I’ve had a camera to capture riding since more or less the time I started riding. In 2015, I had a Poloroid Cube – a sort of earlier competition to the GoPro Hero Session – which was pretty dreadful. After that, I bought some GoPro Hero 4 cameras. They were better and, because of the sound quality, they stuck around until I bought a Hero 7. That was a game changer. Stabilisation. More recently, I’ve invested in a GoPro Max – GoPro’s newest 360 video offering.
After seeing the Fusion be released and hearing all of the negativity around it, I was always a little sceptical of the Max. To me, it looks very similar and, like the regular GoPro Heroes, probably wouldn’t have changed all that much between releases. It wasn’t until I saw a short film called ‘Daydreams’ by Abe Kislevitz that I started looking into it more seriously. Abe works for GoPro so perhaps it was a biased place to start all along but, some of the stuff he captures in that little trip inspired me. I started researching the Max.
Eventually, I hit buy. The ability to shoot in all directions and then edit it quickly to find the frame I want sounded like a good idea. In reality, it’s worked even better than I thought. Pressing go and then choosing which angle to look, or moving between views is fantastic. I usually ride with friends and with the regular hero don’t capture much of them, especially if I’m out front. Being able to spin the perspective round and shoot a little behind or beside me has opened up the possibility of shooting more immersive video which shows a bit more truthfully what’s going on.
The editing side of things is easy enough to learn too. The GoPro app has had a big update since I’d last used it. The workflow is now pretty much where I’d expect it to be and the power in the app on my phone is really quite impressive. Pulling the video from the GoPro onto my phone, choosing the framing, rendering as a regular video, colouring and adding a track all takes about 15-20 minutes for something about 2 minutes long. That’s not bad at all, especially considering that it’s all done from my phone and my computer doesn’t even get a look in. Obviously, I’ll need to hop on the computer for longer videos or for things where I want more control of smaller details but, for the most part, I think I’ll be using my phone and getting some shorter clips.
I still like the Hero 7 as well. It’s lighter, smaller and more simple. I’ll probably still carry it or wear it fairly often but the Max is also a contender for my time now. The Hero mode pretty much makes the Max a slightly bulkier Hero 8 when the 360 mode is turned off. The stability and horizon levelling on the Max outruns the Hero 7 and, if I can put up with the slight increase in weight, means that I’ll probably be using the Max more and more. When I want something lighter, or smaller, it’ll be the 7.
I’m generally pretty happy with the Max. The battery seems to be on par with the 7 (and it should be since it’s almost twice as big). The quality is brilliant and the price wasn’t too steep since I got £100 off on the trade in of a Hero 4 Silver. Seemed to make sense rather than keeping it to collect dust.