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PostPosted: June 23rd, 2010, 5:48 pm 
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Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada
Hi folks,

I was thinking of getting into outdoor video shooting, summer and winter. Maybe put some cool vids up on Youtube. I know a lot about digital SLR, but nothing about video. I am looking for advice on what type and brand of camera and accessories (batteries, storage cards, etc), might be suitable for outdoor conditions, summer and winter.

It should be light weight and small bulk. Small bulk is important for winter use, to easily slide down inside a jacket, and to be easy to retrieve without a lot of hassle. Ruggedness and water resistant properties would be very important. Resistance to condensation is important.

For batteries, I know that for my SLR, am sold on the high end rechargeable lithium battery pack that is made for the camera, or after market clone pack also made for the camera. I am assuming that camera's lithium pack is the best bet for a video camera? But let me know if there is a better option.

File storage: I am guessing it is a trade off between resolution, time and file size?

Since I travel solo, I would also be filming myself, so the camera would need a good flip out screen that is big and bright.

Helmet cams: For WW paddling and skiing, are helmet cams special single-use rigs, or is there a waterproof housing rig that can hold a regular video camera?

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PostPosted: June 23rd, 2010, 9:17 pm 
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Location: Geraldton, Ontario Can
Well Hoop, I've done a lot of filming on canoe trips, not so much in the cold. I've used a huge variety of consumer cameras. If you are looking for something cheap with reasonable quality, mini DV tape format can be had for around 300 to 400 bucks. However, you will be locked into the batteries that come with the camera. I am currently using a canon HG 20 with a 120 gig internal hard drive. Very nice picture quality, and very robust. My students have been using them hard for two years now, and only one breakdown out of 13 cameras. They retail around a 1000 bucks. Once again, you will be locked into the batteries that come with the camera. They are fairly small.

I have recently ordered a Canon T2i digital slr with a 16 gig card and the grip which will accept regular AA batteries. One of my students had a one, and the video quality astounded me...as good as the dedicated HG 20. However, very pricey.

Most cheap digital SLR's will now record video...if you are only looking to post them on youtube, they will probably suffice. For whitewater sequences, I mount a tripod with the camera in front of me...that way I can turn the camera to look at me or to get the action in the front. The videos have turned out quite well.

If you want to go really cheap, you can get a Flip camera, or something like it, which will be good enough for Youtube.
http://www.theflip.com/en-ca/

Keep in mind, if you are going to edit, you have to have a camera that is compatible with your editing package. We edit everything on Mac's with Final Cut Express. It will accept a wide variety of cameras. However, some of those cheap programs out there might give you some trouble with the hard drive cameras.


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PostPosted: June 23rd, 2010, 9:26 pm 
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Location: calgary
I have seen some good shots taken with thesehttp://www.goprocamera.com/
not necessarily professional quality but a reasonably priced option


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PostPosted: June 24th, 2010, 5:55 am 
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Location: Beamsville, Ontario Canada
HOOP,

I just picked up a GoPro HD camera (helmet version). This little guy is bomb proof and comes with numerous set up options (waterproof housing, regular, different mounting options - helmet, bar, ski/snowboard, surfboard, etc...). And it records in different resolutions including full HD. Two buttons to operate and with a 180deg field of view and infinite focus at f2.8, what you see is what you get.

It uses compact lithium rechargeables wtih 3hr charges and SD cards for memory. A 16 GB card at full 1080p HD resolution will likely keep up with the max capacity of the card. My biggest card right now is only an 8GB and it's allowed me to record up to an hour of full HD vid.

Btw, my intended use for this camera when I picked it up is for mountain biking, road cycling, canoe-trippping, snorkelling, kiteboarding, snowboarding, XC skiing and winter-camping. And it does and will def record during all of these activities.

I'd share you a sample vid, but none of what I've collected so far have been edited at this point. You can just check out the GoPro site for some sample vids.

Cost....around $300 if you buy at the right place.


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PostPosted: June 24th, 2010, 6:50 am 
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That GoPro camera seems pretty useful: a Toronto cyclist keeps posting videos that were produced with it.

http://www.ibiketo.ca/blog/2010/06/23/how-pass-cyclist gives you an example of a ride with passing traffic.

Another posting on http://www.ibiketo.ca/blog/2010/06/16/west-end-ride
with remarks on cost, and the effort/software for editing the raw clips.

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PostPosted: June 24th, 2010, 9:20 am 
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I haven't been following current video camera models … so don't have much to offer. But the weak link in video cameras has always been the microphone. The more compact the worse the audio (in general), and this is made worse by shooting in wind outdoors. Try and find something that permits an external mic … even if it's a small 1/8" stereo jack it will make a huge difference. And if you're shooting for longer than a week … you will probably want a camera with removable media (whether you want to download to an external drive or use miniDV tapes). For a wilderness trip you will want to stay away from a camera that records direct to disk … do they still make these?

The Sony HDR-HC9 is one of the few consumer models that has most of these features: miniDV media, external mic jack, image stabilization, use of high capacity battery pack, relatively compact, more …

Beyond these concerns … video types and quality may be something to look at. Standard definition v. HD, or interlaced v. progressive. Most people buy HD cameras these days (I don't think it makes a huge difference … since you'll be compressing video to fit on DVD regardless). 1080i denotes resolution and "interlaced" video … which has a very clean and crisp "digital" look. "Progressive" video is like a series of snapshots, and is only available in a higher end camera. This will be more "film" like and "natural" in appearance, although there are some downsides (like tracking a moving image). Quality of lens is a concern if you want depth of field, wide angle view, and additional performance in low light (although sensor size is the main constraint here). It's also VERY NICE to have many of the commonly used software and hardware features of the camera available as buttons on the body of the camera … since negotiating complicated menu screens draws down battery time. The ability to shoot through a viewfinder rather than LCD screen may potentially double your battery life. Viewfinder will also be a LCD screen, but much smaller and use less power.

And make sure you add a good tripod to your list of expenses … something with a fluid and smooth video head.


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PostPosted: June 24th, 2010, 11:14 am 
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I'd recommend HD Canon camcorders with SDHC cards at least Class 6 but the higher the better (Panasonic have Class 10 cards).
16 Gig card gets you 2 hrs of HD video.
Get a UV filter for the lens too. These days they are very light and compact and many have external microphone and light attachment provisions.

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PostPosted: June 24th, 2010, 11:27 am 
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Good idea … I also like limited use of a circular polarizing filter (makes colors and shadows really pop) and a graduated neutral density filter (prevents sky from getting washed out and ruining an otherwise great landscape shot). They come in different ratings ... can't recall the correct number for typical outdoor videography.


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PostPosted: June 26th, 2010, 11:07 am 
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Location: Manitowaning, Ontario
Zelandonii wrote:
HOOP,

I just picked up a GoPro HD camera (helmet version). This little guy is bomb proof and comes with numerous set up options (waterproof housing, regular, different mounting options - helmet, bar, ski/snowboard, surfboard, etc...). And it records in different resolutions including full HD. Two buttons to operate and with a 180deg field of view and infinite focus at f2.8, what you see is what you get.

It uses compact lithium rechargeables wtih 3hr charges and SD cards for memory. A 16 GB card at full 1080p HD resolution will likely keep up with the max capacity of the card. My biggest card right now is only an 8GB and it's allowed me to record up to an hour of full HD vid.

Btw, my intended use for this camera when I picked it up is for mountain biking, road cycling, canoe-trippping, snorkelling, kiteboarding, snowboarding, XC skiing and winter-camping. And it does and will def record during all of these activities.

I'd share you a sample vid, but none of what I've collected so far have been edited at this point. You can just check out the GoPro site for some sample vids.

Cost....around $300 if you buy at the right place.


Hey Zel (and HOOP)

Good timing - I've been thinking about getting something too for the same purpose HOOP mentioned. I had never heard of the Go Pro system and followed the link - great videos and super simple operation. I was wondering about the different attachments Zel. Do any of them work for a canoe? Would anything attach to the thwarts? I see they sell a chest harness too which would be handy for winter trekking. Lastly, I was wondering about using it on a tripod? Is this possible? I like all the point of view stuff you can do with the system but I'd like something I could mount on my tripod with a video head for fluid panning, interior of a tent, filming a canoe shoot through rapids from the shore...that sort of thing.

Thanks,

Scott


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PostPosted: June 27th, 2010, 8:39 pm 
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Location: Beamsville, Ontario Canada
Scott.

Mounting on a thwart can be done in a number of ways. You can use the helmet strap or the bar mount on a wood clamp. You can get pretty creative with you can set up the camera.

As for a tripod mount, you can get the tripod adapter which is an accessory. I have one but have yet to try it out.

Below's a link of a freshly edited video that I did using the GoPro. You can see the versatility of the system. The mounts that I used were the small and large diameter bar (round tubing) mount.
http://life-outside.smugmug.com/Sports-Kiteboarding-Ultimate/2010-June-Cycling-around-Lake/12715004_A7MzE#915169695_DuSQ5-A-LB


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PostPosted: June 30th, 2010, 1:32 pm 
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Hey Zel thanks for the info and the vid, pretty impressive. I was tapping my toes to Freddie Mercury and the boyz! Nice!

Is it always so wide angle or can you zoom and / or change a lens?


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PostPosted: June 30th, 2010, 1:42 pm 
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scott_killarney wrote:
Hey Zel thanks for the info and the vid, pretty impressive. I was tapping my toes to Freddie Mercury and the boyz! Nice!

Is it always so wide angle or can you zoom and / or change a lens?


I have had a GoPro video camera for about a year now. Would never have purchased it myself, but got it as a gift. Although you can take some pretty cool videos of action sequences, I find that the camera itself is very limited in what it can do, and the quality of the video is quite poor.

dave

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PostPosted: June 30th, 2010, 8:22 pm 
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Location: Toronto
I have a gopro.

Its alot of fun for POV stuff but not what hoop is looking for.

Although it could augment pretty well. I have some good footy from palmerfest this year.

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PostPosted: July 1st, 2010, 11:20 am 
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Location: Kanata, Ontario Canada
Youtube? :lol:
horsefeathers :P

you are going to need a commercial camera to get the quality you need for production and I know you know alot BUT talk to Ben (the CBC ben) about editing and take some courses........
and learn about sound.......defitely can make or break

Yes, "This is Canoeing" opened up alot of possibilities, one being the fact that the North wasn't represented as it could have been....... worldwide perspective.........

even if you think I'm off base now...... you will eventually come to this conclusion so why waste a trip now with inferior equipment? Why have some of your stuff look like an Ontario instant millions commercial.......
you have a good eye, show us what you love about the North

let me know when you are taking orders....... if you're not too preachy, I'm in for a copy

Between you or watersong I'm determined to get some new films to watch :wink:

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PostPosted: July 6th, 2010, 4:52 am 
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I'm nowhere near a professional, so I'm looking forward for consumer grade new Sanyo VPC CA-100. 14 megapixels and films at 1920 × 1080. I currently use the predecessor to the CA-100. Batteries are inexpensive and can be bought off the internet (various mA - do not buy at Henry's, way too expensive for too low mA) so I charge a few before leaving. Waterproof to 3 meters - for me it is important because I burned a Nikon Coolpix under the rain. Not so much for filming underwater, but for protection against the rain. Body shape is different, so it takes some use to. Lots of menu options. Can record voice memos (at least mine does) - useful for on-the-spot trip notes. The CA-100 works with the WiFi memory cards.

Link: Sanyo Xacti CA-100


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