I just got back from my regular MUni ride in Palos Verdes, CA; not very technical but fun singletrack with some rocky sections. I tried a new idea for POV by attaching my mini vidcam to my tripod, and holding it upside down near the ground, pointing it partially at my tire and the trail ahead at the same time. The I figured I could rotate the footage in Movie maker later.
I also had attached my wide-angle lens in hopes that it would help show more action. When I reviewed it I was disappointed. It’s just really hard to hold it steady as you’re riding, esp. over rough sections. I also thought about making a type of “arm” holder that would clamp to the uni frame and put the cam maybe 2-3’ back to show the rider and trail at the same time. The effect would almost be like someone following you from behind as you ride!
Does anybody have suggestions or ideas for getting really good POV action? I’ve been thinking about helmet cams, but wouldn’t it be better to have the camera way down low to ground? Plus those are pricey from what I hear.
The homemade ones need two hands to operate, but work okay. You can use them hanging down somehow, I think that site has instructions on how to invert it.
Some of the bought ones are one handed and attach with a harness to your body. They cost several thousand pounds though, and probably wouldn’t have the range to get low enough for you without hitting the unicycle.
The arm behind the uni thing is acctually a really good idea, exept for one thing. If you fall backwards the camera is gonna get broken really fast. A helmet camera would be really shaky, but pretty cool though. Pretty much anything attached to you or the uni is gonna shake alot. The solution? A glide camera, but those are wickedly expensive. There is a $14 alternative that works, but you have to have a person who can do 3 things. 1) Use a glidecam effectively 2) Run fast enough to stay right behind you 3) Ummm… what was the 3rd point… I’ll come back with it later, but for filler now, they need to be able to operate a camera.
No…Those keep the camera steady by being heavy. You dont want to be riding along holding a tripod behind you, let alone a 15lbs tripod. What your looking for terry, Is a helmet cam, they are wickedly strong and can plug into the a/v port on your camcorder. Then with a pipe/dowel and a hose clamp mount this to your frame. The cord can run up and into your camc and you can have your cam corder safley tucked away in your camelbak as usual. The cord running up to your camelbak can be a quick release cord, and disconnect the second the uni shoots away from you. You operate the helmet cam with the controls on your camcorder, so all you would have to do is reach back and press record, and go bomb your section all while getting it on tape. Check out Viosport.com for some ideas on what a helmet cam is. The ones on viosport.com are pretty nice, but you can get cheaper ones, just whatever you do dont get the “Tony hawk helmet cam” its like 5fps and worse than a cellphone video.
Similar setups were used in One Tired Guy, So ask nathan or kris how that rig was setup, and if there was any image stabilizer or just bolted to the frame.
Surely frame mounted camera = bumpy bumpy cam, and probably won’t be much better than the holding the tripod manually which is too bumpy bumpy? At least on bikes frame mount is way too bumpy to use. I guess that’s why they tend to use the footage only for very brief moments and you can see bugger all of what’s going on other than the wheel turning.
The ideal might be to have someone running behind you with a steadycam. Find someone who trail runs, they’ll be a fair bit faster than you riding a muni particularly over any technical trails.
Once you’ve got footage you can stabilize it a bit digitally (there’s a plugin for virtualdub that does it), which helps, but you need sort of stable footage to start with for good results.
A few months ago I bought an Oregon HC18 for just that purpose. However, I was very disapointed.
Firstly, the spec of the camera is not great. At it’s best resolution it only does 15fps, or to get 25fps you have to settle for 160x120
That said, however, the mountings it came with were great for attaching to the uni. My muni has a 24" wheel and 26" frame so it goes quite nicely just above the tyre. The problem though is that unicycles, particularly municycles are just not suitable for this kind of camera mount. There’s just too much backwards and forwards sway. All I seemed to get was a couple of seconds of sky followed by a couple of seconds floor, whoosh, sky again, then floor again.
Mounting it to my helmet gave much better results, although the lack of view finder or instant playback meant it was very much trial and error before I could point the camera towards what I wanted to record. Being so high off the ground really lost the ‘feeling’ of being on a unicycle. I recorded my commute through central London a few times, and watching it back was about as exciting as being on a bus.
What would be really awesome would be to have a small “monitor” to view while riding so you could make adjustments on the fly and see realtime what was being taped. I’m thinking something that would mount almost like a rear-view mirror, except that is would be a mini-monitor! Cool eh?
I’m still gonna try making an “arm” extention that clamps onto the seat tube and projects about 2’ back, then attach my mini cam. I could also easily pad the cam in the event of a upd! At least the lens would be facing forward, so only the back of the cam would be subject to impact. We’ll see how it goes!
I had already considered that. Sadly the AV connection does not work in Record mode. I began to wonder about ripping it apart to see if I could find a ‘live’ optical output on the board anywhere, then I began to think about how practical it would be to find a monitor suitable, mount it, power it, connect it, and use it whilst riding…
Sounds interesting if nothing else. I’d love to see both footage from it, as well as a photo of it. Keep us updated.
Dan Heaton did a shot like this in the beginning of Defect, I think with Mike Clark doing a crankflip down a set. I could be wrong about it being Mike, but check out that shot. The only point that it becomes shaky is when he actually leaves the unicycle, so there’s not much mass to absorb most of the shock. I could see it being maybe slightly shaky doing Muni, but I think it would still make some awesome shots.