6 Simple Tips for GoPro Ride Videos

Watch a few motorcycle ride videos on You Tube and before long, you will be browsing the portable video cameras at Best Buy. You will soon discover that GoPro has a great store display with exciting clips of people kyaking, skiing, and skydiving. Five minutes in front of that display will convince you that owning a GoPro is your ticket to becoming the Internet's next viral video star.

That GoPro display was my inspiration for buying the camera and a sack of those plastic mounting things. I was not interested in You Tube stardom, but I was excited about posting some cool clips of my rides. I didn't know that I still needed to learn a few aggravating lessons about using the GoPro. 

From my experience as a GoPro noob, I am passing along these 6 simple pointers that are not mentioned by the store display. Keep them in mind when using your GoPro and you will soon be posting awesome ride videos online.

Before heading out with your GoPro make sure:
  • The battery is fully charged - The battery life indicator is impossible to read with the camera mounted on your helmet and nothing is worse than finishing a ride to find your battery died five minutes after you started.
  • The SD card is inserted - Check this before you leave home since the camera will not work without the SD card. I keep a couple extra SD cards in my tail bag, just to be safe.  
  • The SD card is big enough and empty - The more GB on the card, the more it can record. But if your big card is half full from last week's ride, you will only get few minutes (or seconds) of  today's ride. The camera can record in several different resolutions, but higher resolution fills the SD card faster. That's ok if you have those extra SD cards in the tail or tank bag.
  • The camera is angled correctly - Not too high and not too low. The fish-eye lens is pretty forgiving on the camera angle. But, I dumped once while wearing the helmet cam and the impact pivoted the camera down. The rest of that video was not-so-exciting footage of the top of the gas tank.  
  • Turn it on before you start - Simple enough, but easy to forget when you are with friends and everyone is excited to start down an unexplored trail. After the ride when someone asks if you recorded everything, it's a bad feeling to look in the side mirror and see the camera was off the entire time!.
  • Turn it off and on again while riding - This breaks up the recorded video into smaller files that are much faster to download into the computer and easier to work with in your video editing software.
  • Wipe the lens - Be sure you run your glove across the lens when riding and clean it when you stop. Otherwise, bugs, dirt, dust, and mud can cover the lens and ruin your epic ride video. 
Wild horses! Wait - is the camera on??
Bitter experience from some great opportunities that I missed has improved my GoPo skills and I am better now than when I began. But, learn from my mistakes and perhaps you will find the viral video stardom that has eluded me - probably because I forgot to turn on the camera again.