GoPro Video Archery Tricks

Thanks to a generous loan of a demo camera, Golden Gate JOAD decided to see what we can do with archery and a GoPro Hero 3 Black video camera.

First up, testing out one of the 10 pound recurve student bows. Golden Gate JOAD, instructor and webmaster Shabbir Imber Safdar steped up to the plate.

The video is shot at 120 and 240 frames per second and the bow is a relatively slow 10 pound draw weight recurve bow.Even so archery is so fast we get only a few seconds of arrow flight on video. But it’s enough to be interesting and tell us a few things of note.

In the first segment where Shabbir is shooting towards the camera, you can see his arrows approaching the target at an angle, flying a little bit sideways. There are a number of factors at play. One is that the target is only 7 yards away and he’s using small vanes (the plastic “feathers”) so the arrow doesn’t have much drag from the vanes or time for the drag to take effect and straighten the arrow out before it hits the target. There is another thing going on, too, which is that Shabbir’s arrows are his regular arrows which are matched (“tuned”) for his higher draw weight bow. The arrows are too stiff to tune well for a the light draw weight training bow. To get the best possible arrow flight, arrows need to be just the right stiffness for the draw weight of the bow. The stiffness rating is called “spine”, and a program like ours or a qualified archery shop (not as easy to find as you’d hope) can help you determine the right arrow spine for you and your bow.

In the second segment, we can see Shabbir’s archery form. One of the things we look for in a good release of the string is a consistent, buttery soft release. When you release the string the string pulls through your fingers faster than you can straighten them out, so instead of trying to straighten them, you just relax your fingers and let the string pull through naturally. If you are inconsistent in how you relax your hand, the string will be deflected around your fingers a bit differently with each shot and your arrows will not group. The light draw weight bow is a great tool for catching release issues. A higher draw weight bow can force its way past your fingers and mask release errors – not so with the light draw weight training bow. The light draw weight bow magnifies form errors, so much so that they are sometimes called “blooper bows.”

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