Basic, Better, Best – Action Cameras


By Chris Pollitt

Media is very much a huge part of our lives these days. It wasn’t so long ago, for example, that the internet was a big, slightly weird thing full of nerds. It still is full of nerds, of course, but all nerds for all things. It’s become the place where we go to find information on our passions, and where we can meet and talk with likeminded people. We also consume a huge amount of content through the internet. Gone are the days of YouTube, for example, being a place for music videos or clips of cats falling off things. Instead, YouTube is now a hotbed of rich content, produced by passionate individuals without a need to satisfy a group of advertisers. TV used to be the big dream, but now, if you can build a following on YouTube, it’s honestly got more clout than being on the box. The content there is given the freedom to be more specialist, more focused and as a result, more engaging.

GoPro Hero 9

But what has all this got to do with action cameras? Well, quite simply it boils down to the fact that we can all produce content and put it out there for fellow petrolheads to enjoy. Filming working on a car is easy, as is talking to the camera about said car. Filming the car in motion, however, is an altogether more tricky affair. You need a camera that can get the action, but without impacting on overall quality and viewer enjoyment. And while the the world of cameras has of course evolved a lot over the years, the world of action cameras has seen incredible growth and with it, huge leaps forward in their ability. You don’t need to be Spielberg, either. Most action cameras are simple to use, often pairing with phones along with the traditional computer connectivity. Basically, there has never been a better time to start making your own car content.

The Evolution of action cameras 

The action camera world is very much because of GoPro, which is a take on ‘go professional’. The company came about after the founder, Nik Woodman, was left underwhelmed while trying to get some surfing pictures in Australia. He founded GoPro with the idea of producing a small, versatile camera that anyone could use, and that would deliver exceptional quality pictures and video. And that’s exactly what he did, as GoPro soon became the industry standard against which all action cameras are measured.

Over the years, the quality has increased massively, with 4K video now being the norm. These small cameras are the most popular cameras on the market, outselling camcorders and traditional cameras. They are used in film and TV to capture the action, but the best bit is that the ones used in movies are the same ones you can buy. They’re accessible. It’s what makes them so popular. And of course, with the popularity comes the rivals, with companies like Sony, Olfi, DJI and more all now offering brilliant, affordable, action-ready cameras.

Basic – Your Phone

mobile phone camera, bmw, bmw e34 m5, e34 m5, m5

The first thing you need to do is see how you get on with filming, and a great way to start is with your phone. The reality is that people don’t buy phones for their ability to make calls, they buy them for the camera. As such, you may well already have a full video crew in your pocket. We have a Samsung Galaxy that boasts 8k video, stabilisation, recording modes and five different cameras. They are incredible bits of kit. Pair your phone up with a decent car mount, or a gimbal like the DJI OM range, and you’ll be well on your way to delivering some seriously snazzy footage.

Better – DJI Osmo Pocket

Dji osmo pocket, action camera, action cameras,

While we’re talking about the DJI range, it’s worth considering the Osmo Pocket. Impossibly small, this incredible 4K camera can go anywhere with you. It has full three-axis stabilisation, you can pair it with your phone and use that to control it, the quality of the footage is incredible and it boasts all kinds of modes and features like adjustable focus and the like. Footage is recorded onto an SD card or onto your phone, and there is even DJI software to help you enhance, edit and better perfect your films. It’s an astonishing bit of kit.

Best – GoPro Hero 9

Finally, we have the daddy of action cameras – the GoPro Hero 9. There is a ten coming out, so watch out for deals as the Hero 9 is thought to see some sort of offer price. And it will be worth every penny. Front and rear cameras, 5k video, 20 megapixel photos, 1080p streaming if you need it and a range of more fixings, fittings, adapters and cases than you could ever need. If you want to do car interior filming, this will do it. If you want to film under the car, you can. If you want to film outside of the car, you can mount it via suction pads to the bonnet, roof or windows. The only thing you need is imagination, the GoPro Hero 9 will do the rest.

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