Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hiking Videos

I've been experimenting with different methods of recording videos of my hikes. I've learned a lot.

Mounting my GoPro to my backpack shoulder strap didn't work out so well. Lesson: the old standard GoPro has a very wide FOV lens and the result makes any flat surface look rounded. It was annoying to watch, plus the camera wasn't always pointing where I thought it was.

I also mounted my Kodak Zi8 to the backpack shoulder strap. Lesson: the video was good, but the audio was messed up by rubbing against the mount I'd fashioned.

The GoPro chest harness mount worked well, with reservations. Lesson: the video is terrific (using the new HD model). The shots were jerky when hiking on hard surfaces like Zion NP sandstone, but smooth when hiking on soft sand in the desert. The audio is very quiet, due to the GoPro plastic case. I didn't try the 2nd case with the air holes for improved audio.

I've tried taking a series of photos every minute or so, then assembling those into a video. Lesson: very very annoying to watch. The scene changes too much between the photos, so the video is very jerky. It might work better if the photos were every 30 seconds or less.

I've also recorded video and then sped it up afterward. Lesson: annoying to watch. The viewer doesn't get the sense of a hike. More annoying than enjoyable.

One of the biggest challenges has been keeping the camera steady.

During my Lost Peak hike, I tried something different. My goals were to keep the camera steady and not speed up the video. I realized that it's not necessary to record the entire hike. I used my Lumix ZS7 point-and-shoot camera. I keep it in my cargo pocket while hiking in the backcountry so I can get to it fast when I encounter wildlife.

I recorded many very short clips at sorta regular intervals. Holding the camera in my hand while walking and trying to keep it stable. Then later I strung them together in iMovie.

I'm going to use this method until I think of something better.

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