GoPro filming continuously for 5 hours solution

GoPro Filming the evidence

So part of the brief for a recent film project was to record continuously for up to 5 hours without the possibility of being able to change media or battery and with the camera left unattended for that entire time.

GoPro Hero 4 Black

GoPro Hero4 BlackOK this is an obvious choice, I could of used a DSLR but there would always be the risk that its desirability would make it too attactive to a thieve or the curious. Besides a DSLR in the hands of a 1st AC could be better purposed to capture B-roll for the main documentary.

All it took was a tiny bit of additional expenditure and a bit of creative thinking to come up with a working solution.

GoPro Hero 4 Skeleton CaseI bought a skeleton case for the GoPro, it cost less than £10 and worked perfectly for the job although the one I bought popped its catch just at the crucial time and almost caused me to miss the start of the event, in fact I had to delay the start until the camera was reinserted and secured.

The skeleton case is identical to the standard case but with cutouts to access the HDMI and USB ports on the right hand side. I needed this so I could attach a USB power source in order to run the GoPro for the entire event some 5 hours in all.

Power Supply

The original idea was to use a mains powered USB charger to supply the GoPro, which was fine for the internal filming but suddenly the brief changed and part of the filming was shifted to an external location in the middle of a field.

Portable Charger and Power SupplyThis in the end became a blessing as I dropped the idea of mains power and went directly to a battery option instead. The internal batteries on a GoPro from my experience depending on resolution used can be as little as 20 minutes so no way would that work for continuously recording 5 hours. For many years now I’ve used a backup portable charger and power supply for iPads and iPhones but I have found these extremely useful to have in the camera kit, this one comes with a built in torch as well.

Complete solution

The GoPro was fitted with a 64gb card and settings to maximise recording time, so 720p and narrow field of view. This gave a potential recording time of 7 hours of continuous footage. Now why didn’t I use a time lapse mode and save the worry of battery or card running out of power/space? simple the condition were set by the Guinness World Records and these state continuous recording and any battery/media changes have to be filmed/recorded separately, which of course we couldn’t do as the camera was to be unattended.

GoPro on standThe GoPro was mounted on top of a 3m Manfrotto lighting stand using a ball joint connection, with the USB plugged into the portable power supply that hung from one of the stands locking screws in a small draw string bag. With the stand at its full extension the GoPro was hardly visible and was certainly unobtrusive in it’s operation.

The Final Video

I’ve speeded it up because who really wants to watch 5 hours of people lining up to register and then being counted into the field where the World Record attempt was being held. Did we achieve the World Record? well it’s unofficial as I write this but yes we did 🙂

The Full Documentary

This is a work in progress of which this World Record was just a part, the final film will include the activities on the day with interviews with the organisers and the people working hard to eradicate Polio from the World.