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Taking Video While Touring

Old 02-19-09, 06:39 PM
  #1  
HokkaidoRider
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Taking Video While Touring

I'm curious to hear from others who have taken along a video camera or camcorder on a longer tour. I'm planning on taking as much footage as I can on a 2-3 month trip later this year, but could use some advice from some veterans on what kind of camera to go for. HD? Brands? I am looking up to the $1000 range. I originally was interested in the Panasonic AV-DVX100b, but it's proving hard to find, and harder to afford.

The things I'm concerned about are weight/portability? Ability to edit afterwards and create a decent documentary from it? Battery strength? I'm not making a commercially distributed documentary or movie here or looking to profit, its just a hobby and I want to create a cool memory of the trip.

How about mounting it while you go? Rack mount? Handlebar mount?

I know a few of you have done this so any recommendations or suggestions are much appreciated!
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Old 02-19-09, 06:52 PM
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Any of the point and shoot cameras are good.
Try to stay with 2AA batteries.
Try to find a camera with the tri pod hole in the center of the camera.
I take stills while riding and some video.
You can make a mount from just about any light bracket.
Make the bracket hole larger and use a 1/4 bolt with 20 threads per inch.
Cover the camera from rain with a sandwich bag.

Cannon A530





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Old 02-19-09, 08:02 PM
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The camera I would use for HD bike touring would be the Sony HDR CX12 - $800.

It's a CMOS camera that uses (Sony proprietary) SD cards. It has low power consumption and extra batteries are relatively inexpensive. You can lower the power consumption even further by shutting the screen door while shooting. The SD card storage medium makes it easy to edit in the camera as you go. I find I can eliminate about 95% of what I shot at the end of each day. The smaller files are then easier to load into a computer. I also like that card storage is non-linear from the get-go.

I only make YouTube cycling videos and I find the microscopic Panasonic SDR-S7 ($300) to be adequate for my purposes.

Forget about shooting from your handlebars or rack. All you'll get is a whole bunch of jiggle. You can lash a camera to your helmet or for even better shots you can hand-hold the camera while riding. If you are going to post your video on the internet use a tripod to reduce the pixel changes (ie reduce bandwidth). While touring I take the big version Gorillapod (SLR Zoom model) with a Manfrotto 482 mini ball head - it works like a charm because you can attach it to available objects like road signs or fenceposts or whatever. My upcoming video is shot almost entirely with a Gorrilapod. It's a lot easier to watch when the camera is not moving all over the place.

Some cameras come with rudimentary editing software. Don't waste your time with that. Get a Mac or use Adobe Premier Elements ($100).

Here's some relevant internet discussion blah-blah:

Bike helmet cam discussion

Here's a YouTube video I made with a Panasonic SDR-S7 and the free editing software (MotionSD) that came with it:

Crazy bike touring video

The resolution you see on YouTube is the actual resolution of the camera - obviously not HD but perfect for YouTube. If you shoot in HD you are going to have to find some way to store all that data.

Last edited by Randobarf; 02-20-09 at 01:28 AM.
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Old 02-19-09, 08:26 PM
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At some point I was crossing the Pont de Quebec, and there were two tourists there, one of them with a camera taking video. Years later I accidentally found this video of the bridge, with me in it:

https://video.google.ca/videoplay?doc...79473363883446

Some kinda handheld digicam as I recall.
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Old 02-19-09, 10:58 PM
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we use an old Sony DCR-TRV30E mini dv camera. It is old, and it has gone through a lot already, but still working. We have a custom build video camera holder on the handlebar of one of our bikes, so we can shoot while we go. It absorbs most of the shocks when travelling (purpose build). For results, check out our site (www.tour.tk) or our video-hosts (www.vimeo.com/tourtk & www.youtube.com/tourdottk)
The advantage of using tapes is that you can store a lot of Gigabytes on one tape and the quality is as high as you can get. You can always decrease the size of it for use on internet, but can also use it for larger project (if needed). The camera sizes have decreased significantly over the last few years, so you will be able to buy a smaller and more leigthweight camera than the one we use.
For editing we use Adobe Premiere (on Windows) and Sorensen Squeeze for compression.
Hope this is of any use, good luck,
Aaldrik

Last edited by tourdottk; 02-19-09 at 11:03 PM.
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Old 02-20-09, 12:10 AM
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Dont think you'd have much fun with the size of the DVX, check out the Canon HV30.
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Old 02-20-09, 01:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Grundly View Post
Dont think you'd have much fun with the size of the DVX, check out the Canon HV30.
I have to agree with that. The beer-can cameras are a lot more versatile. You can, for instance, use your arm as a steady-cam while riding to record scenery, yourself, or someone else. A big cinema-type camera is also likely to be damaged, if it does not drive you crazy first (with its high power consumption and gravity-attracting batteries). I've tried a DVCam on a bike and it's very difficult to get it to work even though there are a lot of industrial-grade mounting accessories and stabilizers available. Mounting it too far from your centre of gravity can make you crash and smash a $20,000 camera to smithereens when you develop a camera-induced speed wobble at 90 km/hr.

You can improve a beer-can camera by adding an external mike.
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Old 02-20-09, 01:56 PM
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Right now I'm loving the Flip Camera HD. Cheap, small and does a decent job. Don't know how it would do on a longer tour, but it's only $200.
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Old 02-20-09, 05:17 PM
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I am a filmmaker of sorts in my freetime. I have not taken video of touring. But i did make a full lenth film using a Panasonic PV-GS500. It was 700 back but that was several years ago, I think they go for 300 now. its a simple 3CCD mini dv camcorder weights a couple pounds and is pretty small. takes TV quality video. Get extra batteries for whatever camera you get. i have 2 4 hour batteries plus the stock 1 hour battery the camera came with. saved me many headaches. These are avalible pretty cheap on ebay.

Look into the panasonic PV-GS line of consumer grade 3CCD cameras they are probably pretty cheap now and would serve your purposes great.

HD is overkill. I feel that its a scam actually. Just a way for camera makers to push the new stuff on consumers when the old stuff is just fine for most consumers.

just my 2 cents

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Old 02-20-09, 06:10 PM
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The HD Conspiracy

Originally Posted by mrhedges View Post
HD is overkill. I feel that its a scam actually.
I too have wondered how much hi-def you can actually get through a small medium-quality lens in a consumer camera for $1000. Like most people my computer could not handle HD editing anyway. I figure I might as well make low resolution videos for YouTube so at least people can watch them without the need for an actual disc.

Originally Posted by mrhedges View Post
Just a way for camera makers to push the new stuff on consumers when the old stuff is just fine for most consumers.
I did notice that when the 3 CCD cameras, like the one you mentioned, went out of production the video enthusiasts and professional guys in my town snapped them all up and there have been none to be found since. Oh well, the new HD CMOS cameras have low power consumption and they seem to be very durable (due to the lack of moving parts).
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Old 02-21-09, 03:55 AM
  #11  
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I posted a really long post last night, but it obviously never made it through. I haven;t that much time to repost now, but, here's one consideration when choosing a camcorder - don;t go for cheap and little; quite often the motors are too close to the mic and you pick up a horrible whine.
Also, don;t go for a HDD camcorder. It's a pain shooting raw footage, then, if you want to save it, having to back it up to DVD. Use minid DVD tape - it's cheap, and once you've shot it, you can keep it (never wipe over it - the tape can become compromised a second or third time, ruining your new footage with dropouts and digital noise). Also, if you use tape, always go for the same brand. They use different chemicals to lubricate the tape surface, and the mix can build up on the tape heads. Go for a good brand as well - no cheapos.

I'll write more later.

hope that helps.
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Old 02-21-09, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by mrhedges View Post
I am a filmmaker of sorts in my freetime. I have not taken video of touring. But i did make a full lenth film using a Panasonic PV-GS500. It was 700 back but that was several years ago, I think they go for 300 now. its a simple 3CCD mini dv camcorder weights a couple pounds and is pretty small. takes TV quality video. Get extra batteries for whatever camera you get. i have 2 4 hour batteries plus the stock 1 hour battery the camera came with. saved me many headaches. These are avalible pretty cheap on ebay.

Look into the panasonic PV-GS line of consumer grade 3CCD cameras they are probably pretty cheap now and would serve your purposes great.

HD is overkill. I feel that its a scam actually. Just a way for camera makers to push the new stuff on consumers when the old stuff is just fine for most consumers.

just my 2 cents
I have to agree here. I have the Panny PV-GS500 as well and it works great, doesn't weigh a lot and takes great video.

If you want HD video then you need to be prepared for what you need to use with it, i.e. HDTV, Powerful rendering and compression/converting software and computer to go with it, etc.

If you are just looking to youtube it HD is overkill, that being said I have seen some great HD vids on Vimeo
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Old 02-22-09, 12:44 AM
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Shot with a $99 Flip camera, superglue and wide-angle lens adaptor.

https://epicureancyclist.blip.tv
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Old 02-22-09, 01:10 PM
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Shot with a $99 Flip camera, superglue and wide-angle lens adaptor.

What did you edit that on? Nice and simple, I love it!
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Old 02-22-09, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by xcapekey View Post
Shot with a $99 Flip camera, superglue and wide-angle lens adaptor.

https://epicureancyclist.blip.tv
That was Perfection.
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Old 02-22-09, 03:40 PM
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Thanks! I used iMovie (free with a new Mac). Only downside to the Flip is you get 1 hour of footage so you have to shoot sparingly.

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https://epicureancyclist.blogspot.com
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Old 02-24-09, 06:06 PM
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Solid gold everyone, thanks!

I checked out a few cameras, if anyone has a review on these let me know.

Panasonic
HDC-TM300 - 32GB - 10.6 megapixel camera. Uses flash memory so the guy there said its more stable for a bike tour. Price around $1200

HS-300 - 120GB - HD - This is the one Im leaning towards. Im not sure how often I can upload my video so more memory is better. The tour will be 2-3 months. This one is about $1250.

As far as VIDEO EDITING SOFTWARE.. I have a PC so no imovie unfortunately. I have used Windows Movie Maker but i dont like its limited transitions options as I usually have alot of stills.
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Old 02-25-09, 10:17 AM
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do you want to shoot rolling video footage?


I've often wanted to rig a sports boom for a camera for steady rolling action shots, with a VIO sport it would be much, muc easier to get different perspectives without a whole lot of heavy dampening booms and rigging equipment.

all my touring videos so far- (see the Youtube link in my signature) have been shot on a 6MP compact waterproof digital camera. Pentax Optio WP. shoots 640x480(?) video at 30fps. (some were shot in 320x240(?) rez)

I've been pretty happy with the results but will be purchasing a VIO sport for this summers' adventures.
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Old 02-25-09, 03:50 PM
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The VIO camera should solve a lot of problems. I have not heard of any boom rigging exercise that works on a bike. I made a few and none were really any good. Here's my latest failure:


It's stayed with aircraft cable and uses a pannier as ballast. There is a hook for the pannier just ahead of the camera mount. It's light and the point of view is interesting but to get enough weight to stabilize the camera handling is compromised.

I have built a new camera boom that's further away from the bike on a trailer. It uses water stabilization so it's quite heavy. It's also slow because tire pressure on the trailer has to be extremely low to reduce vertical vibration. When I'm finished tweaking it I may post a picture.
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Old 02-26-09, 01:32 AM
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There used to be (hopefully still is) a sports boom, commercially available, that's suitable for professional grade videography. I've seen footage from one and the setup during a documentary about bicycle touring.

The boom was tubular aluminum with several universal joints, a counterweight, and a foam lined camera box.

With the VIO sport, a camera boom system could be significantly lighter weight.

xcapekey that was beautiful!

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Old 02-26-09, 05:04 AM
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I know Oregon Scientific makes a couple of models of helmet cams, a few guys in the commuter forums have posted video from them and the quality is pretty decent. Design looks very similar to the VIO cams, minus the fancy control council. They are cheap too, ranging for 100-250 I think. Just another option to look into.
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Old 03-07-09, 04:14 PM
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For a long tour, I think you need to think mainly about batteries and storage of video files. If regular recharging is not possible, then it needs to take regular batteries. If you won't be able to download videos to a computer, then storage will be an issue. Best/cheapest option is a camera that takes SD cards (check that it takes larger cards: 8gb +). Transcend are a great brand, and VERY cheap (but from Amazon).

There are lots of recommendations for good cameras in this thread, but I think you really ought to make a pragmatic list of requirements, then see which camera best fits the bill.

(If the tour is in a sunny place, then maybe a solar recharger could enable you to use rechargable batteries?)
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Old 03-07-09, 09:08 PM
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I shoot video as part of my work so I'm familiar with much of the technology. While I've brought video cameras occasionally on tour I am with those who recommend the Flip Video Camera. If you're looking to post video on a web site it really can't be beat for weight, cost, convenience, reliability and simplicity. For a long tour you may want to accessorize it with a waterproof case. The HD version offers a modest but noticeable increase in video quality and is worth it IMO.

I'd probably bring a still digital camera along as well but mine captures pretty decent video so if my Flip were full I'd have some back up if needed.

Unless you're planning on making a broadcast quality documentary of your trip I see no point in bringing anything more than a Flip.
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Old 03-08-09, 11:14 AM
  #24  
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I enjoyed some videos that a young couple took on a tour through the west. I think they took them with a point-and-shoot camera. Virtually all digital cameras have a video option these days. Sure, the videos were in small frames on my computer monitor, but I enjoyed them anyway.

I toyed with taking a video camera on this year's tour, but instead I think I'll just take some with my compact digital cameral. SD cards are so cheap and available these days it will be easy to buy extras if I fill them up with video. We'll see.

Most of the videos I've seen taken from a bicycle in motion haven't been that great anyway (except for some of the mountain biking videos I've seen.) I think I'll pretty much stick to landscapes, my campsites, and maybe some of me giving my "deep thoughts" about touring alone.
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Old 03-20-09, 08:52 PM
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Narrowed the search down to two models..
1) 120GB HDD (1920x1080) + SDD Card Slot. $1500 (cdn)
2) 60GB HDD (Standard) + SDD Card Slot. $905 (Cdn)

Why should I choose the more expensive one? The salesperson just said 'better quality' because its 1920, but I dont know if this is another gimmick or small upgrade that gets pushed down the consumers throat..?

Im aiming to film alot of my extended bike tour..
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