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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old June 13th, 2013, 11:08 AM   #1
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Just how good is the Go Pro 3?

I'm looking to get a third camera and wondering if the Go Pro 3 quality can stand up to the Panasonic AC160's I use as my main cams. I would be wanting to put the GoPro on a small steadicam or similar for outside shots on guests etc as the 160 is too big and heavy for that sort of thing for any length of time personally. I need something lighter.
I was also looking at the Panasonic HC X900 as those prices are starting to fall.
At the end of the day, it's the quality I'm after.
I can't just go out and buy these cams locally, it has to be online and don't want the hassle of returning them if they aren't up to it.
Chris, I know you use the GoPro 3 inside the church.
I'd be grateful for any thoughts you guys might be able to share.
BTW, I have the Canon T2i (550D in the UK) which could do the job but out in the sun, I'm fighting the screen focus/exposure so I'm not to keen for the DSLR option.
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Old June 14th, 2013, 04:53 AM   #2
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Re: Just how good is the Go Pro 3?

The GoPro is amazing for the size etc & is really in its element on a snowboard or water-ski in bright sunlight however they are quite expensive if you don't need an indestructible sports camera. For a locked off camera at a wedding you will get better image quality from a little handycam that may even be cheaper. One advantage of the GoPro is sheer simplicity as you pretty much just have a start/stop button & precious little control other than that. There is no need to focus or worry about exposure
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Old June 14th, 2013, 06:06 AM   #3
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Re: Just how good is the Go Pro 3?

I had considered these too recently but the low light footage takes a hit, so eventually having looked at the X900 i decided on two Sony handycams with the 'magic eyeball' Balanced Optical SteadyShot system
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Old June 14th, 2013, 07:02 AM   #4
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Re: Just how good is the Go Pro 3?

Hi Chris

Believe it or not I use a GoPro 2 inside a Church not a GoPro 3 ... the 3 is supposed to be more sensitive but I haven't got around to getting one yet..I suppose I should!

The Hero works best in a Church if you give it lots of room so it take take advantage of all the available light. If there is a balcony at the back of the Church then it works really well. I sometimes do stick it up front on a light stand but more often than not it's not that good so it's far more useable as a semi aerial camera up on the balcony taking in the entire Church and used at medium angle.

I look at it this way.. it's a spare camera angle so I don't have to use it if the footage sucks but especially as a high up camera it gives a delightful and different view of the wedding ...on a stand up front you really only get a 2nd, slightly wider and elevated view of the ceremony so I have really stopped using that now and only prefer to use it as an aerial cam ... brides seem to love it and given plenty of "looking" space, exposure is pretty good as the higher up windows do add light. It's certainly well worth having at a wedding and if the footage is good it does add a new dimension to the ceremony..wouldn't try it at receptions though!! Way too dark. I find the footage used to match my Panny's nicely as long as you use a decent scene file. The default F1 file is totally washed out compared to the GoPro...nowdays it also matches my Sony cams very nicely too!!

For around $300 it's a steal and it's saved my bacon a few times too when the MOB has stuck her ample behind in my main camera lens hood whilst getting up and you also can get really nice cutaway shots that covers people doing readings from their seats and going right up to the lectern and back again which is something you cannot get at ground level.

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Old June 14th, 2013, 07:30 AM   #5
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Re: Just how good is the Go Pro 3?

I use a Hero 2 still. I reckon that for the price in relation to what it can do its a no brainer - everyone should carry one.

Yes they can let you down in low light but there will be loads of other occasions when they make a great contribution.

I'm not overkeen on the aerial lookdown so I tend to place it only slightly above adult standing head height. I also use it on the same tripod as my main cam and that can work great to be able to cut to an extreme wide angle taking in everything. You can cover an entire room with it during the speeches and that looks good with cutaways to guests reactions and cheering. Also works great for the dancing if there is at least some light.

The X900 family cannot go nearly as wide so they are far less "set up and forget" cams.

The GoPros and the pannys are cheap - why not get both :- )

One downside of adding extra cams is the stress it puts on your editing station. If I have 4 x cams shooting 1920x1080p 50fps I'm fine with multicam editing but when I add a 5th I have to playback in editing using proxy files instead of the originals. Just a thought.

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Old June 14th, 2013, 08:27 AM   #6
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Re: Just how good is the Go Pro 3?

Hi Pete

I just find that my Hero footage in dark and dingy Churches is a lot worse if I put the hero up front and much the same height as yours because it cannot benefit from the big Church windows higher up so quite often I tend to gravitate (or is that levitate) to the higher position. In bright Churches I have no issue with it up front and of course it's always up front for outdoor weddings. I normally have the lighting stand right next to me so at least I'm not in the shot.

BTW: On a different subject totally I took your advice on adding stills shoots to my packages.. I have a decent Nikon outfit and decent glass (I do Real estate stills) so we now have to see whether brides like the idea. It will certainly save them a bit of money!

Yep I agree it's a no brainer to have a Hero in your bag for the price you pay .. I have an idea, Chris, that the Hero 3 has built in WiFi so with the free app you can also monitor the image on your phone or tablet!
(my Hero 2 has a WiFi back and I also have a nifty remote that straps on your wrist)

Chris
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Old June 21st, 2013, 12:12 PM   #7
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Re: Just how good is the Go Pro 3?

Sounds like most here are not using the newest version, but reviews say it is better in low light. I've watched some side-by-side comparison videos that have me convinced it can handle it better. I'll be trying out the GoPro Hero 3 (Black) next weekend, and from what I've heard, the venue is pretty dark. It will definitely not be my main cam, but I'll at least find out what it can do and let you know.

Side Note: is the GoPro too light to fly with a Blackbird? Anyone try it?
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Old June 21st, 2013, 02:01 PM   #8
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Re: Just how good is the Go Pro 3?

Nothings to light. You can always add some weight.
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Old June 27th, 2013, 12:42 AM   #9
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Re: Just how good is the Go Pro 3?

I received my Go Pro 3 (Black) which is supposedly better in low light than the other Go Pro 3s and previous models. I plan on trying it out as an extra cam in a wedding this weekend, but after a few tests tonight, I am not hopeful. Sure it can record in a very dark room, but the grain present is extreme. In a dimly lit indoor environment there is noticeable grain in the darker colors. I still think the room must be bright to have usable shots, (similar to the Hero2). So yes, it might be a bit better, but in the field I doubt it will help much. I would not recommend upgrading just for the "improved" low light performance. However, I have not used the Hero2 so I cannot say for sure. The lighting in the venue for this weekend looks pretty dim. Low ceiling and few windows... No big beautiful stain glass windows I have seen in other wedding videos. I'll post again once I review the footage. If anyone wants a specific demo video of what it can do, just let me know what you would like to see.
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Old June 27th, 2013, 01:07 AM   #10
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Re: Just how good is the Go Pro 3?

Hi Byron

That was my feeling as well so I didn't upgrade purely to get better low light. I have found most definitely if I put the cam high up so it can "catch" all available light, it does work a lot better than low down ..remember both Hero's expose to the light they see so in a restricted area they will tend to "see" more dark areas and push the gain. Just in Churches the cam pointing towards the ceremony and about 8' up seems to have a lot more gain applied by the camera than one placed on an upstairs balcony overlooking the entire wedding and that exposes a lot better. There are a few YT videos comparing the white/silver/black models and there is a small difference ...so there must also be ones there between the 2 and 3 ... Bottom line is, the more light they are given, the better they perform and unlike a pro camera you cannot limit the gain so dark areas will have a lot of noise!

Your footage would be great if you can post a bit for us to see?

Chris
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Old June 27th, 2013, 03:07 AM   #11
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Re: Just how good is the Go Pro 3?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron Jones View Post
is the GoPro too light to fly with a Blackbird?
Yes, it's too light and as mentioned here you need to add weight.
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Old June 27th, 2013, 03:14 AM   #12
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Re: Just how good is the Go Pro 3?

Tiffen (the guys who make the genuine stedicam) actually make one called the Smoothee

Steadicam Smoothee for GoPro Hero

Chris
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Old June 27th, 2013, 04:26 AM   #13
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Re: Just how good is the Go Pro 3?

I did a few shots at the weekend of the entire wedding party using my gopro on an extended monopod - starting from the bride and groom and arcing it up to include all the wedding party waving their arms like crazy - I had the HDMI outputting to a Lilliput monitor and (after 2 takes) it's a fun shot but the 25p really shows - the camera motion is really jerky so I'll end up using just the end of the shot after the camera has come to rest. I can only think those super smooth 'video of the week' videos are shot at 720 so you can get 50p - no good for me filming at full HD

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Old June 27th, 2013, 10:51 AM   #14
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Re: Just how good is the Go Pro 3?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Rush View Post
I can only think those super smooth 'video of the week' videos are shot at 720 so you can get 50p - no good for me filming at full HD
The GoPro 3 Black Edition can shoot at 60 fps at 1080p or even 48 fps at 1440p. That shot may have worked better with the newer model.
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Old June 27th, 2013, 11:18 AM   #15
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Re: Just how good is the Go Pro 3?

DAMMIT! I bought the silver edition before the black was available - I'm sure the spec for the black at the time was 25p - same as the silver (maybe I'm wrong)

OK I feel an Ebay sale on the horizon!
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