Modern Video Cameras Help Share Your Sailing Experiences

Yacht Camera GoPro Hero

Traditionally sailing experiences are associated with captivating tales of giant waves and sea monsters. Today due to modern waterproof cameras we have a chance to show off a reliable proof of sailing adventures and share the beauty and the powerful might of the sea. However, getting good video footage from a sailing trip is not as easy as it might seem. The guide below will help you get the most from your sailing footage and make those jaw-dropping films.

Camera Types and Recommendations

Numerous waterproof cameras are offered for sale these days, so it is not easy to find the one that suits your needs best. The most versatile cameras are in the GoPro Hero series and they are really good at capturing beautiful images as long as they are used properly. However they all have one serious drawback. You won't be able to see the image in your shot without the Wi-Fi link to your smartphone or an LCD screen added to your device. Still modern GoPros feature powerful lenses with the wide angle. They can capture the action in the general direction you point the camera, but make sure you position these cameras up close to the action because when they are far from the object they fail to capture important details.
Today some new waterproof pocket cameras can shoot good quality videos as well. These include cameras capable of 720p HD video, but you will need to purchase several large SD memory cards to store your videos.
Also you can shoot HD videos with the latest smartphone. Since storage on smartphones is quite limited, consider taking shorter clips and make sure you download them to your laptop soon. You can get some really great shots with your smartphone. To protect your phone from water damage you can place it in a fully waterproof, submersible case.

Mounting Your Camera

Yacht Camera GoPro Hero

Once you have chosen the right camera for you, the next step is finding the best place for shooting videos. Of course, you can hold the camera in your hands, but mounting your camera will enable you to shoot really dramatic shots and be included in the video.
Mounting systems in the GoPro cameras will let you adapt the camera to various surfaces. However, keep in mind that the adhesive-backed pads in the camera attachment system can fail to perform well in the pitching, rolling and wet conditions. It would be much safer to use the tripod adapter or a full cage that you can purchase in any hardware store. Plus, the rail mounts in the GoPro are a bit fragile and the noncaptive nuts may often get lost. Make sure you protect a tripod adapter or cage from UV and be careful when you mount and demount it.

Cameras typically have a tripod socket on the bottom, which is also a 1/4-20 thread screw. So you can mount the camera anywhere you can put a 1/4-20 bolt and this will open new possibilities. For example, you can easily fit a 1/4-20 thread screw on the end of a long pole, or an insert that goes into your boat hook. Or consider putting these screws in key vantage points on your rails or lifelines, on the bow pulpit looking aft, or on the dinghy transom. After mounting the camera at the right angle, you must back the nut against the camera body to snug it up. This will ensure that the camera won't spin while the boat moves and you will be able to easily adjust the angle.

How to Make Good Video

Consider making a plan of the story you're going to shoot before you actually press the record button. You may include such moments as freeing the mooring or weighing anchor. Instead of just capturing beautiful sunsets or sunrises try to forecast the important scenes like sighting land after a long passage, or the advancing squall line before the storm hits, and get the camera ready to catch the action. By thinking in advance of what you really want to shoot and by filming supporting content that will introduce the subject, you will make your video story stand out.

Or you may "lead" the scene by first filming something which is not very important before focusing your camera close on the main subject of the shot. For example, you may first shoot the bow wave of your boat, then the beautiful turbulent water before you actually point your camera to the shark swimming near the boat. Such transitions add a refined feel to your videos.

However, sometimes showing abrupt sequence of subjects makes sense. This technique is used to create a feeling of intensity and edginess.

The advantage of using the GoPros is that they can be placed very close to the action and they still ensure incredible results. The wide-angle lens in such a camera makes the subject seem larger than life. And you may wear the camera while steering, swimming and going aloft.

Finally, don't forget about "B roll", an extra footage like you at the steering wheel, kids reading in their beds, cooking dinner, or the wake of the rudder. It will help show what life aboard is like and is an important background of the story. These ordinary events help make something truly significant stand out more dramatically.

Putting the Story Together

Putting your footage into a video is a time consuming task, especially if you are assembling the footage from different clips or worse from different cameras. But with the latest software editing it can be very simple and fun. The following tools will make putting your video together an enjoyable and fun experience.
Apple Mac users should rely on iMovie. This tool is not only quite affordable and very powerful but also easy to use and is capable of creating decent quality movies. If you've never used iMovie before, consider checking the tutorials to learn how to use it. In addition, iMovie features some movie templates that add cinematic "intros" and "credits" in your video, so it will look just like a commercial movie trailer.
If your laptop supports Windows we recommend using Corel VideoStudio Pro. Although VideoStudio Pro is a bit more difficult to learn than iMovie, it will let you make great videos and the time spent to master it is well worth the effort.
The easiest way to make a movie is on an iPad with Apple's iMovie for iPad software. This tool is fun and straightforward, and is extremely easy to do. It guarantees several hours of sheer fun instead of frustration.

Tricks for Creative Shots

The tips below will help make your footage stand out:

  • Fly your camera up the mast. You just need to tie the boat hook to a halyard like a pigstick with the camera on top.
  • When you enter or leave the harbor consider filming your boat from the dinghy. Dropping the anchor will also make a dramatic shot (we recommend getting within several yards of the bow as the anchor drops).
  • On a sunny day when the water is clear you can film the boat from underwater while diving.
  • Catch sparkles and reflections by shooting with the subjects backlit or sidelit by the sun. Keep in mind that shade on your main subjects can turn them to be black against the bright background.
  • Use multiple cameras to shoot the same event from different angles. This will make your video more interesting.