Pre:Ramble: “All right Mr. De Mille, I’m ready for my close-up … ” … I’m pretty sure that even Norma Desmond wouldn’t be caught camera-ready for this gig — shots taken by mounting small inexpensive cameras to nearly anything — helmets, hang-glider wings, surfboards, dirt bikes, etc.
Created by a company called GoPro, these water-tight digital cameras are about the size of a deck of cards and weigh just six ounces. “Hero Cameras” as they are called, start at $260 for a version that shoots high-quality, high-definition video. GoPro’s founder and CEO, surfer Nick Woodman, describes the product’s appeal …
“A big part of the [product's] appeal is that people can pivot the cameras to be aimed at themselves while they’re surfing or doing some other activity and easily share them on Facebook or YouTube … a huge enabler for that type of ego satisfaction.”
I’m sure the images taken from such unique perspectives are amazing. In still shots of Mr. Woodman riding the surf in a challenging, splashy, outdoor environment, the sense of immediacy is nearly disorienting. (Actually, the placement of the camera in one of the photos makes Woodman’s palm and big toe look disproportionally large … an effect which is likely less apparent when the whole intrepid scene is in motion.)
Holy Monkey-Cam – David Letterman is probably a big GoPro customer … using the versatile units for his snarky hidden camera bits. And speaking of bits, GoPro cameras have also been popular with wildlife photographers. The rugged design and comparatively low cost have made them the go-to technology for getting “bite-shots” — scenes from inside the mouths of fierce critters like seals, sharks, polar bears and alligators.
The GoPro line was initially sold in surf shops, motorcycle stores and sporting goods outlets … Soon they’ll be available at a Best Buy near you!
The Take-Away: Great! I’m sure I can find some novel household uses for my very own GoPro camera … maybe I can clip it to a random sock in the laundry hamper and see where it ends up.