Action cameras allow us to take videos and photos anytime, anywhere. But as I always say, if you want to achieve spectacular results, it is never enough to buy the most expensive camera in the market and expect it to do all the work.
We need to learn to use our action camera well to make the most of it. In this article, we’ll explain all the tricks and tips you need to master your action camera like a real pro.
Useful Tips to Get the Whole Match to your Adventure Camera
For photography and video enthusiasts, you should always have a camera with them that you can capture every day without fear of damage to your equipment. This is a luxury. Adventure cameras find them more expensive and cheaper, depending on whether they have more or less benefit.
The simplest are the initiation sports cameras, but you can also buy a GoPro, a brand for action cameras par excellence. If you want to know which models exist, we will inform you about what’s on the market, its advantages and disadvantages.
With an action camera we can take or take pictures while you are doing a risky sport or doing any kind of activity. Even with some, we can dive the camera without housing and without fear of ruin in the water.
However, these cameras have their own characteristics, many of which are different from digital cameras. Therefore, it is important to know their specifics to make the most of them and to get both photos and spectacular videos. Let us begin!
#one. Try to find creative and interesting angles
The first piece of advice is that you are not just recording on the first person, as this is usually the most common resource and can be a bit boring. Your goal will also be to find different perspectives and original perspectives that are visually interesting and add value.
We have to try to be creative and try all kinds of planes, such as: Hack, Contrapicado, Nadir or Overhead. Do not be afraid to force the perspective as much as possible to make the whole environment around you look good.
You can fall back on accessories that allow you to move the camera a bit like the stick or the “selfie stick”. However, we recommend that you take some time to practice the camera movement before shooting.
Take a sample clip to see what kind of shots you get by trying different angles and perspectives. Planning is the key to not spoiling or losing good shots (which you may not be able to repeat), so you can be sure.
#two. See Recording Clips in Different Sequences
It is also not recommended to record a single video clip that lasts forever. It is very convenient to specify the record button and forget the camera. However, you only get one long clip with the same layer. And eye If it’s taken badly, you just lost time.
The most professional are recorded with multiple cameras simultaneously. This is done to quickly assemble multiple cameras and ensure that all movements are perfectly synchronized.
But the truth is, even though we do not have that much resources, we can get a dynamic assembly that makes the most of our camera. We just need to record different shots that repeat the same action. Be sure to record everything in different clips by varying the layer and trying to perform the same movements (or as much as possible).
Change the types of plans, for example, to draw detailed plans, then general plans, and change the resolution of the video or field of view. Take a fast motion, get into super slow motion, and record whatever you can imagine. Imagination is power.
#3. Use Accessories to Fit Your Camera Safely
Experience is good practice, but always safe for you and your camera. So when we connect our action camera, we need to make sure it stays safe so it can not move or fall.
The main thing is to avoid using homemade and unsafe gadgets that can scare us. It is recommended to use special accessories of good quality, eg. Chest, sucker for the car, support for the bike or a buoy to swim in the water.
When using the camera underwater, remember to protect your camera with a case. If you need it, because some current models do not require a dwelling in the water and we can dive them down to 10 meters.
But eye! They also tend to have limitations on how many meters they can keep underwater. Some may even dip only in fresh water, as salt from seawater can be very corrosive.
You need to keep that in mind if you do not want to be scared after using your camera for the first time. Read the instructions well and do not play!
#4. Take Advantage of Natural Light Avoiding the Sun or Using Filters
The position of the sun changes during the day and is an aspect that we have to consider as light changes intensity, color and other important aspects.
The best moments of the day to be taken are sunrises and sunsets as the sunlight is less intense and shadows are softened. The most important thing, however, is that you do not point directly at the sun because you are ruining the shots.
Here the weather conditions are of particular importance. The most common thing is that the day is sunny and you think that it is the best time to use your action camera, but in reality you are getting more complicated.
In fact, cloudy or foggy days are a better choice for taking pictures or taking pictures, as you do not have to worry about the sun not setting, lacking in contrast, and taking very good pictures.
If you do not have the option to select the day, you can always buy neutral filters. Like this Neewer filter pack, which contains several ND filters for around 27 € (03.12.2018).
If you put them on the lens of your action camera you can darken the images a bit when you record on the beach, in the snow or on very sunny days . As you can see, you will get sharper images without so much overexposure.
#5. Use the Most Appropriate Video Format for Every Situation
With action cameras we can shoot with different video formats. Two of the most important configurations are the resolution and the speed of the frames.
For one thing, the most common resolutions are 4K, 2.7K, 1080p Full HD and 720p HD. On the other hand, the number of frames per second or Fps will be another aspect that we can exploit.
Each video format combined with a few specific fps will be useful for one thing. For example:
- When we record in 4k, we get the best quality. Why? Well, because we will achieve clearer details and better image stabilization. It’s perfect for first person shootings, for panoramic shots or for time lapse shots. However, we must assume that when we use it we will spend a lot of storage and a lot of battery at the same time.
- If we shoot at 2.7 K or 1080 Full HD 60/50 fps, we get a very versatile video setting. This format will serve us both for slow motion and for inclusion to third parties. The good news is that we get good quality videos with reasonable file sizes.
- If we record in 1080 or 720 HD at 120/100 fps or 240/200 fps, we will achieve spectacular and fluid slow cameras. These options will be great if you need to pick up objects that move quickly, splashing in the water, fireworks, jumps or explosions.
# 6 See Changing the Field of View (FOV)
Do not forget that you can also change the field of view or the perspective field, also known as FOV (field of view). The most common is to find the wide or wide angle mode, which is enabled by default, although it is not always the one that interests us most.
The most common way to use fisheye is that the field of view is between 140 and 160 as much as possible. Although it also distorts the picture the most.
If we want to reduce this distortion of the lens, you can do it later with an image editor. Although many cameras have the ability to change the field of view before shooting, we can save this step.
Normally, we can select a medium range or even narrower so that the image is deformed less. In more advanced cameras, such as the GoPro Hero6 Black , we can use other modes such as Superview Mode that is even more angular than usual or Linear Mode , which tries to correct the deformation of the edges without losing quality.
# 7 Use the Proper Recording System and the Correct Aspect Ratio
Two peculiarities that are not normally overemphasized but that we need to consider when recording our videos to achieve what we expect are the recording system (PAL or NTSC) and the aspect ratio (4: 3 or 16: 9).
Depending on the country in which you live, one or the other lighting frequency is used. If you record in an environment with artificial light sources of a different frequency, you will notice that your screen is experiencing a very annoying flicker that is also recorded in the video.
How can we prevent this from happening with artificial light? Well, change the currently enabled format. To do this, go to the configuration menu and select the PAL format, which usually gives the options 25, 50, 100 or 200 fps. or the NTSC format, which does this in 30, 60, 120, or 240 fps.
On the other hand, most action cameras use a 4: 3 aspect ratio by default, and many people do not know it. When recording in 4: 3, this is because the vertical field of view is maximized to better capture the environment and achieve greater dynamics. Look at the comparison:
Remember, when we pick up a person or object in motion, it’s easier for us to catch them in the plane if we have more room up and down. There is less risk of cutting the photographed subject or object, and we have more room for frames and get a good composition.
If we do not adjust this aspect later in an editor, the image may be magnified and deformed when the images are displayed on a 16: 9 screen to cover the entire area, otherwise black stripes will appear around the clip.
So, take a look at how to capture your camera and whether you can directly select the 16: 9 aspect. You save time when you do not want to work anything, although you also limit yourself more because you lose part of the sensor up and down.
# 8 Make your Photos with the Highest Possible Quality
In addition to videos, we can also take very good pictures with our action camera. First, we have to look at the configuration options of each camera.
If you give us the option to record in RAW, we always choose this format. When you record in RAW, when you edit an image, the sensor has much more information that you can change. Do not hesitate, if you use this format, we have much more space to configure and disclose our photo.
In some cases, you can change the field of view and even change some parameters. For example, GoPro‘s Protune option allows us to manually control some settings such as shutter speed, exposure compensation, white balance, sharpness, color mode, and even the minimum and maximum ISO values.
# 9. Do not forget to take the Charger, More Batteries and Memory Cards
The batteries in the action cameras last very little time, but it all depends on how we use them. The duration depends mainly on the resolution we use to record.
If we generally record in 4K or high resolutions, the battery will go flat soon. And if we turned on the back screen to see in real time what we recorded, it will take even less.
Environmental factors such as cold or extreme heat can also affect battery life. It is therefore advisable to use spare batteries by hand and the charger so that they can be recharged quickly.
The same happens to us a bit with the memory cards. The higher the resolution, the larger the file size and the more space is required.
So, be sure to use SD memory cards that have a high write speed and a large storage capacity, never less than 32 or 64 GB .
Remember also that it is always better to have more than one memory card on top of it, in case one of them gives you problems or decides to break down at the worst moment.
# 10. Try to get an acceptable sound
If you only want to accompany the videos you record with music, you may not be interested. However, if you want to record sound or voice, you should consider some technical aspects.
The action cameras usually have a built-in microphone to record the sound. All action cameras will be affected by the case when recording audio, but some more than others. So the best thing to do is record audios with or without a case at home so you do not experience unpleasant surprises later.
If you have it, enable the option to reduce wind noise when you need it. However, if you are looking for a more professional sound and you do not have the option to place an external microphone, you have another option. They can record what the audiovisual sector refers to as a wild or ambient track.
It’s best to use a sound recorder like the one in the picture and record clean audio for at least a minute wherever you want to record your camera.
If you do not have a recorder, you can always record the sound with your smartphone. Later, you only need to sync this audio to the video when you’re editing and remove the original audio that does not work for us.
#eleven. Clean your camera and perform good maintenance
If your action camera is dirty with sand, dust, or mud, you should clean it as soon as possible to prevent dirt from entering. Take care of us, do not leave it for another day.
When using the camera in the sea, rinse the camera or cabinet with fresh water and white wine vinegar. You must remove the remains of sand and saltpetre to avoid damage to the camera and accessories.
An action camera is always more exposed to dirt than any other type of camera, which is why it requires extra caution. Never forget that maintaining your equipment is essential if you want to extend your life over many years.
# 12. Edit your videos in an attractive way and share them
Finally, we are going to give you some tips to edit the videos you record with your action camera. Because if you get home and you pass the clips to the computer and leave them there, they are of little use.
If you have listened to us and followed our advice to the letter, now you will have a great variety of plans recorded in different formats. Then it’s time to edit those images following some premises:
- Choose a simple video editing program such as Adobe Premiere, Final Cut, Pinnacle, etc.
- Select a song free of rights that you like, that is very dynamic and whose rhythm is very marked.
- Change the aspect resolution . If you have recorded in 4: 3, you can now adapt the aspect resolution to 16: 9 size.
- Edit the images to the rhythm of that music, cutting right where there are rhythmic changes to add drama and try to have a continuity in the story you are telling.
- If you have recorded a slow motion at 60 fps and you edit it at 30 fps you will get, for example, an even more spectacular effect. Test it.
- Make a short video between 1 and 5 minutes maximum. Remember that we do not want to bore people.
- Finally, export the video in the most appropriate format depending on its purpose (upload it to YouTube, send it via WhatsApp, post it on Flickr, play it on a TV, etc.)
Let’s see a real example of a video montage made with images from an action camera. The author is Fabricio Hnq , who recorded the best moments of his trip as a couple to Cancun.
You Can Also Be an Action Photographer!
You already know the tips, now it’s time to apply them. Remember that yes, your camera covers a lot of field of vision and if you want to distribute your videos you should always ask permission to record on a private property or to use the image of other people .
An action camera is a whole world of possibilities within our reach, we just have to practice a lot with it and dare to be original and creative to squeeze all its possibilities to the fullest.
And you? Are you an action photographer? Surely you have a lot of tips and tricks that we can add to this list!