A skydiver prepares to jump from the plane.

Skydiving Videos: What To Know

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

If you’re thinking about making a tandem skydive for the very first time, you’re likely wondering if you should add a video package. The short answer is: Absolutely! Of course, you’d expect us to say this, but that’s not our motivation here. In this article, we’re going to share everything you need to know about the various packages and why you should consider purchasing a skydiving media package before you take the big leap. 

Handcam versus Outside Camera 

Before you purchase a video, you need to understand the two distinct video packages offered in the skydiving industry. The most common is the handcam package, and the least common (and in our opinion, the best skydiving footage available) is the outside camera media package. Here are the differences: 

Handcam Media Packages

Handcam photography and video packages are just as they sound: a camera mounted on the hand or, more correctly, the wrist of a tandem instructor. Being that everyone uses a GoPro these days, this would seem like a natural fit. However, there are some clear disadvantages associated with handcam with the biggest negative being the presence of a hairy arm in all of your skydiving photos!

The second pain point with handcam is the lack of variety it offers with the photos — every picture is essentially from the same vantage point throughout the entire experience. This can be limiting especially during the exit sequence, which captures the plane in the background as you fall away from it. Also, not seeing the landscape or the perspective of altitude is a bit disappointing.

Pros of Handcam Cons of Handcam
Photos and Video are “tight” on the subject The arm of the tandem instructor is in every picture.
Photos and videos capture the flight under canopy Photos are one-dimensional – photos are shot from the same position throughout the skydive.
The exit shot (the most desired photo) is not as dynamic as a photo shot from a separate camera flyer.
Not all photos and videos are very good as the tandem instructor must also focus on the primary task at hand – free falling, flying the parachute and landing safely.


Outside Media Packages 

Outside camera photography and media packages involve an individual person using helmet-mounted cameras to capture your skydiving footage. A dedicated camera flyer has the ability to capture the experience from multiple angles (as shown below). These various shots give a tandem student much more variety when framing or sharing their photography on social media. In our opinion, outside camera is the best quality media package option in skydiving today, even if it’s a little old school.

At Skydive Paraclete XP, we are proud to offer outside camera media packages! 


Pros of Outside Media Packages Cons of Outside Media Packages 
Multiple Angles / Lots of Photo Variety No footage taken of subject under canopy
Amazing exit shots with plane in background
Photography is usually better quality
Does not capture the tandem instructor’s arm
Dedicated person focused on capturing the experience


Is Purchasing a Tandem Skydiving Media Package Worth It?

Purchasing a tandem skydiving media package is completely worth it and here’s why: your skydiving experience will mean more to you than you think. Unlike a ride on a rollercoaster or even a bungee jump, a tandem skydiving experience is more than an adrenaline-filled good time. For many people, it’s a life-changing experience that will rank as one of the top five things you’ll do! Ask any licensed skydiver and they’ll agree that getting photos and videos of your first jump is worthwhile. 

An Added Bonus To Outside Camera 

There’s an unexpected bonus when you hire an outside camera flyer — you gain an enthusiastic member of your skydiving team! If you’re feeling apprehensive about making your first jump, the energy built between the camera flyer, your tandem instructor, and yourself helps build confidence and adds to the fun. The camera flyer adds another element of support as they not only work with you to document your experience but also encourage you throughout the jump. It makes the skydive that much better. 

Another bonus seldom talked about is the interaction with your camera flyer during free fall. It’s amazing to see them manipulate the wind to maneuver all around you effortlessly. 

Three skydivers celebrate after a landing.

Skydiving Media FAQs

Q: Can I use my own GoPro during my skydive?

Regrettably, no. The United States Parachute Association (USPA) mandates that any skydiver — first-time tandem jumper or otherwise — with less than 200 jumps is not permitted to jump with a camera. As a tandem student, you have a role to play during the skydive, and it’s not just a ride where you do nothing. More details here.

Q: If jumping with a friend or family member, can one camera flyer capture both of our videos?

Regrettably no. Each tandem pair will be leaving the aircraft separately in order to create separation when it’s time to deploy the parachutes. This separation is too great to allow one camera flyer to fly between two different tandem pairs.

Q:  Can I select my own music?

Unfortunately no, due to copyright restrictions.

Q: If on a budget, would you recommend video or photos?

At the very least, we recommend photography. You’ll get lots of high-resolution photos which you can easily share to social media or have framed.

Q: What time of day does skydiving photography look best?

Yes, usually when the light is softer, so early in the morning or late in the afternoon usually produces the best-looking photos.

Q: How long does it take to receive videos and photos?

You’ll receive them on the same day!

Q: When do I have to decide to get video?

You can elect to have a media package added to your skydive at check-in.

We hope we’ve answered all your questions about skydiving videos and that you’re ready to join us for a tandem skydive! Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact us!

woman dancing in freefall with ballet slippers

Robbie and Luke were so great! Made me feel very comfortable and made my first tandem jump a lot of fun! I would recommend this place to anyone looking for an adrenaline rush! Thanks so much to Robbie, Luke, and the entire Paraclete team for such a great experience!

Christian Capobianco