If you asked the likes of Steven Spielberg or Christopher Nolan and they’d probably tell you that a single camera on a fixed angle is almost entirely useless. But then what do they know?
As these 10 incredible clips prove a solitary action camera strapped to the head, chest or held on a pole can make videos that are far more compelling than million-dollar Hollywood movies.
All you need is for the action to be good enough…
1) Matthias Giraud Escapes an Avalanche… by Skiing Off a Cliff
James Bond eat your heart out, this is how you do ski base jumping properly. That glance back at the snow pouring off the cliff face is quite something…
2) Kelly McGarry Backflips a 75-Foot Gap
At the 2013 Red Bull Rampage competition, New Zealander Kelly McGarry took the frankly insane decision to send a backflip over the biggest canyon gap. Incredibly he only got 2nd place (the other guy’s run was better overall) but if he lost the battle, he won the war.
This video has 25 million views and counting.
3) Vulture Nearly Kills Russian Paraglider
What do you do when a vulture gets tangled in your paraglider and you start plummeting to earth? If you’re this Russian, you swear loudly and prolifically. Then pray that your reserve chute doesn’t kill you.
As you can hear, this dude sounds like he’s lucky to be alive.
4) Jeb Corliss’ Near-Suicidal “Grinding the Crack”
OK so this uses more than one action cam and more than one angle, but it would be impossible not to include it in any list of the best action cam videos – after all this was almost singlehandedly responsible for making AWOL Nation’s track ‘Sail’ the ubiquitous cliché it is today.
5) Russians Make an Entire Action Movie With One Camera
One of the greatest action cam clips ever, this music video by Russian band Biting Elbows is basically an entire action movie filmed in the first person – complete with shootouts, car chases and even a brief cameo by some buxom women.
Michael Bay’s got nothing on this.
6) Danny Hart Tears Leogang a New One
The newest clip here, this was also filmed with the newest camera – TomTom’s Bandit. It might not have millions of views yet, but having garnered several hundred thousand in just a few days, it’s well on its way.
Danny Hart of course has previous when it comes to viral fame, thanks to that incredible run from Champery…
7) Billy Morgan Lands a Triple Rodeo
When Billy Morgan stomped this, a trick that no-one had ever done on a snowboard before, he was pretty much unknown – at least outside of the British snowboard scene. Fast forward just a few short years and he’s a global superstar, having recently become the first person to land yet another brand new trick, the quad cork.
But while that took place on a specially constructed jump with multiple camera angles, this one was all the more remarkable because it’s just filmed on an ordinary day, with a single action cam.
8) Mustang Wanted Puts Together All His Craziest Moments
Ukrainian urban explorer/daredevil Mustang Wanted has earned himself hundreds of thousands of fans around the world with his insane exploits. Basically he scales tall buildings and hangs off them as if they were nothing more than kids climbing frames – all without a rope or harness in sight.
Of course none of this is strictly legal, so he can’t usually take a camera crew along for the ride. But he’s not missing out on much here is he?
9) Candide Thovex Has Another One of Those Days
French skiing superstar Candide Thovex broke the internet with his first headcam-only video, One of Those Days, back in 2013. But this second one went a step further earning millions of views in just a few days. It’s not hard to see why.
Our favourite bit? Where he looks in the mirror at the start and cleverly there’s not a camera in sight. We’re still not sure how they’ve done that…
10) Crazy Russians Give the Whole Internet Vertigo
This filming opens with the standard action cam question (“So, is it filming?” “Yes, it’s filming”). But the rest of it is about as far from normal as you could hope to get. These two Russians broke into the world’s second highest building and climbed 120 stories on foot.
They then waited for 18 hours for the weather to clear before scaling the crane on top of the building. The result? 43 million Youtube views and counting, and all on ordinary action cams.
TomTom’s Bandit Action Cam, one of the most user-friendly on the market, is available now. Read our first look review of the camera or Win a mountain biking or wintersports holiday in Whistler courtesy of TomTom Bandit.