Creator Series: 5 GoPro Tips for Videos with Tomasz Furmanek
Welcome! You are now tuned into the GoPro Creator Series. This unfiltered series gives an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at how our favorite GoPro Family members are creating content. Grab your notepads, because the following is chock-full of how-to tips + best practices that you’ll want to tap into the next time you charge up your GoPro.
Join us for a deep dive into the world of kayak content creation with Norwegian adventure photographer Tomasz Furmanek. We dare you to find someone who navigates and captures fjords better than Tomasz.
Here are Tomasz’s Top 5 Tips + Tricks for using a GoPro waterproof action camera while kayaking.
1. Capture the OG Kayak Shot
Consider lighting: The best lighting for taking photos and videos is usually in the morning or evening. The water is usually calmer in the morning and evening although this may depend on the area and climate. You only need some meters of reflective water surface in front of the kayak to get a nice reflection in the photo.
In low light conditions, it is best to have the camera mounted on a helmet or stabilized by holding it close to your body. Something as simple as pressing the shutter can create camera movement causing motion blur in the photo, so I recommend using voice command or time lapse photo to reduce the risk motion blurs, especially when the shutter speed is slow. Also, I usually take four to five photos of each scene in case some come out blurred.
Even if taking photos in in automatic mode, I recommend underexposing the photo a bit to -0.5 EV Comp to get more details in the highlights. The darker shadows can be brightened in a photo editor. When possible, shoot RAW files as this will give more editing options.
Research the area before taking photos: Free online apps have information on where the sun will be at different times and locations to plan for the best lighting. It is also good to pre-visualize the scenes and have an idea of what photos to take.
When the surface is calm and reflective, it is best to paddle slowly forward and take photos when the kayaks moves, as sitting in one location will create ripples in front of the kayak that disturb the reflections.
Keep the lens dry + clean: Having a lens cloth and some paper is a must while taking photos from a kayak.
PRO TIP: I sometimes spray water on the bow before taking the photo as this makes the bow cleaner and shinier, sometimes even making the colours of the environment reflect in the surface of the kayak.
2. Know The Best GoPro Kayak Mount Tips + Choosing HERO8 Black vs. MAX
It’s not really choosing one or the other, it’s more mounting them appropriately to get the shot. For me, the best GoPro kayak mount tips are using the GoPro MAX on a pole attached to my kayak and mounting the HERO8 Black to my helmet.
I use the 360 MAX content to reframe in the GoPro app, and although the video has a lower resolution than HERO8, the HD quality is perfect for sharing videos on social media and extracting photos from 360 mode. I usually film in 360 mode at 5.7K as this gives me the best editing possibilities.
MAX also enables wider digital lens options maxing out in Max SuperView with a 149-degree field of view. When kayaking with other people, MAX has the advantage of capturing all the action using Max SuperView or especially when using 360 mode.
The advantage of HERO8 higher resolution video quality and a standard look. I also find that HERO8 is easier to use in rain and when there is a chance the camera will be hit by water spray.
PRO TIP: When using MAX, make sure your pole mount is thin and that the camera is perfectly aligned with the pole to get the best in-camera stitching results. GoPro recommends using the MAX Grip + Tripod to get the best 360 content. Plus, you can use it with HERO8, too!
3. Capture Quick MAX Moments
I filmed the following with MAX mounted to a short pole attached to my helmet; this is known fondly by GoPro’s own Abe Kislevitz as the “narwhal” mount. I love using this setup for kayaking, SUPing, skiing and biking, but I avoid using it at high speeds as the pole starts to feel a bit exposed.
This edit was reframed on the GoPro app on my iPad from MAX footage shot in 360 mode at 5.7K RAW. I used the GoPro app on my mobile to set this shot up because the preview mode in the app doubles as a viewfinder to check if the camera is mounted correctly.
PRO TIP: Remember to frequently check that your lenses are dry and clean for best video quality.
4. Get the Smoothest HERO8 Black Footage
There are a couple things that you can do to maximize the stabilization in HERO8. For starters, in the following video, my camera is mounted on my kayak helmet as this is more stable than using a headband. While shooting, I try to avoid moving my head too much, and look straight in front of my kayak bow when filming.
- Mode: Video
- Resolution: 2.7K 60fps in 4:3
- HyperSmooth: On
- EV Comp: -0.5
- ISO Min: 100
- ISO Max: 400
- Sharpness: Medium
PRO TIP: I prefer to film in 2.7K 60fps in 4:3 aspect ratio and later crop it down to 16:9 in the GoPro app if I need to.
5. Utilize Screen Grabs from Hi-Res Video
You can take super high quality screen grabs from your MAX video. MAX provides amazing quality photos directly from the 360 mode video set to 5.7K resolution. I use standard settings but it’s really important to focus on lighting and avoid areas with too much direct sunlight.
Head over to the GoPro Tips YouTube channel for more Creator Series inspiration.