How to Use Action Camera: Tips and Tricks 2020

Does your new action camera after purchase does not shoot scenes as beautiful as a popular blogger’s does? Or does it not turn on at all? What to do in this case? Run for a refund? Not necessarily; instead, it’s better to calm down and try to set up the camera yourself. After that, it will shoot as well as SLR cameras. The basic rules of successful setup are below in this article.


How to assemble an action camera
The device must be correctly assembled before you can proceed with the settings.

 

The standard package includes:
– the camera itself;
– rechargeable battery;
– aquabox for shooting under extreme conditions;
– battery charger;
– basic fasteners;
– selfie stick (optional).

Even those who have never held a camera before will be able to deal with its assembly today. In most devices, the assembly process will be completely the same, be it a GoPro HERO8 Black, XIAOMI YI or SJCAM.

It’s necessary to do the following:
1. Open the lid.
2. Install the battery and memory card (you will need to buy it separately).
3. Close the cover.
4. Put on the aquabox (if required).
In most cases, the camera is already delivered with a small amount of charge. This is done so that you can test the device directly in the shop. If the gadget still does not work, you should recharge it and turn it on after 3-4 hours.

How to set up an action camera


Some retailers assure you that these cameras do not require any adjustments, but that’s not entirely true: the right resolution, shooting format, frame rate and white balance can take even the most budget “baby” to the next level. These are the minimum parameters that are worth knowing to properly configure an action camera:

Video Format – The aspect ratio is what form the video will take. The most popular format is rectangular (16:9). 18:9 is also often found. And 3:4 will allow you to achieve a retro effect.

Resolution – How many pixels vertically fit in the frame. Most popular TVs, such as SAMSUNG 32N5300, work in Full HD (1080P) format, so this setting will be enough.

What’s more, even when setting the action camera to 4K on a budget device, the video quality may be worse than in FullHD. To find out exactly in what format the video TV is playing, you should read the reviews before buying!

Frame Rate – Affects the smoothness of movement. A high frame rate will allow you to shoot in slow-motion.

White Balance – Makes the frame natural, with no additional yellowness or blueness.

How to shoot video


To make the video from the action camera look as professional as possible, you should take into account some of its features. Then, the final result will be indistinguishable from good mirrorless cameras.

Sound
If your device is not threatened by extreme conditions then take it out of the box, as it absorbs the lion’s share of sounds. It is also recommended that you do not shake the camera actively, otherwise internal noise may spoil the entire audio stream. For maximum sound quality, you should buy an external microphone (the Panasonic (VW-VMS10E-K) is an excellent choice) – it will record sound over the main audio.

Roller length
Many amateurs are very fond of shooting ultra-long scenes in one shot. But statistics show that the most viewed video from action cameras lasts no longer than 2-3 minutes. Moreover, by shooting a series of short clips, it will be easier to mount the final material.

Change of perspective.
The more angle of view changes, the more dynamic the video looks. However, what should you do if you need to shoot your own dive or ride on a mono wheel? For this purpose, an unusual accessory is used in the form of a small pole attached to the helmet by a ball that will change the position of the camera when moving. This way it will shoot from multiple angles at once, making the video more “alive”.

The recording cycle
An action camera differs from a DVR in that when the cycle is set it will not write a certain number of clips at a given time, but will simply split the shooting into several short videos. These settings will be useful for athletes: they can set the timer so that the camera will not shoot breaks between approaches, thus saving memory and battery power.

Cycle recording
For the camera to work as a DVR, the cyclic recording rate is set to a maximum. In most devices it is called MAX. Now the memory will be rewritten as it is full.

Time-lapse
An artistic technique opposed by slow-motion. If objects move at a monstrously slow speed in the slow-motion, they move at the speed of light. The point of the reception is to show quickly slow processes like a starfall, building a house, city traffic, etc. Accelerating the usual shooting here will not work, because the video will still last too long. Time-lapse is therefore the best choice in this situation.

The essence of a time-lapse is that the camera with a certain frequency takes a photo, and then glues the pictures into a full video. Frequency of photography depends on the type of object being shot: for a construction site a suitable frame rate would be “once a minute”, and to shoot the sky in cloudless weather one frame every 10 minutes would be enough.

Aquabox


Originally an action camera was designed for extreme conditions, so all its accessories are designed with this in mind. The Aquabox allows you to immerse yourself in the camera at any depth. It will also protect it from dust, dirt and extreme temperatures.

Aquacase is a plastic box, inside which the camera itself is fixed. The case is equipped with a plug and a clip. Such design does not allow water and dust to get inside.

The back cover is held by a special loop. At the top is a clip for enhanced fixation of the device. The Aquabox can be attached to any pedicam (including DJI OSMO Pocket) and to most helmets, allowing you to create dynamic content.

Closing the aquabox is easy – you need to put two parts of the protective case on the camera and snap them into place.
To remove the case, simply slide the cap with one finger and hold the clip with the other hand.

Aquabox care rules
1. You can’t leave it in the sun. This can negatively affect the plastic with the lens, making it warp, and the seals will change their structure after sunbathing.
2. Before you open the box after use, you should wipe it with a soft cloth to remove any remaining water.
3. The box is only kept open when stored. Otherwise, the seal may become deformed.
4. After using the camera in the sea or ocean, it is submerged for a few hours in a freshwater container – so all salt and debris will wash off the box as carefully as possible.

Darel Broterickson
Expert of equipment: tents, sleeping bags, backpacks, clothing, accessories, sticks, rugs, thermal underwear.