The world’s smallest action camera has filmmakers pushing the boundaries with new, innovative shots. Josh Edwards shows what you can do.
Released in June 2023, the Insta360 GO3 – marketed as “the world’s smallest action camera” – quickly had filmmakers busy experimenting with unique and innovative new shots that simply weren’t possible just a few years ago. Weighing in at just 35g, the camera can be taken and mounted pretty much…anywhere. Today, I’m rounding up some of the best use cases seen so far.
The mouth shot
This one should probably come with a disclaimer and extremely large health and safety warning written in capital letters. From the moment we all watched Casey Neistat’s review of the Insta360 GO3 (a continuation of his partnership with Insta360), everyone was talking about “the mouth shot”.
At 21 seconds in, we watch as Casey takes a sip of his coffee…from the perspective of INSIDE his mouth. Choking hazards aside, this was a perfect example of what the GO3 was designed for. Do we recommend emulating this shot yourself? No. If ever the phrase 'Don't try this at home' was appropriate, it's here. Really, don't do this. But the precedent was set. This camera can go where other cameras simply can’t, and the only limit seems to be your creativity.
First person POVs
Because the GO3 has such a low profile, it’s proven very useful for recording first person POV footage. Whenever I’m out on my street photography walks, I now bring this thing with me.
My two favourite setups have been to either attach it magnetically through my shirt using the magnetic pendant, or to clip it on to the brim of my hat. Both angles provide an interesting point of view, giving my audience a really clear idea of what I’m seeing as I work through a space. There’s plenty of footage for editing my street photography vlogs and it’s a super-easy no-fuss solution where I forget it’s even there, allowing me to focus on my actual photography.
Getting close up cycling
I’ve shot a number of cycling films and series over the years and one of the inevitable challenges I face is how to capture close-up shots of the feet, pedals and gears. Traditionally, I’ve always gone for a mount with a GoPro but even these have proven a rather cumbersome, complicated setup at times.
With the Insta360 GO3, I’ve found that shooting these types of shots has never been easier. Again, because it’s so small and lightweight, I’m able to mount the camera on parts of my bike frame where other cameras simply can’t go. Using the magnet and various clips, I’ve come away with all kinds of interesting shots in recent months.
Whether it’s a top-down shot or you’re looking to get close up to the kitchen action, the GO3 has proven a really useful tool when it comes to shooting food sequences. Using that magnetic clip, I’ve had some fun attaching it to the blade of my knife as I slice through some tofu (yes, my mapo tofu was delicious, thank you very much).
Clipping it to a cupboard or an extraction fan has given me plenty of fun top-down shots while shooting recipe tutorials, and because it’s waterproof, placing the camera at the bottom of a glass or pan as you pour is a no brainer. You can also use it as a hands-free POV camera. These kinds of shots aren’t strictly necessary, but I do find they bring a little extra creativity and fun to my edits.
The cat’s point of view
Ever wondered what your cat is up to when out and about? Well, you’re not the only one. Quite a few people out there have figured out that the Insta360 GO3 turns out to be the perfect tool for attaching a camera to your pet and seeing things from their point of view.
Corridor Crew created one of my favorite videos regarding this. After a bit of problem-solving and innovation, they came away with some really interesting, fun footage (you can skip ahead to 7:55 in the video). While there have been previous attempts to shoot this type of footage before, I think a lot of the traditional action cameras have always been a little too heavy and bulky for your everyday cat to carry around. With the GO3, that’s no longer an issue.
I suppose the only problem is whether or not said cat comes home on demand when you’d like to retrieve the videos…
When things get marketed as “the world’s smallest…” I always lean towards caution and suspicion. Great cameras tend to speak for themselves and don’t need the extra marketing jargon. However, in the case of the GO3, being the world’s smallest camera IS the whole point of it.
It effectively has one job, and it’s currently doing it very well. It’s been fun to see a camera company continue to push boundaries and experiment with technology and to see how filmmakers and creatives interact with and utilize that innovation. Nowadays, we’re all fairly literate when it comes to cameras and how to operate them. On top of this, it’s not exactly like they’re all incredibly different and unique. It’s rare now that a new camera release forces filmmakers to think differently and outside of the box, so when something like a GO3 does come around, it’s quite exciting. More of this, please!