My First Official GoPro Production. Fairbanks, Alaska.

Mike Pfau

Mike Pfau

· 3 min read

Over the years, drinking beers, I get this question a lot…

“How did you get started with GoPro, what was your first GoPro production?”

I will answer that question publicly. It will give you a sense of how my career began. I have learned a lot in the details, so I will provide them even if it seems long-winded. This is my beginning.

The Backstory

Fresh out of UCLA art school (2010), I was working for a cool non-profit film company called Regenerate Films, at the Four Friends gallery in Thousand Oaks, California. I was the assistant to Larry Janss an analog photographer that had studied with Ansel Adams, performed liquid light-show and had a massive art collection. He was good at real-estate too 😉

I was having a great time working on films, live events, performances, technical computer stuff, and curating artworks. I was also playing as quantumpfiz with the Single Wing Turquoise Bird a vintage liquid light-show from the 60’s. Life was good.

Then, one day in April, my long-time friend Jordan Miller called me. He had gotten back from around the world shooting/editing the GoPro Hero 2 Launch video.

He said on the phone,

“Hey Pfau wanna go to Alaska and put weather balloons into space?”


What do you think I said “Haha! Of Course, Dude!” I was a long-time skater, surfer and visual tech geek so I was pumped to try out a GoPro project with my close-friend, especially one involving science and space. This is the wave I dropped into.

Hero 2 Launch Video, what I would call the heartbeat of the brand.

Halfmoon Bay

At that time the GoPro HQ was fully packed into a normal looking office complex off the highway 1. It was in foggy Halfmoon Bay about 30 minuets south of San Francisco. You know where they hold Maverick’s, the gnarly big wave surf competition.

Little did I know it but as Jordan was touring me around, introducing me to people in the office, I was meeting some of my future masterminds, collaborators and friends.

Let me introduce some very important people.

Tim Macmillian

Jordan lead me into an office with camera guts everywhere. Sitting next to the McCauley brothers was a quiet man, with a large auburn mustache, he was looking at a sensor protoboard with two sensors on it. This was Tim Macmillian. He was the godfather of 3D, Array, 360, or any nodal/synced camera system GoPro came out with. He was a master at solving the optical, electrical and temporal challenges with multi-camera systems.

Early in his art career he had exposed a strip of analog film on the inside of a wooden ring of pin hole cameras. This experiment led his genius to create a company in the UK with his brother called Timeslice. Timeslice specialized in Array Shots, or you might know it as “Bullet Time” from Oscar winning film, The Matrix.

I eventually became the the GoPro Media member responsible for the visual execution of this style.

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Mike Pfau

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