As action cameras become more compact and easier to use it is no wonder that more and more people are taking advantage of these great action cameras. There are plenty of camera styles to choose from but there is more to taking great action cam footage than having a great camera.
The first mistake that a lot of action cam users make is assuming that their footage is going to look like a GoPro commercial. That may not necessarily be the reality of what your action cam footage is going to look like, but that does not mean that your footage won't look amazing. Many action cam buyers make the assumption that because it is a small durable camera that they can just stick it on to any flat surface and start shooting footage. Yes, you can do this but your shots are likely going to be extremely shaky and hard to read. The reason for this is because most action cameras out there are small and compact so that they can be more versatile for recording action footage. In making something so small you may lose some of the features that larger cameras offer, one of which is stability. Larger cameras offer a variety of stabilizing features and when you start jamming all of the technology of larger cameras into a smaller body somethings are going to suffer. So yes, you can stick your action camera on a surface and get to recording but you really have to recognize that shake is an issue you are going to encounter.
In order to correct some stabilization issues that can result in a shaky video is to invest in a mount of some type as that can really lessen the amount of shake and vibrations that impact your camera. You can also go low tech and securely strap your camera down using tape or straps of some sort. The goal is to make the camera as stable as possible to lessen the instability. A great way to increase stability is to use a mounting pole as it minimizes shakes and movements that you will get when using the action camera as a handheld camera or sticking it to something. You can also take some time to learn the fundamentals of using a handheld camera, the better you understand your camera the better you will be able to use it for exactly what you want.
Another way to get better action cam footage is to really think about your angles and your approach to shooting different shots. As action cameras usually have wide angle lenses in order to catch as much action as possible you really should consider what you are filming and how you want to film it. If you have one of the more current action cameras then you may find that you have an option to narrow the fields of view from wide to medium or narrow. Using the narrow or medium range can really improve your shots as the lens is extra wide anyway. When using a camera that has an extra wide lens you can sometimes get a weird effect along the edges of the footage that causes it to be distorted. By narrowing the field of vision you are improving the way that your footage is going to look. It is also important to think about the angle that you want to get your shot from or the point of view, as well as the composition of your shot. If you are a fan of still photography than this may help you in the planning and visualizing what you want your shots to look like. Remember a camera is a camera no matter whether you are taking a still shot or an action shot, lighting, composition, and point of view are all things to consider.
A few other tips to keep in mind to make your action camera footage golden are adding a filter, checking your settings, and context and editing. All of these things can really help you take your action footage to a different level. When it comes to filters there are several options that you can purchase based on what type of camera you are using, but red filters help with underwater filming, and a neutral density filer can help with overexposure in brightly lit shoots. Check out your settings when you are setting up your camera as most of the time they can be left on auto. You can mess with the white balance to help with shooting in dimly or brightly lit areas. When it comes to your editing and context try to keep it exciting and change up your settings, angles, and shots as this will really improve your video content.