Chris Wolfe uses his GoPro Hero camera to produce short, action-packed videos that capture the fast-moving daily lives of him and his friends.
Wolfe, a junior at University of Richmond, purchased his camera immediately after beach week in 2011. He took the camera wakeboarding with his friends for a tester video soon after he bought it. The camera was recording as one of Wolfe’s friends landed his first big trick, so the group decided that they wanted to capture similar moments in the future, Wolfe said.
Since then, Wolfe has filmed the summers in his hometown of Greenwich, Conn., including trips with friends to one of their favorite cliff-jumping spots in upstate New York. His past two summers have been almost entirely on record, Wolfe said.
Wolfe taught himself to record and edit by watching high quality sports videos on the website “InfinityList,” he said. These videos helped him recognize different techniques and angles to try recording from, he said. Wolfe’s videos are unique because he is not the sole recorder.
“It’s not just Chris filming, but anyone who picks up his camera, so the videos capture a lot of the funny, smaller moments that normally wouldn’t be captured,” junior Will Harris said.
Harris has been in most of Wolfe’s videos, including those from beach week and NASCAR, he said. Harris also studied abroad with Wolfe in Madrid first semester, where they recorded a trip to a park and a protest at a plaza. They also filmed a Swedish House Mafia concert, themselves riding a rollercoaster and Oktoberfest in Germany. Wolfe is currently working on a full-length documentary about his semester abroad, he said.
Most of Wolfe’s video ideas come from activities that he is already pursuing, he said. Rather than coming up with a video idea and then arranging the event, he brings his camera wherever he and his friends are going, he said.
“I knew about the GoPro camera and decided I had to have one,” Wolfe said. Wolfe likes this camera because it is small enough to carry while remaining active, and it has a very high definition lens. He also likes the wide-angled, curved lens, which gives a spherical, fish-eye effect to his subjects. This effect is especially prevalent in sports shooting because it emphasizes turns, jumps and other motions more than a flat-lens camera would, Wolfe said. He hopes to buy the newest edition of the GoPro Hero before summer begins, he said.
The process of making a video usually takes Wolfe about eight hours. He begins by selecting and filming a specific topic, uploading the footage to his laptop, and opening it in editing programs, specifically iMovie and Final Cut Pro, he said.
“Then it is kind of like your art canvas,” Wolfe said. “You can do whatever you want.” He starts the editing portion by selecting a song to help form a theme for the video, he said.
The next step, which is the most time-consuming task, is sorting through all of the footage and selecting the best one-to-two second clips, Wolfe said. Sometimes he will have ten hours worth of footage and need to narrow it down to the best clips to create a four-minute video.
“It is a huge refining process where you start big and continue to get smaller and smaller,” Wolfe said. “Once you get it to the smallest parts, you reorganize so that the plot fits a story.”
Wolfe’s goal in each video is to tell a story without using words, he said. The most rewarding part of making videos for him is the combination of having fun and remembering moments. Not only does he get to go wakeboarding, but he also gets to watch the footage later and remember it in detail, Wolfe said.
Wolfe had always been interested in making videos, and before he got his own camera, he would use his father’s camera to film. Between the time Wolfe bought the GoPro Hero and the next summer, five of his friends from Greenwich purchased cameras of their own. When they shoot together now, there are often six cameras recording simultaneously, he said.
“Filming adds a different aspect to the activity,” said Pearce Cucchissi, a junior at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. “We try and push the limits of sports and having fun to make an awesome film.”
Their goal was to come up with something better than photo albums to store their memories, Cucchissi said.
Wolfe’s major is business administration with a concentration in finance, and his minor is leadership studies. He said he hoped that when his workload slowed down, he would have room in his schedule to take film classes at the university.
He is currently applying to finance, as well as advertising and marketing, jobs. Wolfe would eventually like to work in production, and his ideal position would be serving as the head of production of Red Bull Media House, he said.
Wolfe’s videos can be viewed here.
Contact reporter Megan Haggerty at firstname.lastname@example.org