Five Easy Ways to Not Screw Up Your Action Video

Picture yourself on the ocean. You’ve finally made it to THE spot. This spot has been haunting your bucket list for years, and now you’ve arrived. You’re staring down at a famous reef you’ve been waiting to dive.

You’re ready for the experience, and you’re ready to catch it on film. You gear up and get pumped. You realize it’s a good thing you opted for a larger oxygen tank since you plan on getting an hour of video footage. You have your Sport Action Cam or GoPro ready to go, and you jump in the water.


You’re transported from reality into an underwater wonderland. You’re swimming with the fishes, and everything is as it should be. A dark figure approaches, and your blood rises. You’ve dived around sharks before, but it never gets old. You’ve never seen a hammerhead this big, you think to yourself. He’s heading straight towards you, closer and closer. You stay still, but can’t help but warm your wetsuit a bit in fear. Before you know it, he’s whizzing by your mask, and then he disappears to the depths.

You can’t quite catch your thoughts. People overuse the word awesome, but that moment was truly worthy. Scary, but still. Good thing you got it on film, or your friends might never believe you.

You film a while longer, capturing the wonders of the reef in perfect harmony.  Before you know it, it’s time to get back up to the boat. Eager to see your footage, you unmask and grab your camera. You can’t wait to play back the videos on the LCD screen, small as it is.

The shark video should be first, and maybe the best. But it’s not. It’s not even there. Your heart sinks as you realize it never even got captured. Thinking back, you remember that you were filming when you got in the water. You must have panicked and forgot, and hit the button again, actually stopping the recording.

That’s ok, you’ll live. And you have four more videos each about ten minutes long, so you move on to those. One is in time-lapse mode – not what you meant to do, but it’ll do. The next is in 720P, not 1080P. It’s still good, but you want the best. Disappointingly, your final video is almost unnoticeable – the lens was fogged out completely.

Now, it would be hard to have all of these problems in one day of action video filming. But, all of them happen regularly to people just like us, while filming in the surf and snow, on the trail, or in the sky. And, all of them can be easily avoided if you remember to take a few quick steps.

  1. Don’t Get Fogged Out – Use Anti-Fog Strips

    Always – And we mean always – Use anti-fog strips to absorb any moisture that might build up inside your camera housing. You never know when this will happen, and it doesn’t only happen around water.

    Photo of golden gate bridge covered in fog, with message "if your lens looks like this, you have a problem"

    If your case or lens is foggy, your video will be worse.

    We use our waterproof housings for most shots, even if there isn’t any water involved. They add a nice layer of protection for the camera. But, they trap moisture. Throw in some temperature or barometric pressure differences, and you get a foggy lens. It will plague you when you least expect it.

    Fog prevention inserts come with this sports action camera accessory kit, or you can purchase them separately. In a pinch, a piece of dense paper towel can work in substitute, but it won’t last as long. Always be sure to put the strips in a place where they won’t interfere with your buttons or your waterproof seal.

  2. Make a Habit of Checking Your Camera LCD Display Every Time You Hit Record.

    Never assume that things have stayed the way you left them.  You may always use the same setting for your videos, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been changed. An unintentional button press can happen a lot of ways.

    Cameras packed tightly often get a button pressed. Kids grab cameras and love pressing buttons. Someone else may have picked up your camera at one point thinking it was theirs – if so, it’s doubtful that they changed things back once they realized it.

  3. Don’t Forget to Juice – Always Check Camera Batteries

    We all think of this one as a no-brainer. Of course we need batteries. How many times have you asked, only to hear, “Oh yeah, we’re good, I charged them last week and haven’t used them.”

    I’ve heard it plenty, only to find that batteries weren’t actually charged. Rechargeable batteries don’t always hold a full charge for weeks on end when idle. Storage temperatures, charging speed, and a number of other factors can leave your “full” battery half-full.
    Bunny staring off into oblivion after running out of batteries
    Also, if you store your batteries in the camera, an accidental button press can leave your camera running when it wasn’t supposed to be. Whatever the reason, it’s never a fun surprise to realize you’re out of batteries.

    Charge batteries the night before using them, if possible, and store the camera in a way that it won’t be turned on accidentally.

  4. Don’t Shoot With The Lights Off.

    In this case, we’re referring to the lights on your camera. Your sports camera should have an indicator light of some sort, or a sound indicator, or both.

    These lights will tell you when you’re recording, usually flashing red on top of the camera. Sound indicators will tell you when you’re starting to record or stopping a recording.

    We’ve made the mistake plenty of times. It’s easy to think you’re starting to film when in fact your camera has shut off due to heat (they do this for safety sometimes, just like iPhones).

    It’s also easy to forget when you have power-saving features running for an all day shoot. You set it that way so that the camera shuts off after five minutes of being idle. But you have to remember to turn it back on when you want to shot.

  5. The Lens Cleaning Cloth is Your Best Friend

    We all have grubby fingers. It doesn’t matter how many times a day you wash your hands. Our skin contains oils, and lotions and soaps will add to the residue we leave behind.

    Without fail, this will ruin a shot for you at some point. Your fingerprints will be all over your the lens of your camera or the case. You may never even figure out why your video has splotchy spots on each side of the frame.

    Hands off the lens, and wipe your lenses before each use just to be sure. Always use the lint-free non-scratch cloth that came with your camera. Tempting as it may be, we should always avoid using our t-shirt or the cuff of our wet suit.

Take care of your camera, and it will take care of your memories. We get one shot at each moment.