It's always a toss up - balancing the experience of an awesome trip with the urge to grab your camera out at every second and shoot video. Capturing memories is important - but so is being in the moment, right?
This has kind of led me down a path of trying to find the most practical and effeciant gear to take on personal trips. Both to allow me to effortlessly capture great quality footage, but also to not worry about the setup / preparation and use of it.
A big part of my trips include hiking and camping and this means weighing up what to take - Figuratively and literally- I'm always pinching grams and want stuff that won't burden me down.
This has meant there is big influence on the camera gear I feel I want to take. The DJI Mavic pro really changed the game in allowing high quality aerials to be shot with such a small drone. When DJI announced the Osmo Mobile - It got me thinking if the combo of these two bits of gear could be combined to create the perfect low weight, hard hitting combo for travel videos!
After a bit of playing around, I took them to Italy for a weeks hiking - the results really surprised me!
These 3 items (really 2 as you'll likely have your phone with you already - I used an iPhone 6s) have allowed me to shoot some really cool sequences and together. They give great flexibility with the smallest amount of gear.
Check it out! -
The DJI osmo mobile is something I added to my kit bag a few months back, a small portable gimbal, made for iPhone. On paper it sounds good but is the iPhone really good enough image quality for a half decent edit? I wanted to shoot something purely with osmo (and the iPhone) to put it to the test.
Heading to the north Italian Dolomites for early season hiking was the perfect opportunity.
I think the results are great. The iPhone 6s image quality isn't perfect, but it's pretty damn good. Adding in some shots with the DJI Mavic pro added another good perspective and narrative. The Mavic is something I've come to love in the last 8 months and find myself not going many places without it.
Impressive image and production quality - for kit you can fit in your pocket you can't really go wrong.
It certainly has given me another look at the phone I carry in my pocket every day.
After many months I'm really pleased to announce the launch of the St Kitts visitor channel!
This is a project I was commissioned for back in February and has comprised of 2 weeks shoot and over 6 weeks of edit! The final format is 30 minutes of TV scheduling - played out at various outlets on the island and online.
There is also a introductory 2 minute edit - below.
A 3 Day shoot in Thailand to showcase the charter of a lifetime.
I met Fergus Scholes (Adventure Ferg) in Norway for the IGO N60 challenge. Ferg was consistent in coming up top in the rankings at each event. Post Norway Fergus shot me a message saying he was keen to take on some training in Portugal and asked if I wanted to shoot a film. Absolutely - we headed off. The weather was exceptionally good and allowed some awesome opportunities for shots.
Sleeping in tents and shooting in frozen conditions, it busy and challenging week in Norway! IGO adventures offer guided expeditions that allow ordinary people to have extraordinary experiences. To quote Bobby Melville, an event organiser, they allow team members to "push themselves beyond what they thought were they're limits."
N60, their Norwegian challenge takes place across 4 days in the Norwegian wilderness. Though mid march, the locations still remained subzero with up to force 10 winds. This did create challenging conditions, not just for the competitors but for filming!
Excellent to shoot in such a beautiful location and particularly to shoot with such motivated, inspiring people.
Congratulations to Fergus for taking first place.
It’s always a pleasure to get over to St Kitts, “The island”, with good memories of hikes and hot days cruising around with my brother in his old Hawaiian blue landrover, Beatrice . Fun aside, this time I was back here to work once again with Razo Construction. A firm putting up some of the nicest developments on the Island, and certainly the nicest houses I’d ever set foot in. I was last over working with Razo in November 15’ when I had the pleasure to be asked to showcase their homes to prospective buyers. This time I was told, they really wanted to ramp things up and show to their customers what they were really capable of.
At the front of Razo is David. Somewhere between the early morning podcasts of “fearless motivation” played on this phone in the truck and evenings seating me down to watching Tony Robin’s, “I am not your guru” I never ceased to get some serious motivation from david. He is an absolutely focused on his vision in St. Kitts and how his team should approach work. His unwavering energy and positivity was so contagious, and over the next week I found out just why he and his team were getting on so well; ethic. It was all in the company ethic.
Razo’s ethic was simple; passion and positive influence. For this underpinned every single thing that they did and they way they went about it. I felt uncomfortable with this initially, like it was some great catchphrase that was a little contrived and manufactured to give a swish line to a swanky video. Surely building nice houses was as simple as hard work and nice materials I thought. I was about to get seriously schooled, motivated and inspired at the same time.
This formed one of the biggest challenges for me; conveying that was Razo was so, so much more than bricks and mortar. Hell, it was an ethic that surrounded everything the company did. My biggest insight of this came during an early Monday morning group meeting which kicked off with a compilation of Tony Robins motivation quotes blared across a warehouse floor to the whole crew. This quickly developed into the staff each being told to give each other a hug, and tell one another they were great, important and respected. I was bemused, but I quickly discovered that this stuff wasn’t a show, and it really worked. It left the crew inspired and motivated to crush the day. I had to capture the essence of this, for if I could put a prospective buyer where I was standing there and then, they would surely commission these guys to build their dream home. This formed the base for the concept, to showcase the beauty of the homes, but to truly capture the essence of the team; for it was them which I felt differentiated Razo.
The second biggest challenge was the elements. On site it was mainly the dust and sea air, always working to clog up lenses, – god forbid you wanted to change lenses and leave the sensor exposed for more than a moment. The weather on St Kitts has an uncanny knack of conspiring to change at just the right time to cloud up the sky or dump water on a clean and dry patio at just the wrong time. As they say in St. Kitts, if the weather isn’t how you want it to be… just wait 15 minutes.
The week saw shoots across 5 sites, and interviews with 3 of the senior team. We also shot exclusively on a new development called The Sanctuary which we would cut a specific sales video for. I really hope I was not only able to capture the beauty of their homes, but capture the essence of team, and showcase to their customer who they really are.
It’s been great fun, with great hospitality. I eagerly look forward to my third trip out to work with them, an awesome bunch of people that are doing a lot more than just building nice homes.
After the triumph of the hero 4 black two years ago, last summer GoPro brought out the Hero 4 session – a camera that had the potential to be incredible, but wasn’t. What followed was 15 months without a product release and then the september 19th release of Karma and the Hero 5 cameras.
The reason I and many others found the Hero 4 session lacking was simple, it had poor image quality. Stacked against the silver and the black at the time it just didn’t match up, not even close. regardless of the great form factor, one couldn’t justify the shoddy image.
I say ‘justify’ because thats what all GoPro cameras are, they are a justification of image quality vs functionality & size (and for some, price). In the market, there are many cameras that offer superior image quality, but there are few other cameras that offer GoPro’s image quality at a similar size and with similar functionality.
The hero 4 session’s size, functionality and price didn’t win out against that of the silver and black at the time, now though with the hero 5 session, it DOES!
Here’s 8 reasons why I think the Hero 5 Session is the best GoPro camera yet and why for most people, it is a better choice than the Hero 5 black.
1 – Screen isn’t needed
I honestly believe the screen is not important in a camera of this nature. A camera screen is used for 3 main reasons, shot exposure/focus, shot review and framing. I believe none of these are needed with a GoPro:
//Shot exposure and focus:
with infinity focus and auto exposure / shutter there is no manual work that needs to be done to prepare the shot.
I truly believe this takes away from the experience. Capturing meaningful life experiences means the camera comes along for the ride. It isn’t and shouldn’t be a distraction. Check out the footage after your hike/run/skii/surf session. Seeing what you’ve captured afterwards is the fun of it, meanwhile keep yourself in the action and enjoy it!
Using the camera for a period of time quickly hones you in on expected FOV, I know roughly what the camera will see based on where I put it. Anyway, it has a huge field of view, it’s unlikely to miss anything! For those rare specific shots where you just can’t chance it – there is always the wifi app which gives you a direct view of what it sees.
2 – Battery is plenty
Not having an interchangeable battery is unlikely to cause you issue with normal use. With very simple on and off recording, the session is very prudent with it’s 1000mah internal battery. A solid recording time of between 1.30 – 2 hours may not seem a lifetime on paper, but it is in practise. Most users shooting a large selection of typical short clips throughout a full day adventuring / activities for a cool video montage will be left with battery to spare.
*Sidenote – Wifi will effect battery more than anything else. I would strongly suggest not using Wifi whatsoever with the Session.
3 – One button is more powerful that you think
One button simplicity encompasses everything that a GoPro should be and makes things all together easier. It doesn’t take you out of the action. It doesn’t distract you. One button on and start recording, 1 button off and forget until your next big moment. It’s ready to go whenever you are, nothing more and nothing less.
4 – The image quality / settings of the 5 black really aren’t any better than the session for most users
With many many tests between the two, there is no discernible difference in image quality between the two whatsoever when shooting in the same modes. Speaking of modes, they are nearly identical throughout both cameras. Top of the list, both have 4k 30fps, both have electronic image stabilisation (read about that in more detail here), and both have the same voice activation settings.
I’ll quickly address a few further settings difference concerns you may have:
The black does, the session doesn’t – BUT, you absolutely will see unbelievably minimal difference in a well processed Raw image from the black to a well processed Jpeg from the session. The difference is nothing like what you would experience with Raw from a DSLR vs Jpeg from a DSLR.
12mp vs 10mp photos?
Much like the above, it really won’t effect most. For every single use other than printing out at particularly large sizes you will simply not need the increase in resolution.
The black can ramp up to 120fps vs the session’s 90fps. Is this a problem? I’d say for some, it may be a consideration, 120fps is cool (I did a video that won a GoPro award nearly all in 120fps and loved it). However, 90fps still gives a great 3-4x slow mo effect and has more data per frame, therefore better image clarity. (the 60mb bitrate stays the same in both settings, either divided by 120fps or 90fps). Is having no 120fps a deal breaker? No, I’d say its unlikely to effect the vast majority of users.
5 – GPS? What GPS?
Sadly this really is a non-feature and absolutely nothing to be missed at this stage. In fact, the minor benefit of having this turned on on the 5 black to geotag images is largely outweighed by marginally faster battery drain.
6 – The Price is right
I don’t usually let price sway me too much, as I usually want to find the best tool for the job and the price is a secondarily consideration. With that said, the session is a cool $100/£100 less than the black. That’s a good chunk of cash you could put towards getting you on your next adventure.
7 – Size is the prize
The session’s slim size and weight make it absolutely great for lightweight sports. Running / hiking is my number one example. The session doesn’t have any bulk or anything unnecessary included, that is makes it a satisfying choice when you want to go ultra minimal or ultralight. This ties really well into my next point, 8:
8 – The session has the perfect, free, mount
The session is compatible with my favourite and IMO most effective mount – putting it in your mouth. holding the session in your mouth is absolutely awesome for POV, video especially coupled with EIS is very good. The mouth is the most stable mounting point on the body during movement and so happens to be in the ideal place for POV. The black is just a bit big to fit by itself, and will need an additional mouth mount attachment.
So there it is, those are the reasons I would choose the session. I can only think of one instance I’d choose a black over it: shooting for a client. For everything else, everything personal, and everything recreational (i.e. most GoPro customers) I feel the session wins over the Hero 5 black. For me, it tips that justification of image quality vs functionality/size. I love it!
I'm taking on a new project off the back of winning GoPro Creators challenge last year. I'm going to spend the first few months of the year in New Zealand.
Really excited to be heading to somewhere with such a diverse choice of landscape, and awesome to be working with www.escapecampers.co.nz.
I've got something really exciting planned when I'm out there, watch this space.