You Are Here: Bradford Schmidt, GoPro Guy


You Are Here, Nathan Myers

Shooting with GoPro is an art form in itself. For starters, if you're holding the camera, you're probably doing it wrong. It doesn't work like that. You don't hunt shots, like those guys with tripods and 600mms. You trap them, instead; placing cameras where you think the shot will eventually arrive.

Just watch GoPro Head of Media Bradford Schmidt. See? See, how he never stops moving? How he attaches cameras to boards, helmets, strangers, dashboards, airplanes and small animals. He's not even paying attention to what he's filming. That happens later. For now, he just sets them up and lets them go. In a single hour, he'll film many hours of footage… and then later he'll sift through it all (on fast forward) panning for a tiny fragments of epic rad-ness.

It's a time-warping pain in the edit-ass, but it can yield something completely unique and unexpected. Like almost everything in this trailer…

Brad has been with the GoPro project since before the company even existed — he met inventor and CEO Nicholas Woodman on a Mentawais public ferry back when they were both taping 35mm waterproof disposables to their wrists. These days his title "Head of Media" means he chases down every manner of extreme activity and attaches some cameras to it. Lots of them.

Trapping moments. Lots of them.

SURFING: You've shot these cameras more than anyone. Can you share three good GoPro shooting tips you've learned?

BRAD SCHMIDT: The closer the better. With the width of the GoPro lens, we shoot everything as close as possible.

That's a no-brainer. Those things are so fish-eye.

Yes, but it's a very intimate perspective. You can be right there in the moment. People often don't realize the camera's rolling and it captures stuff that's really genuine. Another thing with the GoPro is its ability to turn it around on yourself.

Okay, what's Tip #2?

Number two: I'd say photos are one of the most underestimated features of the camera. We can do time-lapses for days. And the new cameras are faster and shooting 11 megapixel images, which could be a spread or a cover in a magazine.

How do you do all those cool time-lapses?

The GoPro Cineform Studio program is available on our website. It's a free download. You can take anything from the camera, dump it into GoPro Cineform Studio and it will convert it into a time-lapses at any rate, or whatever else you want. From there you can bring it to any editing program.

Okay, one more tip.

I'd say the third one is just to be creative as possible. Hide it. Attach it to things. The camera can go places you can't. Through the security X-Ray or up on a remote control glider. I've learned it takes a lot of shooting to edit something full-size together. You're pacing your editing in that sense. Shooting with a GoPro is an art form in itself.You have to be creative to keep people's attentions, but the end result is still just to tell a good story.

Here are few recent GoPro HD2 surf vids that Brad oversaw…

Kelly Slater's 11th World Title:

Brad says: "This shoot was an interesting challenge without any onboard footage, so we got creative. Kelly’s manager, Terry, introduced us to Steve Sherman and Stephen Slater who wore cameras and helped us film a unique perspective on one of the most historical victories in surfing."

Alana Blanchard & Monyca Byrne Wikey:

Brad says: "This shoot was fun. The idea was simple. A girls surf film shot by the girls themselves. We handed the ladies different camera setups and let them film it. It’s a fresh perspective and a lot of laughs when they were relaxed enough to be themselves and have fun together. It was pretty hilarious when we edited this piece as well. There is a second edit to this shoot that we’ll release soon."

Mirage Experience — first ever full-tilt surf action, freezing time and space.

Brad says: "This production was a milestone for GoPro. Multi-camera sync was something we had our eye on for awhile, but nothing was possible until we sync’d two cameras together. At the release of the 3D Hero System, we were approached by Tim and Callum Macmillian of Timeslice Films: “Ripcurl’s got a shoot in Fiji in 6 weeks, can we make it work?” The world’s first underwater video array system was born on a ping pong table at Namotu Resort. We’ve now developed beyond 30 cameras to 48 and growing. People may not understand yet, but this was history in the making. Multi-sync video array systems will revolutionize the camera industry and bring a whole new level of creative possibilities."

Post your favorite GoPro clips in the comments box [but spare us the Corlis wingsuit ride – been there, done that.]