Hero3+ Black Edition Music Bundle
A near-perfect solution for capturing quality drum videos from any vantage point.
We drummers have tried everything we can think of to record ourselves, whether in individual practice, in band rehearsal, or on the gig. For me, it started with a cassette recorder that captured only audio, and the sound was never that good. I eventually began looking for something better. Itried a lot of devices, recording to many different types of media, always looking for the best quality and features available for a decent price. For me, for now at least, the subject of this review is the culmination of that search. If you watch videos on the Internet, you’ve seen this little camera in action, mounted to everything and subjected to all manner of abuse. Now drummers have mounting options too!
The GoPro HERO3+ Black Edition Music Bundle comes with everything you need to start recording high-quality audio and video with a minimum of effort. The kit includes the GoPro HERO 3+ Black Edition camera, a mounting frame, and six mounts: two instrument mounts that use a sticky adhesive that leaves no marks once removed, one mic stand mount, a tabletop mount that’s part of the camera’s packaging, a flexible gooseneck for positioning the camera in tight spaces, and a heavy-duty clamp with a soft, non-marring grip that allows you to attach the camera to anything from .25″ to 2″ in diameter, like stands and drum hoops. You can put this camera just about anywhere on or around your drumkit with the mounting gear provided.
What stands out the most to me about GoPro is its large and still growing selection of mounting options. You’re limited only by your creativity. Here’s an example. While the clamp that comes with this bundle will accommodate most hardware, I found that it was too large for some of my stands with small-diameter tubing. GoPro sent me a handlebar mount, and the problem was solved immediately. I was also able to record a gig from my perspective, using a chest mount that’s fittingly named Chesty. I didn’t have the guts to go on stage with a camera attached to my head, but GoPro has a number of cranial mounting options available as well, if you’re interested.
The light, rugged, waterproof GoPro camera has a good wide-angle, low-distortion lens, and it packs a lot of features into a diminutive frame. I experienced excellent performance in low-lighting conditions, which is a real plus, considering the dark stages on which we tend to play.
Recording at 1080p (1920×1080 at 60fps), I got about ninety minutes of footage on the included 32GB MicroSD card (video resolution goes up to 4096×2160). The 12MP camera also takes crisp still shots and can be used as a super-wide-angle point-and-shoot. (There’s no viewfinder, but an LCD touchscreen is available.) The camera has a burst rate of thirty frames per second.
Time Lapse Mode enables shots at intervals from one every half second to one each minute. You can also select continuous auto-shooting at three, five, or ten frames per second for as long as the shutter release button is pressed.
One nice feature is Auto Low Light Mode, which automatically adjusts the camera sensor’s sensitivity to darker conditions. SuperView puts the camera in a super-wide-angle mode, giving the user what the company calls “the world’s most immersive wide-angle perspective.”
These features, as well as exposure compensation and low-light sensitivity adjustments, are selected by navigating the menu with two buttons. The camera also comes equipped with built-in Wi-Fi, enabling you to control it remotely from a smartphone with the free GoPro app. (A Wi-Fi remote is available as well.)
With all the features turned on, the GoPro is a bit of a power vampire, so you’ll want to keep it turned off when it’s not in use. This is especially true of the Wi-Fi setting. Also, future models would benefit from audio-input level adjustment. The mic clipped a bit while the camera was on the chest mount.
The Micro USB and HDMI inputs allow for charging, external power, attachment of a 3.5 mm microphone, and connection to such devices as computers and smart TVs. To edit what you shoot and turn it into a smaller file for the Internet, there’s GoPro Studio—a free program available on the company website. It comes with a sleek, straightforward layout with enough features to create quality video content. I was able to move files from the camera to my MacBook and then edit and export the finished product to the Internet in very little time.
The street price for the GoPro HERO3+ Black Edition Music Bundle is $399.99. Given that price and all of the features, you have little excuse not to promote yourself and your playing with quality sound and video.
With the included clamp and gooseneck and mounted to a mic stand
With Chesty, the chest mount, and with Auto Low Light Mode turned on
by Nick Amoroso