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Power management strategies

From: Shooting with the GoPro HERO: Car and Motorcycle Mounts

Video: Power management strategies

One of the things Jim, we planned for today that I

Power management strategies

One of the things Jim, we planned for today that I think is really important for these styles of shoots is power management. The GoPro cameras do drain pretty quickly, it's a really small battery. What sort of runtimes are you seeing when you're shooting with GoPros? >> Well, it can be over an hour. It really depends sometimes on your accessories. You know, if you're running with one of these little LCD monitors on the back, whether it's cold out. >> If you're using the wi-fi settings. >> Yeah, all that stuff takes more power. So you really have to think ahead of time about what the shots are you know and how long they might need to be for you to get the little piece that you want.

>> And to make sure that this goes easier, I've got a couple of suggestions that should help you out. The first is, is make sure you have at least 2 spare batteries for each camera. This way one's on the charger, one's in the camera, and one is in your pocket, so you don't lose any downtime. I'm sure you've been on set, Jim, where like a camera goes dead, and then someone has to go run and find a battery and that just really interrupts the flow, doesn't it? >> Yeah, I mean that's sort of planning one on one you really want to have things, I mean this stuff is small so you should be able to keep a bunch of accessories on your body, you know, to plan for something when you're in some precarious position where you want to be putting these cameras in the first place because that's what is more exciting and you don't want to be running back to the car or you know, running back to some other place that's not there wasting valuable time.

>> And one of the other things that I often bring, in fact we've got like 6 of the on set today, are external battery packs. The good news is that these cameras can charge up over USB. I've just got a battery pack here. When I turn that on, it's got 2 ports. So it's going to be super easy in between takes or when we're experimenting to just plug a camera in. I don't even need wall power. I could recharge the camera with the battery that's in there. In fact, if you're putting a camera in a place where it's not easily accessible, don't you sometimes just tether a battery pack to it? >> Yeah if you can, I mean, sometimes this is not possible, but if you can, if you can have an external pack, it finding a place to mount that just at the same as the camera is something you have to consider.

You know, and you also need to consider, let' say the housing that you are putting the camera, because usually you have to run a cable or a line to the camera to connect that power source up. So it sort of results in other factors that you need to think about when you are thinking of your camera position. >> Yeah, actually that did have a ripple effect just on this shoot, we switched several of our GoPros to the hard cases that were the skeleton case, that essentially have cut outs on the side that would allow us to plug in power cords, so we wouldn't constantly have to take the cameras out, because every time you take a camera out of a mount, and back in, you could ruin the shot.

Another thing that's a unique strategy that you might not have thought about is that cars essentially have power sources built in, right? Many cars these days have USB ports or you can use the cigarette lighter with an adapter. Couldn't you power the camera right off the car itself? >> Yeah. Well, the internal camera positions inside the car, yeah. I mean, it might be a little more difficult outside. But it's, you know sometimes it's not just about, you know, what battery to use or what power supply to use. Sometimes it's about, you know planning for the fact that you can't, that you have to rely on these.

I mean, if I put a camera like this on the outside wing of a plane and the flight is over an hour, well, we're not changing batteries. So it's not just about using a bigger battery, sometimes you gotta be a little more creative to figure out how you can keep rolling, and you know, staggering multiple cameras might be one way of managing power requirements. >> Now remember, it all balances out to making sure that you keep everything in mind. Whether you are more concerned about the duration of the shot or the quality of the shot, the frame rate, the frame size, all intercuts with battery life.

If the camera's are accessible, what sort of power strategies. These are the things you need to figure out in advance. We put a lot of thought into this before the shoot. That's how we've got lots of batteries. We've got a production assistant, who whenever a battery comes out, she's going to be putting batteries on the charger. We don't ever want to lose the shot, and I think a good idea before we actually go out and roll is just to make sure that every single camera has got a full charge, right? You don't want to have them at different charge levels, because that's going to affect your coverage. >> Sure. I mean, and the other thing about that too is, I mean, these go bad right, at some point? So another way of managing your power requirements is a simple labeling system for these little batteries or all of your power, power supplies because as they get older, they're going to cut out sooner.

So you want to know which ones are the newest ones, that are going to last the longest. You might place those on the most important camera positions. And then you know, you want to keep using the older ones until you can't anymore, but you will assign them a lower priority camera, or they're further down the list. But having just a simple number on them so you can keep track of which ones are, are the best performing power supplies. >> Alright, I'm getting excited, ready to start shooting, there's only one more thing to talk about and that is safety. So when we come back, we're just going to walk you through a couple of ideas to keep your gear, your crew and subject perfectly safe.

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