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Why Independent Filmmakers Should Embrace GoPro (and Vice Versa)

Filmmaker Adam Bhala Lough is in the final days of an Indiegogo campaign for his skater doc, The Motivation 2.0: The Chris Cole Story, currently featured on our partner page. Below, he writes about his use of GoPro cameras for his independent films. Visit the Indiegogo page for more information on his project and please consider donating.

GoPro cameras have long been popular in the action sports market and reality television, but have been completely ignored by the indie film community.

This should change and here’s why:

 Recently I needed to film a car scene, where two characters were driving and talking. I
 got a GoPro suction cup mount and slapped it on the windshield, recorded dialog to a Zoom H6. I filmed some slow motion through the streets.

Boom. Done.

 Last month while shooting scenes for my new movie Hot Sugar’s Cold World, my lead wanted to film something on the surface of a pool. I thought, “How cool would it be if we did it underwater?” But, honestly, “Where we would we get the budget for an underwater rig and crew,” he asked.

It was not a problem. Why? Because we used my GoPro with underwater housing and I shot it by myself.

This past weekend while shooting an interview with Bam Margera for my new documentary, Bam’s cameraman showed me an incredible helicopter shot they filmed on his property. Need a crane or copter shot? Save your money, rent a drone for a couple hundred bucks and use a GoPro. The new Hero4 even shoots in 4K.

Helicopter shots, slow motion car mounts, under water scenes: You can shoot
all of these by yourself and effectively raise your production value. It’s an indie filmmaker’s dream.

So why are indie filmmakers not embracing GoPro? Maybe because GoPro’s identity has been ghetto-ized as an “action-sports” thing or perhaps maybe because GoPro has not embraced indie filmmakers in any way. In my years on the festival circuit from Sundance to SXSW to Tribeca I never once saw GoPro reaching out to our community. This is something I would like to see change. GoPro has the chance to show the way films are made, across every film community. Now is the chance for them to not be pigeonholed as a “sports camera” and only a “sports camera.” 

Attention fellow indie filmmakers: Did I mention the free GoPro app turns your iPhone into a video village? Connected via Wi-Fi you can see what the camera sees and change all the settings, adjust the lens, etc. And with the free GoPro Studio software you can edit your footage.

Will the future be filming and editing micro budget indie features entirely within the GoPro universe? It¹s possible. Now, if they could only figure out a way to attach Cooke prime lenses to that bad boy.

(Full disclosure, I’m not sponsored by GoPro but two years ago they started sending me product when during a chance encounter with a GoPro executive at X-Games I told him: “Dude, you’ve got absolutely no awareness in the indie film market. My DP doesn’t even know what a GoPro is. RED and Canon are killing it. Step up your game.”)

The Indiegogo campaign for Adam’s new film The Motivation 2.0: The Chris Cole Story includes a special Filmmaker package reward. Go here to check it out.

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