Roundtable on using video
During the cookout at Bike-Pgh HQ on Wednesday evening for leaders of various BikeFest events, I got the idea to have a roundtable forum to share ideas on how to video your rides.
* Front, rear, or both?
* What type of camera do you use?
* Where do you mount or wear it?
* How usable is what you end up with?
* What do you get for your money?
* How much storage do you need to film an hour of riding?
* What do you plan on filming?
* What do you do with the data?
* How do you process it?
* Where do you store it, if at all?
* What sort of video editing tools do you use?
* How much computing horsepower do you need to do all that?
I cannot be the only person out there with the same questions, and to be honest, I don’t have all the answers myself. But I do have a good bit of experience, now that I’ve had a camera for three years.
I don’t know where or when we would have such a forum. It’s rather late in the game to do something for BikeFest. But I thought I’d raise the flag and see who salutes, then maybe we can come up with some more concrete suggestions.
Maybe, if discussion groups are planned, at the Members’ Meeting in the fall?
I’d be up for this. I’ve had very positive experiences running video.
The only person I voiced the idea to was @scott, who seemed receptive. A couple of months to work out logistics seems appropriate. Here are a couple of approaches that have crossed my mind:
* A little meeting in their side lot, where @ngani was grilling the other night.
* Maybe we don’t need everyone there at once, just various people come in over a few evenings and explain their approach and setup while someone rolls video, then edit together a documentary.
* Streaming video with a call-in setup so “attendees” don’t have to be physically present but can ask questions in real time
* Two-part video series, one on setup and capture, the other on editing tools and processing techniques
* Perhaps a separate discussion on pressing charges in the case of an incident, and how to handle and protect your video for prosecution.
There are a lot of places we can go with this idea. I’m not sure where to start.
I don’t own a video camera, but have been thinking about getting one. I am not sure where to start, so I certainly would love to hear what people have to say about it. Guess I don’t have much to contribute since I am pretty behind the times when it comes to these kind of devices. Heck, I don’t even have a smartphone.
Nice idea Stu.
This sounds useful. Personally, I’d prefer a written document with stills over a video. A long video is hard to search and skim.
I don’t know what form it will or should take. Seems like one of the components of the discussion should be how to edit down a 15-minute file to 45 seconds of meaningful content. The only tool I have is Windows MovieMaker, which gets the job done but leaves a lot to be desired, IMHO.
So, let me add a bunch more bullets, this being my wish list of stuff I would like to be able to do, but right now either cannot or do not know how.
* Take two feeds, say one from a front camera, one from a rear, take excerpts from each, start them from the same moment, and create a single video from the two. Ideally, one of the two should be 1/4 to 1/8 of the screen.
* Recharge a camera while on the road. I am always running out of juice somewhere between home and work.
* Figure out how to mount a camera on my chest, not my head, not my handlebars, not the side of my helmet. All but the first have been tried, and while I do get results, I am often not happy with those results.
*You might wish to look into Adobe Premier Elements…less than $100 (sometimes less than $70), and has more video editing chops than Movie Maker. I’ve got a licensed copy floating around, if you ever want to sit down over coffee and try some editing. Or you can download the 30-day trial: https://www.adobe.com/cfusion/tdrc/index.cfm?product=premiere_elements&loc=en&sdid=KSIDY
Premier (and any video editing, really) does want as much processing horsepower and memory as you can throw at it, though.
*Recharging: Eric at Thick is testing a new USB power source that draws juice from a dynamo (presumably hub or bottle); far less expensive than other models. Still needs a dynamo wheel or a bottle generator, though.
*http://www.rei.com/product/895070/garmin-virb-chest-strap-mount. That’s one example…B&H Photo has a lot of options at http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/buy/Belts-Straps-Harnesses/ci/4093/N/4075788786
> Figure out how to mount a camera on my chest, not my head, not my handlebars, not the side of my helmet.
look at police-surplus stores for a body-cam setup. Most that I’ve seen are intended to shoot from the chest.
Did you not check out the Go-Pro chesty harness yet, Stu? I think it’s exactly what you’re asking for.
I just started messing with video this weekend, got a refurbed ContourRoam (which doesn’t seem to be available any more on their website) for less than $100 and then spent another $20 on mounts (bar mount and removable helmet mount that I haven’t tried yet). I would love to add a rear facing camera at some point because that’s where all the action is, right?
Stu, why do you want a chest harness? I’m figuring with no back camera the helmet cam might be a better indicator of what I’m looking at, but I would guess the constant swaying back and forth would get nauseating if you ever sat and watched the video.
Too much vibration on the handlebars.
Last week, I got the harness but haven’t worked out the bugs of fit, tilt, etc. Too new to talk about.
Also over the weekend, my Fly6 bit the dust, so I’m out of the video action for a while.
@StuInMcCandless: Have had very good experience with recharging using a USB “power bank”. It is a very cost-effective and easy solution for recharging devices with short lives between charging.
My charging mechanism of late consists of either a PC’s USB port or a USB charger plugged into a 120v outlet. That assumes I have one or the other at the end of every ride. Right now, for me, that seems to work OK, and I will treat my end-of-life battery as a not-a-problem-tech-will-fix. More I’m trying to identify what the right stuff to buy _once_ should be. Shitty batteries that quit only 10 minutes into a ride despite two hours on the charger beforehand, is a problem that shouldn’t happen in the first place.
I really like my Rideye so far. I’ll admit that I haven’t messed around with it much, but the battery lasts all day; the quality looks good to me; I have a lot of memory in it and it’ll start over-writing when it needs to. That said, if you want to protect a segment you just press the button and it preserves the footage within so many minutes either side. Same thing if you crash – it’ll automatically preserve the footage surrounding the event.
Good handlebar mounts provide stable on-road video. Mountainbiking can be too rough. I notice in your videos Stu that there is audible rattling of the camera. I’ll humbly suggest that it is the mount, not the mount location.
I’ve also filmed quite a bit with a chest mounted cam. It provides an excellent view of what the bike is doing but can be problematic. In particular, aiming it is difficult. It is necessary to point it upward at about a 45 degree angle compared to the chest. This results in being level when bent over in a riding position. Even with years of experience I still have trouble getting a good angle.
The best video is from a helmet mounted camera because. This is because we hold our heads steady making it somewhat equivalent to a steady-cam used in filming movies. We hold our heads steady for better vision as well as because our brains don’t like jostling. Also, our heads are generally pointed in the direction of what we need to be looking at, even if the bike isn’t going in that direction. Unfortunately it is also not the most convenient place to mount a camera.
From my own limited experience, I would agree with your comments about handlebar mounted cameras. Most of the time, the mount holds the camera steady but sometimes, a bump or two gets things moving and then I have a heck of a time getting it stabilized again.
While there is some jostling and movement in some films, I’ve noticed that You Tube has a feature that edits the video and goes a long way toward eliminating the erratic movements.
I haven’t yet tried the chest or helmet mounts.
I started experimenting with some freeware used to add overlays to ride videos (speed, map position, altitude, etc): http://www.dashware.net/. It allows you to combine GPS trip data (or almost any other data source) with video in interesting ways.
Used for cycling, race cars, drone video, and all sorts of neat stuff.
I’ve only just started playing with it: here’s an example (part of my commute)
and a variation (same data and video, different gauges onscreen):
@dfiler was right; the wobble in the front was from the mount. It snapped not long after those last couple of videos were shot.
I now use a GoPro chest harness. As @fultonco pointed out, I am constantly playing with the tip, trying to get it not to point at the ground when I’m moving, or at the sky when I’m standing still, and remembering to tweak it one direction or the other when I switch from moving to standing still.
Right now, I am constrained by other matters. My rear Fly6 camera is broken, and the front camera’s battery is quite weak and cannot readily be replaced. So until I can drop some serious money into replacing both — which isn’t happening anytime soon — I am not going to push this idea any more than to simply share what I know.
It’s a Swann Freestyle HD, and takes a DS-SD20 battery. The problem is that the shape of the battery changed since they built the camera. The old style batteries are no longer available.
The new style has recessed contacts that are too deep and differently spaced so that the camera’s contact points don’t reach, and my attempts at surgery on the new battery have so far not worked.
The old battery does work, some. I used it today on the Rt51 ride. But on a full charge, it quit after only about a half hour.
“But on a full charge, it quit after only about a half hour.”
Have you tried using a Mophie to supplement the power? I have one you could try out before buying one for yourself.
Regarding Reddan’s video, these cameras seem to be good at picking up the sounds of the road, the shifting, and the braking. But when words are spoken, they seem to be vey faint. Any ideas as to why that would be the case?
@fultonco asked why sounds of the road and braking are loud while voices are soft. My guess is: when the camera is mounted on a bike, the sound travels through the frame of the bicycle, and metal conducts sound well, but voices travel through the air, which conducts sound more poorly. If you mounted the camera on helmet or chest mount, or on the frame in some sound-insulated manner (glued to a block of soft foam?) then there would be less road noise.
My front camera is also housed in a box which muffles exterior sound, while amplifying structural sound. It’s a bit better since I went to a chest mount, but it picks up some of my mumblings a little too well while also not picking up anything anyone else is saying.
Frankly, one of the features I am looking for in video editing software is how to either fiddle with the volume or mute it altogether.
@Stu: Adobe’s Premier products treat audio and video as separate tracks, so you can adjust them independently. You can buy the standalone Elements version for $99, or go month-by-month with the Pro version via Adobe Creative Cloud at $19/month (free trial available)
It appears that Microsoft MovieMaker has an audio volume control, too, and it’s free.
Thanks Paul, for the explanation and thanks to everyone else for all the good information.
I brought this up at the members’ meeting last night during the Q&A portion. It was not exactly a question, more a reminder that we had talked about the topic extensively here, but needed to do something more concrete.
So, bringing it front and center, what exactly can the staff of Bike-Pgh do to help?
My short answer is: Visibility and facilitation.
By that I mean helping promote the idea, and gathering all this experience and know-how into a more accessible form. Right now, the chances of a newbie stumbling upon this message board thread are minimal, and I’m sure the dozen or so who’ve chimed in here are representative of the hundreds out there who are considering trying this but don’t know where to start.
In short, what can Bike-Pgh do with all of this experience that would get hundreds more rolling video?
Here is my situation at the moment. I want to schedule something for BikeFest 2016, but I need a date, time, and place.
Cameras: I only have front video. Same old camera, but I have a good battery for it now.
Computer: I am still using a Dell laptop with Microsoft Movie Maker for video processing.
Storage: I spent $150 on a 5 TB hard drive that stays home.
Online: I have a YouTube playlist in which I gather some of my processed video snippets.
In general, I feel like I know a good bit, but that a whole lot of other people have better equipment and better video editing know-how. I think it would be great if at least one, preferably two or three more, could meet at the same time and place to explain this to people.
I further think it would be great if someone could video our various setups and explanations, and that this itself could be stored and edited for later access and better understanding.
But first, I need a date/time/place, and don’t want to just throw a dart at the wall.
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