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Six Tips for Better POV

Awesome! You finally scored the latest (GoPro/Drift/Sony/Contour) POV camera to capture your globetrotting adventures in full envy-inducing glory. Now the question is: How do you avoid turning it into a slow motion torture device your friends and relatives secretly hate? Here are six rules to keep in mind.

Take Control
Don’t just bust your new camera out of the package and start shooting. GoPro and most other POV cameras require the download/installation of the most recent firmware to get all the latest functionality (don’t worry, it’s easy). If you have a GoPro, use the smartphone app to scroll through and change your settings. It’s a lot easier than navigating the controls of the monochrome screen. There’s no shortage of different settings. So take the time to familiarize yourself and find what works best for your situation.

Shoot Something
It may be called a “POV camera,” but the truth is…your POV is usually pretty boring (unless you’re literally riding your bike down the knife-edge of a massive cliff or buried deep in the tube of a wave). That’s largely because wearable cameras use wide-angle lenses that flatten perspective. This means you ideally want to shoot a subject (i.e. another rider/skier/skater) not just the terrain you’re traveling through. Having a subject in the frame provides context and action—giving your audience something to watch. If you’re lucky, that something will also crash dramatically (without getting hurt of course). Remember the more uncomfortably close you are to the subject, the better it will look on film.

Keep it Short
Even YOU don’t want to watch 20 minutes of your life replay just to get to the 5 seconds that mattered. So keep clips short. Start and stop recording frequently. Think in terms of shooting scenes instead of running one long take. And learn how to use basic editing software so you can cut to the gems.

Mix it Up
Part of the beauty of (most) wearable POV cameras is the ability to mount them in a lot of different places to capture a variety of angles and perspectives. Don’t limit yourself to just one shot. Change your mounts and camera orientation frequently. If you’re doing something that doesn’t require hands, attach it to an extension pole (collapsible pocket poles, underwater diving poles, ski poles).

Narrate
Wearable cameras are deceptive and your audience needs context. They also want to be entertained. Add some live narration as scenes unfold. Interview whoever you’re with. If you’re alone. Explain what’s happening or add the occasional witty one liner. It’s like shooting your own animal planet where you get to be both cheetah and narrator.

Use A Thousand Words
A perfect photo can carry more impact than a two-minute video. Play around with your camera’s photo burst settings and don’t be shy about filling up storage space. It might take a hundred micro-seconds to capture the one moment that says it all.

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