Skydiving with an Action Camera

Skydiving with an Action Camera

Published: March 15, 2013

Skydiving is such an exhilarating experience, wouldn't you want to capture it on video so you can relive it whenever you want?

For many tandem students, your jump is a once and a lifetime experience. Between the adrenaline - emotions - excitement you are feeling, chances are you will look back at your video for some time to come trying to relive that moment over again. As with any highlight of your life - you cannot get that moment back. Sure, you can redo the event - but that first time, when your emotions are running high and your excitement radar is off the charts - that first time feeling is a once and a lifetime experience, so we always recommend you capture this moment on video with still photos. Our videographers at Skydive Long Island are some of the most experienced in the industry and have thousands of videography skydives under their belts. They have filmed thousands of tandems and have savored the memories for so many people like you.

If you are like many others, your tandem jump is only the first step towards your journey of becoming a licensed skydiver. Many skydivers started their tandem jumps knowing they were going to train to become a licensed jumper - others had no idea, yet after their initial tandem jump - they were hooked and wanted more. Thus, their training began.

During your Accelerated Free Fall Progression (training jumps), it is sometimes recommend having some of these jumps filmed as well. Reasons vary from either the student wanting to have a video of their progression to sometimes an instructor using the video as a means of showing the student a problem or issue they are having in their progression. Many students are visual learners so seeing what they are doing helps greatly in their progression.

Once you have advanced through your training, you will then be signed off as a licensed skydiver. Now the real fun begins. Everyone wants to capture all of their jumps on film to show their family and friends all the fun they are having in the playground in the sky. Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on whether you are in this category or not) the United States Parachute Association (USPA) recommends a 200 jump minimum before you can jump with a camera. The experienced camera flyers at Skydive Long Island (SDLI) have the experience, skills and licenses to adequately handle the various situations that may arise when jumping with a camera. These skills only come with experience; therefore, SDLI honors the USPA's recommendation of 200 jumps so as to ensure everyone's safety.

Now, once you reach your 200-jump minimum, you are allowed to jump with a camera and capture all of the fun and good times in the sky for you and your friends. It is highly recommended to talk with an instructor beforehand to review some safety issues (such as perhaps adding a cutaway handle to your helmet, reviewing safety concerns that could arise with a malfunction such as a camera getting tangled during deployment, etc. Everyone wants you to be safe, so best to talk to the experienced instructors at Skydive Long Island to get the best advise possible on how to safely jump with a camera.

Once you are ready, there are so many to choose from, so often it is best to talk to fellow camera flyers to learn what they are jumping with and why. Chances are they've learned through trial and error on what works best and what the latest technologies are.

Several things to keep in mind, even a gopro, which is one of the most widely used cameras in skydiving, despite it being compact, it does become a snag point on your helmet. Talking to an instructor will help you understand these risks and learn how to avoid issues before they happen. Using hand-cams are another snag point as well. Most people put their altimeter on their left hand (which is always recommended so as not to have it on your right hand when deploying your pilot chute - to avoid it getting caught on the altimeter) - well, the same applies with a hand-cam. Also, still cameras add some weight to the helmet. Ask anyone who's ever flown with one on his or her helmet and had a hard opening. Instant whiplash.

Cameras are a great way to capture the moment, savor the fun and share the good times. They are also a great way to notice mistakes - which in turn, become learning opportunities. You will soon see in watching videos where mistakes are made in exiting the plane, during a skydive, and also under canopy. You can also point out mistakes made on tracking direction, holding areas, canopy piloting, etc. Cameras have so many great uses and offer so many opportunities for learning and having fun.

If you are a tandem skydiver, take full advantage of the opportunity to have your jump filmed, Chances are, you will regret it afterwards if you don't. How many times have we had something great happen and said "darn, I wish I had a camera for this!" - well, here is a time where you can have a videographer film your magical adventure. Don't miss out on that.

If you are a student and an instructor recommends that a jump be videoed, trust their judgment and use this opportunity to have it filmed to see anything that can help you progress.

If you are a licensed jumper and have 200 jumps under your belt and are looking to fly a camera, talk to an instructor and fellow camera flyers, find out what the best options for you might be, learn all that you can about how to fly your camera/video as safe as you can and enjoy making memories with all of your fellow skydivers.

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I went in to do a jump and walked out with a much greater experience than I expected and a new circle of friends.

» John H

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