You know those videos of people on bikes or snowboards or freefalling through the sky, their faces fixed in position while the background hurtles away behind them? Be prepared to see a lot more of those as GoPro rolls out its most advanced camera ever. The new Hero4 allows anyone with a spare £370 to produce professional-quality video, putting more power in the hands of amateurs. But what are the other implications for privacy, video sharing and the way we experience events?
“You landed a 360 backflip on your skiing holiday in Banff? Let’s see it!”
Will GoPro bring about the end of the tall tale? So many adventure sports enthusiasts now record every outing that it could become reasonable to expect video evidence of every single anecdote. We won’t be satisfied by verbal accounts of our friends’ holidays – we’ll demand to see footage.
Of course, having video evidence of everything that happens to you can have its advantages. Alexander Hennessy found this out when he was threatened with a gun on a cycling tour of Argentina – the footage he captured on his GoPro was handed to police and the attacker was arrested later that day.
“The mosh pit was fun but I took a GoPro to the eye.”
Not content with filming on their smartphones, some gig-goers have progressed to using GoPros on poles. This is next-level twattery and potentially hazardous to fellow fans.
But despite all the downfalls, doesn’t the GoPro allow you to actually experience the event while you’re filming? GoPro users tend to trust the camera to capture amazing footage, leaving it rolling while they get on with the fun at hand. And if the band ask you to throw them your camera, that will add a couple of hundred thousand views to your YouTube upload.
“I like Andrea but I had to unfriend her on Facebook. Once you’ve seen one GoPro skydive, you’ve seen them all.”
There was a time when GoPro videos were inherently fascinating. Their unique viewpoints alone were enough to earn your attention.
But it’s been a while since the first digital GoPro was launched in 2007, and now there’s plenty of footage out there competing for views. In the same way that people become desensitized to shocking news footage, it’s easy to see how people could become bored by all but the most extreme GoPro films.
Are we suffering from GoPro fatigue? How much more extreme do the extreme sports films need to be? And what does this mean for the company, which relies heavily on footage from its ambassadors to promote its products?
What the company does have on its side is a ruthless team of editors and curators, picking the very best images from the days of footage available online.
The cameras are getting better. They’re also getting everywhere. This makes capturing incredible footage much easier - a huge advantage for GoPro, as long as they can keep sifting it out from the sludge.
View some of our recent video work here.
Image via GoPro.