Saturday, October 20, 2012

Koira's Camera

Quite a few people asked questions about Koira's camera on the Wordless Wednesday post this week. I thought I would take a post to answer them, instead of hoping people checked back on the comments on that post.

Canon 8203

First off, the camera Koira uses is the GoPro Hero. There are now two newer versions, the Hero 2 and Hero 3. I'm perfectly happy with the version we have for now. Since the Hero 3 was just released, the original Hero went through a major price cut, making it much more affordable. I picked mine up at Best Buy along with a fast and large SD card (faster cards allow you to record steadier video). There are a lot of point-of-view cameras available other than the GoPro brand, so you might want to do a little research if you plan to get a camera for this kind of thing.


I use the camera upside down attached to Koira's collar. Using a strip of double sided velcro and a tiny keychain buckle, I attach the camera to dangle from Koira's collar. I probably wouldn't trust this set up in deep water, or somewhere that I wouldn't be able to get to the camera easily if it came loose (though it has shown no signs of falling off as of yet). There is an easy in-camera option to automatically flip pictures and video so that I can use the camera upside down but have pictures right side up when I upload them to the computer.


I find that the camera sways a LOT when attached to Koira's camera this way. It dangles down too far to even use with Pallo. His build and short little legs mean that he knocks into the camera with his legs, and it restricts his free motion and makes him uncomfortable. Koira doesn't mind the camera banging away on her chest, but some dogs might be more sensitive to it.


Dangling the camera from the collar is not a good method for taking video unless you want to get severely sea sick. The motion is way too much to get a watchable video. Instead, I have Koira take still pictures. The GoPro allows you to set it to automatically take pictures at intervals of 1, 2, 5, 10, 30, or 60 seconds. Using this function, I end up with a lot of really funky pictures, or totally unusable ones. Unless the lighting is amazing, many of the pictures are blurry from the motion of the swinging camera. I generally set it to take pictures every 5 or 10 seconds, and out of about 400 pictures from a walk, I might end up with 10-20 that are interesting enough and good enough for me to want to keep or share. The better the light, the more pictures that turn out usable.


I don't really find it difficult or time consuming to go through and delete all of the blurry or bad pictures. It doesn't take very long for me to go through them. I find that taking a picture every 5 or 10 seconds gets a lot of pictures, and takes pictures of a lot of things (mid play, etc) that would be missed if I used the 30 or 60 second intervals. If I were to take the dogs on a day long hike, I might set the intervals to be something longer versus going to the park to run and play for an hour.


As soon as I get my sewing machine back (it was borrowed by my mom for a project), I plan to make a harness to attach the GoPro more securely. The goal will be to eliminate the worst of the swinging motion of the camera, which should help with the more severely blurry pictures and help get some clearer pictures while the dogs are running and playing. If I come up with a good harness design, I will share both pictures of the finished harness and a short how-to for anyone wanting to make a similar system. I do have a hope that I can make a harness secure enough to do dog's-eye-view videos of lure coursing, flyball, dock diving, and all the other sports and adventures we participate in. We'll have to see how the harness works, though, before I promise videos!


*All opinions in this post are mine from my own experience. I was not compensated in any way by GoPro, Best Buy, or anyone else for this post. I simply purchased this camera and wanted to share with my readers about what I like and don't like.


  1. Ah, fantastic! Making a harness just for the GoPro... Such a great idea. Can't wait to see that, for sure.

    Are you going to Cascade Coursing Club's CATs next weekend (Auburn, WA)? Elli and I will be there and I'd love to actually meet Koira and Pallo. :)

  2. Woof! Woof! Super COOL! We are thinking to get one. Lots of surfers here uses it. But not sure since I (Sugar) likes to dive to retriever my toy. Koira's photos are just FUN. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

  3. Wow, those pics are amazing. I love the motion to them.

  4. The pictures Koira gets are amazing! Such a great idea. ;)