These days, it's really not enough to just have one camera in your kit. With the price and size of the GoPro, it just makes sense to have one around for the odd shot, time-lapse or underwater shoot. And with a bit of ingenuity we can easily upgrade them to become a daily work horse, although perhaps "work pony" is slightly more apt for the GoPro.
I was asked to cover a 'Day in the life' on the construction of a new factory being built. The main vision would be shot run and gun on a Canon XF100. To add even more value for the client, I suggested setting up a time-lapse on a GoPro over the course of one entire day.
Without having seen the construction site beforehand, it was decided that we may not have access to power, and even if we did, it might be only be temporary and not reliable. The onboard battery in the GoPro will last about 40 minutes for video and perhaps an hour for time-lapse, so I knew that this was not going to be a reliable solution for the job. Changing batteries every 40 minutes would not be practical and sometimes not possible if we were out shooting an interview or on the other side of the site. Not to mention the possibility of bumping the camera when changing the battery which would probably ruin the continuity of the shot.
The GoPro doesn't actually need a battery installed to run, simply remove the battery and plug it into your smartphone charger and you have unlimited power, as long as you stay put... This got me wondering if anyone had made a D-Tap to USB convertor? (D-Tap or P-Tap is the power terminal on many ENG style batteries and cameras).
Rubber Monkey based in NZ have a D-TAP to USB regulator. Plug this into a V-Lock battery, and you'll have about 25 hours for video and 50 hours for time-lapse, based on a 95watt battery. You can even charge your smartphone at the same time with a USB hub!
Now to weather proof and encase the whole thing you'll want one of these "Pelican like" boxes from Super Cheap Auto, in fact, they have a whole range of these boxes for stuff that is important but not "Pelican-important" but the quality is probably close.
1. Use a spare GoPro case and file (or drill) out the section around the USB and HDMI ports. I used a spare underwater case with the touch screen backpack, that I had also used on this job.
2. Drill a hole in the front of the box wide enough so the USB to D-Tap cable can fit through, and shut the case to see if it all fits.
3. Carefully cut out the inlay of the box to fit a V-Lock battery and another whole for the cable in the front. This is definitely not a Pelican case so be careful as the lining will rip!
4. Super glue a go pro mount to the top of the box.
5.You might need to use the GoPro flexible jaws to get enough height so the box isn't in the frame.
And that's about it!
Test the size of SD card required to workout how many seconds of time-lapse you will get/require in each mode, I started off shooting 1 shot every 10 seconds.
I will hopefully post some footage of the time-lapse in the coming weeks.