GoPro, Inc. (marketed as GoPro, and at times stylised as GoPRO) is an American technology company founded in 2002 by Nick Woodman. It manufactures eponymous action cameras and develops its own mobile apps and video-editing software.

Founded originally as Woodman Labs, Inc, the company eventually descended into the connected sport genre, developing its line of action cameras, and eventually video editing software. It additionally developed a quadcopter drone - Karma, released in October 2016.

History

The company was founded by Nick Woodman in 2002. Woodman was motivated by a 2002 surfing trip to Australia in which he was hoping to capture quality action photos, but couldn't because amateur photographers couldn't get close enough or buy quality equipment at reasonable prices. His desire for a camera system that could capture the professional angles inspired the 'GoPro' name.

Woodman initially raised a portion of his capital by selling bead and shell belts for under US $20 out of his VW van and later, fashionable camera straps. He additionally received over $230,000 in investment from his parents.

In 2004, the company sold its first camera system, which used 35 mm film. Digital still and video cameras were later introduced. As of 2014, a fixed-lens HD video camera with a wide 170-degree lens was available; two or more can be paired to create 360 video.

On June 4, 2014, the company announced the appointment of former Microsoft executive Tony Bates as President reporting directly to Woodman.

In January, 2016, GoPro partnered with Periscope for live streaming.

After growing the number of employees by more than 500 in 2015, the company responded to weak sales in the fourth quarter by cutting about 100 or seven percent of its workforce in January 2016.

Corporate actions

On March 30, 2011, GoPro acquired CineForm. The acquisition included the CineForm 444 video codec, used in the film Slumdog Millionaire. The company claimed that the codec "makes HD and 3D editing faster and more convenient without sacrificing image quality." It was incorporated in the company's 3D Hero System shortly after the acquisition.

In March 2013, GoPro issued a DMCA takedown notice to website DigitalRev.com, which had posted a review of its product, citing trademark use as a breach of copyright. This notice was retracted 10 days later, citing "erroneous enforcement".

On February 29, 2016, GoPro spent $105 million and acquired two start-ups, namely, Stupeflix and Vemory for their video editing tools Replay and Splice.

IPO

On February 7, 2014, GoPro submitted a confidential filing for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

On May 19, 2014, GoPro formally filed its S-1 with the SEC without specifying the number of shares or their price. The company stated that they hoped to raise at least $100 million through the sale of shares, using the money to pay off debt in full ($111 million as of March 31, 2014) and "to acquire or invest in complementary businesses, technologies or assets." They said that they planned to list on the NASDAQ stock exchange using the symbol 'GPRO.'

The expected price range was $21 to $24 a share; on June 25, 2014, GoPro sold 17.8 million shares to initial investors at $24 per share (totaling $427.2M). At the IPO price the company was valued at $2.95 billion. 1.5 percent of those shares were allotted to LOYAL3, a technology platform that allows small investors to participate.

An important reason for GoPro's decision to go public was the potential to become a media company to generate additional revenue from the content its cameras create.

Product lines

HERO cameras

Woodman worked on his first camera for two years after founding the company, eventually introducing the GoPro 35mm Hero in September 2004 at San Diego's Action Sports Retailer trade show. In its first year GoPro sold $150,000 worth of products. In 2006 the company introduced its first Digital Hero, with 10 second video capability, and generated $800,000 in revenue. The following year GoPro sales quadrupled to $3.4 million.

In 2014 the company was selling the Hero3+ in editions of different colors. It was capable of filming in 16:9 aspect ratio, supporting 4K UHD video and 12MP still photographs. The Hero 4 was introduced on 24 September 2014.

Karma

The GoPro Karma is GoPro's consumer drone.

In 2014, GoPro entered into discussions with DJI for a private label model built with the GoPro branding. After the failure of these negotiations, GoPro entered into an agreement with 3D Robotics (3DR) for a similar partnership based on 3DR's flight controllers. 3DR failed to meet their agreed upon timelines. As a result, GoPro took full control of the development process in mid-2015.

Scheduled to be released early 2016 the GoPro Karma project was delayed several times before the GoPro Karma was finally announced with an introduction date of Oct. 23, 2016. The Karma was released along with newer models of the Hero5 and Session cameras and features a removable handheld stabiliser (gimbal) integrated into the design. After a few customers complained about power failure throughout operation, Go Pro recalled Karma drones and gave customers full refunds.

Accessories

GoPro produces various mounting accessories for its cameras including a 3-way mount, suction cup, chest harness, jaws-type flexible clamp, dog harness, surfing mount, etc.

Video editing

The company developed GoPro Studio, simple video editing software to edit camera footage, with v2.5 released in October 2014. It was reported that GoPro intended to additionally become a content provider.

Content company

In April 2014, GoPro was listed by Adweek as one of the "Top 10 Best Brand Channels on YouTube" based on a combination of views, shares, comments and overall engagement. Content is uploaded daily, an additional source of revenue for the company.

As part of its transformation to a media company in 2014, GoPro created additional channels with GoPro content on YouTube, Virgin America and Xbox Live. This was extended to the PlayStation Network in 2015.

HD HERO cameras

As of October 2014 GoPro sells three fixed-lens cameras, two without viewfinders and one including a touchscreen viewfinder. A 2-bit LCD on the front of the camera allows access to its menu system, which is controlled by the front and top shutter buttons. The HERO4 Black have dimensions of 41 mm × 59 mm × 30 mm and weighs 88 grammes (152 grammes with housing). Still images from 6 to 12 megapixels can be captured. The cameras are sold with a clear polycarbonate HD Housing with a glass lens that's rated shockproof and waterproof to 131 feet (40 m), with a quick-release buckle on the top and threads at the bottom to attach to all of the GoPro mounts. The housing has metal buttons that connect to the camera's controls and has a "skeleton" backdoor option to allow audio recording when the camera is used with a mount but without the need to be watertight or shockproof.

Products

HERO cameras

35mm

The 35mm camera (model #001) became available on April 13, 2005. It had dimensions of 2.5 by 3 inches (64 by 76 mm) and weighed 0.45 pounds (200 g). It included the camera, a clear case with quick release, a camera strap, and ski glove adapter lash. It could pivot "on the fly" and was functional to a depth in water of about 15 feet (5 m). It was described as a "reusable wrist camera" and included a roll of 24 exposure Kodak 400 film.

Digital

The Digital HERO released in 2006 (Model : SQ907 mini-cam) had a 640×460 camera and shot VGA definition 320X240 (10fps) video for a maximum of 10 seconds. The Digital HERO 1 had 32 MB internal memory without SD slot.

Digital 3

The Digital HERO 3 released in 2007 had a 3-megapixel camera and shot standard definition 512 × 384 video. It was rated up to 30 metres (98.4 feet) in depth.

Digital 5

The Digital HERO 5 was first introduced on December 5, 2008. It had a 5-megapixel still photo sensor, and supported standard definition (512×384) video capture. It ran on two AAA batteries, had 16 MB of internal memory, and could function with a 2 GB SD card. Its housing was rated to 100 ft/30 metres depth. Its dimensions were 2.6 × 1.75 × 1.25 inches (66 × 44 × 32 mm). The camera isn't designed to work with the newer HD HERO line of housings, although the standard screw mounts are indeed compatible.

Digital Wide

HD

960

HD HERO 960 - shoots a maximum of 960p video and isn't compatible with GoPro's electronic accessories although the camera is compatible with all GoPro mounts. It was first listed on August 6, 2010.

HD

The HD HERO Naked, released with a range of accessories, shoots a maximum of 1080p video on its 5Mp sensor. The Naked camera line forms the basis for additional bundles, which are differentiated by the types of mounts they have (HD Helmet HERO, HD Motorsports HERO, HD Surf HERO). It was first listed on January 25, 2010.

Specifications
  • Sensor size: 1/2.5-inch (5.75 mm × 4.28 mm)
  • Pixel size: 2.2 μm
  • Image formats:
ModeSizefpsFOV
R1848 × 48060170°
R21280 × 72030170°
R31280 × 72060170°
R41280 × 96030170°
R51920 × 108030127°
Photo2592 × 19440170°

2

The HERO2 was launched on October 24, 2011. It has an 11 MP image sensor, improved low-light capability and records at up to 120 frames per second. It was sold with three different accessory packages as the Outdoor, Motorsports, and Surf Editions.

3

In late 2012, GoPro announced the Hero 3 line of cameras. These new cameras came in three editions: black, silver and white.

All three versions of the HERO3 come in a new thirty percent smaller and twenty-five percent lighter package, with WiFi functionality built in. The change of the physical dimensions of the cameras compared to the previous generations (Hero1 and Hero2 were physically identical) means that a few of the camera accessories for HD HERO Original and HERO2 aren't compatible with HERO3, so GoPro made new versions of those accessories specifically for Hero3 (and mostly for Hero3+, see below). Those new versions of accessories are usually not compatible with older Hero camera generations. Notwithstanding a lot of additional accessories are compatible with all HD Hero camera generations.

The HERO3 Silver and Black cameras have significantly less battery endurance than the HD HERO Original and HERO2. For example, in 720p resolution with 25/30 FPS, while HD HERO Original and HERO2 have a stated battery runtime of 3 hours, HERO3 Silver Edition has a stated battery runtime of 2 hours, and HERO3 Black Edition has a stated battery runtime of 1.5 hours (the Black Edition's "most economical" setting is 1080p/30 FPS, so this additionally partially contributes to its poor battery runtime).

The Black Edition has a new 12 MP sensor that can capture 4K UHD digital video at 15 fps, 2.7K video at 30 fps, 1440p at 48 fps, 1080p at 60fps, 960p at 100fps, 720p at 120 fps and WVGA at 240 fps. The Black edition additionally includes the WiFi Remote. The Black Edition can't record at 25/30 FPS in 720p and WVGA resolutions; it can only record at quite fast framerates in those resolutions. This is a deliberate firmware limitation, as the manufacturer doesn't expect that this high-end camera model will be used at these lower resolutions and frame rates.

The Silver Edition uses the same 11 MP sensor as the HERO2, and the White edition uses the same 5 MP sensor as the HD HERO Original.

3+
File:Timelapse Chicago Bike Ride March 30 2014.webm

In October 2013 GoPro released the HERO3+, available in Black and Silver Editions, which replaced the HERO3 generation. The HERO3 White Edition remains as GoPro's low-end device.

The HERO3+ camera models claim dramatically improved low light performance, and have a waterproof enclosure which is twenty percent lighter and fifteen percent smaller than the HERO3's, according to the GoPro website. The HERO3+ camera housing is twenty percent smaller than the HERO3. The cameras are claimed to have improved image sharpness (close focus down to 7" vs about 3 ft on the HERO3, at the expense of distant focus which is slightly less sharp with HERO3+), and better audio functionality with wind noise reduction. Battery life is claimed to be thirty percent longer than for the HERO3 model (both through better efficiency and a higher-capacity battery of the same dimensions).

The Black Edition has video modes of 1440p48, 1080p60, 960p100 and 720p120 as well as 4K15 and 2.7K30 and can shoot 12MP stills at up to 30 frames per second. Along with the increased resolution, the HERO3+ Black Edition additionally offers an optional function in firmware (called "SuperView") which increases the field of view. It has additional functions, including dynamic low light situation adjustment, higher-quality recording modes (higher bitrates, no white balance applied, etc.) etc. The Black Edition continues to include a Wifi Remote. It doesn't have the ability to record 25/30 FPS in 720p and WVGA modes (it can only record at quite fast framerates in those lower resolutions). This is an intentional firmware limitation, as the manufacturer doesn't expect a camera with its capabilities to be used at low resolution and framerate. The battery runtime of HERO3+ Black Edition, is significantly longer than HERO3 Black Edition but 30–50% lower than the battery runtime of the older HERO2 and HERO1.

The Silver Edition has video modes of 1080p60 and 720p120 and can shoot 10MP stills at up to 10 frames per second. In contrast to the Black Edition, the Silver Edition can record at 25/30 FPS (or higher) in all supported resolutions. HERO3+ Silver Edition additionally has about 25%-50% longer battery runtime throughout recording than HERO3+ Black Edition (they both use the same batteries). The difference in runtime depends on the resolution/FPS combination, and whether WiFi and GoPro mobile application are used throughout recording. The difference in runtime increases as the FPS is lowered and the additional functions are deactivated on both cameras. The battery runtime of HERO3+ Silver Edition is similar to the battery runtime of HERO2 and HERO1.

The HERO3 HD camera was awarded the 2013 Technology & Engineering Emmy Award for its contribution to television.

4

GoPro Hero 4 Silver Edition

In September 2014 GoPro announced the HERO4, available in Black Edition and Silver Edition, which replace their respective HERO3+ generation predecessors. The Hero, a budget camera, was additionally announced.

The HERO4 Black Edition still has a 12 mp CMOS and a f/2.8 fixed maximum aperture and focus free. It adds Bluetooth connectivity, Highlight tag, Protune Available for photo and a new processor claimed by GoPro to be twice as fast as that of the HERO3+ Black Edition, doubling the frame rates in most resolutions. The HERO4 Black Edition can record 4K UHD video (3840×2160) at a frame rate of 24, 25 and 30 fps. In Superview mode, 4k is only possible at 25 fps. Many additional rates and resolutions are available. The HERO4 Black Edition still shoots stills at a maximum of 12MP with a maximum burst rate of 30 fps. With Wi-Fi disabled at 4k/30, GoPro claims the HERO4 Black Edition battery life to be 65 minutes, increasing to a maximum of 1h 50' at 720p/240. The HERO4 Black battery is in a different form factor than its predecessors. Initial side-by-side comparisons of HERO3+ and HERO4 Black edition video results suggest that the newer model has more detail at long range, and similar performance at close range.

The HERO4 Silver Edition is basically a HERO3 Black Edition with the addition of a micro speaker, built-in touch screen display, Protune for photo and highlight tag the first GoPro with this, a lower clocked Cortex-A9 and missing the Black Editions integrated analog-to-digital converter which supports a wider variety of professional low-sensitivity external mics. The video modes supported by the HERO4 Silver Edition are similar to those of the HERO3+ Black, due to the higher processing speed and thermal requirements of 4K video (3840×2160), but it supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and contains the same, Ambarella Inc. A9 SoC as in the HERO4 Black. Hero 4 Silver known as the simplest GoPro of all time.

The HERO4 Session, released July 6, 2015, is fifty percent smaller and forty percent lighter comparing to additional versions of the GoPro HERO4 camera.

The HERO4 models maintains the H.264 video codec of previous versions and MP4 file formats. GoPro claims the mono microphone in both the Black and Silver Editions has twice the dynamic range of the HERO3+, and that the HERO4 Black and Silver Editions have improved low-light performance.

+LCD

In June 2015 the company started to sell a new camera: GoPro HERO+LCD, which provides video recording at 1080p at 60 fps/and 8 megapixel photos. GoPro HERO+LCD has a touch screen to preview the shot to frame the scene perfectly and letting user easily navigate the menu. New feature in the camera -Instant camera editing. GoPro HERO+LCD is waterproof, because it is built directly into a waterproof case (waterproof to 131 feet (40 m)). The device additionally includes a feature HiLight Tagging and built-in video editing function, which allows user to put a label on the main points while shooting video or in the process of view, which makes it possible to quickly find desired footage later. Camera has built- in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Technical Specifications: Video Resolution 1080p 60fps / 720p 60fps, Photo resolution 8 mp / 5 fps burst, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, User-friendly modes like QuikCapture, SuperView and Auto Low Light, Waterproof to 131’ (40 m), Built-in touch display.

+

In October 2015 GoPro released its third entry level camera: GoPro HERO+. This camera has everything similar to the previous HERO+LCD like the 1080p 60fps / 720p 60fps Video Resolution, 8 mp / 5 fps burst Photo Resolution, built in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, Waterproof up to 40m and additional modes like Superview, Auto Low Light, QuikCapture and Timelapse mode which automatically captures photos at set time intervals from 0.5 to 60 seconds. However it doesn't have an LCD built-in touch display and it is slightly lighter than HERO+LCD. The HERO+ weighs at 123 grammes whereas the HERO+LCD weighs 127 grams. The housing additionally remained the same. This camera is priced at $256.

5

Hero 5 Black

  • 4K 30FPS
  • Waterproof to 10 meters
  • Voice Control
  • 2" Display
  • Electronic Image Stabilization

Karma Drone

GoPro drone Karma

Karma Drone available October 23. GoPro launched the highly anticipated Karma Drone for $799, which includes the Drone, controller, stabilizer, Karma Grip, and case. The Drone can be bundled with a Hero 5 Black for $1099 and with a Hero 5 Session for $999. The drone is additionally compatible with the Hero 4 Black and Silver. Gross margins might come in below company averages initially, but over time the firm should cut out costs with each generation as they have done with the cameras. The Drone has 20 minutes of battery life. The stabiliser can be taken out and attached to a Karma stick, which can be sold separately for $299.99 and the presentation of a downhill mountain biker POV with minimal shake. The Karma stick has greater than 1 hour battery life. The drone will be released at select retail outlets initially.

November 8, 2016, Go Pro announced the recall of the Karma Drone following reports of loss of electrical power on the drone throughout operation.

Announced

  • In June 2015 a combination of six cams oriented as the sides of a cube to create 360° panoramic videos was announced for the second half of 2015.