It has been only a month we purchased our first GoPro family camera. We are not pros, but regular parents, who want to create more than just regular (boring) family video. And we want to share our experience and knowledge to help you do the same.
We made another (just our 5th) GoPro home video with our baby girls. We captured our favorite family activity (indoor rock climbing) in funny and very action form.
Today I am going to show you tips & tricks how to make similar family video (not necessarily from climbing). Make a special home movie for yourself and impress your relatives and friends!
Let’s see this climbing family movie first:
Do you like it? Do you want to make home video like this too?
Here I share all steps how exactly we created it including valuable tips. You can make your awesome home video too, just follow this how-to guide!
Message to the Audience
Before I create any video I always think first and answer these questions for myself.
Who is the audience?
Besides our relatives and us we wanted to create this video for any other parents who need some inspiration what to do with their kids.
What I want to tell the audience?
What is the purpose of the home video?
Take your kids and be active. It will be fun for you as well for the kids and it will greatly improve their physical skills.
Of course, we also wanted to save a nice memory when our almost 2 year old daughter started to climb with us.
This home video was also supposed to show that you don’t need tons of special equipment or skills to do this.
Thinking about these fundamental questions and answers should guide you and inspire you to create much better GoPro family movie.
The Story and List of the Scenes
I always think ahead about the story when making our home video. It’s better than just push the camera shutter button randomly or film the whole time and hope that the great video comes from it somehow.
Of course, it is great when you capture spontaneous action scenes but besides this you will need some planned shots like introduction, between-the-action scenes, finish etc. This will create amazing family video with a story in background which will be greatly appreciated by your audience.
I am not saying that you need exact list of all scenes in the final order and do your filming strictly according to that list. At first it is great to have some approximate screenplay before you go to action. Write down simple list of the scenes you will need to describe your story.
What is the story of our climbing video? I knew that showing only action climbing shots would be boring. Here is my rough list of the planned shots:
- Introduction of the whole family (arriving to the place) and all heroes (one by one)
- Action climbing shots of each hero
- Intermission (between-the-action) scenes – these are regular activities but they will greatly show the atmosphere and complete the overall story; I have considered these scenes ahead – feeding of the younger baby, older daughter playing around, chasing the kid or generally having fun; here belong also spontaneous shots which couldn’t be planned
- End scene – final look of one or all heroes or possibly some special moment
As you see, it doesn’t have to be writing a novel, just a simple story line before you go to action. We talked about this only couple minutes on our way to the climbing gym. Details were decided later while filming or during post-processing.
Equipment for Filming
Before you go to make your home video be sure to prepare your tools properly. What could be worse than full memory card or empty battery?
Here is what equipment we needed to shoot our climbing family video.
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GoPro Family Camera
We used GoPro Hero4 Silver edition. It is the only GoPro camera which has built-in LCD display so far. LCD display was a huge advantage in this particular filming.
I used 3-Way Arm as my extended arm when capturing the climbing scenes as well as most of others.
I appreciated that I didn’t have to bend down (oh, thanks to this mount, less pain in my back!) when I filmed from the kid’s eyes level.
The flexibility is great – bending the pole enables to change different filming angles quickly and easily.
Wrist Swivel Mount (360 Degrees) was used for action climbing scenes when I wanted to have a shot of a hero from above (which is usually better than from the bottom when capturing climbing). Originally, we used this wrist mount, but later it malfuncioned. Here is what happened and why we recommend this mount instead of it.
I also used this free-hands mount when having one baby in my arm and chasing another one. I didn’t have to hold the camera while filming but compared to the 3-Way Arm mount I had to bend myself.
Adjustable clamp mount with gooseneck enabled to clip our GoPro camera to the stroller and capture all the family members at once. No hands needed to hold the camera.
Finally I didn’t use any of these “gooseneck shots” in the final version of the home video, but anyway this mount is very useful because your GoPro camera might be clipped almost anywhere.
Spare Batteries, Memory Card and Case
Spare batteries (Wasabi) are a must because the battery life is short (depending on settings mine is usually less than two hours).
I always take spare memory card (SanDisk Extreme 64GB) no matter what.
I carry my GoPro camera together with all accessories excluding larger mounts in this medium durable case. It keeps my accessories very well organized and protects against damage (and curious kids).
Let’s Go Filming
Ready? So let’s go to action!
But wait… One more advice before you go especially if you have kids. I prepared my camera already when we got out from the car. I mounted it to the 3-Way Arm, switched it on and checked the camera settings (described below).
This is because the kids are very excited when the fun begins and you definitely don’t want to miss some of these great spontaneous shots.
Immediately after entering the climbing gym our almost 2 year old daughter ran like crazy to the wall and started to climb (watch this scene below). She has never repeated it with that much excitement so I was happy to have my camera ready at that time.
One more tip regarding this shot – it was filmed from the kid’s eye level or slightly below. It looks much better than shooting it from above (adult’s eye level) – you can see the kid’s excited face. I used bended 3-Way Arm for this shot so I didn’t have to bend too much while chasing my daughter.
Mostly I filmed using 1080p (wide) resolution. Usually my camera stays set to 30 frames per second (fps) but here I planned some slow motion for dynamic scenes (like falling) and that was the main reason to set my GoPro camera to 60 fps.
The rock climbing gym was an indoor space which was very poorly lit. So at first I set my camera to “Low Light – On” (not available for 30 fps, but for 60 fps) and later I switched it off.
Surprisingly second option looked better. I found out later during post processing, it wasn’t visible on small LCD display of my GoPro camera at the time of filming.
Lesson learned: experiment and use different settings in the difficult light conditions.
Filming The Scenes
I was ready to push the shutter button anytime for random and spontaneous filming but I also kept in my mind that we have some “mandatory” shots.
Of course, the scenes weren’t filmed in the order as you see them in the final video.
Now I will go through some scenes to show you how exactly we made them.
Introduction of the Heroes
First of all I wanted to clearly show to the audience what is going on, where it happens and who are the heroes. Thus the first shot introduces the whole family arriving to the climbing gym.
We have also made a shot of every hero (family member) standing alone.
Note that all these shots weren’t made from static position but I moved around or towards the object while filming. This made the video more dynamic.
This was obviously the main objective of our GoPro home video. I planned to capture all the heroes while climbing (except 8 month old baby of course).
As I already mentioned above it wasn’t about standing at fixed position and just pushing the shutter button. This would be boring.
The key to the entertaining climbing video full of action is frequent alternating of different capturing positions and making the slight moves with the camera during filming.
I want to remind that we own only one GoPro camera so I captured one hero from several angles during multiple climbing attempts. And then in post-processing I made the cuts and alternated those different views.
Let’s see the example here:
Note how I slightly moved with the camera along the wall closer to the hero (watch it here).
The magic of the GoPro camera is that viewer might observe the hero very closely and feel almost like he is part of that story. We want to pull the viewer into the story.
In addition, these slight moves will add more “action feeling” to the video.
We tried several camera moves (from the bottom to the top, from the top going down closer to the face of the hero, towards or around the object) and later in post-processing I chose the best shots. I recommend you to experiment with it too. The possibilities are endless.
Most of the climbing filming was made by using 3-Way Arm mount which allowed dynamic shots by getting quickly closer to the hero. Also the climber could be captured higher above the ground where holding the camera in the hand only wouldn’t be enough high.
The whole different view was provided by wrist mount. Shots made from above looking to the hero’s face are usually the best ones when filming climbing activities.
However, it might be quite difficult to set the position of the camera to capture exactly what you want. You will have a wide variety of options with this wrist mount since the horizontal angle might be anything from 0 to 360 degrees and vertical inclination of the camera allows almost full range of angles from 0 to 180 degrees. So what position is the best?
For the first time I set the camera to the straight vertical position (90 degrees). Later I figured out that my face is in the corner of the shot and the largest captured area is the ground under myself. Not really interesting shot. It looked much better when I inclined the camera a little bit towards me.
I recommend you to ask someone to look at LCD display of your GoPro camera while you are in supposed climbing position. Or play back the shot and check it.
For those with no built-in LCD display (any other type of GoPro camera than Hero4 Silver) it might be a good idea to shoot it multiple times with different inclination angles. But I can imagine how bothering this could be to climb the same route over and over.
There is one more option – use GoPro App and you will see on the display of your smart phone what is captured. Of course you will need some other person to hold and watch the smart phone while you are climbing.
Wrist mount shots are great for challenging climbing moves, falling etc. or simply for providing the whole different view to the audience. Remember, alternating the view angles makes your video attractive and almost professionally looking. Here is an example:
But what if you don’t have a chance to film the action multiple times from different angles? For example our daughter made her highest climb attempt ever and didn’t repeat it yet. Then you have to be creative and make some other “supporting shots”. Let’s see how I dealt with this situation:
I already mentioned how I filmed our excited kid running to the wall right after we entered the climbing gym. I used this shot as an introduction to her climb attempt although it was filmed earlier.
Than there was a different moment when my daughter was just standing by the wall and smiled at me. Yep, we have another camera view – some kind of neat intermezzo before the main action.
And finally I filmed the only and the highest climbing attempt she did. This was actually divided into two cuts later (third and fourth different position of the camera). I captured the beginning from above and than I quickly climbed down to film her from the bottom.
Anyway, filming from the last fourth position was too long and I simply didn’t have any other shots to switch the views. Shot longer than 10 seconds from one position is most likely boring for the audience. So I helped myself speeding up this cut in post processing. I will describe how to speed up the shot later in this article (see Post-processing).
Lesson learned: if you have just filmed a unique shot and don’t have other views of the same action, just make sure to capture other moments “around it”. It might be anything from short interview with a hero, lacing his climbing shoes before action or whatever. Later during post-processing you can decide which one to use.
Intermission Scenes (Between the Action)
The scenes happening between the actual climbing are also important to show the overall picture and atmosphere of the story.
You also don’t want to bother your audience by showing one climbing action following by another one. We used intermission scenes to alternate the action ones to make the video more diverse.
My husband made a planned shot of our younger baby’s feeding:
First cut shows preparing the baby’s meal but it is not all! Did you notice the thematic background with unknown climbers on the wall? Then follows couple seconds shot of the baby with a bottle. It is better to show both cuts because just the baby with the bottle alone would be a little bit like “coming from nowhere”.
I needed also some other shots of our daughters having fun. Of course these couldn’t be really planned and most of them came spontaneously.
I just had my camera ready and simply pushed the shutter button. I also had in my mind to move slightly with the camera towards the babies or around them to make the shots more engaging.
I captured several nice intermission scenes when our daughter was dancing, pushing the stroller, kissing daddy etc.
Another great shot of our older daughter having fun was when I chased her around. Note that I was again filming from her eye level to see her excited face when I surprised her:
Make sure you have a nice balance of climbing action shots and those spontaneous between-the-action scenes.
The video should have some ending shot and you might plan it ahead.
You might have an obvious end of the story when filming for example your vacation family video (packing your stuff, riding home etc.). But what should we capture for the end scene of our climbing video?
Well, this was a planned shot too. My husband came up with the idea to blow the chalk from his hand (climbers use the chalk to keep their hands dry) and I added my point to make it in slow motion. This wasn’t any obvious end or strong moment but rather a simple gesture. I think it worked fine, what do you think?
At the end of the day you probably had so much fun with your kids and filmed a ton of raw footage. Is your GoPro home video ready for the audience? Not yet…
Post-processing (GoPro Studio)
Here comes the second part of the process which is almost as important as the filming part itself. Let’s get started!
You will need to download GoPro Studio to start the post processing.
Just a note – there is a lot of other programs, for sure better ones. But we want to show how you can make amazing home video with free and easy-to-use software.
You might get better results with other programs but the price is very steep and most likely you will need to spend much more time to learn how to use it really efficiently.
I recommend to start with free GoPro Studio and later you can always jump right into an advanced level if you wish.
Step 1: Import, View and Trim Your Video
If you are not familiar with GoPro Studio you might find useful to see our Step 1 tutorial first. This shows how exactly we made this editing.
I imported the raw footage files to GoPro Studio and made the rough trimming to cut out the useless parts.
I set up “Advanced Settings” to the following values:
- “IMAGE SIZE”, “FRAME RATE” set to the original values
- “SPEED UP” remained unchecked
- “FILE FORMAT” remained avi
- “QUALITY” changed from medium to high
- “REMOVE FISHEYE” – checked the box
And finally I converted the files and proceeded to Step 2.
Step 2: Edit (Precise Cutting, Video Editing, Audio)
Make sure you are in STEP 2: EDIT (see the tabs at the top of GoPro Studio).
First, you need to drag the video file from the left column to the timeline below video screen. Drag the videos one by one in the order you want them in your family movie.
Choose the Best Scenes – Make the Cuts
Now is the time for precise cutting. Click on the first video in the timeline and use “Mark In” or “Mark Out” buttons (see the picture below) to cut out unwanted parts of the scene.
You might need also “Split” button which divides the clip into two pieces. I used this when I needed to slow down the speed in the middle of the scene (hero climbed and then fell down in slow motion). I divided the clip into two parts and later decreased the speed of the second part.
Click on the next videos in the timeline and cut or split them too if needed.
Generally, I tried to follow the golden rule – no more than 10 seconds per cut (most of the cuts in this climbing video were shorter than 5 seconds). If there was some longer scene, like a hero climbing one route, I used one of those tricks to deal with that:
- interrupt the lengthy shot by providing different angle of view
- cut out the middle section and make transition between the two cuts
- speed it up like I showed on my daughter’s first climb attempt
Final choosing of the best shots and precise cutting was quite a long process. Mainly because I had a ton of raw footage and a big part of it was testing (we are still learning and experimenting).
Lesson learned: don’t let the camera run when nothing interesting is happening. Then you have hours of raw footage and it is a bit painful to find the great scenes.
Here is one filming tip for easier choosing the best scenes from a ton of raw footage. GoPro (Hero4 Black and Silver) has a great one-button feature which allows you to highlight tag the best scenes during filming (push the “Settings” button on the side of your GoPro camera). However, when I pushed this button it was often visible in the footage (it jitters a bit – maybe I just need a little practice).
Introduction and End Screen, Subtitles
You might need some subtitles (notes) and beginning / end screen for your video.
I created my introduction screen as shown in the picture below.
At first I clicked on “TITLE” button in left column (1.) and then dragged the title from the left column to the timeline in front of all videos (2.).
How many seconds I want the title page to appear? Drag the end mark to the appropriate time (3.).
Here I wanted to create just a black screen so I deleted the original text in the right column (4.).
The reason why I didn’t add the initial subtitles directly to this beginning screen is that I wanted the text appear gradually.
In the next step I added another title (1.) but this time I dragged it to the title row where you see “drag title here” under the video in the timeline (2.).
There are actually two title rows – I used them both for creating two different titles (I wanted main title “GoPro with Kids” appear before the word “presents”).
I set the the start and end of the text appearance by dragging the edges of the appropriate rectangular in the timeline (3.). Each of the two titles start at different times.
Then I set the title properties in the right column of GoPro Studio (4.). I moved the text to the desired position by dragging it in the video viewing window.
Another useful feature is “FADE IN” and “FADE OUT” – this allows the text to (dis)appear gradually. I set the main title “GoPro with Kids” to appear and disappear in 0.5 seconds and the other subtitle “presents” in 1 second.
Similarly, I added several other subtitles to the later scenes, for example name of the video, names of all heroes etc.
Sometimes you might need to change the views transitioning smoothly, not that sharp cut. GoPro Studio allows this kind of transition. Look at the timeline – do you see the plus sign between the two video cuts? Click on it and the rectangular will appear instead of it. Then see the smooth transition between your scenes.
Maybe you have already noticed that your raw footage from GoPro camera might seem somewhat pale and drab. Your video could potentially become more colorful by simple video editing.
Click on the first video cut in the timeline and you can start to edit it by the controls in the right column of GoPro Studio application.
Speed (Slow Motion), Fade In, Fade Out
The most upper part of the controls (VIDEO CONTROLS) actually doesn’t change any colors but enable to speed up or slow down your video.
Slow motion scenes in our video where set to 40% or 25%. There is also a checkbox option “ENABLE FLUX” – this should make the slow motion smoother.
However, when I used FLUX in this family video, one scene looked like there were “ghosts”. Another scene was OK. So you might consider to give it a try and you’ll see. I should warn you that checking FLUX option will take significantly longer processing time (export).
“FADE IN” and “FADE OUT” feature does similar task as with the title described above – you can let the video (dis)appear gradually by setting the time of this effect in seconds. We used this at the beginning of the whole video (to slowly appear the image), at the end and after the introduction of the heroes (to disappear).
Presets – Edit Video Automatically
Let’s jump right into the bottom section of the right column in GoPro Studio – look at the PRESETS.
These PRESETS can make your home video more colorful and vivid. There is a lot to choose from – I usually try at least “Protune preset” option. It worked well several times in my other videos.
The advantage of the presets is that you don’t have to set several other controls, just one click on the preset and that’s it.
But sometimes you simply cannot find the preset which would be a great fit for your video and this was the case of our climbing family video. “Protune preset” made it too dark and contrasting. So I didn’t use the presets in this video.
Image Controls – Manual Settings
Instead of using automatic presets, I made my own manual settings in “IMAGE CONTROLS” (find it also at the right column of GoPro Studio).
The first setting is EXPOSURE – you can make your video brighter or darker. Our family video was shot in indoor climbing gym in very poorly lit conditions so I used this setting in most of the video cuts to increase the exposure value (make it brighter).
Next I increased the values of CONTRAST and SATURATION in most of the scenes which made it more colorful and vivid.
I didn’t have to adjust SHARPNESS – I usually kept it at the original value.
Colors might be also adjusted by WHITE BALANCE settings (right above IMAGE CONTROLS section) but it wasn’t done in this particular family video.
Zoom, Rotate or Move Image (Framing Controls)
You can get closer view, move it horizontally or vertically or even rotate the image. See the bottom of right column in your GoPro studio to make these edits.
I used these controls very moderately in our climbing home movie. I recommend to carefully check the result especially if you zoom in a lot. You decrease the resolution so the image quality might be visibly worse.
I used zooming in very little in our family video. Zooming together with action nature of the scenes made the lower image quality almost unrecognizable.
Sounds (Audio Controls)
GoPro cameras are great for making awesome action videos but recording sounds definitely isn’t superior especially if you use waterproof housing. That is the reason why many of famous GoPro videos have loud music in background.
We did the similar thing in our GoPro family video. We decreased the sound to the minimum levels (using the AUDIO CONTROLS on the right side of GoPro Studio) in most of the scenes and later added a background music.
I used the original sound only in one or two scenes (my daughter’s scream). I actually had to increase the level of the sound because it was too attenuated by protecting housing. In addition, I planned the background music for the whole movie so the sound needed to be louder to become notable.
Add Music to Your Home Video
It is essential to add appropriate music to your GoPro family video. Not just because of the low quality original sound mentioned above but it helps to create the right atmosphere of the video.
First, click on MEDIA on the left side of GoPro Studio (1.) and choose your song from the directory.
Drag the music file to the timeline to the row where you see “DRAG AUDIO HERE” (2.).
Then drag left or right edge of the rectangle in the timeline (3.) representing the beginning and end of the background music. It might begin or end anywhere, for example in the middle of some scene (as seen above).
Then you can set AUDIO PROPERTIES (4.) of your music on the right side of GoPro Studio – LEVEL in dB (how loud) and FADE IN / OUT (gradual appearance / disappearance).
We chose two background songs – first for introduction of the heroes and second for the rest of the climbing video. When picking the right music I had in my mind what atmosphere I want to feel (or better say my audience should feel). So the choice was action and rock music at the same time.
Free Music Libraries – Youtube Creator Studio
If you want to show your GoPro home video to the public world you can use only music you own or you have full permission to use.
This might be a huge limitation because you either need to create your own music, buy some with appropriate legal rights or easier find something in free music libraries. The last option worked for all of our family video projects so far.
We used songs available in Youtube free music database for this particular climbing family video.
Find this library at Youtube’s Creator Studio – click at the top right profile icon and then Creator Studio (1.).
On the left side click on “CREATE” and “Audio Library” (2.). I downloaded the song from here (3.) to my PC hard disk and then added it to my GoPro Studio project as described above.
You can choose from wide variety of songs according to genre, mood, instrument, duration or popularity. It is allowed to use this music even for projects which you plan to monetize. But of course you cannot sell the song alone, you can just use it for your project.
There are couple more free music libraries. But you always need to be sure you can really use it for your project (appropriate legal rights). We will provide the list of other options in the future posts on this blog.
Step 3: Export Video
After the whole editing job is done you just need to do the final step – export your family video (tab Step 3 at the top of GoPro Studio).
I chose the highest quality at first – clicked on “Archive/Edit” option, then set the quality to “HIGH” and then exported the file. (See where to set these values in our GoPro Studio tutorial if you need to.)
When this file was exported I repeated the export for Youtube but I switched to HD 1080p this time. This produced video of sufficient quality (better than predefined Youtube option). This option also makes it easier to upload to social media because the file was much smaller.
Share Your Home Video on Youtube and Other Social Media
Finally – you have just finished your home video. What’s next? How to show it to the world?
Even if you don’t want to share your family video publicly you might want to show your kids to grandma.
One of the easiest ways is to upload the video to some free online video network, for example Youtube, Vimeo etc.
Then you can spread the link to your video through all other social media you use (Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter or others) or email it to the relatives and friends. I tried to upload my home video directly to Facebook but it didn’t work well (the quality was terrible) so I rather link to Youtube.
We chose Youtube for uploading our GoPro home videos. It is very easy to set up. Anybody can subscribe to our channel to receive our new videos and we can earn a few bucks through Youtube advertising system. I will describe monetizing videos on Youtube in one of the future posts here on the blog (subscribe to our newsletter if you are interested).
Make a Subscribe Button to Your YouTube Channel
I did one last thing after uploading our climbing family video to YouTube – subscribe button.
This button is implemented right into the video to the top left corner and enables anybody to subscribe to our YouTube video channel.
Which means he will be notified when we publish new video. This option is great for our relatives and friends so we don’t have to send them a message, it is done automatically.
Another reason why we use this subscription button is to build a list of fans. This is necessary especially in case you plan to earn money on YouTube with the help of your published videos.
Huge amount of subscribers means more eye balls watching the ads automatically implemented to the videos. And this determines the height of your YouTube income.
Don’t worry, we will cover the YouTube monetization basics in one of the future posts here on this blog.
In case you need to make the subscribe button, here you can find the detailed but very simple step by step tutorial how to do it.
We didn’t wanted to bother audience by subscription button visible the whole time. Instead, we added one for the beginning and one for the end of the video (10 seconds each).
That’s it, we’ve finally got to the very end of this detailed how to guide. These were all the steps we have done to make this GoPro climbing family video and we hope this might help you to make similar or better one.
We are still learning a lot of new things every single day with our GoPro family camera.
Regarding this particular family video we can definitely improve the quality of the image. Did you notice the noise due to low light conditions? It is hard to deal with it and I guess it might be slightly improved when using some superior post-processing software. However, this is a video full of action, and most of non-professional people will not even realize it.
I am proud we created such home video only after one month after the purchase of our first GoPro camera. You can observe our progress from the beginning till now and in the future. If you are interested in new GoPro video tips and how-to guides, please subscribe to our newsletter. And please let us know what you think in comments below. We would appreciate it! Thanks.
We hope that these notes help you to make your own awesome family video. So grab your GoPro camera, go to action with your kids and have fun!