It’s almost midnight, wife and kid are sleeping, and I’m basking in the warm glowing warming glow of my computer, filtering through the 30 minutes of footage I have of Baboo, our blind pug, raiding the compost – yet again. The footage is so amazing to watch because it is so authentic: Baboo, unaware he is being watched, walking in circles, crashing into things, orienting himself by bumping into walls, chairs and tables, then changing direction. Like a Romba. A big, fat, hairy, smelly Romba. Actually, more like an anti-Romba, because instead of cleaning, Baboo leaves a wake of hair, eye crud, urine, and the occasional poop behind him.
In filtering through this footage and giggling to myself like kid, reveling in the awesome ability of these tiny action cameras to capture the hidden magic of everyday life, I think back to an exchange I had with Paul Crandell (SVP Marketing for GoPro) about a year ago. To quell any concerns that the sceptical reader may have: I am not affiliated with, or sponsored by GoPro in any way, and this blog is not advertising for them… One of my videos recently won a GoPro award, but that is the extent of my connection to the company. I just genuinely love the product as a tool creation and capturing moments that would otherwise come and go, only to disappear into the ether that is human memory.
I told Paul that it made no sense to me that so many people (literally) did not know what a GoPro was. The amount of times people stopped to ask me what that was in my hand, on the end of a GoPro pole, or placed precariously on a fence with a piece of bread taped to it, was mindboggling. Admittedly, being a married man and father of three, I’m not exactly hanging out with motocross racers, wingsuit jumpers or extreme snowmobilers. I’ve been a lawyer for a decade. I push kids in swings. I change diapers. I walk my dog. I have a GoPro on me at all times, and believe everyone should.
GoPro has successfully defined itself as the extreme action camera, and in doing so, has neglected to capture the imagination of an entire segment of the market: The everyday person. Ask anyone… if they know what a GoPro is, they will associate it with the “extreme”. And if they don’t know what it is, that’s because it is associated with the extreme. I told Paul that most of the time, I’m not using my camera as an “action camera” – I’m using it as a “life camera”. Because that’s what it is to me. A device to capture those moments in life when grabbing a DSLR would be too conspicuous and when holding your phone in the subject’s face would ruin the moment. I grab my GoPro, quietly power it on and shoot (I’ve disabled the beeps and LED lights because that became an alarm to my friends and family that I was recording… lol).
Total side-note: I’m thinking up camouflage gear as accessories to better conceal the GoPro. Like a Kleenex box case. Or a coffee mug shell. Or a doll with a GoPro pocket. But that will be a patent for another day…
Everything I am saying about the GoPro could apply mutatis mutandis to all the other action cameras on the market – the Polaroid Cube, the new Kodak, the Garmin. And it does. This is where the battle is – defining the action camera as the device to make the ordinary extreme. And to the victor goes the untapped market-share consisting of stay-at-home parents looking to capture those touching everyday moments, reasonably tech-savvy grandparents who may be babysitting for the day, and anybody who just wants to create and connect with the world around them, but who is not wearing shin-guards, a helmet or parachute.
With that said, I’ll post the video of Baboo raiding the compost here, power down, and get ready for another day of creation with my life camera.