The Action Camera Experience

October 16, 2012

Remember when you were always behind the camera, filming your loved ones and their life experiences? With so many action cameras on the market today, you now have the option to film your own experiences and share them with others.

In terms of key brands in the action camera market, GoPro has remained the dominant player, followed by Contour and Drift. In recent months, traditional consumer electronic brands, such as Sony, Samsung, and JVC, have entered the market after seeing the popularity of the product increase.

GoPro, Contour, Drift

GoPro, Contour, and Drift (from left to right)

“In 2011, the action cam market achieved 24% growth, reaching nearly 1.5 million units shipped, according to a new report from Futuresource Consulting. The market has been driven primarily by the US, accounting for 55% of worldwide sales in 2011. The market is on track to achieve nearly two million units shipped in 2012 and anticipating even greater growth by 2016, with the market more than doubling to exceed five million units, representing a total retail value of almost $1.7 billion.” (from Futuresource Consulting)

Action Cam Market Development

Graph from Futuresource Consulting

Traditionally, the action cam market has been viewed as a niche market with demand driven by extreme sports enthusiasts – such as surfers, snowboarders, and mountain bikers. Recently, the increased use of social networking has allowed users to explore, capture, and easily share their experiences with friends and family via Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube (among others).

The whole idea of this “invisible camera” started when the founder of GoPro, Nick Woodman, was on a surfing trip in Australia with his friends. He wanted to invent a camera so convenient that you forgot you even had it on. Since then, a number of brands have followed his lead. If you want to read more about the founding of GoPro and where the concept is headed, check out this interview from Nick Woodman.

GoPro Surf Hero HD Camera (photo from

The action camera is a part of user experience design and the companies that develop this product are constantly trying to improve this experience. Content strategy is extremely important in this regard because “it is inherently impossible to design a great user experience with bad content. If you’re passionate about creating better user experiences, you can’t help but care about delivering useful, usable, and engaging content.” (from UX Magazine)

IBM's "Customer Facing Solutions" Infographic (from

Both UX and content strategy are required for the execution of just about any initiative that requires need for content creation, delivery or management. “Content strategy plans for the creation, delivery, and governance of useful, usable content.” (from A List Apart). It is the job of the designers, engineers, researchers, etc. behind brands such as GoPro, Drift, and Contour to create a memorable user experience through their cameras and accessories.

“We’re addicted to innovation and as long as people want to document themselves and their friends getting rad, we’ll be making cameras and accessories that make that easy to do.”
– Nick Woodman

As an example of how these cameras function, one of our designers owns a GoPro action camera and filmed his experience riding his motorcycle down the streets of Chicago. You can check it out below.

You can also check out some crazy perspective shots taken with a GoPro camera here. Amazing!

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