Tips For Mixing GoPro Shots With Cinematic Footage


Are you getting ready to take on a multi-camera shoot? If so, below you will learn how you can trick your audience by mixing GoPro shots with cinematic footage. GoPro was released in 2004, but it since has come a long way. These pint-sized cameras were not a popular choice in Hollywood, until the release of the GoPro HERO 3&4 series. In the past years, the HERO series cameras have become the go-to cameras for documentarians. In fact, the camera was used to shoot commercial fishing boats in the 2012 documentary Leviathan.


These indestructible cameras are now being installed everywhere to give the audience a viewing experience they have never before seen. However, there is one thing to remember, the cameras alone won’t make the shots great. All the directors took time to carefully plan, each testing shot after shot to ensure that the cameras were used in the most effective ways possible. Below you will find some tips that will help you capture those breath-taking scenes we all dream of.


GoPro Film Coverage

First thing to remember is that you must have coverage. It does not matter what type of film you are shooting, coverage is a must. Coverage would be defined as a group of shots that give the audience a sense of space. With that being said, GoPro cameras are a very popular choice for many action sequences. In the Hollywood hit Need for Speed, cameras were attached to the cars to give the audience a sense of immersion.

The cinematographers did not just attach the cameras to a car and run with that. They studied each scene and placed the cameras, so that the editors would have as many different angles to play with as needed. When you have several different angles, it allows you to find footage that you can cut into the scene.


Filming Flat with GoPro

On the GoPro camera you will find a setting called Protune. While the adjustments will be minimal, they can really be very effective. This setting gives you the option to adjust white balance, sharpness, ISO, and exposure. Not only can you make all these adjustments, but you can also set the color to flat. When you change the color to flat, it really gives you the chance to capture shadows and highlights. However, using the color-grading process, you can get an image that matches your cinema footage.

Narrow and Wide

While choosing the format you have the option of capturing a video in wide, medium, or narrow angle. The medium or narrow angles will really allow you to mix footage much more seamlessly into your cinematic footage. With that being said, the wide angle will also work very well in many cases.

If you have a 4K file in post you can zoom-in to find a tighter frame and lose the fish-eye feel, without sacrificing resolution.

In the 2013 hit film “Into the Mind”, a GoPro HERO 3 was used in conjunction with a RED Epics, in both the wide and narrow angles. The GoPro Hero 3 gave the crew the ability to capture time-lapse along with up-close and personal action sequences. The wide-angled lens will alert the audience of the presence of the GoPro camera, but by limiting the footage it can work really well alongside cinema footage.

Into The Mind – Official Teaser from Sherpas Cinema on Vimeo.


Cleaning Things Up

You can also integrate GoPro footage with cinema footage by running a post process other than grading. For instance, in the “Need for Speed” movie, the GoPro footage was run through an effect plugin called Dark Energy. The Dark Energy program allowed the crew to really clean up the GoPro footage and add a natural grain appearance. Basically, the footage shot through the GoPro camera looked exactly like the camera that shot the rest of the film.

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