Testing out the GoPro sports camera at Moonlight Hoops

We went 1-1 this week in hoops. We had five players for Tuesday night but managed to stay in the game, fighting back from a 20-point deficit to lose 44-35. Wednesday night we had six players and won something like 64-35.

I used the Wednesday game as an opportunity to finally try out the GoPro camera.  Several months ago we got a Hero3 black edition for the department. It’s very cool looking, but a totally foreign device to me — which is my way of saying I was totally intimidated by it. So it’s been sitting in my office except for when of my students borrowed it for her capstone project.

Let me just say upfront: the video is 3:45, which is too long for the average viewer but won’t be long enough for the guys on the team. So if you’re watching to see how the camera performed, you can quit after about 30 seconds.

Some thoughts about the camera:
As you might expect, with just one angle of view— super wide — it’s kind of a one-shot device. You’ll find yourself growing tired of this basketball angle very quickly. I took it down after the half and tried shooting some b-roll but I was frustrated with the extreme wide angle lens. The camera is incredibly small and light yet yields a quality image.

It’s not real intuitive, though. I tried readying the manual, but it’s only available online and in it’s original 3 1/2″ size, it’s a challenge. (The company is sending me a printed version.) But once you understand its interface, it’s very straighforward.

The first hurdle was deciding where to mount the camera.  The GoPro is designed for extreme sports photography, therefore it comes with mounts designed to permanently attach to things like surf boards and helmets or temporarily to things like handlebars. A tripod mount is not one of the standard accessories. But the unit comes with a 4’ square base plate mount, so I used that and secured it to the backboard support with duct tape.

Before heading out on Tuesday I had watched videos by Tony Lee Glenn, GoPro Hero3 Black Edition Review – Pros and Cons, a three video series. As a GoPro novice, I learned a lot from them. A couple of things I need to learn are how long the battery lasts and how much video you can get from a 64mb memory card. I also need to find out if you can change the field of view and what the various settings do.

In terms of the basketball players, pay attention to the first play. We’re the white T-shirts and we win the jump ball and charge right to the basket. Jevon passes off to Demetrie, who is right under the basket, but he DRIBBLES OUT TO THE 3-POINT LINE! You can hear me screaming in the background, “Don’t do that!” He floats an airball up there and turns it over. **sigh**

On the other side of the coin, you’ll see Kevin making a lot of plays — he was on fire this game, scoring 22 points.

You’ll also see their idea of what a point guard does — he brings the ball in on one end of the court and drives all the way to the offensive basket, never passing it off. Plays? No, we don’t have no stinkin’ plays. It’s streetball, y’all, 24/7.

But they’re seeing that selfish play is costing them points and games. You’ll see more passing to open players, including a funny part with Demetrie dancing underneath the basket but no one throws it to him. (:27 mark.)

You’ll also see coaching from the referees, some good sportsmanship and some not so good taunting.

Clearly, with the GoPro and basketball coaching, I’m learning as I go.

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