Perhaps more than any other brand, GoPro has indulged our inner 12-year-olds time and again, allowing us to see the world in new ways and supplying answers to all the “what ifs” we used to think up while running around outside. What if you put a camera in the middle of a fireworks display? Or on your skateboard? What if you could put a camera on an eagle!?
Due to the ubiquity of these little HD cameras, our dreams have actually come true. But while you’ve of course seen thousands of videos and images bravely collected by GoPro, how much do you really know about the company? To cast some light on the machine behind the video, we’ve collected a baker’s dozen of things you didn’t know about GoPro.
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1. GoPro began in a VW bus. Nick Woodman initially funded the company by selling beads and shell belts out of the back. He had previously founded two failed start-ups and said he was tired of losing other people’s money.
2. The VW bus was stolen after Woodman made his first deal in 2004. Let’s take a moment of silence. It was called “the Biscuit.”
3. GoPro was once sold on QVC. Nothing wrong with some humble beginnings.
4. The GoPro was originally designed for surfing and capturing pro camera angles, hence the name. If you want to bring it back to the original use, just know that a waterproof-housed GoPro on its own does not float.
5. GoPro originally came in a 35mm film version, only evolving to digital in 2004. Video came even later in 2006.
6. Two cameras can now be paired to create 3D videos. The verdict is still out on whether 3D is or isn’t cheesy.
7. GoPros can do motion capture. Disney and Carnegie Mellon University figured out how to use GoPros as motion capture tools, allowing the useful technology to be utilized out of the studio.
8. GoPro has a ton of Hollywood credits. Its extremely high streaming-rate makes it indispensable as a POV camera, and it’s been used in Need for Speed and Captain Phillips. You might recognize the latter from a little award ceremony called the Academy Awards.
9. A skydiver’s GoPro survived a 12,500 foot drop after it fell off his helmet. Which is probably more effective than any bit of advertising GoPro has ever done.
10. The highest end GoPro, the Hero3+ Black Edition, can’t record at lower frames rates with low resolutions. GoPro does not expect nor intend for this high-end camera to be used in such pedestrian settings, so the low resolution settings record no slower than 48 frames per second, with the lowest having a 240 minimum frame rate. If you're going to shoot it at a low resolution, you WILL have the option of killer slow-motion.
11. From 2011 to 2012, GoPro went from making up six percent of the camcorder market share to almost 22%. Yes, smartphones partly contributed to camcorder sales falling, but until you feel like gambling on a regular basis with your phone, action cams will be key.
12. Though a GoPro doesn’t have an LCD monitor, you can add one. See that HDMI port on the side? Connect that to a little LCD screen and see what you’re filming. Or if your GoPro is WiFi compatible, you can use your phone as a live-view screen. (That grip is called a KamPro, if you're curious.)
13. GoPro is worth nearly $3 billion. And they said this generation is made up of indoor kids.
Ethan Wolff-Mann is an editor at Supercompressor. He would like to live a lifestyle more worthy of video documentation. Follow him on Twitter @ewolffmann.