The Greatness of the GoPro


It used to be that so many sports were a solo effort, to be experienced by the athlete only. If you wanted to get the crazy view from the apex of a ski slope, or see what the world looked like during a motocross jump, you needed to have the elite skills to get there – and it could feel somewhat lonely at the top. But all of that has been changed with the introduction of the GoPro, a tiny camera meant to be mounted on a person to shoot video from what’s essentially their point of view. These videos can then be uploaded and shared across the internet, opening up a whole new world to viewers – and a new level of fame for GoPro-equipped athletes. It’s both a way to show off one’s skills and to capture some truly incredible achievements for posterity.

Let’s examine how the invention of the GoPro – and other similar mounted-camera devices – have changed the way we view sports.

The Science of a Shared Reality

Although we could use “GoPro” to refer to any number of small, body-mounted cameras used to capture athletic feats, it’s the original GoPro device itself that has the most glory – and the most revenue. In the 12 years since it’s been on the market, GoPro has amassed capital in the billion-dollar range, and has spearheaded the trend of recording one’s athletic exploits to share with friends – or an online audience – right in the comfort of their own homes.

An article at ZDnet squarely puts GoPro users as “extreme athletes” including BASE jumpers, snowboarders, cyclists, and even participants of some of the most grueling obstacle-course marathons in the world, like the Tough Mudder. These fringe sports have suddenly been vaulted into the mainstream, and much of that has to do with the first-person video that GoPro cameras can capture. These adrenaline-fuelled competitions have become so popular that the International Olympics Committee has since added events like ski halfpipe and snowboard slalom to their lineup – all in pursuit of the young audience that GoPro videos have attracted. These hyper-augmented alternative sports are even said to be making traditional sports seem a bit boring and slow by comparison.

As the ZDnet article goes on to explain, there’s a specific science behind how we feel when we watch a video that simulates a first-person experience; the type of neurons that fire in our brains are the kind that connect us to what we’re seeing. “Later research found that about one-fifth of the neurons firing during an action also fire on seeing that action,” the article says before continuing with, “And with them, we understand, in a micro-second, a BASE jumper’s death-defying plunge from a river bridge or a snowboarder’s air flip–images that make our hearts pound and breathing spike.”

It’s like a form of virtual reality, except it’s not a simulation, and it has that human element to anchor us as we watch in awe. Once you add in higher stakes, like those mentioned above with the Olympics, GoPro-shot footage quickly becomes something like must-see TV for those who want to live the experience like they’re actually there – and like they’re actually the athlete.

Augmenting a Brand

Offering a cool new product is one thing, but building an entire brand around it – and convincing people that they need it in order to help build their own brand – is another. Although GoPro cameras and their ilk continue to evolve with things like camera mounts for drones, there’s still a focus on making mounted cameras the must-have tool for demonstrating one’s cool athletic stunts to the world. ZDnet sagely adds, “While companies like Nikon and Canon fine tune their optics and ease of shooting, GoPro is disrupting these legacy brands by offering something much bigger: a lifestyle.” Extreme athletes have been a fascinating pop-culture fixture since the 1990s, and GoPro videos have only spread their appeal further – not to mention it dovetails nicely with the rise of “reality” culture in our current entertainment.

Along with the reality TV factor, GoPros are moving another cultural phenomenon to the next level: the selfie. It’s common to take handheld photos of yourself to show off on social media, in pursuit of more likes and reposts or to simply mark your territory and say “I was here.” On another level, selfies are used to show off not just the smartphone holder, but also the backdrop, such as tropical beaches, exotic locations, and national monuments. Those who have the most unique settings will get the most likes, and by using GoPro cameras, anyone can snap a shot of themselves free-climbing a jagged cliff or hang-gliding over a picturesque landscape. It’s a one-of-a-kind photo that’s sure to one-up anyone else in your social feed, and that kind of branding is currency these days.

It can even lead to a big break in the media and entertainment industry, as author Dan Schawbel is quoted in the ZDnet piece: “A decade ago, it would cost thousands of dollars to make a professional reel and send it to Hollywood and hope you get discovered. GoPro is changing that business model, just like it changes everything it touches.” Since anyone can find their 15 minutes of fame or more using the internet, GoPro footage might just open a few doors for enterprising individuals – or at the very least, garner them a few hundred thousand views on their latest YouTube video.

Social networks and personal branding aside, there’s even a more practical use for GoPros: self-defense. You may see many cyclists around your city with a tiny camera mounted to their helmets; they’re typically recording their journeys so if there’s an accident, they have video footage of what happened. Inasmuch as GoPros are great tools for extreme athletes, they’re also becoming more of a real-world necessity as well (think mounted cameras on police officers).

The Lens of Inspiration

Not only are GoPros and other mounted cameras changing the way we view sports, they’re also changing the way we view ourselves through someone else’s lens. Getting a secondhand rush by watching someone’s extreme footage isn’t just entertaining – it can also be inspiring. Watching through the eyes of someone else as they BASE jump or skydive could help encourage you to try it out for yourself. But whether you strap on a GoPro yourself or remain content on the sidelines, there’s little doubt that these tiny square-shaped cameras are here to stay, and will keep changing how we view sports in the coming years.

Have you ever used a GoPro or mounted camera to record your feats of athleticism? Tell us about it – and link us to the video – in the comments.

Tribute to Prince, his life, music and death #RIPPrince

His Life

Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016), known by his stage name Prince, was an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and actor. Prince was renowned as an innovator and was widely known for his eclectic work, flamboyant stage presence, and wide vocal range. He was widely regarded as the pioneer of Minneapolis sound. His music combined rock, R&B, soul, funk, hip hop, disco, psychedelia, jazz, and pop.

Prince was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and developed an interest in music at an early age, writing his first song at age seven. After recording songs with his cousin’s band 94 East, 19-year-old Prince recorded several unsuccessful demo tapes before releasing his debut album For You in 1978, under the guidance of manager Owen Husney. His 1979 album Prince went platinum due to the success of the singles “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?” and “I Wanna Be Your Lover”. His next three records—Dirty Mind (1980), Controversy (1981), and 1999 (1982)—continued his success, showcasing Prince’s trademark of prominently sexual lyrics and incorporation of elements of funk, dance, and rock music. In 1984, he began referring to his backup band as The Revolution and released Purple Rain, which served as the soundtrack to his film debut of the same name. A prolific songwriter, Prince in the 1980s wrote songs for and produced work by many other acts, often under pseudonyms.

After releasing the albums Around the World in a Day (1985) and Parade (1986), The Revolution disbanded and Prince released the critically acclaimed double album Sign “O” the Times (1987) as a solo artist. He released three more solo albums before debuting The New Power Generation band in 1991. He changed his stage name in 1993 to an unpronounceable symbol (Prince logo.svg), also known as the “Love Symbol”. He then began releasing new albums at a faster pace to remove himself from contractual obligations to Warner Bros.; he released five records between 1994 and 1996 before signing with Arista Records in 1998. In 2000, he began referring to himself as “Prince” again. He released 15 albums since then, including his latest, HITnRUN Phase One, which was first released exclusively on the Tidal streaming service on September 7, 2015 before being released on CD on September 15, 2015 by NPG Records.

Prince sold over 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time. He won seven Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe, and an Academy Award. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, the first year of his eligibility. Rolling Stone has ranked Prince at number 27 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

His Death

He died at his Paisley Park recording studio and home in Chanhassen, Minnesota, near Minneapolis, on April 21, 2016, after suffering flu-like symptoms the week before his death.

In the details

Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson reports that on April 21st, 2016, at about 9:43 am, sheriff’s deputies responded to a medical call at Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen,” the sheriff’s office wrote in a statement. “When deputies and medical personnel arrived, they found an unresponsive adult male in the elevator. First responders attempted to provide lifesaving CPR, but were unable to revive the victim. He was pronounced deceased at 10:07 am.

“The Carver County Sheriff’s Office, with the assistance of the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office, are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding his death.”

A week ago, the singer was hospitalized after his private plane made an emergency landing after a show in Moline, Illinois. Varying reports said he was suffering dehydration and was getting over the flu. He was released after three hours and flew to Minneapolis, where he was recovering at home. He’d canceled some dates of his “Piano and a Microphone” tour in early April because of the flu, TMZ previously reported.


His Music

Album Release Date
For You  1978 
Prince  1979 
Dirty Mind  1980 
Controversy  1981 
1999  1983 
Purple Rain  1984 
Around the World in a Day  1985 
Parade (Music from the Motion Picture “Under The Cherry Moon”)  1986 
Sign ‘O’ the Times  1987 
The Black Album  1987 
Lovesexy  1988 
Batman  1989 
Graffiti Bridge  1990 
Diamonds and Pearls  1991 
The Love/Prince Symbol Album  1992 
The Hits/The B-Sides box  1993 
Come  1994 
The Beautiful Experience  1994 
Gold Experience  1995 
Chaos & Disorder  1996 
Emancipation  1996 
Girl 6  1996 
Newpower Soul  1998 
Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic  1999 
Crystal Ball  1999 
The Truth   1997
The Vault…Old Friends 4 Sale  1999 
The Rainbow Children  2001 
The Very Best of Prince  2001 
One Nite Alone…Live!  2002 
N.E.W.S  2003 
Musicology 2004
3121  2006 
Planet Earth  2007 
Lotusflow3r 2009

A great Musician is dead, #RIPPrince.
Drop us a comment if you have a thought on this story.

source: wikipedia, rollingstone