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Review: GoPro HD Hero2

GoPro shoots for online video pros with the new HD Hero2, which adds an improved CMOS sensor, better glass, and from-the-wrist remote control and live streaming to a camera line that's become a go-to device for aerial, POV, and action sports applications.

GoPro cameras have been widely adopted by amateur sports enthusiasts; mounted just about anywhere that yields a good shot, these compact cameras have turned surfers, snowboards, and skydivers into avid extreme sports shooters. In fact, the GoPro cameras have been used so heavily in this regard, that this little camera has often been overlooked for its professional applications, although many pros have recognized the utility of the cameras from underwater to aerial shots and much in between.

With the recent release of the HD Hero2, GoPro sets out to make its mark on the professional market with self-labeled "professional cameras."

Going Pro Since 2004

The GoPro brand was established by Nick Woodman in Half Moon Bay, California with the release of the company's first model, the GoPro Hero 35mm All-Season Sports Camera in 2004. Since 2004, GoPro has been continually innovative in the video market and recently, announced the GoPro HD Hero2 in October of 2011.

GoPro HD Hero2 and accessories
GoPro HD Hero2 with action sports mounting accessories

Broadcast Uses

The GoPro cameras have been used on numerous broadcast television shows and networks such as MythBusters, Deadliest Catch, The Amazing Race, Auction Wars, Whale Wars, ESPN X-Games, and on the CBS Sports Network for college basketball games. Most recently, GoPro announced the soon-to-be-released WiFi Bac-Pac accessory at CES 2012 in Las Vegas. This highly versatile and compact camera delivers impressive HD video that can and has been used for broadcast television.

The underpublicized fact is that the GoPro cameras are essential in some cases to get specific shots for professional broadcast TV. CBS Sports Network has used the GoPro to get extreme wide shots of basketball games, as well as the "dunk cam," which is a GoPro camera fixed onto the backboard of basket. The camera is lightweight and tiny enough to stay out of the way and still deliver impressive HD-quality video. This camera can get shots that once required bigger, more expensive setups.

GoPro Helmet Cam
GoPro HD Hero2 as helmet cam

Wi-Fi BacPac

The Wi-Fi BacPac looks to thrust GoPro above and beyond anything you've seen before. This little accessory, which will attach to the back of the GoPro HD Hero2, allows users to stream their video via a waterproof, wearable, wrist remote.

GoPro Wi-Fi Bac-Pac
Go Pro Wi-Fi Bac-Pac enables streaming from the wrist

Alternatively, you can control the camera with a smartphone, tablet, or computer. This opens up a whole new range of options for someone who is looking to get a shot that might otherwise cost thousands of dollars. What this also allows users to do is to stream a live view from the camera to any of those devices. This new live broadcasting feature is huge and opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for portable, affordable, high-definition live video. Imagine attaching this to Kelly Slater during a surfing competition and streaming live to millions of viewers via the Internet or broadcasting live on ESPN.

Lightweight and Low-Cost Crane and Aerial Shots

Consider this: crane rigs and aerial shots of crowds at concerts can cost tens of thousands of dollars in equipment including the camera. With the GoPro HD Hero2, you can slap a camera on quadcopter and get a great wide aerial shot for around $1,000.

On outdoor TV shows, the camera can easily take the place of a cameraman and various equipment set ups to get point of view (POV) shots or intimate shots of the subject.

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