Playing with POV: All the best movies made with GoPros
GoPros are great cameras for private users, extreme sports athletes, or for Uncle Sal to accidentally filmed his own face during a three-day trip to Amsterdam ‘cos he had it facing the wrong way the whole time. However, you might not be aware that a lot of moviemakers use these compact cameras to film with – even some Hollywood blockbusters!
Just like filmmakers such as Steven Soderbergh and Sean Baker shooting Unsane and Tangerine on an iPhone, there are many directors out there challenging the artform by using modern consumer technology to achieve their cinematic shots. With this in mind, here’s a collection of innovative movies shot with GoPros.
The Martian (2015)
Director Ridley Scott (All the Money in the World) praised the GoPro camera technology, which he admitted he used extensively in his sci-fi epic The Martian. Speaking on the action cameras – which were used to film some of the movie’s biggest scenes – Scott declared: “They (GoPros) really allowed us to capture not only the intensity and suspense of these moments but also the intimacy of the characters themselves.”
The Nest (2013)
The director responsible for such cinematic delights as The Fly and Crash (the wound-fucking one, not the one about race issues in America) David Cronenberg a.k.a. the Baron of Blood tried his hand at GoPro filmmaking with his 2013 short The Nest.
Centering on an interview between a doctor and a patient who is convinced that a nest of bugs is growing in her breast, the film is unsettling, NSFW, and shot on a GoPro in one continuous take. Because Cronenberg is never one to stay inside the box.
Red Tails (2012)
Anthony Hemingway’s (American Crime Story) feature film directorial debut stars Terrence Howard (Crash) and Cuba Gooding (Boyz n’ the Hood) in this war epic about a crew of African American pilots who, having faced segregation while kept mostly on the ground during World War II, are called into duty.
Although the film crash landed at the box office, it did make history in that it’s one of the first major movies to officially use a GoPro to film some of its actions scenes. So that’s something.
Hardcore Henry (2015)
A film that is at once innovative and nauseating, Hardcore Henry is the first point-of-view action feature film shot entirely on a GoPro. Premiering at the 2016 South By Southwest film festival, the movie received mixed reviews with many leaning towards the negative corner. “Light on plot, high on braindead action, it turns out there’s a reason hardly any films are shot in first-person view — it’s just not a very good idea,” wrote Empire.
Meanwhile Plugged In mused, “Throwing yourself headfirst into a garage-sized blender would be pretty gutsy, too. Though not much of a movie night.” So yeah, not exactly gleaming reviews – but it did achieve its goal of telling a story from the vantage point of the main character and it was filmed on a GoPro. Have you ever done that? No, we didn’t think so.
“Bad Motherfucker” (2013)
“Bad Motherfucker” is a genius bit of music video filmmaking from director Ilya Naishuller, featuring an unnamed and unseen protagonist who faces off against an army of agents to escape and grab hold of a mysterious device.
The well executed action and fight sequences look believable and although it’s point-of-view and filmed entirely on a GoPro, it won’t make you feel like you’re going to throw up while you watch it. The proof is in the pudding, as the video has racked up nearly 41 million views and led to a successful crowdsourced campaign for the film Hardcore, starring Sharlto Copley of District 9 fame.
Running Scared (2013)
Branden Bingham’s (Church and State) award-winning horror short filmed entirely on a GoPro will have you running scared. The whole thing was done on practically no budget, but that’s not to say it’s not creepy AF. Just see for yourself!
Face 2 Face (2016)
Matthew & Aaron Toronto’s award-winning drama Face 2 Face – which is now available to watch on Netflix – is another film shot using GoPro cameras. The director of photography Kristoffer Carrillo explained how he made camera rigs using foam core and velcro to get the equipment in the right position.
The setup mimicked a laptop or phone webcam, as the story follows a teenage outcast as he reaches out to his childhood friend via a series of video chats. According to Tech Radar, the brothers shot the movie entirely on the GoPro Hero 4, with the intent to mimic the look of Apple’s FaceTime chat service.