How to create stunning GoPro slow-motion sequences
If you’re marvelling at Kelly Slater’s bottom turn, admiring the skills of a white-water kayaker or watching a Manta Ray cruise by, it can be all over in a flash! But if you take those mind-blowing moments, slow the action down and play it back, the sheer skill, agility and magnificence of their moves becomes all the more evident .
This post will teach you how to create every sport camera man’s favourite technique – the slow motion sequence – with your GoPro to rival those beautiful scenes shot by the pros.
Set up your camera properly
1. In order to capture every drop of water as it’s thrown in the air you need to shoot as many frames per second (fps) as possible. For the PAL system here in Australia that means working with 50fps as your common denominator.
2. When you slow the action down (shot at 50fps) and play it back at a rate of 25fps the final clip will be 2x as long or 2x as slow. If you take it one step further, and slow to 12.5fps the final clip will be 4x as long or 4x as slow. Capiche?
3. The maximum FPS depends on which series of GoPro you have:
A. GoPro Hero – maximum 60 fps
B. GoPro Hero 2 – maximum 120 fps WVGA
C. GoPro Hero 3 (black edition) – maximum 120 fps 720
4. Enter the settings menu on your GoPro and change the fps to your chosen speed.
5. Get ready to capture the action!
Consider what you’re filming
1. Go wide! The lens on a GoPro sees almost everything with its 170-degree field of view, so if you want the action to show up in your video, then you need to be close to it! GoPros are so small for this reason and can be strapped to virtually anything.
2. Try unusual angles for a different perspective. For example:
A. Looking back from your MTB handlebars to show off every bump and jump as your facial muscles tense.
B. Attached to the paddle of your kayak for a rotating view of the world and close up of your stroke through the water.
C. Focused on the wheel of your 4WD as you twist and turn across rough terrain.
D. Low to the ground as trail runners thump past throwing stones and dust into the air.
Download the software and start editing
1. Head to GoPro’s website and download the free Cineform Studio software. It’s available for both Mac and PC so whatever your platform you can use it.
2. Open GoPro Cineform Studio
3. Import your freshly filmed video files directly from your GoPro, data card or your hard drive.
4. Select the clips you wish to use, and trim them using the ‘i’ and ‘o’ keys (in and out), rename them and save.
5. Press the ‘Advanced Settings’ button and you can really play around. I always select High Quality and slow the footage down by at least half – so 50fps becomes 25fps – and click ok.
6. Select the Add Clip to Conversion List and repeat for any additional clips you may want to add to the batch.
7. Then convert them all from .MP4 files into .MOV which can be used in your editing software as required.
Start off with filming something simple where you can practice over and over in a comfortable environment. You’ll get the wrong angle, accidentally film upside down, the screen will fog up… and then all of sudden you’ll look back at the footage and you’ve nailed it. Trial and error is the name of the game at first.
*Feature photo courtesy of Michael Dawes