GoPro Helmet Mount Failure
How I lost a $499 GoPro Max, and How You Can Avoid Doing the Same
I have been enjoying using the GoPro MAX for the last month here in the mountains of Colorado. Capturing some good 360 videos to share with friends and show the viewers how easy the new GoPro MAX is to use.
GoPro MAX 360 Camera Review
The 360 camera has some good features and some drawbacks that I will go over in this review. I have enjoyed the footage that the camera can capture. The video comes out looking good, and like most GoPro footage, it looks saturated right out of the camera. This can be an advantage for most users as it looks good enough without needing to edit. I think it can look a bit oversaturated at times, but for the most part, it looks sharp and entertaining.
It looks like great footage! I have it mounted on the Insta360 selfie stick to get this angle.
Front screen on a 360 camera!
To me, this was the main advantage of this 360 camera. Being able to see what mode you are in, see what you are shooting and review the footage all in one place is pretty awesome. I have used other 360 cameras like the Insta360 ONE and Insta360 ONE X and this was the feature I wish they had.
Often, I am in the mountains shooting footage and trying to figure out what mode the other cameras are in is a challenge. They can hook up to your cell phone and you can monitor it that way. But, we are skiing and riding in the backcountry, and I try to keep my phone in airplane mode and as far away from the avalanche beacon as possible.
So, having the touchscreen on the MAX was a big deal for me. Plus, you can use if for vlogging much like the Osmo Action camera. Although there is no modification for external microphones, at the time of this write-up.
I believe there will be for the GoPro Hero 8, but it does not appear to be available. The Osmo Action can be modded out to use with a good wireless lavalier mic, like the Rode Wireless Go, so you can really run-and-gun interview or vlog.
GoPro App and Overcapture
Overcapture is a neat tool to edit the 360 footage, right on your phone. It works pretty well, but it can also have some disadvantages.I am used to and probably spoiled by, using the Insta360 app for making 360 edits. In the Insta360 app, the user can start and stop the editing to dial in the angles and key points. It is silly easy to use and I have relied on it for the last year or so.
The GoPro app can do most of the same stuff, but for some reason, I have not figured out how to pause the editing. Meaning, you better nail the angles you want on the first take. It can be a bit of a pain to use, especially compared to the Insta app. But, it is a good tool and you can make it work.
My first GoPro failure – not enabling “Auto Offload” for uploads
I purchased the “GoPro PLUS” service for $49.99 a year. In doing so, I assumed that GoPro would replace the camera with “no questions asked” as well as auto-upload the footage to their cloud system. I assumed wrong on both accounts and will do my best to help you avoid my mistakes.
Unlimited Cloud Storage
Yep, you can have all the storage you need for the camera. Pretty great feature! Just make sure to turn on the “Auto Offload” feature when you set your camera up. I did not do that, and now have no back up of the awesome footage I shot over the last 6 weeks. My mistake, but it is fixable for you. So, there is some good news!
So, make sure you set up the GoPro with this feature, and you should have your footage saved. I hope that helps someone out there!
My Second GoPro Failure – Assuming GoPro would replace a lost camera
I am no stranger to using helmet mounts for action cameras. I have been doing so for years and have never had an issue with one falling off. The general steps I take when applying a sticky helmet mount are this:
- all of these are done indoors, in a moderate temp climate (70 degrees)
- clean the helmet with alcohol and water
- let the helmet dry
- apply the 3M adhesive mount to the clean helmet
- let adhere for 2 or more days, inside
- test the mount with camera in it, checking for any gaps or issues
- if all looks good, then go to the mountains and shred!
After using the GoPro Max on the selfie stick, I went with the freshly applied helmet mount for some different shots. Here is a video of it in use.
You can see it provides a good POV angle and stayed on with ease. For reference, this is the same way I have used the Insta360 and OSMO cameras, without issue.
On day three of use, and on what was a very fun run, the camera jumped ship. Not sure how or when. It was on and recording at the top of the run, but must have dislodged (camera and mount) a few minutes into the run. Bummer! It would have been some really fun footage!
There was no way to find the camera in the deep snow. Chances are it could turn up in the summer when the snow melts. But, trying to dig for it, not knowing where it fell off, is insane. Truly a needle in a haystack situation. Only it is a camera, in the snow 🙂
Bummed, more so that I lost the footage of my friend and me than losing the camera. It is just gear, albeit expensive gear. Plus, I remembered I purchased the “GoPro PLUS” service that will replace up to 2 cameras. I felt some relief! As I got home to Denver, I called up GoPro to explain to them what happened. I am sure I am not the only person who has a lost GoPro completely due to a failed mount.
The representative from GoPro let me know that they will replace a broken camera, but not a lost GoPro. He asked me to explain the entire situation and how I mounted the helmet mount. This went on for over 20 minutes. Definitely not the “no questions asked” advertised. After several times of him checking in with other representatives, he told me that helmet mounts are only good for a few days and that it is possible I did not mount it correctly. And, they do not replace lost cameras.
News to me!
Helmet mounts are only good for a short amount of time? First I have heard of it. Perhaps I did not install it correctly? There is always a chance but it sure worked fine the day before. He did offer me 25% off a Hero 8 camera. A nice gesture, but I just want to replace the 360 camera! LOL. I was feeling pretty frustrated about this and figured I would give it a day or two before contacting GoPro again to see if I can work with them to replace the camera.
I was trying to figure out why they would not replace the camera. Trying to see if from their point of view…… perhaps someone finds the lost GoPro and uses it? Then I am sure they would see the serial number pop up when the user tries to upload the footage. Cool, that makes sense. I hope someone does find it and put it to use! That would be great.
But, to me, I think it is the same situation – either I can not use the camera because it is broken or I can not use the camera because it is now a free-range snow camera. Probably in a foxes den or something. I even offered to pay for a replacement one. No luck, no love from GoPro. Bummer, I was looking forward to creating some really great content and getting the readers and viewers stoked on the GoPro MAX.
In Conclusion – Back up Your Footage and Don’t Lose Your GoPro
I hope this article helps you learn what the GoPro PLUS program does (and does not) do. How to set up your camera to keep your footage safe in the GoPro cloud and what to expect if you lose your GoPro.