I saw a question in my GoPro Enthusiasts Facebook group earlier this month from Megan, who wrote, “Just bought my first GoPro5! It came with a Floaty, Supercharger, and The Strap. Any recommendations on must-have accessories…”
Well, Megan, and anyone else wondering the exact same thing, it does depend a lot on what you plan to do with your GoPro but there are a few basics that you want to be sure and pick up if you're a brand new GoPro owner, no matter WHAT you plan on shooting.
This post and the others in this series is sponsored by VSDC. They asked me to help get the word out about their free video editing software, and I'm always game for bringing my audience new ideas for creating awesome GoPro videos and family movies, so of course, I said yes!
If there is one question I hear all the time, it's “what free video editing software can I use to edit my videos?” There are a handful of free video editor options out there for Mac and PC users, but one of them was recently retired by GoPro, and in its place, GoPro recommends PC users use VSDC. VSDC is a free video editing software and it's full-featured… meaning there is no trial period, no watermarks, and no usage limits on the free version.
In fact, VSDC came to me and asked if there was any way we could partner together to get the word out about their free video editor, knowing that video editing is a hot topic (especially among my audience of video and GoPro enthusiasts). So in this first installment in this three-part series, let's dive into getting started with editing your GoPro videos, mobile phone videos, or any kind of video, with VSDC.
When I started publishing weekly blog posts and videos in January 2015, I thought I knew what I was getting into. I knew a ton about the technical side of WordPress, a ton about keyword research and a ton about creating content. But I didn’t know that almost my entire audience growth would take place on YouTube. (more…)
Have you heard of my 30 Days of GoPro Series? I created it for GoPro newbies when the Hero5 Black came out, and it's way better than a user manual! There is a video for nearly any subject, and this week the topic is GoPro editing software! So what I'm talking about is GoPro editing software for your laptop or desktop computer. In a previous post, I gave you some recommendations for computers for video editing, and I want to be SUPER clear… we ARE talking about COMPUTERS… not mobile phones or tablets. I prefer and strongly advise you to use a computer and some real software, especially if you're new to editing GoPro videos. (more…)
Friends, Let's just call this a Casual Saturday post because “DIY Kitchen Remodel” is a little off-topic from my typical chatter here. Back in 2015, when this blog was just starting out, my husband and I renovated our completely disgusting, embarrassing kitchen. I didn't blog about it then for two reasons: 1) because this blog was too new to deviate from my niche topic of GoPro tips and tricks and I thought DIY kitchen renovation post would confuse my readers (or Google!) and 2) because I really didn't want people to see the “before” pictures!
Now that we've almost sold our home (kitchen included), I feel like it's now or never. Who would post a before and after from a home they used to own?! That's just as weird as a tech and video blogger/YouTuber writing about a kitchen remodel. Wait. Nevermind.
The “Before” Phase
We purchased this home knowing that it was a fixer-upper (before that was even a show), but I never–EVER –thought it would be SEVEN YEARS before we would begin to make improvements to our kitchen.
Actually, the kitchen itself only degraded during those seven years–we had knocked down a couple walls, ripped off some cabinets, had some electrical work done that created holes in the ceiling, and cut a big hole in the ceiling to investigate some water leaking from the second-floor bathroom.
To say that our kitchen was in rough shape by the time we demolished it… would be a lie. It was horrible and embarrassing.
Textured walls, an apartment-sized dishwasher (who knew that was a thing?!), and apartment-sized range (again… this is a thing?), almost zero cabinet space, horrible lighting… there was even a stackable washer and dryer in the kitchen for a while when we first moved in.
Here's a grainy pic from the appraisal before we moved in to give you an idea (this was before smart phones had cameras, guys!):
We did upgrade our fridge and range because, for a while, those were the only things we could really improve upon without starting a demo project.
Hey look, it's a cupboard designed for cookie sheets and cutting boards! No it's not, it's just a cupboard whose door had fallen off, guys.
The DIY Kitchen Remodel Phase
When it came time to finally remodel the kitchen, we decided to do as much of it ourselves as we could, and only hire out what was absolutely necessary.
The first thing we DIYed was the demolition. And it was BRUTAL. Our walls were not made of plaster and lathe, but not drywall either. It was like some kind of drywall 1.0 from back in the 1930s.
So tearing it out was messy, and it was heavy. I wish I had more pictures of this phase.
We hired out some electrical work, as well as all new sheetrock (including mud & sanding). Those were two jobs I just didn't want to learn, to be honest with you 🙂 I did paint though, and I have to say–it is an absolute pleasure to paint freshly built walls compared to other walls in our house. I know some people hate painting, but I kinda like it.
I also installed that there light fixture. 🙂
For the flooring, I picked out the lightest, neutralist, cheapest linoleum I could find. I chose to go the cheap route because we were on a budget, and the floor is pretty uneven in places (thanks, old house charm). So tile, laminate, or real hardwood floors were going to get finicky real quick. We had the floor installed professionally.
And after the floors went down, I started to install the base cabinets.
We ordered our cabinets from Lowes, and they're the least expensive shaker style cabinets I could find.
Funny story: I was going to order them from Home Depot, but when I went there to actually order and pay for them, they told me there was no one available for that department to take my order! That's about the quickest way to lose a sale! Off to Lowes I went…
Anyway, we didn't have a ton of wall space for cabinets, so installing them on our own wasn't a huge task.
I watched a LOT of YouTube videos to make sure I did this right, and the flooring guy actually gave me some pointers about installing them level on an uneven floor. They are shimmed out like you wouldn't believe! 🙂
The counters came from Ikea. The lady at Home Depot told me, “OH YOU DON'T WANT BLACK COUNTERTOPS, THAT'S A REALLY BAD IDEA.”
Another way to lose a sale.
Again, without much wall space, we didn't need much counter material, so I could have bought what was available in stock at Home Depot at Lowes, but, that stuff is SOOOOO ugly. SO. UGLY.
It cost me just as much to buy what I wanted from Ikea and pay to have it shipped than it would have to buy butt ugly countertops and bring them home myself.
I cut a hole in the counter for the sink with a battery powered jig saw. I love it when DIY projects require me to buy a new tool 🙂 Don't you?!
The sink was hooked up by my husband and my dad. I didn't cut the hole in the counter totally center to the window though :/ It's off by like an inch. No one notices but me.
They also helped install the Microwave and the last upper cabinets. We could have done them before the base cabinets, which would have made installation a LOT easier, but I had been living in a house without a working kitchen for 7 weeks at that point, and really wanted the base cabinets installed so I could install the sink and have running water.
Because our kitchen is a little too narrow and awkwardly shaped for more than one wall of base cabinets, I built a “coffee bar” out of pine boards and 2x4s. It looks better in photos than it does in person, to be honest.
We cut the Ikea counter to the right depth to fit the coffee bar once I was done building it.
I built the open shelves, but never really finished them. The new owners can figure out if they want to paint or stain them, or dismantle them! The brackets came from Home Depot and I built them loosely like the tutorial here on Young House Love.
It was a while before I had enough confidence to attempt to tile the backsplash, but eventually, I did. Again, YouTube saved the day with that and tiling is a lot easier than it looks. It's fun actually!
Don't ask about that little row of tiles below the microwave. It was my first tiling job and I didn't know what I was doing. 😉
The After Phase
These are the photos I took when we put the house on the market, so these are definitely the “done and lived in” type after photos!
It's nowhere near perfect at all. It needs blinds where the curtains are.
It needs a coat of paint on all the trim again.
It needs the fingerprints cleaned off the dishwasher (OMG!! How did I not see how gross that looks!). But it sure as flying frick looks better than it did before!
I tried my best to find and crop different before and after angles so it's easier to see the difference between this DIY kitchen remodel before and after.
If you're interested in what products I used in this post or have any questions at all, let me know in the comments and I'd be happy to provide you with details. If you're thinking about doing a DIY kitchen remodel, I believe you TOTALLY CAN!
Have you ever wondered how to get the perfect “half underwater” shot with your GoPro camera? The answer is a GoPro dome port! The dome port is a large (usually 6″), dome-shaped lens cover that covers your GoPro's lens, allowing a perfect over/under split shot. It makes for a really unique photo or video!
There are lots of dome port options on the market, but some are made by more reputable brands than others. I tend not to “cheap out” on GoPro accessories and instead buy from trusted brands, if not from GoPro themselves.
(The links in this post are affiliate links, and we will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking our links. Read my disclosure policy here.)
GoPro makes a lot of good quality accessories, but unfortunately, they don't make their own brand dome port. Here are the top-rated brands for GoPro dome ports, based on my own experience, as well as online reviews.
PolarPro FiftyFifty (for Hero5 Black)
This is the one that I own for my Hero5 Black, and PolarPro graciously provided me with. I've used it in the pool with my kids, and it's very easy to assemble. I had no problems with leakage at all. In fact, the kids love to use it! It comes with a cover to protect it while it's not in use, and I pack and carry it right in the original packaging. It doesn't really fit well into my GoPro Seeker or Tenba 14L, and since it's glass, I don't want to just toss it in the beach bag.
I think the best feature of PolarPro's dome port is that it's easy to assemble. You don't have to remove the Hero5 Lens cover, and you don't need an additional waterproof housing. You literally just pop the Hero5 Lens cover into the opening on the back of the dome, secure it, and you're good to go.
The PolarPro FiftyFifty comes with the dome port itself, a floating grip, a protective cover, a wrist lanyard, and there was also some an anti-water drop wipe in the box too. I haven't used the wipe, so I'm curious to see how that turns out because my footage definitely has waterdrops–though nowhere NEAR as annoying as water drops without the dome.
I will post a full review on my YouTube channel in the coming months, so you can see it in action. Until then, check out these cool shots I got with this dome port!
GoPole Dome H4 (for Hero4 and Hero3+) and Dome H5 (for Hero5 Black)
GoPole makes two dome ports: the Dome H4 is compatible with the Hero4 Black & Silver and the Hero3/3+, while the Dome H5 is compatible with the Hero5 Black. Included with each model is the dome itself, a thumb screw, a waterproof housing, and a soft travel back. Not included is any kind of hand grip, but it's compatible with the GoPole Bobber or any other GoPro-compatible handgrip.
I think this is a fairly new product for GoPole, so I'm not sure what users feedback has been. GoPole has a good reputation though and is one of my favorite GoPro accessory brands. You can pick up the H4 Dome on Amazon for $60 and the H5 Dome on Amazon for $65.
The Knekt brand dome ports are a little different and are compatible with some neat accessories as well. The KSD6ss is compatible with the Hero5 and runs about $230 on amazon.com, while the KSD6 is compatible with the 3+/4 and also runs about $230. I have heard great things about the Knekt dome port, but I've never used one by Knekt, so I'm really not sure why it costs so much more than other domes made by reputable brands!
Have you used a GoPro dome port? Let me know in the comments what brand it is and how it's been working for you… help me keep this post up to date by posting a review of your dome port in the comments!
I get this question a lot: “What is the best computer for video editing?” It doesn't matter if we're talking YouTube videos or GoPro videos, it's easy to get overwhelmed with computers! Processors! RAM! Memory! Gigabytes! Megahertz! Solid State Drive! RIGHT?! There are so many options from laptops to desktops and Macs to PCs, and none of them are inexpensive. So, in this post, I want to talk about what to look for if you're in the market for updating your computer for video editing. (more…)
GoPro released a new feature called QuikStories, which promises to allow you to spend less time creating your story, and more time living it. It was just announced today, so I haven't tried it out yet, but I'm excited to see what QuikStories has to offer!GoPro's Capture App, which was at one time called the GoPro app, is now, once again, called the GoPro app. If you go to the App Store, you'll see it has been updated to the new name and gives a few details about the QuikStories function.
GoPro's Capture App, which was at one time called the GoPro app (wasn't it?), is now, once again, called the GoPro app. If you go to your App Store, you'll see it has been updated to the new name and gives a few details about the QuikStories function.
You might have also received an email from GoPro letting you know that there is an important update for your Hero5 Black or Hero5 Session. Here's what mine said:
“Tell your story in one tap with QuikStories,” is the premise of GoPro's new feature within its mobile app. In GoPro's release video, QuikStories works with your Hero5 Black or Hero5 Session, and your phone with the GoPro app (formerly Capture app) and Quik app (both apps are free). Here's GoPro how it works, as explained by GoPro:
Follow the steps to connect your GoPro camera to the GoPro app
Update your GoPro's software if the app prompts you to do so (QuikStories will require the latest update so don't skip it)
When you're finished shooting your awesome adventures with your GoPro, pull down from the home screen of the GoPro app, and your footage will copy over to your phone
Kick back as your footage is transformed into a QuikStory, then wait for it…
Your phone will alert you when your QuikStory is finished, and you can view and upload it as is, or edit it with custom titles, change the music, change the style, and adjust the length
Your saved QuikStory will be on the home screen of the Quik app
It's not clear if QuikStories works with older model GoPros, but their messaging says to update your Hero5 Black and Hero5 Session, so it sounds like QuikStories works with newer models only. I'm going to update my GoPro and Quik app now, as well as my cameras, and play with this new function!
When you get your cameras and apps updated and give it a try, let me know what you think of it!
Believe it or not, GoPro isn't the only manufacturer of action cameras, and I often look at GoPro alternative options and wonder how they compare to the GoPro. Do they produce a high-quality image? Are they robust? Are they a viable alternative? Well, I've been playing with an action camera made by HAMSWAN (F60 model), and this post is a review of this product. You can also watch the whole video here.
Sennheiser recently sent me their new MKE 2 elements action mic for GoPro Hero 4 cameras. The MKE2 elements is an external GoPro mic, which is something I'd never tried before, so I was happy to check out the MKE 2 from Sennheiser!
Have you heard of GNARBOX? If you answered no, that's okay… neither did I until recently. GNARBOX was funded by a Kickstarter Campaign, and I'll be honest–I don't follow what's going on over on Kickstarter, so I didn't know much about GNARBOX until recently. As I looked more into it, I could see that this product could be very useful for GoPro users, photographers, and… literally, anyone who shoots video and/or photos out of their house for more than a day (vacation, anyone?).
So this is more than a GNARBOX review; this an overview of how the GNARBOX works and why you might want to own one. (more…)
One of the first things I do when edit my GoPro videos is I browse for GoPro Music ideas. I ask myself how I want my video to feel, what “vibe” I want it to have, and stuff like that. Sommetimes finding background music can take forever though! In this post, I put together some of my favorite GoPro background music tunes for Summer. Bookmark this post so you can come back to it! I'll update it as I find more free GoPro music and paid GoPro music. Deal? (The links in this post are affiliate links, and we will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking our links. Read my disclosure policy here.)(more…)
We recently took a very quick trip to Lake Placid. Despite our lack of excitement for organized sports in our household, we are fans of the Olympics! And although I grew up a mere 5-hour drive from New York State's own quaint Olympic town, I had never been to Lake Placid until just a few months ago. (more…)
This is a question the pops up a LOT in my GoPro Enthusiasts Facebook group: Do I need filters for my GoPro? And the answer is always “it depends”. The fine folks over at PolarPro recently sent me a goodie box full of fun new GoPro accessories, and today I want to talk about the Venture 3-pack of Filters they sent for my Hero5 Black. I tried out all three that came in the pack, and also played with the Macro Lens a little bit as well (wait til you see the difference!). And although PolarPro did provide these products to me, my opinions here in this post and my YouTube video are all my own.
In this GoPro Hero 5 Black for Beginners series, I cover everything you need to know out of the box, plus provide a GoPro Settings Cheat Sheet that I want you to have! It's a one-page printable reference you can keep with your GoPro gear or save it to your phone, or iPad so you have it handy. We'll cover all the GoPro settings you'll ever want to know about through this month, but go ahead and download the cheat sheet now so you have it handy! (more…)
Are you curious where you can find background music for video? If I had a nickel for every time this question has come up, I wouldn't need to put affiliate links in this blog post! #ohsnap Anyway… whether you're creating videos for your business, blog, or YouTube channel, or even hobby videos, GoPro videos, and family movies, background music really helps to set the mood and adds a certain dynamic. Right? Background music really enhances the story, the memories, and the adventure. In fact, one of the most asked questions I get is “Where can I find background music for my videos?”! (more…)
In this tutorial, I'm going cover how to get started with iMovie on your Mac, including how to import GoPro clips to iMovie and how to set up a project in iMovie. This is a tutorial for anyone brand new to iMovie Editing on your Mac. Be sure to watch the tutorial video as well, or follow the steps outlined in this post! (more…)