Shoot Snowmobile Video with a GoPro Hero (Jim Tucker)
Published on Friday, January 10, 2014 in News & Updates, Snowmobile Tech

Want a better way to capture photos and video of your snowmobiling adventures? Read on shutterbugs as this article will review a sharp tool to shoot your very own sledding action.

Taking pictures with a standard five-megapixel camera became a chore over the years for many reasons, so your intrepid reporter was looking for something new to cover this task. I had been looking at the array of helmet cams out there and thought this would be a way to really get lifelike action seen only on the big screens at movie theaters.

A quick check revealed two key players here, the Contour and GoPro. I selected GoPro as the weapon of choice for its ease of use, terrific YouTube tutorials and available options. After plunking down my hard earned cash ($300 U.S.) for a Hero2 Motorsports Edition, I proceeded to open the box and examine the contents. (Please note that the Hero2 is now replaced by the Hero3, which has a number of upgrades but the basic camera package is similar.)

Go Pro video snowmobile helmet

I chose the Motorsports edition because it came with many options to mount the camera, such as on handlebars, helmets, hoods and the like. The sticky marine-grade 3M adhesive mounts are tough as nails and so far have not dislodged, no matter what the application. I won’t bore you with specifications like weight, length and height, but suffice it to say, the camera itself is small, fits in the palm of my hand, has a waterproof plastic case, and is easy to use.

The unit comes with a USB to mini connector so you can upload to your computer and charge the battery. It also has a 12-volt car adapter that plugs into my sled’s “cigarette adapter” to charge while riding. There are adhesive mounts and a number of other adapters to round out the deal, all in a tidy little package.

After a short charge cycle of about an hour I mounted the camera on my helmet with the supplied adhesive mount and off I went. The first tripping point was aiming the GoPro. One has to really adjust the camera at just the right angle to capture the trail perfectly. The supplied clamp loosens up sometimes which changes the angle and makes for some great video shots of snow. Bogus! Okay, how do you know what the correct angle is? Unfortunately one has to take video and see if its any good: basic trial and error.

There’s an app for that! Remote control of the camera is possible with an iPhone, Android or Windows Phone. A really nice feature that I didn’t get to test as it requires a WiFi Remote. This device attaches to the handlebar and you control the camera from there. The accessory is appealing but I balked at paying an additional $80. I don’t know about you but I don’t like to purchase expensive accessories to make a product work after I just plunked down mucho dinero for the device itself.

Using the GoPro video camera

However, I did buy two accessories that I did deem necessary: A 32GB SD card, so that I can shoot a lot of video, and an extra battery. The battery only lasts a half-day in very cold weather, so a quick swap at lunchtime gets me through the day.

After riding, I upload the video to my computer, and viola, a day’s sledding captured on video. I chose the erase after upload feature, so the SD card can be reused again and again. The video was sharp and enjoyed by the whole gang on the computer’s “big screen.” There’s a supplied cable adapter to connect from computer to TV but the television must have USB capability. The camera also has a still-shot mode so you can take it out of the waterproof case and use it like a regular camera. Nice!

I’ve had the camera for two years now and it’s worked well with just a few minor glitches. One is the loose angle mount discussed above and a broken camera mount. The new Hero3 now comes with the WiFi remote standard, which mitigates the pain of buying extra accessories, but the price reflects the upgrade. Despite the minor glitches, the GoPro camera system is still a game-changer in the world of photography and video. This writer considers it a must-have on any epic adventure. Don’t forget to watch my YouTube Channel Teamgreen71111 for GoPro videos shot last year.

The GoPro Hero Rated 4 out of 5 carbides for its stellar video quality, excellent construction, and optional accessories.

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