Today, surfers, snowboarders and other high-speed hobbyists could not imagine starting an adrenalin-filled day without a GoPro camera strapped to their helmet, bike, or some appendage. It's hard to believe the company's first camera was sold just ten years ago by CEO Nicholas Woodman. It's a made-in-California story of surfing meets filmmaking meets high-tech advancements. As surfers, Woodman and his friend, Bradford Schmidt, knew that amateur surfers could only brag about sick waves, but often had no images to back up awesome stories. As Schmidt recounts in his new GoPro filmmaking guide, he would return from solo surfing trips with no proof of their grandeur, such as his trip to the remote Mentawai islands in 2002:
Although it had been a surf trip, any pictures of myself actually surfing were conspicuously absent. I had traveled alone, so all the shots were limited to perfect waves without a surfer in sight, taken from the beach before I paddled out. The photos felt strangely empty, considering the euphoria I'd experienced riding those waves.
Inspired by such adventures, Woodman initially developed a wrist camera to allow surfers to capture their own adventures. Over the course of just several years, the GoPro technology has advanced to film in high definition, 16:9 aspect ration supporting 4K video and 12MP still photographs. It’s used on tracks, on film sets, on waves, in the air and all manner of places in between. How do you use GoPro cameras? What tips and tricks does GoPro’s creative director have for amateur filmmakers? What are the best (and worst) videos captured by GoPro cameras?
Bradford Schmidt, Creative Director of GoPro, maker of compact high-definition personal cameras often used for extreme sports videos, based in San Mateo, California; Author, "GoPro: Professional Guide to Filmmaking"