Amazing extreme sports photographs are all over the place, and all the great action camera models are helping us create even more amazing content. Social media created a need for people to share their daily life, showing their friends what they are doing. Instagram and Facebook are filled up with marvelous skydiving footage. Incredible photos and videos are uploaded every day by skydivers wearing action cameras.
The USPA states that a skydiver should have 200 jumps before using any kind of device that can record or take pictures during a skydive. As skydivers, we need to focus on our gear, and it’s already a lot of stuff to think about. When we decide to jump with an action camera, we add one more thing to the list we need to check before skydiving– and a lot of people (mistakenly) think that their camera is more important than their parachute.
Here are some considerations to take into account before an exhilarating moment of triumph turns into a YouTube fail, Friday Freakout or worse during your skydive.
Being aware of yourself is easy because you are walking around all day, every day. However, being aware of your rig can be a challenge because you’re not used to wearing it all day long. Imagine how difficult it can be for you to remember that you have a camera on your helmet for the first time.
When the rush of the exit starts making your heart beat faster and the group ahead of you has just left the plane, although it is uncommon, you can get stuck with your camera in many places inside the plane. Also, be aware of your friends’ gear. Many skydivers catch their cameras on other people’s reserve handles, which can create a huge problem.
We have so many different helmet models to choose from, and most of them can hold a camera. Just make sure to have it as snag-free as possible. Lines can be an issue during the parachute deployment, and it’s our job to avoid this as much as we can.
This helmet below is a great example. It has a great snag-free mount because it doesn’t leave any edges for the lines to get stuck on.
Photographer Tip: Make sure there’s no gap between the shell and the inline foam. This can cause shaking and unsteady footage as well as a higher risk of snagging lines.
Action Camera Types
Most action cameras such as GoPro and Sony are small and feature simple functions (learn more about action camera options). Attach, point, and set it and forget it. Larger cameras, such as DSLR cameras, should only be used once you’re comfortable with all procedures. I suggest talking with an experienced jumper to get valuable guidance on this process.
Remember: The size of these cameras can cause neck fatigue and even injury.
If you’re not accustomed to the size, you can damage the camera and even throw off your exit. The lines have a higher chance of catching the camera and getting entangled. Not to mention fidgeting with all those settings can take up a lot of time.
Types of Mounts
There are many mounts on the market nowadays. Every week a new Gopro mount comes out. The best I can do is to suggest the mount I use on my helmet. The Modern Camera Solution mount is the one that I use to take all my pictures, and I feel really safe with it. Please check the link of the Facebook Fan Page and talk with Filip.
Curiosity: A falling GoPro reaches a terminal velocity of roughly 66 KM/H. Would you want that to hit your windshield or your house?
Beginners will not use wings, but I decided to add this here just in case.
Where and how your camera is mounted can change the type of rigging you use. Camera wings will require extensions to avoid release hesitation and entangling your lines. Doing a practice jump with the adjustments and extra weight before you add cameras is ideal. Get a feel for how the canopy feels and reacts before you split your focus.
Before jumping with any distractions, you should be confident with all standard emergency procedures. Not every situation is the same and emergencies are case-by-case, but you should be comfortable before you add any extra task to your jump.
Skydiving with a camera increases your odds of tangled lines. Entangled lines eat up altitude and there is a limited amount, so you need to act fast. If you can’t immediately disentangle your lines, cut away the camera helmet and hope that gets your lines free– if not, follow emergency procedures. If it works and the lines release, check your canopy and make sure you have a perfect canopy for a controlled descent.
In the event of a water landing always release headgear and excess equipment before landing. It will be difficult to free yourself in the water with all that material around your body and head.
Keep coming back
Don’t miss out on an amazing experience because you’re fiddling with camera equipment the entire time. Know your camera and your gear before a jump to save yourself time and frustration. Enjoy the jump, your friends and remember always:
Your life is worth more than the potential views or likes!
Where you jump also helps a lot for getting a great picture. Where should you go to jump? 10 Best Places to Skydive!
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I find it helpful when you said that when adding a camera to your skydiving helmet, you should make sure there’s no gap between the shell and the inline foam. My boyfriend and I plan to skydive on our anniversary, and we want to capture the momentous adventure on camera. I’ll take note of this since we still aren’t sure whether we’ll strap our own camera or hire a skydiving photographer. Thanks!