Issue 317 - JULY 2012
Hands Free Cams
TOS DAVE WORDS Tez Plavenieks | PHO
Tap ‘windsurf vids’ into your Google search box and no doubt you will be presented with a wide and varied selection of home movies all shot with hands-free waterproof cams. Most of you will have seen someone using one of these gadgets down at your local beach - either mounted somewhere on their rig, board or riders body. Shooting yourself in this way is probably one of the biggest things to hit windsurfing, and in fact all types of watersport, in the last few years. Guys are constantly coming up with innovative ways of mounting these cams in the pursuit of ever differing angles. These days all things tech work straight out of the box but read on for a few tips to help turn out your own Oliver Stone windsurfing epic. > Spec Tech
> Framing Your Rate
Firstly don’t be fooled into thinking that a sub £300 11 megapixel waterproof cam will produce results better than an 8mp DSLR. It all comes down to the internal sensor and a DSLR will obliterate a hands free cam all the time. If you want the best photo you can get then choose something with a high megapixel count. The models currently on the market all offer varying degrees of HD video quality depending on the file size and frame rate. Sitting on top of the pile is the HD 1080p which translates to the video signal containing 1080 horizontal lines of vertical resolution. The letter P stands for progressive scan. It used to be that I (or interlaced video) was the trend but progressive scan is better. Below that is HD 720p before dropping to WVGA (wide video graphics array) with a resolution of 480. The only real reason to shoot in a lower quality format is to increase frame rate. If saving space is your thing then just buy a 16gb memory card.
Shooting at 30 frames per second is the standard rate for HD 1080p. If you want to emphasise the move you are filming, such as a forward or lip bash, then you’ll need to increase the recording frame rate as slowing down to less than 30 frames per second will give a shaky vid. If these are the results you are after then you will need to search for a cam that offers this as not all do. You will need to choose one that shoots either 60 or 120 frames per second. It’s a simple equation – if you want your vid to play back at half speed and maintain a smooth playback at 30fps then you need to shoot in 60fps. If you want to achieve that ‘hanging in space’ feel then shoot in 120fps. The compromise with all of this is the video resolution. At 60fps you will be shooting in HD 720p. Upping this to 120fps will give you WVGA 480 which will possibly be too low res.
Hands Free Cams
> A Lapse In Time There are a few options when it comes to capturing still shots. The standard choices will be one shot, timer and burst but it is time lapse (or continuous) mode that is particularly useful to windsurfers. Setting your cam to time lapse will mean photos being taken at pre-set intervals – usually between 60 and 0.5 seconds depending on the model. All you need to do here is activate this feature before you head out and then switch off once back on land. To give yourself a better chance of capturing the ‘money shot’ during your move, set the interval between shots to be shorter. Just be aware that you will then have hundreds of pics to wade through to find the best. Burst mode is handy if catching your mate riding by is the goal. The shutter lag in one shot mode means you will probably miss the move! Firing off a burst of shots will give the best outcome.
> Mounting Up Mounts for these cams are in abundance – and the list is getting longer. You can split them up into two different categories to make it easier. Do you want to shoot yourself, or do you want to shoot others? Shooting yourself – Flymount/mast head (on the top of the mast looking down), board mount (front or back) and boom mount (again, either front or back). 86
These positions mean that the cam is pointing directly at the rider. The mast head mount, or Flymount, is great for giving perspective to flat moves such as gybes, duck gybes, freestyle and wave rides. To make the footage as dynamic as possible you will need to be as committed as you can to get the desired results. Board mounts are good for giving depth when indulging in a spot of wave riding, although we reckon that mounting to the front of the board is best. Attaching the cam to the boom is great for inverted moves such as forwards and backies. Shooting others – pole mount, helmet mount. If you fix your cam to a pole then you can reach out to the rider you’re filming while standing still. The sailor can then bust out their tricks around you. Longer poles minimise tremor giving smoother shots. If you are the talented type then you could even sail along while holding the pole cam giving the impression that the footage came from a jet ski. You have probably seen people wearing helmet cams but it doesn’t actually give that good a shot unless you’re sailing in an interesting environment.
> Shooting Tips On land: SD card: You’ll need one. 16gb is fine, 32gb is better on trips away for extra storage Charge it: charge your camera before a session. Flat batteries lead to heartbreak Check storage: check card storage before you go out. Delete any old crap you don’t need Reduce fogging: let the camera cool down after charging before sealing it in the housing Reduce fogging more: pack absorbent strips from (unused!) nappies inside the housing On the water: Get close: wide angle lenses require you to be ON the action Dunk it: if you’re shooting a third party from the water, submerge the camera before the shot to clear the lens of droplets Lit up: hands-free cameras thrive on sunny, bright days. Leave the cam in the car and concentrate on your riding on cloudy days Background: riding close around buoys, other riders, piers and other features will give you more interesting shots (but ride safe and don’t take undue risks just for a photo) Ride with style: focus on poise and body position for that killer shot, remember you are riding for the camera now!
“ To make the footage as dynamic as possible you will need to be as committed as you can to get the desired results.“
RRP £199.99 ultrasporteu.com
The Contour Roam is a new player in the market with a rotating lens, and once mounted you can rotate the lens and level your shot using the built in laser line. It’s fully mountable with a wide angle 170° F2.8 lens and can shoot 1080p HD wide angle from a smooth, flush-front housing.
Drift HD Action Camera
RRP £249.99 Inc. VAT driftinnovation.com
A new compact, durable, easyto-use HD camera. With full HD video for creating crystal clear footage, and a rotatable, replaceable lens and 9MP still photography – put it in the photo burst mode and you can take pictures every few seconds for as long as your memory card and battery lasts.
Go Pro HD Hero2
RRP £299.99 madison.co.uk/gopro
The original... GoPro cameras are used by more pro surfers, surf filmmakers and stoked enthusiasts than any other camera in the world. The HD HERO2: Surf Edition is the most advanced GoPro camera yet. Wearable and surfboard mountable, waterproof to 60m and capable of capturing professional full 170° wide angle 1080p video and 11 megapixel photos.
Mini DV Camera
RRP £55 (plus P&P) epicsurf.co.nz A super cool, super small audio and video camera with sound activated recording and two hours shooting time on a charge. The Mini DV features high speed recording and quick light response, low illumination, high res images with 2000 pixels, 30 frames per second and works with Micro SD or TF card.
> Higher Education
> Ride Hard
Hands free cams are unique in the fact that they will allow you to update the firmware (otherwise known as operating software). Faster shutter speeds, reduced time lapse intervals and increased frame rates are all improvements you can achieve from doing this. Expansion packs are available which give you LCD display, WiFi and remote control options. These are generally plugged into the ports on the cams. The values of WiFi and remote control are redundant when shooting windsurfing, due to you being out in the sea, but at least efforts are being made to add value and make the cams more future proof.
If you’re going to use one of these cams then you need to realise that you are always on film. You capture everything – your highs, your lows, your joy and your facial gurns! If you decide to mount one of these on your windsurf kit then try to focus on getting more moves in, grab more waves and generally ride harder than you would normally. Try and focus on your style and keep yourself cool and calm when it all goes Pete Tong… The footage that you can achieve is a great coaching tool. It’s an easy way for you to see why you made a move or stacked a move. This is a benefit and should be taken as such. If you gather some solid images along the way then that’s a bonus. And don’t forget to share it!
Shooting yourself in this way is probably one of the biggest things to hit windsurfing, and in fact all types of watersport, in the last few...