I have been a fan of the GoPro HD Hero since it was initially released. I’ve suffered through the camera’s initial quirks because it allowed me to produce video from some amazing angles which would otherwise be impossible.
Of course, there were a few significant drawbacks with using these little cameras. One being that you didn’t really know what you were capturing when the camera was rolling because there was no viewfinder or LCD screen to allow the user to see what the camera eye was seeing. Later in the camera’s lifecycle, GoPro released the LCD BacPac. Now we could set up the camera and at least see exactly what the camera was recording. Of course, a new issue was introduced with this accessory. If you left the LCD BacPac on the camera the battery would burn out much faster than it would without the screen. I purchased just one LCD to use with my seven GoPros. On each camera I would set up my shot, check it with the LCD, and then remove the LCD carefully as to not mess up the shot. For a digitally blind man’s solution it wasn’t perfect, but it got the job done.
Aside from the issues we had with the lack of a viewable screen, the other huge challenge when working with the GoPro was an inability to easily (read wirelessly) turn the camera on and off when necessary. In our case we would have the devices suctioned onto the side of a tour bus or set up on stage during a musical act’s live performance. No-one took too kindly to the media nerd asking to stop the bus every ten minutes to change the shot.
Again this was primarily a battery-life issue, not a space issue. We’d throw 32GB SD cards at these bad boys like they were candy and didn’t worry about space. I never ran out of space on a GoPro before the battery died. This included when I ran the cameras with the Battery BacPac.
Even with these challenges I was thrilled with the devices and used them to create not only some fun videos but footage which was good enough from a tech perspective that it ended up on broadcast television.
Almost five years after I started using these cameras GoPro is bringing their line of HD sports cameras to a place where they can be used like more traditional on set video cameras.
GoPro has announced the availability of one the most anticipated video accessories in my world: The GoPro Wi-Fi BacPac + Wi-Fi Remote Combo Kit. This new device enables remote control, live preview and playback on smartphones and tablets, live streaming to the web, and more (as long as you are using a GoPro Hero2 or second generation HD Hero with a free firmware update). The original HD HERO is only compatible with the Wi-Fi Remote and does not support GoPro App and video + photo live streaming.
The Wi-Fi Remote will allow an aspiring Spike Lee to control up to 50 cameras at a time from up to 600 feet away. You also will have full camera control including on/off, mode, shutter, and settings (I get a tingly feeling in my leg every time I read that). If you are familiar with these neat little cameras, you know they come with a waterproof housing. Well guess what, the remote is wearable and waterproof to 10 feet as well.
Wait, but that’s not all! There is a soon to be released GoPro App for Android 2.2 and iOS 4 compatible smartphones and tablets. You read that right. You will be able to control your GoPro(s) with your smartphone or tablet via live preview & playback of videos & photos from your GoPro(s). Additionally you can transfer footage from your GoPro to your smartphone or tablet and share with friends via Wi-Fi and live stream the footage from your smartphone as a hotspot wherever you have a network connection.
That’s a lot of horsepower in these already cool cameras. Speaking of horsepower, it’s going to take a lot of energy to power these little babies. Tru dat. GoPro has us covered. They have included two, yes TWO, additional li-ion batteries in these accessories to help keep the tape rolling when you are live-streaming all the happenings under your helicopter, behind your skateboard, or in your shower (please don’t tell us).
When you get your new GoPro Wi-Fi BacPac + Wi-Fi Remote Combo Kit you’ll find the Wi-Fi BacPac (with built-in li-ion battery), a Wi-Fi Remote (with built-in li-ion battery), remote charging cable, remote attachment key, remote attachment strap, waterproof backdoor, non-waterproof backdoor, and a 12” USB charging cable.
I can’t wait to get my hands on my first Wi-Fi combo kit. I don’t know what project I’m going to use it on right now but I’m certainly excited to be able to test this out in the field and see what kind of impact it has on my filmmaking. I’ll be sure to report back to you all and let you see the video that I create with it later.