There are going to be lots of stories to tell. And, with any luck, there will be lots of video to share.
Because I am all equipped to do some serious videographing (“videographing” is a technical term that means “using a videograph”).
And right now I’m starting to learn how to use all this gear and set it up properly and stuff. I’m going to go into all that in just a minute, but in the interest of not burying the headline too deeply, I’ve created a video using footage from the ride The Hammer, The IT Guy, and I went on last Saturday, and I’m going to show it to you in just a second.
As you watch, note the main thing that’s different from other videos I’ve made: I now am set up to film both what’s in front of me, and what’s behind me.
Also, as you watch, allow me to recommend you expand the video to fill your whole screen by clicking that Expandifying gadget in the video (it’s between the “HD” and “Vimeo”). It looks better big, and the text isn’t quite so microscopic. Or just go to the Vimeo page for this video, which shows the video nice and big.
OK, here’s the video, finally.
So, before I say anything else, I probably ought to apologize or something for using My Chemical Romance in two consecutive videos I’ve created. I can’t help myself; I love that wacky band. Plus, this is an awesome climbing song. And not half bad for dancing (I am an excellent dancer, by the way).
And now I want to show you what I’m using to do my videos.
First of all, I’m using the GoPro HD Hero2 I talked about first when I was racing the Crusher in the Tushar. Instead of mounting it below the handlebars this time, though, I’ve got it facing backward, showing what’s happening behind me. The camera’s mounted right under the saddle, like this:
The good folks at K-Edge were kind enough to provide me with this saddle-rail mount, which went on really easily (loosen, then tighten, two bolts) and then held the camera in a rock-steady position for the entire ride.
As before, I set up the GoPro so that it’s filming upside-down (since the camera is hanging upside-down with this kind of mount), and have it set for one-button filming, so that when I press the plunger on the front of the camera, it both turns the camera on and begins filming. Pressing and holding it down again stops filming and turns the camera off.
I really liked the camera set up this way. I had no problem reaching around back and starting / stopping the camera, though the beeps — which let you know the camera’s starting up or shutting down — are quiet enough that I often couldn’t hear them when I was rolling.
That may just be a “deaf old man” problem, though.
The other thing I liked about this setup is how good the video came out. Really smooth and interesting to watch. And now that I’m confident I won’t fill up the memory card before the battery runs out I’ve swapped the camera to its highest resolution, resulting in better-looking video in general.
I’m becoming a big fan of the GoPro camera, not to mention the K-Edge mounts.
After carrying the original VIO POV camera mounted to my head (a lipstick lens attached to a heavy semi-flexible cable that goes to a big ol’ brick of a recording unit that goes in your jersey pocket or Camelbak), I knew that the next helmetcam to go on my . . . um . . . helmet would have to be very light, or I just wouldn’t use it. A heavy helmet makes for an unhappy head.
And that’s where the Replay XD1080 comes in. Check it out:
yup, that’s the whole thing. The lens, battery, memory card, buttons, everything, fit into this little tube. Mounted on a helmet, it’s about the least obtrusive camera you could have.
And you still get high-def video out of it.
It’s a relatively-easy two-step process to start filming: Press the power button (the red one at the front) to turn it on, then press the record button (the red one at the back) to start recording. The ReplayXD uses a buzzer to give you feedback, which is awesome, because you can feel it right through your helmet regardless of the noise level around you — much more noticeable than beeps.
The Replay XD1080 does have a couple of shortcomings I’ve noticed. First, the battery doesn’t last very long. Even though I was conscientious about powering down when not recording, the camera still didn’t make it through the ride (meanwhile the GoPro kept recording). And — judge for yourself here — the video quality (ReplayXD is pointing forward; GoPro is pointing backward) doesn’t seem as clear, even though both were set to record at the same resolution (1080 lines, 30 frames per second).
And I’ve still got some work to do to get the mounting position right; I’m often capturing a lot of sky when filming. That’ll come with a little bit of tweaking.
When Will I Film?
Am I going to use both cameras at Leadville and the Breck Epic? Well, probably not for Leadville. I’ve got a serious plan to race like a serious person and see if I can get myself across the finish line on a singlespeed in under nine hours. So I probably won’t be wanting the extra weight (yes, I’m that much of a weight weenie when I race!), and won’t be in the mindset of recording video anyway.
But for the Breck Epic, well, yeah. The Hammer and I just want to get ourselves across the finish line for that race, and it’s an unknown quantity anyway. We’re going there to have an adventure and bring back stories.
And, I guarantee, no small amount of video.