In praise of action cams

As some of you might know I recently acquired a GoPro Session video camera with the vague idea of complementing my blog posts periodically with some behind the scenes video or time-lapse footage as I go about capturing images on my camera.

Well, I now have three of them. Two “Sessions” and a GoPro Hero 3+.  But lets not go there except to say that the third camera was a secondhand bargain from a local thrift shop so comes with virtuous feelings.

I took Zac to the park yesterday and wisely or otherwise allowed him to ride his scooter there. I fully expected to spend most of the time carrying it but in the end he exceeded expectations and the only time I was lumbered with it was when he was on the climbing frames and swings.  Before we left the house however I attached one of the  GoPro Sessions to the front of said scooter and popped the other into my pocket along with a mini tripod.

The footage here is unedited, all I have done is trim the two clips to length. I have left the film as it came out of the camera and have not tweaked the audio at all. It isn’t bad really especially when you consider the relative cost of a Hero Session compared to a DSLR or a dedicated video camera.

In the second clip I am running to catch Zac with the GoPro Session on a small tripod held in my hand at waist level with my arm straight. Remember there are no viewfinders on these little action cameras so it is also necessary to pay close attention to how you are holding the camera and where it is pointing.

But it isn’t the quality that prompted this post. It’s the fact that their size and versatility was what prompted me to pick them up. I wasn’t going to lug a big DSLR with me, far too heavy on a sunny day and indeed even the Fuji seemed a bit much to carry, but a small cube around 1.5 inches on all three sides and around 3 ounces in weight was less cumbersome than my house keys.

I have around thirty minutes footage from the two cameras on my computer at the moment. When we got to the park I took the second Session off the scooter and handheld that too. When I get a chance next week I shall edit and cut it into short sequences and edit them together to create a two minute movie to show the family and share our afternoon out with them. Zac’s parents need to work but doing this gives them a small insight to what their son has been up to in their absence – they feel less excluded. Theres a fifty-one second  clip of Zac on the swings being pushed by myself. His Dad has just sat and watched the raw footage with a big grin on his face. That is priceless and makes the effort, however big or small, of capturing these moments really well worth it.

So let’s here it for the tiny GoPro – truly a hero.  As for Zac – he’s priceless.


My shoulders hurt!

Well, perhaps that’s an exaggeration but I took the D800E out yesterday and boy did I notice the weight difference compared to my Fuji kit.

I took a shoulder bag with the D800E and 24-70 f2.8 lens, a GoPro Session, mini tripod, Rode microphone, polariser and spare batteries. That’s all. Compared to what I’ve got used to recently it weighed a ton. I was also carrying an ancient Manfrotto tripod which was having its first public appearance for a couple of years.

I walked down to a spot on the River Calder close to my home to record footage for a current project. Yes. Moving footage – video! Moi!  I am working on a video entitled “My Patch” which will feature four or five locations that I regularly visit with a camera all of which are within walking distance of my front door. It will be my first foray into the video world and I am filming,narrating and processing the footage as well as overseeing all aspects of the production.

This trip was to film the footage for chapter two of the planned video which concerns said spot on the River Calder.  It was also an opportunity to test an idea I have for incorporating some GoPro footage (see below) into the final video.

I am currently putting together Chapter 2 and will post that on my blog later today I hope. My intention is to take Chapter 2 from planning, through filming, post production and finishing touches over the course of the weekend in order to gain the learnings for the other parts of the video.

Watch this space!



© Dave WhenhamThe GoPro Session (see previous post) also has a built in time-lapse function which I tried out this afternoon and found it a very easy process.

Setting the camera up for time-lapse is easiest done through the iPhone app and the GoPro Studio desktop software does a reasonable job of kludging everything together.

When I get a chance I am going to put the footage through Lightroom to see of the quality can be improved further but in the meantime here is the quick and dirty version straight out of GoPro Studio.

Footage captured with GoPro Session mounted on an Andoer 360 Degree Rotating mount (see pic above).

Rough Edit

I was going to title this POV-POC but thought that was too cryptic even for me.

So what have I been to to? Well, playing of course.

© Dave Whenham
Calder & Hebble

I recently acquired a GoPro Session video camera with the vague idea of complementing my blog posts periodically with some behind the scenes video or time-lapse footage as I go about capturing images on my camera.

I’ve been wondering how best to present the footage and one idea was to mount the GoPro on my camera’s hotshoe and film as I line up and take an image. So, what you have here is a proof of concept video for a point of view style photo slideshow.

I think I can develop this over time to include footage of the wider scene captured on a tripod and who knows even get around to trying the video capabilities of one of my digital cameras. Would you believe that I have not shot any video with either my Nikons or Fuji cameras? I dabbled with the Canon 5D Mark III before my move to Nikon making updates for my course work as a visual diary but nothing since then.

It was raining for quite a bit of the time yesterday when I went out so photography and videography is largely completed one handed as I had an umbrella in the other hand!  If you listen carefully you can hear me groan when I have to kneel for the final image.

I can already think of lots of things to improve upon this idea but considering this was the first time I’d used the GoPro and therefore the first time I’d used their editing software I am pleased with the start. If nothing else it gives me a good basis to move the idea forward.

Now, to find a narrator for the next masterpiece!!


Update: Monday evening I added a short narration to the original video.



Video footage shot with a GoPro session mounted in the camera hotshoe. Camera was a Fuji X-T10 with 18-55 lens. All images, moving and still © Dave Whenham.

Music: “Easy Lemon (60 second)” Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License