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Industry Electronics
Founder Nick Woodman
Headquarters San Mateo, California, USA
Area served
Key people
Nick Woodman (CEO)
Tony Bates (President)
Products Digital cameras
Revenue $985.73 million (2013)
Profit $60.6 million (2013)
Number of employees
869, of Sep 30, 2014
Subsidiaries CineForm

GoPro, Inc.[1] (formerly Woodman Labs, Inc), an American corporation that develops, manufactures and markets high-definition personal cameras, often used in extreme-action video photography. They are compact, lightweight, rugged, and are wearable or mountable on vehicles. The cameras capture still photos or video in HD through a wide-angle lens. Users can configure the degree of remote control or intervention required.

The company has its base in San Mateo, California.


The company was founded by Nick Woodman in 2002. Woodman started the company following a 2002 surf trip to Australia in which he was hoping to capture quality action photos of his surfing but could not because amateur photographers could not get close enough or obtain quality equipment at accessible prices.[2] His desire for a camera system that could capture the professional angles inspired the 'GoPro' name.[3][4]

Woodman initially raised a portion of the money for his company by selling bead and shell belts for under US $20 out of his VW van[5] and, later, fashionable camera straps. He also received over $2,000,000 in investment from his parents.[6][7]

In 2004, the company sold its first camera system, which used 35 mm film.[3] Digital still and video camera were later introduced. As of 2014 a fixed-lens HD video camera with a wide 170-degree angle was available; two or more can be paired to create 3D video.[3][8]

On June 4, 2014, the company announced the appointment of former Microsoft executive Tony Bates as President reporting directly to Nick Woodman.[9]

Corporate actions[edit]

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.[10][11]

In March 2013, GoPro issued a DMCA takedown notice to website, which had posted a review[12] of its product, citing trademark use as a breach of copyright. This notice was retracted 10 days later, citing "erroneous enforcement".[13][14]


On February 7, 2014, GoPro submitted a confidential filing for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).[15]

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.'[16]

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).[17] At the IPO price the company was valued at $2.95 billion.[16] 1.5 percent of those shares were allotted to LOYAL3, a technology platform that allows small investors to participate.[18][19]

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.[20][21]


HERO cameras[edit]

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.[22] In its first year GoPro sold $150,000 worth of product.[22] 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.[22]

As technology advanced, the performance of the GoPro cameras increased.[23][24]

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 video and 12MP still photographs.[23] The Hero 4 was introduced on 24 September 2014.[25]


GoPro produces various mounting accessories for its cameras including a 3-way mount, suction cup, chest harness, and clamp.[26]

Video editing[edit]

The company developed GoPro Studio, simple video editing software to edit camera footage,[27] with v2.5 released in October 2014. It was reported that GoPro intended to also become a content provider.[21]

Content company[edit]

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.[28] Content is uploaded daily, an additional source of revenue for the company.[29]

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.[20]

HD HERO cameras[edit]

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 grams (152 grams with housing). Still images from 5 to 12 megapixels can be captured. The cameras are sold with a clear polycarbonate HD Housing with a glass lens that is 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.[30]


GoPro HERO 35mm, All-Season Sports Camera[edit]

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 HERO 3[edit]

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 meters (98.4 feet) in depth.[31]

Digital HERO 5[edit]

The Digital HERO 5 was first introduced on December 5, 2008 and was also marketed as the Hero Motorsport Wide. 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. It was the first GoPro HERO camera to use a 170° angle of view, ultra-wide lens.[32] Its housing was rated to 100 ft/30 meters depth. Its dimensions were 2.6 × 1.75 × 1.25 inches (66 × 44 v 32mm). The camera is not designed to work with the newer HD HERO line of housings, although the standard screw mounts are indeed compatible.

HD HERO 960[edit]

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

HD HERO[edit]

The HD HERO Naked, released with a range of accessories, shoots a maximum of 1080p video on its 5Mp sensor.[33] The Naked camera line forms the basis for other 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.


  • Sensor size: 1/2.5-inch (5.75 mm × 4.28 mm)
  • Pixel size: 2.2 μm
  • Image formats:
Mode Size fps FOV
R1 848 × 480 60 170°
R2 1280 × 720 30 170°
R3 1280 × 720 60 170°
R4 1280 × 960 30 170°
R5 1920 × 1080 30 127°
Photo 2592 × 1944 0 170°

HD HERO2[edit]

The HD 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.[34] It was sold with three different accessory packages as the Outdoor, Motorsports, and Surf Editions.[35]


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 30% smaller and 25% lighter package, with WiFi functionality built in. The change of the physical dimensions of the cameras compared to the previous generations (Hero1 and Hero 2 were physically identical) means that some of the camera accessories for Hero1 and Hero2 are not compatible with Hero3, so GoPro made new versions of those accessories specifically for Hero3 (and mostly for Hero3+, see above). Those new versions of accessories are usually not compatible with older Hero camera generations. However, a lot of other accessories are compatible with all HD Hero camera generations.

The Hero3 Silver and Black cameras have significantly less battery endurance than the Hero1 and Hero2.[36] For example, in 720p resolution with 25/30 FPS, while Hero1 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 also partially contributes to its poor battery runtime).

The Black Edition[37] has a new 12 MP sensor that is can capture 4K 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 also includes the WiFi Remote. The Black Edition cannot record at 25/30 FPS in 720p and WVGA resolutions; it can record only at very fast framerates in those resolutions. This is a deliberate firmware limitation, as the manufacturer does not 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 Hero1.


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 20% lighter and 15% smaller than the HERO3's, according to the GoPro website. The HERO3+ camera housing is 20% 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[clarification needed] with HERO3+), and better audio functionality with wind noise reduction. Battery life is claimed to be 30% longer than for the HERO3 model (both through better efficiency and a higher-capacity battery of the same dimensions).[36][38]

The Black Edition[39] 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 also 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 does not have the ability to record 25/30 FPS in 720p and WVGA modes (it can only record at very fast framerates in those lower resolutions). This is an intentional firmware limitation, as the manufacturer does not 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[40] 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 also has about 25%-50% longer battery runtime during recording than HERO3+ Black Edition (they both use the same batteries).[38] The difference in runtime depends on the resolution/FPS combination, and whether WiFi and GoPro mobile application are used during 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.[41]


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 also announced.

The HERO4 Black Edition still has a 12mp CMOS and a f/2.8 fixed maximum aperture. It adds Bluetooth connectivity, 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 video (3840×2160) at a frame rate of 24, 25 and 30 fps.[42] In Superview mode, 4k is only possible at 25 fps. Many other 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 the HERO4 Black Edition battery life is claimed by GoPro to be 65 minutes, increasing to a maximum of 1h 50' at 720p/120.[43] 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 with the addition of a touch screen, the first GoPro with this. The HERO4 Silver supports Wi-Fi and also includes Bluetooth as in the HERO4 Black.[44]

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 have twice the dynamic range of the HERO3+, and that the HERO4 Black and Silver Editions have improved low light performance.

The GoPro HERO was released at the same time as the HERO4, with a 5MP still camera and the same video resolutions as the HERO3 White Edition, carried over from the HD HERO model of 2010.


See also[edit]


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  2. ^ Mac, Ryan (4 Mar 2013). "The Mad Billionaire Behind GoPro: The World’s Hottest Camera Company". Forbes. 
  3. ^ a b c "GoPro with Founder/Inventor Nick Woodman". 5 Jan 2010. Retrieved 27 Jul 2011. 
  4. ^ Burrows, Peter. "GoPro’s Incredible Small, Durable Camcorder". BusinessWeek. Retrieved 27 Jul 2011. 
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  7. ^ "How Family Ties Helped Nick Woodman Make GoPro Click". 20 Jun 2013. Retrieved 16 Mar 2015. 
  8. ^ Williams, Owen (5 Apr 2014). "This 360 video shot with 6 GoPro cameras will blow your mind". The Next Web. Retrieved 23 Jul 2014. 
  9. ^ GoPro (4 Jun 2014). "GoPro Appoints Tony Bates as President And Member of the Board of Directors". Retrieved 4 Jun 2014. 
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  16. ^ a b Leslie Picker (26 Jun 2014). "GoPro Raises $427 Million, Pricing IPO at Top of Marketed Range". Bloomberg. Retrieved 26 Jun 2014. 
  17. ^ Krantz, Matt (25 Feb 2014). "GoPro IPO prices at $24, set to trade Thursday". USA Today Money. 
  18. ^ "Loyal3". 
  19. ^ Calvey, Mark (2014-07-03). "GoPro's IPO access for small investors sparks familiar lament". San Francisco Business Times. 
  20. ^ a b Picker, Leslie (25 Jun 2014). "GoPro Touts Media Ahead of IPO for Higher Value Than Cameras". Bloomberg. 
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  36. ^ a b
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