HOW TO... Interview with Michael Mann co-creator of the Jessop’s GoPro Hero course

GoPro Sky Divers

Here at Camera Jabber we like to get the lowdown on the latest kit, but as well as testing all the new cameras and accessories ourselves we love to hear what others are thinking and of course doing.

Last month I was sent a message from Jessop’s in the UK about a new course they’re running. It’s all about using the GoPro range of action cameras which all sounded very exciting, we covered it with a brief story here Jessop’s launches GoPro Academy course.

Having been an avid GoPro user for a number of years and having met some of the GoPro crew and countless other GoPro enthusiasts I was interested in seeing what the guys running this Jessop’s course thought of action cameras.

As always I like to pick up a few new tricks to getting more from my kit and better footage so this seemed like an ideal opportunity.  I was lucky enough to catch up with Michael Mann, who is a videographer at the Jessops Academy and, more importantly, the co-designer of the course.

What are GoPros and what can they do?

GoPros are compact and versatile lifestyle cameras. They were originally designed for taking photos of surfing from the water, and since the products have evolved to be extremely durable imaging platforms. GoPros can shoot up to 4K video and capture high quality photos.


Why choose a GoPro over a compact camera or your phone?

A GoPro has a number of advantages over compacts or smart phones. First of all, the GoPros are significantly less intrusive due to their small size, and as seen with the latest generation, they can be waterproof without additional casings. The lens system you find in GoPros allows for an immersive point of view which is much wider than the alternatives can provide.

Are GoPros just for extreme sports enthusiasts

Whilst the company was founded around the surfing culture and the brand is synonymous with viral videos of extreme sports, the cameras can be used in everyday situations. Over the years, the cameras and mounting systems have developed in such a way that they are both user friendly and rugged, making them just as suitable for playing with the kids at the park, or attached to a motorbike.

Which GoPro would you recommend for families?

The Hero 5’s integrated touch screen makes it easily operated, even with one hand, making it very convenient when you have kids and a family. It also allows for instant playback to check that you captured your shot the way you want it.

The Hero5 has HD frame rates up to 120fps when do you recommend people to use this?

The high frame rate video is perfect for really capturing those moments that can be easily lost with the blink of an eye. My favourite example is taking a video of a dog once they get out of the water and shake themselves, the 120 frames per second will be 4 times slower in playback meaning you’ll have a memory in slow motion to share.

When do you use the app?

The Capture app is very much the extension of the GoPro system – it allows you to preview your framing on your phone screen, fine tune your settings, start and stop recordings, as well as download, trim and share your footage directly to your social media. The app is also linked to the GoPro community, showing you the Photo & Video of the Day to inspire your own daily adventures.

What options are there for editing?

The footage is recorded in standard video formats, so you can take footage directly into your chosen editing platform. If you are using your phone, there are two free apps to choose from: Quik & Splice. Quik is a streamlined editing app which takes the downloaded clips, and then trims and sets them to a track from the included music library for immediate high quality sharing. Splice is a more in-depth editing platform, which allows for a greater degree of control over your edits for social media.

Why do I need a voice activated camera?

There are many situations where you have your hands full. My first experience with the Hero 5 was on an afternoon cycle, where it was very handy to control the camera (which was on my helmet) without removing my hands from the handlebars. The added versatility that this feature provides makes the Hero 5 even less intrusive to your chosen activity than ever before.

Who is the Jessops GoPro course designed for?

This course has been designed by myself and one of GoPro’s own dedicated product trainers. We developed this course to appeal to anybody who wants to get the most out of their GoPro. Whether you have just picked up your first Hero Session, or have upgraded to the Hero 5. This course will help you to fully understand your camera as well as the mounting options, ensuring you capture the best content you can.

What will I learn?

– The course is based around the camera basics, and a full run through of the modes and functions, but it’s not just a slideshow of “here’s this button, there’s this mode”, it’s an in depth look at each function and the potential situations you may encounter. The course will also explore mounting options, editing and sharing.

What tip would you give to anyone wanting to buy a GoPro?

The best piece of advice I can give is the same I was given when I got my first Hero 3, take it everywhere, as well as always having it charged as you never know what you might want to capture. This advice is even more applicable now as all the current models have the One Touch capture mode, meaning all you have to do is hit record, even if the camera is off at the time.

What is your top GoPro tip?

Don’t be afraid to experiment with angles and mounting, you may find a unique angle, or capture something quirky that’s unforgettable.

What is your best GoPro moment?

My best GoPro moments are from the skateboarding trips I take to Barcelona with my friends. Those clips and photos just capture the little details that we talk about for years to come, so it’s hard to pick a single best moment!

The course costs £119 – or half price when purchased with a GoPro Hero 5 Black or Hero 5 Session – and runs in London, Birmingham and Manchester.

To get the most out of the course, Jessops advises you’ll need one of the following GoProcameras: HERO5 Black, HERO5 Session, HERO4 Black, HERO4 Silver, HERO Session, HERO+ LCD, HERO+, HERO3+, HERO3 and HD HERO2 with Wi-Fi BacPac.

Click here for more information about the workshops.


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