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GoPro founder talks about new cameras, AI and his top filming tips

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Nick Woodman: "The GoPro of today is just one embodiment of what the GoPro of tomorrow could be."

Reuters

Nick Woodman: “The GoPro of today is just one embodiment of what the GoPro of tomorrow could be.”

In the past 15 years, Nick Woodman has gone from chasing waves around the world to chasing his children around his backyard.

While the pursuit is different, the goal is the same – using a camera to capture special moments.

GoPro, the company he founded, just released a new camera, the Hero6 ($849) which is the latest version of the popular action camera.

But special moments don’t just happen while doing extreme sports, which is why Woodman is planning to release new cameras in the future to extend its reach beyond its core users.

READ MORE: GoPro unveils latest Hero6 

“I’m excited about the new types of GoPros that we’re currently developing.

“You’re going to see GoPro evolve into new types of cameras that are appealing to different people in different ways.

“The GoPro of today is just one embodiment of what the GoPro of tomorrow could be.”

GoPro has been the camera of choice for extreme sport enthusiasts.

GoPro

GoPro has been the camera of choice for extreme sport enthusiasts.

Woodman would not provide any details about the new cameras, but he did say they would feature different designs.

“We want to make GoPro relevant to more people.”

One example of this is the new Fusion camera, due to go on sale later this year, which can record 360-degree video.

It removes the need to point the camera – its two lenses capture everything around you. It’s an example of GoPro wanting to make their cameras so easy to use that anyone can do it.

However, the Hero 6 camera is still its core product. It has a range of new features, including improved video stabilisation, which helps creates smooth footage.

Woodman said it was so good it means you don’t always need a gimbal (a handheld device that uses motors to keep the camera steady) to get good-looking video.

“To be able to build stabilisation that’s approaching the performance of a gimbal into the camera is hugely liberating as it’s one less device to have with you.”

Nick Woodman: "If many of the mundane tasks can be taken care of by AI, then it can free up our time and our minds for ...

Reuters

Nick Woodman: “If many of the mundane tasks can be taken care of by AI, then it can free up our time and our minds for other things.”

“It really takes an average video and makes it look phenomenal.”

His aim is to eventually make GoPro stabilisation so good that gimbals become redundant.

“Stabilisation now is more important than higher resolution.”

In fact, Woodman barely mentions hardware when talking about his devices – it’s all about what’s inside.

This includes things like faster wi-fi speeds to upload footage and QuikStories, GoPro’s app that automatically edits your footage.

It uses a basic form of artificial intelligence (AI), a technology that Woodman says will shape the future of his company, other tech products, and our lives.

He most excited about AI’s ability to do a lot of the heavy lifting that is either too time-consuming or too intimidating for people. 

“If many of the mundane tasks can be taken care of by AI, then it can free up our time and our minds for other things.

However, Woodman is also wary of AI.

“I fall into the camp where if not properly managed, AI could become a very scary thing. We have to become very responsible about how we wield it or it will eventually wield us.”

Woodman has been building GoPros for nearly 15 years, ever since he started strapping cameras to his wrist so he could take photos while out surfing.

His goal still remains the same – to build a GoPro that feels like an invisible camera.

“It should be so convenient that you should forget you are using it.

This includes features such as voice control that allow you do things like start or stop recording.

It’s these innovations that are needed to keep GoPros relevant, especially as critics say smartphones are making cameras redundant.

But Woodman sees his GoPros as a companion to a smartphone.

“How well your GoPro works with your phone is something we are continuing to advance.

“Smartphones are great but they’re not designed to capture an adventurous lifestyle.”

Also, Goodman said phones are hard to use if you’re trying to film yourself.

“GoPro makes it easy to turn the camera around onto yourself to make it look like someone else is filming you.”

However, Woodman understands that GoPro is part of a wider tech ecosystem.

“We try and co-ordinate our vision of the future with everything else’s.”

This includes smartphones, social media and emerging tech like virtual reality.

He wants GoPro to fit seamlessly into people’s tech lives. The aim is to be “a compliment rather than a burden”. 

WOODMAN’S GOPRO TIPS

Shoot short clips

Nick Woodman says the most common mistake is that people capture too much footage and that creates a hassle when it comes to editing.

He says to record clips 15 to 20 seconds long. These will then be edited down to three to five seconds in the movie. 

Shoot diverse clips

Woodman says you need to have a range of shots and perspectives to make a cool video. He also advises recording “all the in-between stuff” not just action shots, and to experiment with different angles.

Keep it short

You should try and keep your finished movies to 45 to 60 seconds long.

Put yourself in it

If you’re filming your family, make sure you include footage of yourself. Woodman says his kids love seeing him in the videos he makes of them. 

High frame rates

If you’re shooting fast-moving action its is important to keep the footage smooth. Try using 120 to 240 fps, which helps create smoother video.


 – Stuff

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