Here are my first impressions of the GoPro Hero3+ Silver edition digital camcorder. What I purchased was the camera, the GoPro Suction Cup mount, and a 32GB, Class 10, MicroSDHC card. Having to buy the card was a surprise. I thought I could get away with one of the MicroSDs that are kicking around my desk drawer; but, alas, no. The GoPros and mounts aren’t really discounted; so, buy it from wherever you feel comfortable. Target got my money for it. Shop around for the MicroSD card and order it online. You can save significantly on those. I did some features research, read the online reviews, and talked to a few people who have GoPros and decided on the Hero3+ Silver Edition. There is a lower-end White Edition and a higher-end Black Edition. The primary differences are resolution and fps (frames per second) speed. Also, the Black Edition ships with a wireless remote. There is an iOS remote app available and I don’t see a lot of 4k video adoption yet; so, I opted for the Silver. There are also third party mounts available. However, after reading product reviews, I decided to go with the GoPro branded Suction Cup Mount.
I’ve had this thing for 36 hours and only cracked the quickstart guide to find out how to attach the wireless iOS remote app to the camera. So, this is a true first impression. I’ll crack open the manuals this weekend. There are a lot of ways to assemble the mounting options that are standard and optional. It takes a little 3D visualization to determine what is going to work for your application. I wanted to mount on the stern of a rowing shell and be able to view both of my oar-blades through a complete rowing stroke. I selected the riser arm on top of the suction cup (see the photo). It worked really well. I’ve attached a few videos as well. The default video mode is 960-wide which is amazing quality. According to the display, the 32GB card will accommodate over 4hrs of video.
I took it out for a 6:00AM row in a single scull out of The University of Tampa. I couldn’t get the wireless app on my phone to attach to the camera. I had attached earlier in my office. The GoPro has no display, so I was blind to the camera’s view. I set it up anyway and turned it on by hitting the button on the camera and went out for my row. Also, I got some line and tied it to the foot stretcher crossbar. The Suction Cup is rated at 150mph, but still… The Suction Cup hold is amazing! But, there is a spot that says, “PRESS”. They mean it. At least if you don’t, the feedback is pretty immediate. As soon as I could, I hooked it up to my Mac and looked at the videos. The GoPro was mounted as a drive and has the typical DCIM directory structure. iPhoto picked it right up and launched an import screen. The morning session was broken up into 3, approximately 20-minute files. It was dark when I went out. I didn’t get really visible video until about 6:40. The camera comes with video editing software. There is a link on the mounted drive that allows it to be downloaded. I just used iMovie on my Mac. The video quality is outstanding—it’s also very stable. I did an upload to YouTube. Of course, the quality was downgraded in the upload process. Oh, I guess I lucked out on the placement of the camera as the view of my oars and me was perfect. I took it out again in a quad at 6:30PM. This time the wireless remote app worked and I was able to line up the view better. Still though, the stern deck of the Vega quad we row in has an angled deck. I should have adjusted the mount to have the camera level. Experience is the best teacher, right? I did the same thing with this row as the earlier one. The YouTube video is attached.
My overall first impression is, I love this thing! I also have 3 friends who are probably going to go out and get GoPros this weekend. I see the GoPro as a great self-coaching tool. From watching my catch in the video of the morning row, I was able to make a few adjustments and saw improvement in the evening row. To see both oars work head on for an entire row is impossible to see from a coach’s launch—no problem with a GoPro. I can’t believe I haven’t gotten one of these sooner!
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