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December 28, 2015

5 Tips for Using a GoPro With Your Dog

I’ve outsourced much of the legwork for my past few videos to Eko and Penny. With a GoPro strapped to their backs, the pups let me see adventures from a fun new perspective Best of all, the pups don’t mind the camera gear one bit A number of
I’ve outsourced much of the legwork for my past few videos to Eko and Penny. Rhodesian Ridgeback, gopro, adventure, montrose dog beach, chicago, blog

With a GoPro strapped to their backs, the pups let me see adventures from a fun new perspective

Rhodesian Ridgeback, gopro, adventure, montrose dog beach, chicago, blog

Best of all, the pups don’t mind the camera gear one bit

A number of people have asked questions about setup/settings, so I thought I’d share what I’ve learned so far. I’m no expert, but I’ve realized a few key points to get the best, useable video from the dogs.Rhodesian Ridgeback, gopro, adventure, montrose dog beach, chicago, blog

1. Find the right harness

You can’t put a GoPro on your dog if you can’t…well, put a GoPro on your dog. Which is easier said than done. GoPro sells a dog-specific harness, but it’s received mixed reviews about it’s durability and effectiveness.

I’ve had better luck adapting the standard chest mount to sit high on the pups’ backs. When looking at harnesses, be mindful of your dog’s size. Also, be ready to tinker with its fit in order to find a snug, comfortable fit.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, gopro, adventure, montrose dog beach, chicago, blog

2. Be ready for bad footage. A lot of it

When I hold the camera and purposefully aim it, most of my videos still need major editing. So when it’s strapped to a dog’s back? Prepare for a whole lot of useless footage. If you want to put a GoPro on your pup, you should be prepared to do some serious sifting through aimless footage of the sky, random butt-sniffs, etc.

But stick with it and I promise you’ll find gold.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, gopro, adventure, montrose dog beach, chicago, blog

3. Shoot video at a high FPS

GoPros shoot video in a whole slew of different resolutions/settings. The impulse is to shoot in the highest resolution (4K) but 4K footage is unwatchable when shot from the perspective of a galloping pup.

Instead, set your video mode to shoot at a higher FPS (frames per second) like 1080 x 120, or 720 x 240. A high frame rate allows for super smooth slow-motion playback, which eliminates frenetic camera shake.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, gopro, adventure, montrose dog beach, chicago, blog

4. Editing software is your best friend

You don’t need expensive tools and professional skills to make great GoPro videos, but you do need a few basic post-processing tools.

First, I highly recommend Microsoft Hyperlapse (There’s a free trial version). Hyperlapse uses some pretty incredible stabilization technology to create smooth timelapses of shaky footage.

Second, download any basic video editing software. All you need to know is how to cut you video into the clips you want and how to adjust the speed of your video for slomo. Both of which are very straightforward to learn.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, gopro, adventure, montrose dog beach, chicago, blog

5. Embrace the challenge!

I remember how excited I was when I tried the GoPro on Eko’s back for the first time. It was a bit disappointing when I discovered the footage was entirely of the sky because I had the camera angled incorrectly.

It takes trial-and-error and patience to get good results, but the juice is well worth the squeeze!

Like I said, I’m still learning myself, but if you have any questions about shooting with a GoPro (or differences between camera models) just let me know and I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction.

Note: Our sleigh pulled back into Chicago late last night, just ahead of today’s storm. I’ll be catching up on all correspondence today. Hope everyone had a great holiday, can’t wait to share the highlights from ours!

Comments for 5 Tips for Using a GoPro With Your Dog

  1. many thanks for this post… I ponder to buy such a cam… it the cam easy to use for non-nerd-humans too? I hope the storm goes away without damaging something….

  2. Ogee says:

    It helps to have an athletic and enthusiastic dog, too! During the winter, all you’d see if my pups had their way would be the inside of a blanket! Thanks for the tips, Will.

  3. Connie Taylor says:

    I wondered how you did the Go-Pro videos, thanks for the input! Glad you missed the storm.

  4. We’re (semi) back in the land of the living again…3-1/2 more weeks of crate rest to go (not that I’m counting!!). This was interesting to read about. I’d never have the time or patience for a GoPro with all that harness adjusting and editing, but I love watching the footage other people have taken! 🙂

  5. So do you cringe whenever Eko or Penny throw themselves into the sand for a good roll? That’s Neeka’s favorite pastime on the beach when she’s not scraping up Khoi’s hide in a game of tag.

  6. That was a quick trip for you all. Our snowstorm is supposed to start in about an hour. We shall see if they have it right this time or if it is the third false forecast in about two weeks! We have the Sony Action Cam but it never works too well, maybe we will try changing the resolution and see if it makes a difference. Thanks for the tips.

  7. Cupcake says:

    My harness is the Fetch Harness. Mom says it’s impossible to get it tight enough because it keeps loosening itself. She had the opposite problem from you on my first time out. My first GoPro footage is my ears and the top of my tiny head!

    Love and licks,
    Cupcake

  8. harrispen says:

    I would love to have one of these and put it on Walter’s back while he is playing. Since Santa didn’t bring me one I guess I’ll have to put it on my birthday wish list.

  9. Glad your back home safe and sound. Great tips! Now if I get a go pro I will know where to come and find the tips again.

  10. Kismet says:

    I’d be afraid of killing the small dogs with all that weight.

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