My GoPro video creation workflow

Ever since I purchased my GoPro Hero2 I’ve loved taking it with me everywhere, especially on my fishing excursions.  As you can down the left-hand side of this site, I’ve compiled a decent collection of fishing footage and made some short highlight videos to share with everyone.  Now I’d like to share how I create them.

Filesystem SetupMy current home computer consists of a Mac Mini.  It’s nothing special and no powerhouse, but does the trick pretty well.  For storing my video footage, I’m utilizing a 2TB Firewire 800 drive from Western Digital.  I use this drive for storing the original footage copied from the SD card as well as the clips I end up using to compile the final footage.  I keep folders for each event within parent folders called “GoPro Originals” and “GoPro Converted”.

Naturally, the first step for these videos is to get out and shoot some footage!  The first step once I’m home is to simply create the event folder in “GoPro Originals” and copy each video file from the SD Card to this new folder.

NotesVLCOne thing about using a GoPro (or any camera, really) for fishing is that you’ll generally have the camera rolling for long periods of time since you’ll never know when that next hero shot will occur.  Unless you’re having the fishing trip of a lifetime, this means you’ll have a lot of footage to sort through with very little of that will actually be used for a highlight video.  For the purpose of scanning this footage, I simply open each GoPro original file in VLC Media Player and make my way through it relatively quickly.  You can do this by clicking through the time bar or adjusting the playback speed.  Once I find a section of footage I want to utilize, I write down both the start and end times on a piece of paper (I know, real geeky, right?).  After just a short period, I can make my way through 4-5 hours worth of footage.  Converting all footage instead of just the clips I need would take a few hours and clutter up the board in iMovie when actually editing.

CineformReadyToConvertNow that I’ve identified the clips I wish to use, it’s time to open the files in GoPro Cineform Studio which is free conversion and editing software provided by GoPro.  With this software, my goal is to convert the footage from the format used by the camera to a format that works better with my editing software.  The software is relatively simple.  First, I choose the video files in “GoPro Originals” that I need clips from.  For each file, I then use the time slider to find the beginning time for clip according to my paper notes.  I set this is my “In” location by clicking “In” on the screen or simply using the “i” on the keyboard.  I then click Play (or spacebar on the keyboard) to start the playback.  Once I reach the location that I noted to end the clip,  I set the “Out” location by clicking “Out” on screen or “o” on the keyboard.  I could use the slider to get to my noted out location for the clip, but sometimes I like to verify what I’ve written down and may adjust it a bit on the fly.  I then set the filename for this particular clip and the location I want to save it to, which will be an event-specific folder in “GoPro Converted”.  Additionally, I’ll click the “Advanced Settings” button and choose high quality from the settings menu.  Once that is complete, click “Add clip to conversion list”. Repeat these steps for each clip needed.  Once that is done, I simply click the “Convert” button and let my computer do its thing.

So far, everything I’ve done is essentially platform-independent, working in a similar fashion for both Macs and Windows-based PCs.  From there, I use a basic, consumer-grade video editing program, iMovie, which is only available for the Mac.  Many Windows users seem to have good luck with both Windows Live Movie Maker, a free application provided by Microsoft for consumer video editing.  Once I add the converted clips to the iMovie event, I create a new project and edit the video.  I won’t get into much detail on that, as there are plenty of tutorials for it.  I just wanted to detail the steps I take to get my GoPro footage ready for iMovie.

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