When Nick Woodman wanted to capture himself on film while surfing in 2002, he struggled to do so—the cameras at shore simply could not capture the moment the way he wanted it. Although the level of technology needed to do so existed at the time, the equipment necessary was expensive and inaccessible. As a result, with only $10,000, he created his own cameras which would later be better known throughout the world as GoPros, all from the back of his Volkswagen van.
Today, Nick Woodman is a billionaire. His GoPro cameras can capture videos in HD with a field of view of 170 degrees. Although each camera is priced in the hundreds -of-dollars range, GoPro cameras have become widely successful throughout the world: they are lightweight, simple-to-use and extremely durable cameras. With the ability to be mounted virtually anywhere, GoPro cameras can easily capture an event in the first person point of view, and provide experiences of the quirky, unseen tidbits of everyday life, such as the inside of a dishwasher or the daily routines of a pet.
“GoPros are really cool gadgets. I love it when there’s footage of something unique, like when you wear it while skydiving or when you attach a GoPro onto a dog,” Senior Joshua Kim said.
Today, film director Michael Bay, many professional athletes and even police agencies have popularized them. The police can crystalize the oftentimes confusing and puzzling circumstances surrounding an event by requiring officers to attach a GoPro to their uniforms while on duty.
“GoPros will help establish better evidence in a crime scene in order to help cut down on controversy, like the Michael Brown shooting incidents,” Sophomore Vincent Nguyen said.
Much of their success can be attributed to their marketing scheme. Occassionally, there is a video shot by a GoPro of adrenaline-filled events. When Felix Baumgartner free fell 39 kilometers from the stratosphere, he mounted GoPro cameras on his body, later allowing millions to have a secondhand experience of his fall. Others attach them onto remote control drones to take footage of places that simply cannot be reached by foot.
“Because of all the commercials that feature really cool events, there is a pressure to capture good footage. But I do believe that GoPros were specifically built and made to capture those cool events, which is what makes them unique,” Senior Winston Chang said.
Some theorize that the popularity of this ability to record ones personal experiences only reflects yet another example of the self-absorbedness of the younger population, since the focus has been pulled from fully participating in events to editing and sharing experiences for the approval of Facebook, instagram and twitter followers.
“Especially in today’s society, we focus a lot on materialistic elements instead of just enjoying what is naturally provided for us. When you separate yourself from technology, you pay attention to details around you, which make memories more precious,” Junior Meghan Wong said. On the other hand, some believe that GoPros neither promote self-absorbedness nor devalue memories. Rather, technology is viewed more as a tool for the future rather than one to obsess over the present.
“We don’t live forever to tell our stories, and technology such as GoPros enable us to leave a legacy for future generations. We can record history more easily and better than before,” Sophomore Melissa Guo said.