Why use lights with a GoPro?While the GoPro works great with ambient light and filters, you can expand the types of shots you can take by adding on lights. You can separate your foreground and background subjects by lighting your foreground with lights, making those subjects stand out more from the background.
Lights are absolutely essential for macro work, like when using a +15 MACROMATE MINI. Macro critters tend to live in dark holes, under dark ledges, or only come out at night--all situations requiring lights. It's rare to see macro subjects out in the open in daylight, but even still, using only a filter with these subjects usually results in muted colors. Even a small light will yield much better results for macro rather than nothing at all.
We've even found that shooting the GoPro with lights works well with the FLIP5 Shallow and Dive filters to help supplement a little more punch of light on foreground subjects. This flies in the face of conventional wisdom of shooting lights and filters together, but hey, we tried it, and it works!
But I want to keep my GoPro small, what lights are compact?Due to the really close distances of macro shooting, small lights work great to get in tight spots and provide plenty of light for macro work. These smaller lights won't have the same output as our medium sized lights, so when using compact lights in bright ambient light conditions, we recommend using the lights with a color filter on the GoPro. Our favorite lights in this category are the Light & Motion Sidekick and Gobe 850.
I'm getting serious with GoPro, what lights are best in size medium?If you're starting to get serious about taking your footage to the next level, brighter lights will give you more flexibility with the types of shots you can take. More light is needed for brighter ambient light conditions in order to overcome the ambient light and fill in shadows. This typically occurs in shallower conditions where the natural light form the sun is really bright. So the brighter your lights, the shallower you can shoot. For these conditions we recommend something in the 2000 to 3000 lumen range. Lights like the Sola 2000, Sola 2500, Sola 3000 from Light & Motion and FIX Neo 2000, FIX Neo 3000 from Fisheye makes good compromise between size and power. For the ultimate light setup for a wide angle GoPro rig, a Sola 8000 or Keldan 4x (6000 lumens) will give the best results, although a bit larger, are still a manageable size for a GoPro rig.
Can I get away with just one light?Yes, for macro, but not really for wide. In macro the subjects are relatively small and the wide beam of any light designed for video work will be more than enough to cover the subject area. For wide angle, lights tend to be placed further away, creating hard shadows that need to be filled in with a second light.
OUR FAVORITE LIGHT CONFIGURATIONS FOR GOPRO
Light & Motion Sidekick Light