Power Options for GoPro August 18, 2015 23:53
As I discussed in my previous post, this little camera is a big reason why you are here reading this very blog today. Content capture is the foundation on which I am able to share with you these special moments. Here is a simple breakdown on the latest versions of the GoPro which I have been utilizing for the past year or so.
So why is it important to capture these experiences? Do you want to know how this whole Big Bass Dreams project started? Frankly I just wanted to record myself fishing so I could sit down after a day on the water and watch film, just like serious athletes do. I didn't realize some of the mechanical mistakes I was making in the heat of the moment that cost me some great fish. It was intended as a learning tool, to make myself a better angler. It's amazing what you can learn from watching yourself.
Then there's the possibility of capturing the fish of a lifetime, the emotion, the rawness of the actual moment. I've been fortunate to capture several of these incredible moments as you may have noticed. The key to it all though was having a setup for the GoPro's that allowed me to focus on the real task at hand...fishing. It's surreal when I go back and watch film that I've captured. I can literally relive these incredible moments as many times as I wish. I can share them with my family and friends...and YOU. You can ultimately decide whether or not to share your content with the world, but the most important thing in my opinion is to capture it for your own viewing pleasure. What we are trying to do isn't easy, the successes as few and far between as they are are that much more special. I want to help you capture it on film. How dope would it be to share with your grandkids the actual footage of your personal best versus the old school fishing story?
Here's a simple breakdown on which cameras I'm using and how I'm setting up the power options for them. The oldest version GoPro I am currently using is the Hero 3+ Black, with most of my camera setups utilizing the Hero 4 Black along with a Hero 4 Silver. There is an advantage for using the older 3+ power wise. As any of you guys know, filming for hours on end can be nearly impossible without having an untold number of backup batteries on hand. Well, that's why I'm writing this. There are situations where I can utilize an extended after market battery source such as this one made by Brunton -
This battery pack alone will power the Hero 3 and 3+ for 3-4 hours. You can literally set it and forget it for a nice block of time. This is a GREAT option for powering cameras for weather, you can still maintain 100% weatherproofing with this battery option. Also great for using when you're walking the bank, fishing out of a rental boat, float tube or kayak. Keep in mind it isn't fully "waterproof" so I'd avoid using it for underwater shots. This option is unfortunately not available for the Hero 4 as the newer version GoPro utilizes a different battery system that loads from the bottom of the camera and not the back.
My favorite way to power any of the GoPro cameras is to "hard wire" them. Plug them directly into a power source via a Micro USB cord, like the one that comes with the camera. You can find 3-10 foot options through amazon depending on where you are mounting the cameras. You will need to utilize the GoPro Skeleton case or a similar option to allow access to the USB port on the cameras. Take care to handle the cord and the input port very gently as you can damage it if handled in a rough manner. Keep in mind that I run this style setup as much as possible, frankly you never have to change out a single battery this way. It means I'm spending more time fishing than messing with my camera setups. The only time I take them down is in a steady moderate rain. I leave them out if it's a light sprinkle and so far I haven't had any equipment damaged. That's a risk I take to capture the content though. Just know that it isn't very weatherproof since the camera and inputs are exposed to the elements. The good thing about that is you will capture much better audio and trust me, the audio is just as important of an element as the video capture.
So what do you plug the Micro USB cord into for power? Well I utilize a couple options. The first being a solar powered battery pack made by Poweradd. You can pre-charge these the night before you go fishing and the solar panel will trickle charge it while you fish. I can utilize one of these battery packs per GoPro and run them for 7-9 hours at a time. I've drained and charged each one dozens upon dozens of times. This is a great option if you are not fishing in a boat or don't have a cigarette plug lighter option.
The other option as I previously mentioned is plugging directly into the cigarette lighter port available on most modern boats. This is my preferred method because it eliminates the charging of battery packs. When you run 3-6 cameras at a time, every day the little things make a big difference. I emphasis efficiency in everything I do, time is a commodity we never get back. The way I take advantage of these cigarette lighter ports is to get adapters that offer multiple USB inputs like this one -
This allows me to hard wire to the console mounted GoPro as well as a possible back deck angle with a 10 foot Micro USB cord, and at the same time have an open USB port to charge my cell phone which you guys can imagine I use ALOT.
The SD cards I have been using are SanDisk Extreme PRO 64gb Micro SD's. These specific ones have given me no trouble or corrupted files like I've experienced with older GoPro's (1 and 2) or the other style SD cards, stay away from the red and gray colored ones.
Mounting options are pivotal to my content capture. I like to utilize a permanent 3M adhesive mounts when feasible. I use this on the console specifically. Then you can just clip them on and off at the beginning and end of the day. I run a single console boat, so on the passenger side I use a double suction cup mount option. I've had single suction cup mounts fail on me. Make sure to utilize some water to really get a good seal, I've yet to have a double suction cup mount fail on me. This will attach to any smooth surface, beware of oxidized spots on older boats, it needs to be really smooth and CLEAN.
The 3rd option I really like to utilize is the Jaws Clamp mount by GoPro. It's versatility is why it really shines for me. You can clamp it just about anywhere and be good to go. Especially useful if you are a non boater or are a frequent guest on your buddies rig. You can just clamp it and you're good to go! Also the ability to grab the gooseneck and pivot the camera in an instant is great for capturing that special moment.
Now my absolute FAVORITE mount currently is an innovation new product from the good folks at YOLOtek. They have a series of new mounting options that I've found tremendously useful. My favorite is the AquaStick PRO which comes with two USB ports that you can power your GoPro with. The entire mount goes right into your Navigational Light Ports on either the bow or the back deck. It's adjustable in height and just makes life so much easier. Totally worth the $169.99 price tag IMO. This eliminates an awkward 6-10 foot USB cord running from your drivers console to the back deck or the front deck. It won BEST of Show in it's category at this years ICAST in Orlando. Stoked to utilize them this upcoming season.
This blog ran on longer than I anticipated, a lot goes into this content capture as you can see. I know it's a pain in the ass to make sure the camera is running but think about this...WHEN you bang the biggest fish of your life, how upset will you be at yourself for not capturing that moment that comes once in a lifetime?! I couldn't live with myself hahaha. I literally won't make a cast unless there's at least one camera running. I hope these solutions I've had to experiment and learn the hard way help you achieve your dreams of both catching the fish of our lives, as well as the moment you can share and relive again and again. I will be discussing Video and Photo Capture settings and options in the next blog...
Once again, THANK YOU for believing in this project. Lot's of DOPE stuff in running through my mind to make it the best content source available.