angle, 4K view, you can correct anything you need to when you edit. For example, somehow after I got everything set up I must have bumped the camera, because it was tilted a bit when I watched it later. No problem, just rotated my video 3% in Premiere and it was all good.
- SanDisk data card – Important! Thankfully the guy at the store informed me that if I were shooting in 4K I needed a high speed card. That’s the 95MB/s part. This what creates the difference in price between a cheaper card with the same storage and the more expensive one. If you’re shooting in 4K, you need the more expensive one. Don’t assume the lower price is just a good deal. Make sure you have a fast card otherwise your video will end up choppy, according to the guy at the store. And other people online.
- Sony mic – This was the disappointment of the experience. Not because the mic isn’t any good–it’s awesome. I tested it out thoroughly beforehand. But at the event I plugged the mic cord into the wrong jack on the mic (there are two, one for the mic, one for a headphone so you can listen through the mic) so the audio you hear is what the GoPro camera was picking up itself, without the mic that was on my lapel.
Overall I’m pleased with the quality. It was a low light situation, and the camera was dependent on the ambient audio, but I feel like it came out as well as I could expect, other than for the guy speaking in it.
If you’ve ever self-filmed a presentation and seen better results, I would LOVE to know what hardware you used, or if you know of any GoPro settings that would improve my recordings using my existing hardware. I’m a total newb with this stuff and appreciate any and all tips.Liked it? Share it!
Great information! Do you happen to know how many minutes/hours I can record with the Ultra MicroSDXC UHS-Card? I can’t seem to be able to find this info. I want to tape a full day event so I am trying to figure out how many cards I will need.
Very happy to see that GoPro can be used to record longer duration videos.