Riding out with the Hero

The Hero is a unique little video camera, formally known as the GoPro Hero HD. It shoots 1080p, and has become a favorite camera for adventurers. Just take a look at some of the videos on the GoPro web site.

I am continuing to experiment with video and still photography, and if I get a chance to combine that with motorcycling, well, it just makes it better.

So the weather looked great, and I decided to go for a ride and see some of the sights along the way. Primarily, my mission in this short ride was to combine video with still photography. Here is the final version for my experiment.

See you on the highway.

Brent

8 Replies to “Riding out with the Hero”

  1. I find myself tempted by the GoPro camera but I’m not sure why. I guess it just looks like it would be fun to fool around with.

    By the way, your garage is way too clean. A clean and tidy garage usually indicates some sort of mental issue or a need for additional motorcycles to fill it up.

  2. Doug, I was unsure about the GoPro when I bought it, and now that I have it, I am certain that it is a fine B-roll camera, not a primary. This video was somewhat of an experiment and an excuse to go riding. There are way too many videos on the Internet that are taken with this camera, and they run on and on and on without any scene changes. Fifteen seconds, and I hit the pause button and move on. This one comes close to that, if it were not for the stills.
    As for the garage, I have too much stuff in there now. Downsizing towards a condo, I am.

  3. Brent,

    I read that for filming on a bike the GoPro does best when set to 720 dpi with 60 fps. I think I got this off the ADV site. Not sure.

    Jim

  4. I’ll give that a try. The Hero HD has five different resolution/frame rate settings. I’ve not tried them all, yet.

  5. Brent, long ago someone told me that in most professional films the maximum scene length was 20 seconds. That sounded odd to me so I watched a bit of a movie on TV with the sound off and sure enough, the scenes changed much quicker than I’d suspected. Conversely, I find the more modern “MTV” editing with it’s rapid fire cuts and and jumps to be very frustrating, especially for documentary type shooting.

    I agree that the vast majority of home video on the web, especially the motorcycle riding stuff, just drones on and on. And worse (as long as I’m carping here), the audio track is some hideous music that is either unintelligible metal crap or doesn’t fit the visual mood of the video, or both.

    If you were spending the money again would you get another GoPro or try something else, and if so, which camera?

  6. Doug, you are correct about scene length. In TV news, it’s about 10 seconds unless the video is compelling. That’s why this video is not a good example. What I have tried to do here is interrupt the scene length with still photography while the audio track continues down the highway. It was an experiment.

    If you are buying a video camera for the motorcycle or other vehicle, I think the GoPro is probably your best buy. I recently bought the LCD BacPac, and that really increases the utility of the camera. It allows you to view your scene and playback. This is the way the camera should have come. But, the $100 LCD on top of the $299 camera brings it to about $400!

    If you are going to buy a video camera to tell stories, I think it’s tough to beat the Flip. It is inexpensive and so darned easy to use. It does not have a really good zoom. The Flip is great at closeups and medium distance. If you get too far away from the subject speaking, the sound will drop off. The mic works best within 10 feet.

    I looked through my You Tube videos to find a better example, and I think this one is fairly decent.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kO6tZb-EXo4

    This was shot with the GoPro Hero HD and my Canon Vixia HF10. During production, I added the voice over. You can see how the GoPro’s very wide angle adds to the scenes both on and off the motorcycle. The Canon Vixia has a very decent lens with zoom capabilities. Both cameras shoot in 1080p/30 fps, making it easy to mix.

    I think this type of application is where the GoPro is very capable–adding B-roll scenes.

    In regards to the Flip, newsrooms are issuing Flips because they are small, inexpensive, very capable in a news gathering environment in interviews, and very easy for non-video reporters to use. As you can probably see from most of my videos, I use the Flip a lot. I’m thinking about another one–the 3rd generation Flip with image stabilization. –Brent

  7. Thanks for the info, Brent. I hadn’t thought about the lack of a screen on the GoPro. That would be bothersome and adding the LCD BacPac starts to push the price into the realm of the more well featured HD cameras. I’d suppose that the big advantage of the GoPro would be it’s durability in unfriendly world of motorcycle vibration. More to think about!

  8. Price is always a factor, and $400 for a camera with limited use is a bit of a luxury. However, it does have a waterproof case, and does what it does very well. It all just depends on what you want to accomplish. The GoPro Hero is just another tool for the toolbox. How serious are you about creating film or just producing home movies? Answer that and you will determine what you need to buy. –Brent

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