Setting up your point of view camera for the first time can be a little overwhelming. There are many different settings and modes to choose from. It takes a lot of trial and error to figure it all out. So here I’d like to share my basic setup tips for POV cameras. I’m using a GoPro Hero 2, but most of these concepts apply to every camera.
Resolution and Frame Rate
When filming in low light situations, such at woods or at dusk, use a resolution that allows you to film at 30fps or lower*. This gives the camera sensor more time to absorb light in between frames which produces a better picture.
*The fps setting would be 24fps is a little more jumpy than 30fps so I usually avoid it. With that said 24fps is used all across the film industry and helps give movies their cinematic look.
If you plan on slowing the footage down, use a resolution that allows for you to film at 60fps or higher**. Keep in mind, the video when shooting in 60fps is a little softer and in poor lighting the dark areas will have some noticeable graininess.
**You could also use 48fps and slow it down by 50% if you plan on exporting your project in 24fps.
Field of View (FOV)
The next setting is Field of view. You may have different options depending on your camera make, model, and firmware. On GoPro’s there are three options which are wide, medium, and Narrow. For point of view filming, wide is usual the best setting and results in the most stable looking result.
Side note: Using a setting such as medium or narrow simply crops the image and digitally zooms in. This may result in an unsatisfactory image. You can achieve the same result by cropping and resizing with your editing software.
When using the helmet mount, angle the camera so that part of the helmet is in frame. This gives the viewer a point of reference. Even though the background is may be unstable the helmet will always remain in focus.
When using the chest mount, make sure the strap going around your back is as tight as possible this will reduce vibration. Another important step is to flip the camera so that it is hanging and use about 3 fingers to gauge the distance. The angle depends upon the trail. If it’s a fast DH trail I’ll point it more upwards, but if there are a lot of drops and jumps I’ll point it a little lower to capture where I’m going.
These setting are my basic settings and mounting tips. Experiment and see what works for you and what doesn’t. This should at least give you a starting point and help get you on track. Let me know if any of these tips helped you.
Do you have any tips and tricks for setting up your POV camera? Please share them down the comment section.