Oops Olympus! Justin Bieber's New Music Video Was Also Shot With GoPros [UPDATED]

Oops Olympus! Justin Bieber's New Music Video Was Also Shot With GoPros [UPDATED]

A couple of nights ago a close friend of mine, Jesse, gushed over Justin Bieber's new music video, 'Beauty and A Beat'. How it was entirely shot with the new Olympus TG-1 (a point-and-shoot camera) and how I should write a post about it for the site. So, taking his lead I went ahead and did some research on Justin's new music video. I started by looking for a behind the scenes video for the project. The Dance Lifestyle Channel, posted an exclusive behind the scenes video featuring Justin and co-director, Jon Chu. The behind the scenes footage reveals some contradictions to Olympus's claim that the entire video was shot with the Olympus TG-1. When, in fact, it looks to be at least partially shot with what looks to be a GoPro Hero 2.

UPDATE 11/7/2012: Olympus has reached out to us and informed us that the language on the Australian website has been revised. The original wording was called an error by Olympus representatives. See their update.

Posted on Olympus's Official AU blog here: LINK

Now usually I wouldn't put much stock into something like this, but I noticed that Olympus has been using the music video as its primary marketing campaign for its TG-1 model, as shown on their official website. In fact, it seems like the news of Olympus's triumph over the teenage heart-throb's rough use of the camera has spread virally, hitting several photography blogs with absolutely no mention to GoPro. The actual video itself looks to be either sponsored by Olympus which they have a clear disclaimer on their website saying it was not endorsed by the Bieber (see image below); or Justin just really has a thing for Olympus and out of the kindness of his heart threw in a free heavy product placement for the camera... yeah I sincerely doubt that.

By now you're probably wondering to yourself, 'why do I care and what's the big deal'? Well, the big deal is that this music video has indeed broken a world record. It broke the world record for the most Youtube views in a 24 hour period as confirmed by Vevo on their twitter account. So, for Olympus to claim that a video that broke world records was exclusively and entirely shot on their camera, is to say the least, misleading at best. Wouldn't it be nice if GoPro got even an ounce of credit for some of the footage?

Okay, so now I have your attention, but you're probably still a little skeptical that the video footage was shot with a GoPro instead of the Olympus. Perhaps the GoPro was only used for behind the scenes footage to be used at a later date. Well, let me show you some evidence that a GoPro was used at least in a few shots of the actual music video. Below I will be referencing both the official behind the scenes video and the actual music video and comparing the two. I am going on the assumption that everyone reading this post can differentiate the Olympus from the GoPro. I downloaded both videos and brought them into Adobe Premiere so that I could properly analyze each frame. I will show both videos in their entirety at the end of this post.  

Piece of Evidence #1

Justin Bieber BTS GoPro

Starting at 0:33 of the BTS video we can clearly see Justin holding a monopod with a GoPro and what looks to be a LED light on top in a waterproof bag. <---(I'll get back to the LED light in a bit). Justin is walking down the partially submerged runway towards Nicki Minaj with a couple of dancers diving off of the runway. This matches up to the footage shown in the actual music video that is a continuous shot starting from 2:49-3:03.

Official Music Video Starting at 2:49:  

Piece of Evidence #2

Justin Bieber GoPro BATB

This is probably the most substantial evidence that the GoPro was used for the footage of the actual video. In the BTS video from 0:53-0:55 seconds you can see a cameraman operating a GoPro while Justin dances with a group of backup dancers in the pool. In fact, if you look closely at the beginning of the clip you can see Justin handing the GoPro off to the cameraman.

Official BTS Video Starting at 0:53  :

This footage matches up almost perfectly with the music video in a dance routine starting at 1:49-2:03. If you watch both closely you can see that his clothes match, the position of all the backup dancers match and most importantly, that the choreography matches up.

Official Music Video Starting at 1:49: 

Piece of Evidence #3

So, in this screenshot taken of the BTS video at 1:43 we can see the cameraman holding up a GoPro with an attached LED light. The light from the LED is hitting up against a slate to help keep track of shots for syncing purposes. If the GoPro was merely used for behind the scenes footage there wouldn't be a need for the slate.

Piece of Evidence #4

Probably the most disconcerting thing for me were the clips scattered throughout the BTS video showing Justin holding up the GoPro next to Nicki Minaj.

The BTS video shows Justin walking around Nicki Minaj holding a GoPro and even briefly grinding against her while holding it, which leads me to believe that the entire sequence with Nicki Minaj's rap cameo is filmed with the GoPro and not the Olympus. I didn't see any BTS footage of the Olympus being used for this particular shot, did you? Which I find weird, because this part of the music video should be one of the most important, surely they would have shot that with the Olympus TG-1, right?

Official Music Video Starting at 3:03 : 

Now, I could nit-pick this video even more than I already have and mention how the underwater footage (that features Justin) matches the murky and softer look of the GoPro Hero 2 compared to the test footage I have seen of Olympus TG-1; or the fact that the muffled sounds from the underwater footage with Justin sounds just like a housed GoPro and is lacking the quick succession of clicking noises that have been heard in test footage for unhoused Olympuses. I will admit, that is pretty subjective. What I will mention is that the GoPro was shown more in the behind the scenes video actually filming scenes than the Olympus was.

Look, I have no doubt that the handheld scenes with Justin are filmed with the Olympus TG-1 (when he's shooting into a mirror and with the crowd and without using a monopod), and I did see one second in the BTS video where the Olympus was mounted on the monopod (at 0:37). I'm sure there were a ton of scenes that were shot by the Olympus, but I'm pretty sure that it wasn't used in the entire music video, let alone exclusively. I'm not sure who really is at fault with this, because we don't know all the details. Was this suppose to be exclusively shot with the Olympus, upon a product placement agreement? If so, that would fall on the director, but the disclaimer shows us that isn't the case.

No, I believe this is a product of not-so-honest marketing on Olympus's part. Everyone who has seen this video is under the impression that the music video was shot only with the Olympus TG-1. My friend Jesse, sure seemed convinced, and so did various photo blogs. Again, this may not seem like a huge thing to you, but with Justin Bieber being one of the hugest stars out there today with a massive following, I'm sure Olympus is cashing in big time.

My question is why? Why shoot any of this video (including any BTS footage) with the GoPro if the Olympus is getting the product placement? The only person who can answer that would be Jon Chu. If anything this post just proves how GoPro still dominates the point-of-view market, even if it is unknowingly. I just think that GoPro might be deserving of a little more love and appreciation from the ever so talented, Justin Bieber. Don't you agree?

Rebecca Britt's picture

Rebecca Britt is a South Texas based commercial, architectural and concert photographer. When she's not working Rebecca enjoys spending time with her two daughters, playing Diablo III, and shooting concerts (Electronic Dance Music). Rebecca also runs the largest collective of EDM (electronic dance music) photographers on social media.

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Yupp. People should care more about these types of scams, rather then make up ads. The questions is, what does Olympus mean with "the entire clip"? The entire video, or just a clip?

If you read the entire passage in the screencap it's pretty clear that they're assuming the entire video was done with the camera. Also, this is the Australian blog, and they might have different lingo compared to us Westerners. 

Forget Olympus and its scam. Your writing is amazeballz!

I'm not sure why they would choose a GoPro over a camera that has more "control". They may have put it there to simply capture a wider view but I bet they did use some of the footage in the video as something to cut to. 

Yeah, I think that's what's most frustrating. Why? Why bother to even use the GoPro to begin with if you already have access to a supposedly superior camera with a fish-eye attachment? I say supposedly because I've never shot with the TG-1, I've only seen test footage. 

Theres no doubt that this got GoPro shots. The GoPro has a unique image quality, and a very recognizable sound quality when the housing is on. B to the usted. 

Fantastic article Rebecca!

The footage sure as hell looks like a GoPro to me, however maybe that LED light above it was actually the Olympus. It didn't look like any litepanel I know of. It's possible they wanted to cover it with both cameras just in case, as when you're working with Beiber budgets you need redundancy to save your ass.

See, at first I thought that the Olympus must be in that small little bag at top too. Nope! In this screengrab you can see where they mounted the Olympus where the GoPro was once mounted with some kind of diffused LED light in that bag on top. 

 The bag looks empty, maybe they moved the TG-1 inside the bag and then Go Pro as backup later..

Check out the BTS video at 1:43..it looks like a TG-1 inside the bag not an LED light . I'm thinking they inserted the TG-1 olympus on the bag because it is easier to attach it that way and also to wipe the water splash during the video. The real question here since there was also a Go PRO attached on the Monopod (not just a TG-1) is if the actual video was a GO PRO or TG-1. Perhaps they indeed use the TG-1 for the video but use the audio coming from the Go PRO that would make much more sense. But then again they are not disclosing everything or giving any credit to GO PRO which is not right.

Alright, I can see your argument, and at the risk of sounding like a 'GoPro fanboy' as @twitter-109703274:disqus suggests below, let me explain why I believe that is indeed a LED light that is in that bag on top of the monopod. 

In the first image below which is a screengrab taken from the BTS video at 0:27 seconds. This is a hot spot from a light that travels with the camera. It is also shown in the official music video from 0:42-0:49. 


Also if you notice Justin's movements throughout the video, especially when he starts tracking with the camera and spinning with the camera (starting at 1:49 of the music video) you can see that the light is pretty consistent on his face. There are no drastic shadows on his face while he moves. It was a very clever move by the director (or videographer) to add a diffuser fabric in the bag (that white panel you see in the image posted in the above comment which btw has the Olympus mounted on the monopod, not in the bag) to soften the light, because if you've ever used an LED light, like at a concert you can tell in the video how harsh it can be.  

LED lights for video typically are not waterproof, the Olympus should be waterproof even without an underwater casing. So, it makes no sense to keep it in a bag (which would distort image quality anyhow). It does make sense for a LED light to be in there.

In the image below you can see the videographer which pops up occasionally filming Justin in the BTS footage (he has a yellow wristband on) holding a LED light (1:41 of the BTS video).  That sure does look like a bright luminous thing he is handling to me.


And the last screengrab that I have is one that I've used before (1:43 of the BTS video), it shows the same videographer holding the GoPro with the LED in the bag at top. The slate is being lit with the LED light causing that bright spot on the slate. 


I hope this helps explain my reasoning for believing that a LED light is what is in the bag on top of the monopod. Since we post so many BTS videos here on the site sometimes we have to take an extra close look at the footage to figure out what equipment is being used for the project. Not all BTS videos are informative, we have to do the research ourselves.   

and here I was going to buy the Olympus as a Vlog camera. :/ Thanks for this article!

i think the biggest hint that its filmed with a go pro is the sound. if you own a go pro you recognize that sound distortion especially with the underwater shots.

Maybe GoPro don't want anything to do with Bieber?

OK, a GoPro was attached, so was the Olympus. I see nothing that shows they were using GoPro footage. Why not add a GoPro to the setup, little extra weight, perhaps, OH GOD, they just wanted to see the differences. GoPro fanboys search for conspiracies everywhere...

maybe they used the Olympus for the video but GoPro for the sound. 

I'm severely shocked... I watched it the first time because my friend is a Bieber fan, and I could tell the footage was from a GoPro by the super-wide-angle and occasionally saw the Olympus sitting next to Bieber or in his hand... I thought the fact GoPro's were being used was normal, woops! :P

Even if they had the Olympus in the top bag - there's a black back plate/mounting thingy on the bag, so you can't see the display. The Gopro has the LCD bacpac. But then again, they could have used the Gopro as a viewfinder for the Olympus.


I'm Jesse (the one she mentioned) and I approve this post (as if it were up to me lol.) Shame on Olympus for shady-ness.  Go-PROs!! 

I don't like that Olympus is pretending the footage was shot with the camera when it was actually a go pro. Having said that, the videography was lousy in my eyes. I wouldn't be bragging that my camera was used to make that video.

The low light shots that are lacking in tone and more sepia &amp; black are dead give aways of low low light aspects of a gopro. They are scattered all throughout the beginning of the video.

I work for GoPro as a production artist and deal with GoPro footage all day long. After looking closely at the whole thing you can clearly tell the difference in video quality when he's pointing the olympus at the mirror - it's got higher resolution &amp; a sharper image but appears to be shakier and more jello-ie.  The GoPro footage in this (which appears to be about 90% of the video) has the classic soft GoPro look, but is pretty smooth.  Also it's out of focus underwater which is tell-tale of a GoPro without a dive housing.  The sound is unmistakably from a GoPro as well. :)  Just FYI, we didn't have anything to do with this video. 

I guess Olympus didn't think anyone would find out. Well that was their mistake; underestimating their target demographic. There are people out there that actually care and are enthusiastic about camera products and their ALLEGED applications. Maybe if Olympus would realize that, and put them into consideration, they would make better products, avoid shady-ness and be in better business. 

kuddos Becky;
Great article showing research a scientist would be proud of.  While not necessarily a fan of J. Bieber I don't understand why others would be knocking your article.  You're not dishing Bieber himself, in fact I doubt he would even understand or care why this is a big issue; unless Olympus offered a deal and GoPro did not then shame on Bieber and his handlers.

was nice to see this but ive also seen this , justin is holding the camera, which looks like a dslr in a water bag, then underneath and go pro??

I am shocked! Olympus as a company has always had a stellar reputation for honesty, integrity  and transparency. I can't imagine that they would ever do otherwise.

Was this filmed in the Cayman Islands? 

Maybe the battery died in the Olympus :)) Naah, probably not. great article by the way

You have to really be careful with claims about what cameras are used. I used the iPhone for some of my documentary "American Federale" but I also used the Panasonic hvx 200a and the Panasonic 300. I experimented with the new Nokia and was unhappy with the results. It was said to be a 41 megapixel camera that would blow me away... I was disappointed. Now I use the Canon 5d Mark iii and the Hero 3 black. This is a great combination. With the GoPros you need light...