You Are Here: Bradford Schmidt, GoPro Guy

posted by / Blogs / December 29, 2011

Bradley Schmidt x 11

Bradley Schmidt x 11

Through the looking glass

Through the looking glass

Waterproof casings to last a lifetime. Bradley inspects.

Waterproof casings to last a lifetime. Bradley inspects.

You Are Here, Nathan Myers

Shooting with GoPro is an art form in itself. For starters, if you’re holding the camera, you’re probably doing it wrong. It doesn’t work like that. You don’t hunt shots, like those guys with tripods and 600mms. You trap them, instead; placing cameras where you think the shot will eventually arrive.

Just watch GoPro Head of Media Bradford Schmidt. See? See, how he never stops moving? How he attaches cameras to boards, helmets, strangers, dashboards, airplanes and small animals. He’s not even paying attention to what he’s filming. That happens later. For now, he just sets them up and lets them go. In a single hour, he’ll film many hours of footage… and then later he’ll sift through it all (on fast forward) panning for a tiny fragments of epic rad-ness.

It’s a time-warping pain in the edit-ass, but it can yield something completely unique and unexpected. Like almost everything in this trailer…

Brad has been with the GoPro project since before the company even existed — he met inventor and CEO Nicholas Woodman on a Mentawais public ferry back when they were both taping 35mm waterproof disposables to their wrists. These days his title “Head of Media” means he chases down every manner of extreme activity and attaches some cameras to it. Lots of them.

Trapping moments. Lots of them.

SURFING: You’ve shot these cameras more than anyone. Can you share three good GoPro shooting tips you’ve learned?

BRAD SCHMIDT: The closer the better. With the width of the GoPro lens, we shoot everything as close as possible.

That’s a no-brainer. Those things are so fish-eye.

Yes, but it’s a very intimate perspective. You can be right there in the moment. People often don’t realize the camera’s rolling and it captures stuff that’s really genuine. Another thing with the GoPro is its ability to turn it around on yourself.

Okay, what’s Tip #2?

Number two: I’d say photos are one of the most underestimated features of the camera. We can do time-lapses for days. And the new cameras are faster and shooting 11 megapixel images, which could be a spread or a cover in a magazine.

How do you do all those cool time-lapses?

The GoPro Cineform Studio program is available on our website. It’s a free download. You can take anything from the camera, dump it into GoPro Cineform Studio and it will convert it into a time-lapses at any rate, or whatever else you want. From there you can bring it to any editing program.

Okay, one more tip.

I’d say the third one is just to be creative as possible. Hide it. Attach it to things. The camera can go places you can’t. Through the security X-Ray or up on a remote control glider. I’ve learned it takes a lot of shooting to edit something full-size together. You’re pacing your editing in that sense. Shooting with a GoPro is an art form in itself.You have to be creative to keep people’s attentions, but the end result is still just to tell a good story.

Here are few recent GoPro HD2 surf vids that Brad oversaw…

Kelly Slater’s 11th World Title:

Brad says: “This shoot was an interesting challenge without any onboard footage, so we got creative. Kelly’s manager, Terry, introduced us to Steve Sherman and Stephen Slater who wore cameras and helped us film a unique perspective on one of the most historical victories in surfing.”

Alana Blanchard & Monyca Byrne Wikey:

Brad says: “This shoot was fun. The idea was simple. A girls surf film shot by the girls themselves. We handed the ladies different camera setups and let them film it. It’s a fresh perspective and a lot of laughs when they were relaxed enough to be themselves and have fun together. It was pretty hilarious when we edited this piece as well. There is a second edit to this shoot that we’ll release soon.”

Mirage Experience — first ever full-tilt surf action, freezing time and space.

Brad says: “This production was a milestone for GoPro. Multi-camera sync was something we had our eye on for awhile, but nothing was possible until we sync’d two cameras together. At the release of the 3D Hero System, we were approached by Tim and Callum Macmillian of Timeslice Films: “Ripcurl’s got a shoot in Fiji in 6 weeks, can we make it work?” The world’s first underwater video array system was born on a ping pong table at Namotu Resort. We’ve now developed beyond 30 cameras to 48 and growing. People may not understand yet, but this was history in the making. Multi-sync video array systems will revolutionize the camera industry and bring a whole new level of creative possibilities.”

Post your favorite GoPro clips in the comments box [but spare us the Corlis wingsuit ride – been there, done that.]

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  • Pete Hodgson/HodgsonHawaii

    His name is Bradford Schmidt guys, not Bradley.

  • Sliding Sense

    Let’s look at our choices at the moment.

    Would I rather have a lineup clogged with yellow SPL housings or a lineup clogged with Go Pros?

    My vote is a lineup crowded with Go Pros. People are having more fun and are in control of what they are producing.

  • pilar

    Awesome interview with our very own BRADFORD Schmidt – any chance we can get that changed? Wouldn’t want Bradley (whoever that is) getting all of Bradford’s credit! Thanks in advance!

    Team GoPro

  • Pete Hodgson/HodgsonHawaii

    I can tell who else is way stoked with GoPro cameras in the line up, all the wives, girlfriends, good buddies etc. that can have fun at the beach instead of having to shoot photos or videos. I bet they will even save a few relationships, friendships and marriages!! BTW Bradford is also one mean editor too!

  • Steve

    That gopro trailer is mental. Makes me want to get out and shoot.

  • Sean Davey

    Yeah Bradford is a cool fella. Hung with him a couple of times this season here on the north shore. He has what must be the coolest job in the world. He just gets to travel and be infinitely creative. Cheers mate.


  • Austin

    Ha, that Sherm vid from Kelly’s 11th win is all-time. I’ve been using my GP HD2 for timelapses and they come out sick. For days. But this doco stuff has got me inspired. Nice one.

  • Ryder

    The quality of the GoPro camera is amazing for its price.


  • ALana vs Kelly

    Alana got more views the Kelly and it was still under anything worth writing about.

  • Yo dude

    Chicks in bikinis, man. Way better than dudes hoisting trophies. Saweet.

  • reese

    gopro’s are da shiznit. hide one in the night club bathroom and watch all the lines going down

  • Yo dude

    Nightclub bathroom time lapse is where it’s at. Just make sure it’s well lit.

  • whoa

    still not quite sure how the edit process for the array goes.. is it like clip 1 from camera 1 transitions into clip 1 from camera 2 and into clip 1 from camera 3 and so on? thatsreally a game changer

  • Matt

    Mr. Schmidt,

    I think you need to hire a right hand man/protege. Especially since I am obsessed with everything GoPro! Check out my site.

  • Luke
  • Highlight Hunter App

    I wasn’t surprised to see Bradford say “It’s a time-warping pain in the edit-ass, but it can yield something completely unique and unexpected.”

    If anyone experiences similar pain, check out Highlight Hunter ( It saves you hours of video editing time by automatically finding your highlights. It’s a free app so give it a shot. Feedback is always welcome!

  • Z

    very nice.. although getting 46 cameras purchased is a task in itself :)

    Going to costa rica to shoot some hero 2 footage to submit to you guys. Why not more or any videos of kitesurfers on the site?

  • John

    Quik Pod is a monopod made to be used with Go Pro and lets the user take his or her own photo. Check it out on

  • John

    Quik Pod Extreme is waterproof and comes with a Lifetime Warranty.

  • Erik

    Thanks so much for these awesome videos and kick ass page on GoPros and surfing. Would you mind if I add a link to my GoPro tips and tricks page to your site? I have over 10 tips and 4 videos and I would love to add yours. You can see my page here. Let me know! Thanks in advance!