Hands-free POV is kinda hard to get right (action cam)

I tried with a head thing and that didn’t go well as the video was too far away to get good resolution of the frogs and fish. But if I zoom in the FOV is often too narrow and I can’t ever keep them in frame.

So I tried the chest mounted thingie and that was much better, but I either get the front of my body in the shot (which isn’t good looking down my shorts), or once again the fish and frogs are out of view.

Anyone do this kind of thing successfully? Have any tips?

Jeff, I’ve used these quite a few times for filming, and yeah you’ve discovered the key problem: most of them use wide angle POV which works great in some situations, but isn’t much good if you are looking at something small. My GoPro is really ancient (one of the original units!) but you can set three levels of zoom, that’s about it. Later models that I’ve worn have tended to look pretty good, but then I haven’t been looking for frops. What kind of camera is it?

Have you considered using one attached to a stick, so you can hold it close to the action and get things filling the frame? I know it defeats the purpose of having hands-free, but you might need to mix it up a bit. You could also wrap one around the back of your hand, so while pointing it right at the frogs you can still use your fingers.

Thanks for responding to this.

I have a GoPro Hero 8. I got it for a huge discount 2 weeks ago, so I was really happy to finally have something that would let me record frop bog stuff on the fly. I do have a stick I could use, the problem however is I need both hands free most of the time.

In the past I’ve tried holding my cellphone camera while I try to record but I so often need the hand holding it, things never turned out well. I guess if I could find a way to keep things in frame while I put it down… maybe with a built in tripod?

The hand thing you mention, is this what you’re suggesting?

I’d been looking at that. Not sure how well focus would be maintained.
One of the major problems with the gopro is that the screen is so tiny it’s hard for my eyes to see if I’ve framed the scene. A week ago I did a frog feeding with a female that always jumps up onto the raised bed and asks for food. It was such a perfect video because I captured her leaving the winter bog hopping over to the raised bed, hopped up there, and then turning around, looking up at me, and asking for food. I narrated the entire thing as it happened, and excitedly came back inside to review the footage. The entire 10 minute video, except for maybe 30 seconds was out of frame. I was just heart-broken. Getting that kind of opportunity is so rare and I blew it.

It’s not you, Jeff, it’s just that there isn’t a lens that will cover every situation. You’re trying to shoot something that would normally take a dedicated cameraperson, so these action cameras are a compromise that use wide angles that work for human eye POV-style shots. So for something small you need to get really close to see the action, and if you get too close it will distort them slightly.

But it’s all quite possible with practice. Set different zoom levels on the camera, and then practice with a toy dinosaur or something, you’ll start to learn what angles and distances work best. I think that hand strap might work well for you, because you can use both hands without dropping the camera, or you can concentrate on camera work when you only need one hand free.

Realising you missed the shot entirely… uh huh, been there, done that. :) The more you practice, the better you’ll get.

Thanks, I like the idea of using a stuffed animal for practice inside. That will make it much more comfortable to do and will be quick and easy to sit back and review. Outside where it’s a hundred bagillion degrees at times it’s not so fun.

Lookin forward to seeing the results Jeff!