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  1. #1
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    Taking a camcorder on tour?

    Has anyone taken a camcorder on tour? Im thinking of taping mine and making my own documentary.
    As yet I havent got a camcorder, so i wonder which format to choose. MiniDV, DVD, HardDrive, plus do i go for normal definition or high definition? I also plan to take a bullet camera which is basically a 1/4" CCD external camera that plugs into the AV in plug of the camcorder (like a helmet camera). Im thinking or mounting the bullet cam on an extension arm which will be attached to the bike. I've noticed that a lot of the new camcorders dont have AV in, which is a bummer. Atm im also in two minds if i should take a laptop to do some video editing along the way and perhaps post some short vids on the internet to allow friends and family see what im doing. I realise taking this amount of electronics will be a hassle, so just wondering if anyone out there has any opinions, suggestions, experiences?

  2. #2
    Senior Member MNBikeguy's Avatar
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    Just a couple cents for what it's worth.....
    Before you go through the hassle, go to Crazyguyonabike.com and read some of the touring journals. The documentary most people convey are thoughts and feelings of their experiences dotted with the occasional picture. For the most part, the "visual" aspect of bike touring as seen through a lens is pretty boring. Sure, there is the stunning sunrise, people you meet, wildlife, etc. but filming a bike tour may not generate the riveting results commensurate with the trouble, as compared to a picture with a well thought narrative.
    "I thought of that while riding my bike."
    - Albert Einstein on the theory of relativity

  3. #3
    __________ seeker333's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MNBikeguy
    ... filming a bike tour may not generate the riveting results commensurate with the trouble, as compared to a picture with a well thought narrative.
    I agree, not worth the expense/weight/battery recharging requirements etc.

    Canon, for example, makes several A-series digicams that record video. This would give you video capability in the infrequent situations where it would actually be useful.

    There is some good photography in the journals at CGOAB.

  4. #4
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    many Digital cameras now film 640x480 pixel video at 30FPS and 2GB memory cards are down to 20-25 bucks some places.

    I'd suggest a capable compact digital camera instead. I like taking video on high speed descents, all the rest of touring video footage is usually pretty ho-hum. Also riding into quaint little villages make some nice video.

    riding through senic villages, like seaside towns, or themed towns or around that antlered park in Jackson, WY, as an example, also nice places to shoot some footage.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    check out this video camera posted on the clyds forum

    Cool new camcorder to take along

    looks like a good choice for what your want.

  6. #6
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    We use a Sony digital camera to take our videos and come up with stuff like this:

    http://travellingtwo.com/category/video/

    I agree the descents are the most fun, here's one we just got up on to Google video coming down Torre, Portugal's highest mainland point:

    http://video.google.fr/videoplay?doc...42894188001070

    I think video is a nice addition to your site. Now whether it's worth taking along the gear to update as you go is a different matter. We were talking about this today and thought that 6 months was our personal cutoff point. More than that timespan and we'd want to update as we travel, less than that and we'd just do it when we got home. Depending on where you go, you may struggle to upload videos. Actually, we have rarely gotten a video up when we are not using someone's home broadband connection. If we're going to upload a video in a web cafe then we try and get there early in the morning when the internet is faster and just cross our fingers. I wouldn't count on always being able to upload video from the road.
    We blog about bike touring, with reviews, tips and cycle touring podcasts at Travelling Two

  7. #7
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    Your site is really nice avatarworf.

    Here's a cool video by Mike Beauchamp: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixMTu--gB2w
    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

  8. #8
    Senior Member Shemp's Avatar
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    I take a small MiniDV camera and a couple extra batteries and keep it in my handlebar bag. If you only shoot the highlights, you limit the amount of tape to edit and battery usage and can then make it all the way through a 2 week trip without carrying recharger(s) or finding an outlet everyday and without needing stacks of tape.

    Unless things have changed, bullet camera quality still stinks if you're wanting to make a home video for tv viewing later, especially with colors washing out with changing light input... that, and you need yet more batteries for it. I incorporate my still shots, music and other bits into my video edits, so doing that while on tour seems a bit much. Enjoy the tour now, and relive it back at home while editing.

  9. #9
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    i believe things HAVE changed in the compact digital camera video field, according to articles I've read this year.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  10. #10
    Senior Member Shemp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist
    i believe things HAVE changed in the compact digital camera video field, according to articles I've read this year.
    I'm referring to the bullet cameras specifically as being inadequate, not digital video cameras.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Gotte's Avatar
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    Go with mini DV - the camcorders are smaller, many have built in cargers. Personally, I wouldn;t trust HD and I don't believe mini DVD is not high enough quality yet.
    I took a mini dv camcorder on my Black forest trip and got some great footage, and for me, it doesn;t matter how well it;s shot or how much there is, because mainly it;s for me to watch when it's winter and cold and bleak and dark and I want to relive cycing along the Neckar in the sun.

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    Has anyone seen the tv series called "Long Way Round". Its a travel documentary with Ewan MacGregor (the actor, ie StarWars) and his friend Charlie Borman. They ride their BMW motorbikes from London to New York via Europe, Kazakstan, Mongolia, Russia, Canada and USA. Its awesome!

    This is the series that sparked my interest in recording my tour. Albeit mine will be a solo tour of New Zealand, i would love to make a travel doco in the same style as the Long Way Round.

    I have seen Mike Bauchamps video. His camera extension arm is very ingenious. Im thinking of making mine a bit more articualted and also able to mounted on the front (to look towards me when i ride), on the seat post (to look over my back) as well as on the side. From what ive read NZ campsites are pretty good, with power and kitchens, so i dont think there will too much trouble to recharge batteries.


    I regards to bullet cameras, i believe that they output quite good quality video now. There are even some wireless ones which might be the ticket for me as then i dont have to worry about cables all over my bike.

    So ppl think that miniDV is the best? Ive heard other ppl say minDV give the best quality..but what about High Def harddisk camcorders? I suppose the negative with hard disk is that you HAVE to brind a laptop to download the video, whereas with minDV you dont.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Gotte's Avatar
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    Yes, I saw Long Way Round, and loved it. I have to say it gave me some inspiration to make a bike tour happen.
    My favourite section was the Road of Bones bit, with the big fallen bridges, and the trucks going through the rivers. Man, all that land...
    Like I said earlier, I videoed mine, though I've not looked at all the footage yet (only just back, really). I did the majority of my filming by having camcorder in handlebar bag, and simply reaching in and holding taking it when I needed to, while riding one handed. I could articulate it well, hold it out, up, ahead, behind, and still ride comfortabley (I use sit up and beg bars, so my centre of gravity is very upright, and filming while cycling is much easier and safer than if I were leaning forward on flat bars). I never rode with it to my eye, though, always used autofocus, and just checked with my thumb it was zoomed out. Pretty good results from the footage I've viewed.
    I did have a notion to construct an arm for my next tour, though. I have this bizarre bendy metal thing that came off something or other that should do the trick. I'll jubilee clip it to the bars, and fit a tripod attatchment to the end. I was going to do it for my last trip, but just never had time.

  14. #14
    Stand For Something mntbikedude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MNBikeguy
    Just a couple cents for what it's worth.....
    Before you go through the hassle, go to Crazyguyonabike.com and read some of the touring journals. The documentary most people convey are thoughts and feelings of their experiences dotted with the occasional picture. For the most part, the "visual" aspect of bike touring as seen through a lens is pretty boring. Sure, there is the stunning sunrise, people you meet, wildlife, etc. but filming a bike tour may not generate the riveting results commensurate with the trouble, as compared to a picture with a well thought narrative.
    I have done three tours, one with just a still camera and two with video. On the second trip my son, my son took over 11 hours of video that he is editing down to a documentary size work. I love to watch that footage. Much shot from his handlebars. I love his candid shots of interaction between those of us on the trip. It captures parts of the trip that still shots could never have exspressed. Like when we got the entire passenger group on the Wesport Ferry to participate in song and dance number we put together to greet one of the passengers spouse on the other end.

    On the last trip we had my younger son. We just had cheap cameras, but we captured some priceless footage including my then 13 year olds squeeky voice. (amazing what a year does to voices). Still I'm glad we got the footage with sound. On our next trip we will get a better still digital camera that takes good quality video. It needs to be such quality that produces good footage but is cheap enough that you aren't afraid to leave it attached to your handlebars.

  15. #15
    Senior Member MNBikeguy's Avatar
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    This is a very interesting thread. The links are fascinating. While camming a bike tour may not be my particular cup of tea (I admittedly lack the creativity), I can certainly appreciate the value from those that do it.
    "I thought of that while riding my bike."
    - Albert Einstein on the theory of relativity

  16. #16
    Senior Member crotch_rocket's Avatar
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    i carry a hi8 that i'm making a documentary with. it's cheap enough to not worry about, technology is mature enough to know that i can beat the crap out of it, quality is tv worthy, and tapes are cheap to boot. honestly, in some places, i'm very glad that i have it with me, at least for the stuff i'm doing.
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    Come join me in my adventures!
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