High definition surf camI have just turned 35. To comfort myself I bought a new toy – The Gopro Surf Hero HD. As some of you may know, when I’m not photographing weddings you can usually find me in the sea, flapping about like a cockroach that’s been flipped onto it’s back…

This little camera is the size of as match box and there are fixtures available to mount it anywhere. I purchased the Surf kit x2 and the motorsports kit in order to obtain the right angle helmet mount. It records to SD card and doesn’t come with a charger. You have to use your computer via a usb cable which is supplied. At first I thought not coming with a charger was a cheap move but on reflection I remembered I hated travelling with a bag load of chargers and always had a laptop on me. So it turned out to be a bonus.

I’ve been experimenting with mounting the camera on my longboard as well as a helmet as I rode my boogie board. I also let my friend Sam Boex use it while I took photos from the land.

My findings:

1. In low light it provides a commercially non-viable picture quality. In sunlight/day light it’s great.

2. It’s size isn’t restricting and construction quality and housing are faultless.

3. The lack of an LCD screen seriously hinders composition (as you can tell by the test clips below). I am anal about composition and while I understand this is in order to keep price and maybe weight down I would still like a version with a screen.

4. The menu system is actually easy once you stop being afraid of it.

5. It makes waves look smaller than they are in real life, but It makes me look a lot fatter than I really am…

6. It records at 29.97 fps not 30. The 60fps R3 mode is awesome slowed down to 50%.

7. It’s a nice gimmick but how soon with we tire of this POV angle. Probably best used sparingly in conjunction with a decent story line.

8. With its ease and speed of application I intend to use it on my wedding movies – maybe on the front of the wedding car etc. Very exciting how equipment is removing barriers and allowing quick and easy capture. This is a good thing for me as I really just want to tell the story without the agro and fuss of big budget production equipment. Here are the fruits of a few days testing.

Gopro Surf Hero HD from Kirstin Prisk on Vimeo. This is a test shot in the big freeze January 2010, Cornwall, England. 720 – 60fps (mode r3). As you can see, I need to position the camera better, and loose two stone… screengrabs-sam-boex

This is the same wave from both land and board cam angles. I didn’t use the Gopro on stills mode, instead I paused the video footage and grabbed screen shots. I chose mode R4 which records the tallest angle at 960p.

Here’s the most recent edit of my first helmet cam test. I desaturated the footage because there was very little colour due to the wintry atmosphere and low light.

Dropknee Gopro surf hero HD from Kirstin Prisk on Vimeo.

Rider: Kirstin Prisk
Location: Porthtowan
Date: 27th January 2010
Aim: Test helmet cam
Conditions: 3ft, NE wind blowing in from Syberia. Stupidly cold.
Riders condition: Overweight. Restricted by 5mm of neoprene. Mildly hypothermic.
Stance: Dropknee
Board: Toys 44″ Custom DK
Conclusion: DK is back.