kayak action camera

12 Tips for Better Kayak Action Camera Footage

In this post, I transcript the Youtube video “9 Tips for Better Action Camera Footage & B-roll while kayaking / GoPro – Kayak Hipster” for you, and add 3 more tips on how can you make your footage more engaging when you edit the clip.

Now that you have acquired your kayak and a waterproof camera, you’ll want to film your kayaking adventures and make them available online. 

You defintaely want the video you shared is perfect, at least in a good quilty. That’s why I gather there tips for you to let you getting a better footage and also enjoying yourself more. A lot of these tips are “preference”. They’re not right or wrong, you should try the things out yourself.

So, here we go!  



Try to mount a camera on your kayak in a certain way that will make space available on both of your side, so that people can paddle alongside you. You can also push the camera away either to the front or the back just enough to see other people and the scenery because if it’s too close, you won’t find it very interesting.

 kayak action camera footage
(Find out what is: Rule of Thirds)


Although, if you like to do certain things where you prefer to be the focus, then make the camera point at you, so that your expression or the waves hitting you will be the most important thing happening.

 kayak action camera footage


But, if you prefer taking pictures while holding the camera or mounting it on your helmet, it’s better to have it centered because the wide angles of the camera will distort things quite a bit. So, center it in a way the distortion doesn’t really take away from the photo.


(Mount the camera on your helmet)


Different locations and angles

Change the location of your shooting if you are shooting all day because if it’s exactly in the same position, you won’t find it interesting. For example, you can use lots of different mounts, clamp in different places, sticky for mounting the camera, suction cups that you put in different places on the kayak, helmet on the kayak itself and shoulder mount that will enable you to reach the camera easily.

kayak action camera
(Left: suction cups, Right: Clamp)

kayak action camera
(Helmet Mount)


With the shoulder mount, you will be able to open it, take the camera out, shoot with it and then clip it back into place, which makes it versatile and very reachable.

kayak action camera
(Shlouder Mount)

You don’t need to go crazy trying to catch all angles non-stop. Get a couple of different angles, stitch them together, and that will make a bit more interesting video rather than sitting in one position the entire time.

kayak action camera
(Capture the moment)


Don’t try to capture everything

Like I mentioned above, that was one of the mistakes you should avoid.  Figure out things you like shooting, for example, when people are putting things away in the kayak when you reach a particular destination, while you are kayaking in the water because that will give you continuity throughout the video.

kayak action camera kayak action camera
(Make it like a story)


Besides, avoid letting the camera run too long or getting obsessed with filming, because you won’t be able to enjoy yourself. At the end of a kayak trip, you and your friends can share videos together and you choose those that you like out of them.


FPS- Frames Per Seconds

Are you seeking answers to questions such as, what frames per seconds settings should I shoot at? Should I shoot in slow motion and then have a very large file? Should I shoot at 24 FPS to make it more cinematic? Should I shoot at 30 FPS?

For me when I started with action cameras, I used to shoot at 30 FPS, because of the way it displays action and you get to see every footage. But, as the years go by I found myself going with 24 FPS because it gives a nicer feel.

Let’s say you are slowing down or shooting at 60 or 120 FPS. Those extra couples of frames for 30 to 24 will actually allow you to slow down the footage even further. So 60 FPS looks better when slowing down like 24 than 60FPS slows down at 30 and the same goes for 120FPS.

kayak action camera slow motion
(Slow motion is the BEST!)


So, I really enjoyed that looks. Test all the different settings and see what you like shooting at. When it comes to slow motion and you want to do something that might look really cool, then set the camera up for 120FPS.

However, if there are chances of you slowing down and you want to shoot throughout the day, 60FPS is usually a nice compromise. Because it will still look nice and you get a bit of slow motion.



So many devices nowadays can shoot 4k videos, but this is really not necessary. 4k is spectacular for establishing shot to visitors or things where the backgrounds aren’t moving very quickly.

kayak action camera slow motion
(4K for a static scene)

However, if you see a kayak moving quickly, the paddle flying in 4k or lots of water and waves moving around, you can actually shoot some of these things in lower quality. You can also shoot at a larger size and compress down to 1080 before uploading online.


When to use stabilization?

Lots of new cameras are coming up with stabilization and the same goes for gimbals. They are more affordable and small, which make them easier to use. So when should stabilization be used?

If the camera was handled or mounted on your helmet, definitely use stabilization! Because it would make things really smooth, it would make it look as if you’re gliding and it looks fantastic.

kayak action camera helmet mount
(Use stabilization!)


But, if the camera was mounted on a moving object such as kayak and pointing back, it will look crazy with stabilization on, because stabilization is actually trying to counteract the kayak movement. If it’s on the kayak, it really nice seeing that, even though everything around the kayak is moving.

The actual kayak will be stationary relative to the camera, so if the camera is mounted it, then the stabilization should be off. It is definitely up to you to test and see what you like best.

So, when you walking around, stabilization ON, mount on a helmet, shoulder, stabilization ON. If mount on a kayak, probably off.


Tether down your gear

This is a very crucial part. Always have a cord or something that will hold down your gear in case the mount fails.

If you are going to be playing in the rough water or a location where the camera can get knocked down. Put a tether on the camera itself or at least on the mount of the camera, because that could fail and the camera will get knocked down while the mount still remains.

kayak action camera tether


So tether down your equipment every time you go kayaking. You can tether it down to your helmet or PFD.

kayak action camera tether

kayak action PFD tether
(Tether it down to your helmet or PFD)


Mix cameras if possible

I  discovered that if I making a video with only the Action camera footage, it becomes a little bit hard to watch. It’s always good to mix in different footage from something else.

You didn’t need a fancy camera, this is where I think a phone with video compatible which is very useful because just shooting small things like while having lunch or packing your gear and then mixing it with the video will give a fantastic feeling.

You’ll see how much more interesting your video becomes if you have a whole bunch of action camera shot mixed in with couple shots taken with your phone or something else.

kayak lunch
(Mix it up a little bit)


Test all settings

Don’t be afraid to play, to test or use all the different settings. See what works for you. Do you like color grading or color correction? If yes, then go flat on your colors.

Do you like speeding things up and slowing them down? Play with all the different speeds and see what you like. If you enjoy surfing, see the speed you like slowing things down to, so that the really cool.

Stabilization or no stabilization, different frames, wide, median and narrow point of view, test all of these settings and see what works for you.

Note: you got to be careful with the wide, median and narrow settings because, in the narrow settings, you might get a bit flatter, but you are getting lesser of the sensual, which make the image and video quality bad.

Most action cameras have time lapses, play with them and see if you like 2s, 5s, 10s, and default.

kayak action camera
(Enjoy it, Play it!)


That’s the 9 Tips for Better Action Camera Footage & B-roll while kayaking / GoPro from the KayakHipster Youtube Channel. You definitely should check it out.

Also, their Website. Kayak Hipster.


12 Tips for Better Kayak Action Camera Footage


Don’t leave now, I’ve gathered 3 more tips for you on how to make your kayaking clip more engaging, hope you like it.


Do a voiceover

You have recorded a great video, but to those that have no clue of what the video entails, it will be difficult for them to understand what the footage is all about.

Including a voiceover will be ideal, explain what’s going on and how you’re feeling about it. Make the video short, however, making your narration emotional will arouse people interest in watching your video.


Play background music

Play a background music that fits the mood and complements the video, sometimes the lyrics can even explain the footage. Don’t stick to one song, after some seconds you can switch to another music that fits the next part of the footage.

Try to make the music align with the images, which add flow to your video.


Invest in quality cameras

If you desire a quality footage, then invest in a quality camera. The quality of the footage recorded will be interesting to watch.

Finally, editing your pictures and videos a little will draw more viewers. Include the best actions in the video and make it short because online viewers don’t have the patience to stick around watching long videos.



Hope you find this post helpful, and improve on your filming skill by following these tips. If you find anything wrong or outdated, please leave your comment below. I’ll update it as soon as possible.

Thanks for reading, Happy Kayaking.

Enjoy it!

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