Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Selfie Stick

A week ago, I went for a run in the snow and took my GoPro along with me to film the adventure.  Snow was falling at a fast pace that afternoon so I knew I would have some chances for capturing interesting video.  I was right!  Here is the result:

I received several questions on the video after I posted it on Google+ asking how I made the video.  The first was "who filmed me" and the second was "what editing software did I use".  I wish I had some amazing answer to these questions but I don't.  No drones, no camera strapped to my dog, and no high tech methods were used to film the video (other than the GoPro) and no expensive software was used to put it together.  I used a Selfie Stick and then iMovie.

Selfie Stick next to GoPro
What is a Selfie Stick?  A Selfie Stick is a small monopod that has a small screw on the end of it so that any camera can be mounted.  My father gave me this fun camera tool last summer when he was in town on a visit (this is an awesome gift for any of your selfie loving friends!).  The Selfie Stick came with a clip that holds a cell phone but I haven't been using that much.  Instead, I attach it to my GoPro which is a recipe for fun!  

GoPro on the Selfie Stick fully extended
If you haven't ever played with a GoPro, I suggest you try it.  They are fun little video cameras that put a unique twist on the world.  Their wide angle lens almost always puts a fisheye bend to the video which can get annoying when trying to do close-up video.  However, the effect is growing on me and I hardly notice it anymore.

This brings me back to the Snow Run video.  I ran just over 3 miles and took about 5 minutes of video during the run.  I don't ever just record continuously with my GoPros (I have two which is even better than just having one).  Instead, I record short clips that I can then piece together later.  This makes it a lot easier for me to find a video segment worth using.  I probably only ever use 10-20% of the video I take and I already have storage issues.  I couldn't imagine filming for 30 minutes and then filtering through the entire video for parts that I want to use.  I let the start and stop button on the camera do this for me.

I use iMovie for piecing videos together and I am not very good at it.  It takes hours to make a quality video but I have learned that if I use the iMovie templates, I can fake it and make a decent and watchable video relatively quickly (Snow Run took me about 30 minutes to make). The iMovie templates automatically insert transitions and other features that help make the video more watchable.  I should probably use the software designed to download and handle GoPro videos but I haven't ever practiced with it.  I am too lazy to learn something new right now (or maybe I just don't have the time?).  iMovie does a good enough job at the moment.  :)
Working on Snow Run
I only make these videos as a source of fun for myself.  It also makes me happy when someone else can enjoy the experiences I record.  I have a blast trying to think of new creative shots when out capturing the video.  The Selfie Stick gives me more opportunities than just having a camera with me.  For example, I can hold the video down by my feet as a run because it is on a stick.  I then flip the video over using iMovie to create the effect of having a camera by my side as I was running.  Simple but fun. 

I can also jam the Selfie Stick into a snow bank, turn it on, run by it, and then come back and pick it up.  You never see me come back for it because I edit that part out but it makes it seem like I have a film crew out on my run with me.  Simple but effective.

I am SO looking forward to snake season (starts in just a few weeks).  I cannot wait to capture lots of snake videos like the one I took in Louisiana below of a kingsnake making its escape.  There will be lots of bloopers to share as well!

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