GoPro H4 Silver Headcam User Guide

Brian Genna -

Overview

This user guide will show you everything you need to know about how to use your Faceware GoPro Headcam. It contains a lot of useful technical information and we recommend highly that you take the time to read through this document as you open and setup your GoPro Headcam for the first time.
It is also recommended that you print this document and keep a copy in your Headcam case for reference whenever you setup for a shoot. It is important to keep this guide close at hand when setting up to ensure you get the best experience with your camera.


Case Contents

When opening your GoPro Headcam kit for the first time, reference this list to get to know and understand what’s in the case.

  • (1) Adjustable Helmet 
  • (1) Sets of Helmet Padding (1/2”, 1/4”, and 1/8” Thicknesses)
  • (3) Camera Mounting Bars
  • Single Camera Bar (Left and Right)
  • Hooped Camera Bar 
  • GoPro Camera Mount
  • GoPro Hero4 Silver Camera Kit
  • Spare Batteries
  • Dual Battery Charger
  • 32 gig micro SD card
  • 2.5mm Hex Ball Driver

Using your GoPro Headcam

Consult this guide each time you set up your GOPRO Headcam for a shoot to ensure that all settings are correct and the video footage you capture is optimal not just for comfort, but for both animation reference and use with Faceware software. For best results, use our recommended settings for each component.

Fitting your Helmet

To ensure the best video capture, it’s very important to make sure the helmet fits properly on your Talent. You will find that people’s heads come in all shapes and sizes and sometimes it takes a few tries to get the best fit.

Recommended Settings: This will be different for every person. Always take time to ensure a proper and comfortable fitting Helmet for the Talent before moving forward with your Camera setup.

Padding – Getting the Perfect Fit

The Adjustable Helmet comes with various Helmet Pads to get the perfect fit for your Talent. It is okay to mix and match the various thicknesses of Pads to ensure a snug fit. There is no right or wrong pad combination; the options are for finding the balance of snug and comfortable.

Adjusting the Helmet

Working from the top to the back, there are knobs that control the lateral width, the depth, and the circumference of the Helmet. Place the Helmet on your talent and start with the top knob setting all the way out. Next tighten the middle knob until it forms to the actors head. Then tighten the knob on the back to get a snug fit. Now work your way back up to the top to get a secure fit.

“How tight is too tight?”

It should feel like a motorcycle or bicycle helmet. Ask the talent if there are any pressure points. If so, use a thicker pad or try adjusting the helmet accordingly. Conversely, make sure the helmet cannot slide back and forth easily.

“Is it on correctly?”

Many people instinctually put the helmet on like a hat. This position is most often too far forward. Slide the Helmet back enough so that the front rim is at the top of the forehead. The goal is to see the forehead clearly. The back of the helmet is designed to hold on to the occipital bone (the bump on the back of the head), so if you can see the forehead you should be in the right place.

Selecting the Best Camera Bar

Your GoPro Headcam kit comes with a selection of different Camera Bars that work in different shoot scenarios.

Recommended Settings: In general, it is best to use either the left or right single arm bar for dialog and the hoop for stunts or heavy movement.

When to use the Single Camera Bar

The Single-arm Camera Bar provides the Talent with more freedom to interact with objects and to keep their periphery vision open, due to the drop bar design. It gives a more “open” feel and is generally preferred by actors. Feel free to choose left of right based on actor preference or need.

When to use the Hooped Camera Bar

The Hooped Camera Bar is more rigid and is used when capturing stunt work and capture scenarios requiring a lot of harsh movement. Because it does not have the “drop arm” design, it is most obtrusive to the Talent peripheral vision, but provides less wobble to the video with heavy movement.

Setting up your GoPro Camera

Your GoPro camera system comes with everything you need to for facial performance capture.

Initial Setup

The GoPro camera comes with a Quickstart Guide from the good people at GoPro. It details setting up, and working with your camera. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the functions of the camera. We also recommend setting up the wi-fi capabilities of the camera and installing the GoPro app on a mobile device you can use on set. More help on the web can be found at http://gopro.com/support and http://www.youtube.com/GoProTutorials

Battery Management

Your kit comes with two batteries and an external battery charger. Due to the small size and high technology of the GoPro camera system, the battery life is usually between 1-2 hours of use. We recommend fully charging your batteries before starting and always keeping the spare on the charger during your shoots. Note the color of the LED on the charger; orange is charging and green is fully charged.


Assembling the System

Once you’ve selected the Camera Bar and Lens, the next step is to put it all together.

Putting the GoPro in the Camera Mount

The camera mount simply and securely holds your GoPro camera in front of the actors face. The back plate opens on a hinge, by slightly lifting on the latch on top. The GoPro camera needs to be removed from its waterproof housing and the bare unit can now be placed inside the mount by lining up the lens protrusion to the lens hole and pushing forward. Once the camera is in, the back plate can be re-secured by closing the plate until the latch clicks back into a secure position.

Attaching the Camera Mount to the Bar

Next, place the Camera Mount onto the Camera Bar using the 2.5mm Hex driver from the Tool Bag. For the single-arm Camera Bar, loosen the Camera Mount then slide the mount roughly 0.75 inch (19mm) onto the short extension from the right angle side of the bar. Tighten it slightly so the mount holds in place, but is still adjustable. If you’re using the Hooped Camera Bar, the back-plate on the Camera Mount can be unscrewed all of the way off to place it on the end of the Bar. Once the Camera Mount is roughly in the middle, tighten it slightly so the mount holds in place, but is still adjustable.

Attaching the Camera Bar to the Helmet

On your chosen side, loosen the hand screws on the camera block on the Helmet ball joint. Slide the Camera Bar into the double brass fittings. It is purposefully a very tight fit; we recommend a twisting motion to get the bar into the fittings. Once the Bar is through, roughly position the camera straight out from the Talent’s nose and then retighten both hand screws on the camera block.


Putting the GOPRO Headcam on your Talent

Putting the Helmet back on

Next, you’ll put the Helmet back on the actor. This starts from the front side. Position the front of the helmet just above the eyebrows then roll and slide the helmet back into position, making sure to expose the forehead. This keeps the hair back and out of the face. For Talent with long hair, make sure it is behind their ears first. If they have their hair in a ponytail, ask them to loosen it and lower their ponytail to the base of their neck.


Framing your Camera

With the Camera components hooked up, the next step is to properly frame and focus the Camera.

Viewing the Camera Feed (Built-in Screen)

The simplest way to see the feed is to touch the screen on the back of the unit. It will provide you with a real time view of the camera for framing and for adjusting settings.

Viewing the Camera Feed (Wireless)

If you set up the wi-fi connection, you can use the GoPro App on a mobile device or tablet to remotely view the feed. Note there is a delay on the feed.

Viewing the Camera Feed (Hard-Wired)

Walk the Talent to a television. Using a mini HDMI to HDMI cable (not included), connect the cable from the mini HDMI plug on the top of the camera to an HDMI in port on a television or monitor. This will give you a realtime feed of the camera.

Framing the Face Properly

The goal is to get the camera directly in front of the Talent’s nose, just under their eye-line. To get started, loosen the camera block on the helmet ball joint again and adjust. The Camera Mount can also be trucked along the bar laterally using the 2.5mm hex driver. To get the framing perfect, you may need to adjust the swing and rotation on the camera block as well as truck the Camera Mount side to side. Once the Camera is squared in front of the actor, tighten down all points.


Adjusting your Camera’s Settings

With a framed image, we can now dial in the camera settings. The main goal is to maintain a clean, clear, neutral image of the Talent’s face.

Environmental Considerations

Adjust your camera settings where you will actually be shooting, not in a staging area. The difference in lighting may lead to a less-than-optimal setting. If you notice any harsh lighting that may affect the capture, look to diffuse the lighting on the stage area. The goal is soft, even lighting, for every direction the actor will be facing throughout your shots. Avoid spot or directional lighting.

Changing the Camera Settings

Getting to the camera setting can happen three different ways. One is pressing the quick menu button on the side of the GoPro. Second is going through the main menu by pressing the front button. The final is the GUI in the GoPro app.

Resolution & Frame Rate

We recommend using a resolution of 1280x720 with a frame rate of 60 fps. 720p resolution is more than enough data for our facial tracking technology. The data stream and file size is unnecessarily large for 1920x1080. We only recommend 1920x1080 for recording in frame rates to match film, such as 24 or 48 fps.

Field of View

Set the Field of View (FOV) to Medium or Narrow to fill more of the image with the actor’s face. Do not shoot on Wide. The camera must be set to 1280x720 or 1920x1080 to adjust the FOV. Any other setting, Wide will be your only choice, and is not recommended.

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