June 11, 2015

Action Cameras - Video and editing advice

Written by:
Jonathan Fowke

Since the rise to prominence of Action Cameras they have allowed us to capture sports in such a unique way and offer many more angles to view just about any activity, from Skiing and Snowboarding to Surfing, Skydiving and so much more.

With the market expanding and more Action Cams being released, the prices have dropped considerably over the past few years and more options are available depending on your budget and the type of footage you want to capture.

Without doubt the brand leader is GoPro who have led the way with their line of cameras and are now on their 4th Generation product – The GoPro 4. Another big name is Sony whose latest model is looking to challenge GoPro’s supremacy with both now offering 4K capabilities to provide fantastic footage.

As well as providing brilliant images of extreme sports, Action Cams can be a very useful coaching tool for reviewing footage from unique first person perspectives. They can be used in training to analyse techniques and provide up close shots allowing coaches to really get an idea of what’s going on in the heat of the action.

There are plenty of choices available when it comes to picking a camera that suits your needs and budget and a range of accessories such as chest mounts, head mounts, waterproof housing, etc. Whatever your sport, it is likely that you can utilise an action cam either in a game or just training to take a look at technique or situations from a first person view to then review later with your coach.

I purchased a GoPro 3 a few years ago and have used it in a range of different circumstances. I have taken it Skiing, attaching it to my helmet and also chest harness to get some great footage. I have also used it to get some great footage in rugby training sessions, including the British Army 7s and Kenya International 7s – Links below to my YouTube Uploads:

Kenya 7s GoPro Training - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oimoi4WpM9w

British Army 7s GoPro Training - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEwOElfHuB8

Kenya 7s GoPro Training - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oimoi4WpM9w

British Army 7s GoPro Training - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEwOElfHuB8

These two videos were used more for promotional purposes, but show a different perspective and the type of footage that you can get with an Action Camera. Most high end Cameras will also offer a high frame rate setting, which will allow you to playback footage in smooth slow motion – perfect for analysing techniques. As an example, the latest GoPro 4 Black can shoot at Full HD - 120 Frames per Second giving you great looking slow motion footage.

With the addition of 4K footage in the high-end models as well it gives you the ability to crop your footage in the edit room without losing quality and produce excellent looking footage.

Action Cam Options

There are plenty of options available to purchase that suit your needs, whether you are after a top of the range model, or just a basic low budget camera.

Go Pro – They are one of the biggest names out there and have a great model available in their latest GoPro 4 Black Edition. It offers 4K filming, slow motion and can take great still images and comes with a wide range of mounting options and other accessories to purchase separately. If you are serious about capturing high end footage and don’t mind the price tag then this is a great option. They also offer two other versions at a slightly lower cost, or you could buy an older model such as the Hero 3 or Hero 3+.

Sony – They have recently released the FDR-X1000v, which also offers 4K shooting producing great quality shots along with image stabilisation and a host of other options that make it another great choice in the high-end market.

Garmin – They have a range of cameras that are ideal for attaching to bikes and record in Full HD as well as tracking your location via GPS which can be great for road racing and taking adventure trails to then review the data afterwards.

Toshiba – Their ‘Camileo X-Sports’ Camera is a cheaper alternative to the market leaders but still offer Full HD filming options, built in screen to view your shot, remote control and much more.

There are plenty of alternative brand names to choose from, by hunting around on line you can compare and pick the model that suits your needs and find the best deal available.


There are a lot of mounts available for Action Cams, with chest and head mounts being popular options. You can also purchase mounts that will stick to pretty much any surface, which your camera can clip into allowing you to go off shooting.

A lot of budget Action Cameras are compatible with GoPro mounts so if you ever upgrade you won’t need to buy a whole new range of accessories, but it is always worth double checking when you purchase your model.

Most Cameras will also shoot direct to a Micro SD Card which means you are not limited to an inbuilt storage, allowing you to just swap cards when they fill up with footage. If you are buying a 4K Camera you will have to make sure you purchase the fastest Cards available to Read/Write otherwise you will experience issues with recording and playing back footage with high data rates.

SanDisk are a reliable brand providing a wide range of Options for both Micro SD and normal SD Cards and it is worth looking around online for the best prices. Whichever camera you decide to purchase they will recommend the type of Micro SD Card that will best suit your need.

Another useful accessory, especially if filming winter sports are anti fog inserts, which are small strips that will fit inside your camera’s protective housing that will prevent the lens from misting over as the camera heats up. I have used these whilst skiing and they worked really well after I had previously experienced issues. These insert packs can be picked up pretty cheaply from places such as Amazon.

Extra Batteries are a must to get the most out of your camera, especially if you plan on using it for extended periods of time. It will be a big time saver and much more convenient to quickly swap a dead battery for a fresh one and just carry on filming. It is worth purchasing recommended battery packs for your particular camera, however there are usually cheaper options if you search online, just be sure to check reviews and make sure they are good quality options.

There are a whole range of accessories for most Action Cams which really allow you to get some fantastic shots and unique angles, whatever your sport you are more than likely to find the right gear to enable you to get some great footage.

With their ability to capture a players perspective, Action Cameras have enabled coaches to get closer to the action and help develop and improve performance and technique. Just another example of how using video analysis along with Coach Logic can improve your team and take your players to the next level of development.

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