By REGINE GONZALEZ
It’s a clear sunny day as you’re sitting in the small Cessna 182 aircraft strapped up to an instructor; it’s a perfect day for skydiving. You hear the engine of the plane roar and begin to taxi the runway. Butterflies in the pit of your stomach make you woozy as you feel the plane lift off the ground. Accelerating to 14,000 feet, the instructor turns on the small camera strapped to his wrist and films your reaction as they lift the doors of the plane and 120 mph winds smack you in the face. You crawl towards the edge, the earth is beneath you, and it’s time to fly. Suddenly the instructor lunges you forward into the sky and after a 15-second free fall the parachute launches and you’re soaring.
Landing on the ground, the instructor then unhooks you from the parachute and takes you to a computer, where he puts a memory chip in and allows you to experience the thrill all over again, watching the footage shot from a GoPro camera. Once he copies it onto a disk and hands it to you, you rush home to put the footage on Facebook.
We are all guilty of making social media an essential part of our lives. From Facebook to Twitter to snapping that perfect selfie, people can rarely go anywhere these days without sharing their every move with the world.
Scrolling down your newsfeed and seeing the same pictures of your friends smiling at the bar holding drinks in their hands, or posts about what someone had for dinner can get dull to look at. However, HD action videos have livened up the social media game over the past years and it is all thanks to the GoPro camera.
The versatile, compact, waterproof camera is known for its ability to capture HD-quality shots during extreme action videography. At an affordable cost of $200-$500 for different editions of cameras, its wide variety of accessories including a head strap, wrist strap, chest harness, etc., allow the camera to be physically attached to you while performing almost any stunt. In a GoPro outbreak, users have flooded the web with videos of their own adventures dating back to 2013, when a cumulative 2.8-years’ worth of GoPro video was uploaded and shared to the Internet, according to Wired.com.
“People want to see their life and adventures in first hand when looking back,” said GoPro Corporation sales representative Brian P.” It allows them to be creative and remember their most exciting moments.” With so many filming their action-packed lives, the GoPro corporation is worth $2.25 billion, according to Forbes Online.
“GoPro sales have more than doubled every year and have a 54% increase in revenue for the first quarter of 2015 compared to this time last year,” said Brian P.
As millions of people invest in the camera to share their shark swimming, skydiving and mountain bike experiences online, an action/adventure footage trend has emerged onto social media. Searching “#gopro” on any social media account will bring you to endless photos and videos of people in the midst of exhilarating adventures that range from base jumping to hiking with their dogs.
However, with more young people eagerly filming their adventurous lives, comes the question of whether users are truly enjoying the adventure or are just focused on filming for more “likes.” Are they indulging in the moment? Or are they just trying to make their lives seem more interesting?
With so many investing in the camera wanting to film their action packed lives, the GoPro corporation is worth $2.25 billion, according to Forbes Online, as of 2015. At just 40-years-old, its CEO and founder Nick Woodman is the highest-paid CEO in the country according to money.cnn.com.
With the July release of their lightest, smallest camera yet, the Hero 4 Session, and in addition to GoPro selling directly through their website, major electronic stores such as Bestbuy and Target have seen a rippling effect in their sales for the compact camera as well.”Our biggest sales for the camera are during Christmas,” said Best Buy portable electronics representative Charlene. “The selfie stick and head-strap mount are our best selling accessories.”
GoPro footage definitely racks in the Instagram love. Social media butterflies “Instafamous” for their GoPro footage are 19-year-old professional surfer and filmmaker Jay Alvarrez and his 18-year-old model girlfriend Alexis Ren.The sun-kissed couple travels to exotic destinations around the world filming HD videos of them skydiving, surfing and skateboarding with friends and posting them to Instagram.
“Jay and Alexa are relationship and life goals. Their GoPro videos make you feel like you’re on the journey and skydiving with them,” said sophomore Instagram user and fan of the couple Ola Gedzior. “Sometimes, though, I wonder if they’re ever able to put the camera down and just have fun in the beautiful places they travel to as oppose to documenting every moment of it to post online.”
Others have simply been inspired by GoPro filmmakers like Alvarrez and have emulated him amidst their own adventures, filming them and posting them online to inspire others.
When sophomore biology major Ronnie Gaynor steps onto a jet ski or dives beneath the crystal-blue seas of Aruba with his GoPro Hero4 Silver camera strapped to his chest, capturing the moments on camera is only an added luxury to the view.
“I want to see as many things as possible during my time on earth and that was inspired by photos that I saw online,” said Gaynor. “I realized how beautiful some places are and that the person behind the camera got to spend more than a single snapshot of a moment in that place. From then on, I wanted to see as much as I could. The trip, for me, is the accomplishment, not the fact that I was able to capture a crazy photo. The GoPro gives me the opportunity to document where I have been and post it online with the chance to inspire others as I have been.”
His videos show huge starfish, sailing at 80 mph, and him diving into crystal oceans abundant with different species of fish, revealing the true beauty of travel and exotic destinations.
The GoPro can be used for more than just travel purposes. Sophomore and public relations major Taylor Hoffman loves taking her GoPro Hero3 Black to extreme music festivals and prizes the convenience of the small camera.
“The best thing about the GoPro is that it’s so small and you can strap it on to you and not have to worry about holding it at all times so I forget I even have it and I get to enjoy myself while still documenting it all,” said Hoffman. “When I went to Ultra Music Festival in Miami with my best friends, being able to use my GoPro to document the amazing time we had was awesome and it made it even more worth it when we were able to sit down the night after we got home and rewatch and relive everything.”
Hoffman captures her favorite DJ’s at festivals from the eyes of being on someone else’s shoulders in the midst of a crowd of 5,000 people from all over the world. Fire shoots from the stage and the strobe lights go crazy. Looking back on experiences like these could be why the camera’s success goes way beyond the quality of its footage.
At the end of the day, GoPro videos seem to rack in likes because of the way followers admire the stunts and want to go out and create their own adventures. A natural born adventurer will go out and enjoy breathtaking moments whether they are documented are not, not for of social media fame.
“Whether I am in the middle of nowhere, in a new city, or jumping out of a plane, that place is entirely unique and to really get a feel for that place you need to pay attention and just observe. I am obviously not against using a GoPro but generally try to indulge myself in my surroundings before pulling out a camera to capture the moment, otherwise I may miss something,” Gaynor said.