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How to shoot better outdoor adventure videos

How to shoot your next outdoor adventure trip

How to shoot better outdoor adventure videos

Hopefully you’ve used every one of your guided expedition trips to create content that can be used in marketing. Words alone never sell a service as well as visuals.

If you haven’t, it is time to start thinking about it as you return to backcountry guiding, weekend adventures, or wilderness trips after Covid19.

For many outdoor tourism companies, a GoPro is a best friend. No need to worry about rain, rapids, dust, storage space, or costly accessories. It’s pocket-sized powerful for creating footage or photos of your adventures.

Pro tip: If your budget is tight, consider skipping getting the latest GoPro Hero 10 and look for an older model like the GoPro Hero 5. The Hero 5 is now several models behind in the GoPro foodchain, but Hero 5 models are still available for sale new on Amazon. They are now cheaper, and bonus, the Hero 5 was the first GoPro Hero model to add built-in stabilization.

Aside from all that awesome stabilization, you can’t overlook that shooting good photos or videos for your adventure tourism business is more than just pressing the record or shutter button of a GoPro, smartphone or DSLR.

5 really simple tips:

GoPro POV footage for outdoor adventures

Perspective footage (POV) really takes viewers along for the journey

Inexpensive GoPro head mounts or GoPro chest mounts let you capture perspective footage from your viewpoint, while at same time, allowing you to go about your work as an expedition guide. For versatility, we use this GoPro clamp because it easily clamps to a shoulder strap of a backpack. Essentially, then you simply press record and let the GoPro do the work. And voila, you’ll have some nice POV (point of view) footage to use later that will show viewers what it’s like to be along for the paddle, navigating rapids, or hiking a trail. What’s even better, you’ll also catch scenes of you being yourself. Sometimes a blooper reel can do wonders to make you more human and relatable. We’ll leave it to you to decide which bloopers are appropriate for your outdoor guiding company in Canada.

Shoot from unusual angles

People are used to seeing everything from eye level. So bend your knees and get low for shots. Attach your GoPro to a hiking pole, or a long branch and hold it high to get unusual angles and views. Clamp it to a canoe paddle or bow of a canoe. A GoPro is tiny so immerse it in shallow water (use a waterproof case just to be extra safe) to capture cool looking up footage as your group traverses a stream, or hold your GoPro underwater to get looking up footage of your paddlers in action. Use your imagination! Getting a pot ready to boil up some lake water? Put the GoPro in the pot and then pour in the cold water. You’ll get some neat POV getting-ready-for-supper footage. All of these scenes help capture viewers’ attention because they are not from a regular perspective.

How to shoot better GoPro videos of mountain biking

Keep your scenes short when you edit your video

A typical scene in a Hollywood movie lasts 2.5 to 5 seconds. Why? Because it helps maintain our attention. Changing scenes keeps us focused on the action, anticipating what will come next. A long scene can cause the viewers’ attention to drift. And that could mean they stop watching. Believe it or not, your video is in constant competition with everything else happening around the viewer at the time they are watching it. From smartphone notifications, to a dog barking, you risk losing viewers if you don’t keep them glued to your video.

Don’t use corny transitions between scenes

Video editors today have lots of transitions available to plop between scenes. You might look at some of them and think “Oooh! Cool! Look, it’s like little diamond shapes!” Ugh. Sorry, definitely not cool. Step back and think. Will this really look cool in couple of years? Or does it look like a transition that your father used on a camcorder travel video he made way back in 1992? Yep, thought so. Ditch the cheesy transitions. If you absolutely need to use a transition between clips, a simple fade will work each time. And a simple fade will still be cool in five years. Guaranteed.

But really, you probably don’t need transitions between clips. Keep the action and story flowing uninterrupted by transition effects. You don’t see transition effects between every scene in Hollywood movies or TV shows.

GoPro adventure photography tips

Foreground rocks! Use the foreground!

If you just stand on a shore, hold the camera at chest height and take a photograph of a lake or ocean, you will get a boring photo. But you can change that instantly. Think about a foreground. In this case above, you have an outstanding foreground. It’s the water itself. Foreground is an important element to adding depth to a photo or video footage of your outdoor adventure tours in Canada. Truth bomb: We certainly have the scenery and foregrounds! Using foreground helps to put your viewers deeper into the scene so they can almost feel it. That’s the powerful effect of using foreground. And hey, you do want the viewer to feel what the expedition or trip is really like. In the image above, imagine a kayaker or swimmer in the not-too-far-away distance on the crest of the water. It would really add scene depth! Foreground can be rocks, trees, a canoe, anything. Capture scenes by moving your GoPro from left to right, or low to high, while having some foreground in the scene, as well as your expedition trippers in the scene. You’ll be capturing footage that looks way more cinematic in no time!

Gregg McLachlan
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