This is GoPro’s latest video. There are no snowboards or rockets. There are no babies or pets. There’s no adrenaline-cranking music. There’s a guy on an ATV, but he doesn’t hit any jumps or explode in epic fashion. There's just grass-growing, forest scenes, and a nice sunset. Has GoPro’s YouTube account been hacked?
Nope, what you’re looking at is early footage from a prototype quadcopter that GoPro announced it was working on earlier this year. The short video, which is supposed to remind us, and investors, that GoPro is still working on its much-anticipated drone, does that job well, but is totally underwhelming everywhere else and a steep departure from its normal videos, which crank everything to 11.
You’d think GoPro would want to put its best foot forward with this first reveal of its drone's capabilities. Yes, the footage is perfectly smooth, which showcases the drone's stabilization system. I mean, it looks like one big crane shot. But we aren’t seeing the copter make any sharp directional changes, which is what really jostles a drone’s camera. Also, I believe them when they say they didn’t use any stabilization software in post-production, but the ATV shot at the end was slowed down, which always makes footage look smoother.
When GoPro's drone finally drops, it’s going to be a gigantic spectacle, no doubt. It’s going to have to be. GoPro was the first action camera. It established a huge lead and everybody else is still playing catch-up. The company's been king for a long time, but not in the drone world, where DJI is the reining champ (and there are at least half a dozen other brands doing cool things, too). Whatever GoPro releases will have to be unique enough to convince buyers that it’s better than what’s already out there. It'll have to feature some spec no one dreamed up, a tempting price-point, or some other wildcard. We don’t know what it’s going to be, but we, along with the rest of the world, are excited to find out.
And maybe that’s the takeaway here. Even GoPro’s least exciting video still manages to remind us that there’s something coming down the pipe that we’re excited about. And here I am reminding you. So, perhaps it achieved what it set out to after all.