Pit Bull Takes the GoPro Fetch Harness for a Test Run
by Andrea Serio
Published on September 08, 2014
Recently, I started an Instagram account for Baby Boo, my 7-year-old Pit Bull. Baby has had a Facebook profile for three years, so this seemed like a natural progression. And though Baby’s social media accounts are overflowing with pictures of her smiling that irresistible Pit smile of hers, I rarely post video footage. So when I heard GoPro was coming out with the Fetch Dog Harness, we were (OK, I was) excited to test it out!
The Fetch Dog Harness (MSRP: $59.99) allows you to mount your GoPro camera to your dog to capture the world from her point of view. I received the harness in the mail right before Baby and I left Washington, D.C., to spend Labor Day weekend with my family on the Eastern Shore, near St. Michaels, Maryland.
Baby loves the Eastern Shore: She has plenty of space to run, swim and, of course, look for Maryland blue crabs. So this was the perfect spot to test the new harness. But would she be as playful confined in a harness with a video camera on her back?
With a bag of treats in hand for bribery, I removed the harness from its package and set out to fit it on her. I was surprised by how easily it went on. I barely had to offer her any treats. It was simple. But how did Baby feel? Watch the video to see her in action.
Two Paws UpCamera: GoPro Hero 3+
Size and fit: Baby weighs 51 pounds; the harness we tested is rated for dogs 15-120 pounds. It fit Baby quite well. Her face easily slipped through the space between the front mount plate and back mount plate. Two elastic straps went around each of her front limbs, and a third attached around her underbelly. I secured the straps by pulling them so the harness was snug but still comfortable.
The mounts: The mounting hardware for the camera was packaged with the harness, which made attaching the harness to the camera super easy. I tested both the front mount and back mount on the Fetch harness; the back mount provided more stable footage than the front mount, which, though an interesting perspective, was much bumpier.
Harness adjustment: Baby didn’t seem to mind the harness at first, but then she spent about five minutes rolling in the grass (as much as she could roll with a 4-inch camera attachment protruding from the harness on her back). After each roll, I had to reposition the camera and resecure the elastic straps of the harness. After that, though, she adjusted to the harness and resumed being her lovable, playful self. The underside of the mounting plates are padded for extra comfort, but if your pet doesn’t like costumes or is not used to wearing something, it may take a little more time for him to get used to the harness. Be patient and have treats at the ready.
Straps: A unique feature of this harness is the elastic used in the straps that secure the mounting plates. The elastic secures the harness but still gives your dog freedom to move. The straps stayed in place throughout our 20-minute test — even in the water. The only exception came when Baby was playing with Luna the German Shepherd. As they roughhoused, the plastic hook that secured the underbelly strap to the back mount started to come loose.
Care: After Baby rolled around in the grass and played in the Chesapeake Bay, the harness was dirty — as was Baby. I rinsed them both with fresh water, and when I got home, I put the harness in a delicates bag and washed it in cold water in the washing machine. I hung it to dry. The harness washed well.
Video editing: I used the GoPro Studio software to edit the video. It was pretty simple, and the best part about it was that it was free! On the drive to the Eastern Shore, I thought about the story I wanted to tell in Baby’s video. I wanted to capture my putting on the harness, her exploring the yard, swimming, running, etc. With those story elements in mind, we recorded about 25 minutes of video. I easily downloaded the video to my computer and got to work editing it. Because this was my first attempt at editing a video and I was unsure of the software, it took me about three hours to fully edit it.
I know what you are thinking: A one-minute video took three hours to edit? It did. But now that I’m familiar with the software, I’m sure subsequent videos will be much quicker. Despite the time I spent, the software was easy to use and was broken into three steps: Import and Convert, Edit, and Export. The first step includes uploading the video and selecting the clips you want to include in your final movie and converting those clips to be edited. In the editing section of the software, you refine the clip start and stop points, add transitions from clip to clip, and add text and/or music. There are other advanced settings in the Edit step you could play with — including framing, white balance, and image settings that change temperature, contrast, saturation and more. I skipped those because I was a newcomer to video editing and on deadline. In the final step, the finished video is exported to a .mov file that you can upload to any social media or video sharing site.
Final thoughts: The Fetch is a great harness for dogs. My only wish is that stabilizers could be built into the mounts to make the camera steadier for pets who move at faster paces. But even with some bounce in your video, with a securely fitted harness and gently trotting dog, it’s simple to create plenty of clips to share in your dog’s Instagram and Vine accounts.
Now, if there only were one for cats.
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