Go Pro Commercial Documentary Filmmaking

by Paul Hands


Commercial Documentary Filmmaking.

Using the Go Pro Hero 4 Black.

The Go Pro is such a great versatile piece of kit that comes surrounded by lots of other gadgets and gizmos that support its use.  I currently use the Go Pro Hero 4 Black, which is about two designs old but still a marvellous magic box that records both audio and visual media.

Commercial Documentary Filmmaking UK

On a typical documentary film shoot, I'll possibly use a couple of DSLR's, tripods, motion supports, audio equipment, boom poles and microphones, plus a whole host of stuff that is only useful for very specific shots.

Recently on a film shoot for Hinckley BID (Business Improvement District), I was commissioned to shoot a short documentary styled film for their annual pancake race in the town centre.  Unless my client reads this blog, they'll probably never know how many problems I incurred during the shoot.  It's something that I stressfully attempted to conquer on set, on my own and in secret.  

I have chosen to use this particular Go Pro because I can connect it to my phone and use my i phone as the monitor.  On this particular shoot, I couldn't connect my i phone to the Go Pro.  This development occurred as everyone was gathering for the pancake race, which I couldn't delay because of my technical issues.  It began to rain heavily and this scuppered my ideas of getting out the DSLR's to film the races.  

So I filmed blindly!

I had ordered a Karma Grip but it wasn't due to be delivered until the following day.  I set up the Go Pro on top of a Gorilla pod and used it to hold the camera and point it towards the action, holding it at what I felt was the right angle.  I had no idea of the footage I was going to collect.  This is completely unprofessional but professional adaptation at the same time.  I messed up but still did the job without anyone knowing any different.

The beauty of the Go Pro is that because of its size, its easy to move around through large crowds like at a pancake race.  Also I had it contained inside the waterproof casing it comes with, allowing me to film in the rain.

The key to being able to produce a useable film for my client whilst creating in these conditions was the story telling techniques I used.  I employed some humour and some action to give the film extra hooks.  The real work came in the post production stage, where I had to sift through the footage and only use what looked ok as well as what worked together to tell the story.

Have a look for yourself...

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