I saw this and had a big surge of “And THAT, M-Fers, is why I got into HD for Indies in the first place!!!! An F900 can SUCK IT!”
What we have here are two skimboarders (OK OK I cheated in the headline sub – skimboarders is long/complex/weaker than surfer) with a cheapie GoPro camera….on a broomstick. What happens when you hold up a lightweight, waterproof, wide angle lensed camera on a pole looking back at you while you do sports? Fun stuff! Video after the jump.
This is just a coupla kids doofing off, but is a ton-a-fun. THIS is why to go fast/light/cheap – you can do things with this you never could with a SERIOUS camera – think of the chase-rig required of a film or F900 (or modern F23 or F35) to get these shots. And a coupla kids on a lark would never, of course, be able to afford it. Even the ever-anticipated fixed lens Scarlet (will we see’em this year?) wouldn’t be suitable for this – too heavy, too expensive, and not waterproof.
This feels totally punk rock in the sense of “nobody told them they couldn’t do it, so they did it.” Not that it is the greatest sport or footage or whatever, but imagine dong some of this with a badass surfer or somesuch – exciting times indeed for sports photography. How long till we get helmetcam views in NFL? End-of-board lookback cameras on pro surfers as part of the regular coverage? Wheeeee!!! I love this stuff! It has such good ENERGY.
It was a BIG help that it was a cloudy, stormy day – it helped to keep the dynamic range in check – one of the challenges of these tiny cameras is a lack of dynamic range – a factor that an F23 of F35, for instance, would have excelled at. Just not at the end of a stick.
Found via Gizmodo –
More about the GoPro camera:
There are probably tons of these videos floating around for some time, but this just struck me as RIGHT when I came across it. I’d also be curious if the Casio Exlim line of cameras with high speed video mode have a waterproof case as well…
I’ve been shooting HDR timelapse for about a year now for funsies, been working on putting together a string of articles about the process, just haven’t gotten it all lined up in my head yet about how I want to do it. I was at a dive bar birthday party last night (HIGHLY recommend) with my D300S, shooting at an effective ISO 6400 in low bar light levels of illumination, and everyone was agog at the lack of flash and the see-in-the-near-dark capabilities of it. That and the MB-D10 grip (allows 8fps), a 16GB card (shot 756 12MP RAW and still had room) and the f2.0 35mm lens (shoots in dim light). Turns out Michael the other bar parton and Kelly the bartender were both camera nerds, so I whipped out my iPhone and showed them my latest HDR_TL_Assembly video clip – all my timelapses strung together, then several of them with wipes that go from original single shot to HDR’d a couple of different ways to show how much more you can get out of it. As they kept drunkenly saying “Wow! You shot THIS on THAT?” more folks gathered around checking it out, and I had that double take moment of realizing I’d made some pretty damned decent looking footage with about a $3500 rig – My D300S, a tripod, a lens, and then some sloooooow processing back home had made some pretty damned good 1080p video – punk rock in budget if not in its painstaking execution.
I’ll be posting more on that stuff soon (I hope, time permitting).
OK, now go out there and have a great Sunday! I’m gonna go hike, and leave the camera behind today, and remember to LIVE life, not just try to CAPTURE it. When you’re shooting, you’re watching, not DOING. Life is to be lived and felt and hurt and bled and laughed, not just observed and recorded.
EDIT MONDAY – after talking about this with some friends, I started spouting off about a video revolution, Martin Luther nailing punk rock to the church door, etc. Reading CML, there is definitely a Church of Camera at play at times – if you want top notch results, you hire a DoP (Director of Photography, aka Designated Priest) who will bring his acolytes (operator, 1st & 2nd ACs) and they will gather all their gear and worship the Holy Camera. Yeah yeah yeah – sometimes you need it, sometimes you don’t. I’ve been getting caught up with my head around “serious” cameras for a while, thinking about getting maximum results, but HEY – horses for courses, as Geoff says. Here’s a controlled case where fast/light/cheap WORKS. Because you couldn’t get it any other way, really. That said, to all the boneheads who think they can shoot a narrative piece this way that relies on impressive imagery and wants wide distribution and have anysubstantive numbers (aka a financially viable market to recoup costs) care about watching it, time to go to Church.
Also, found out it was a DP who shot this, not just “a couple of kids” as I’d surmised (go figure – it looked too good for that) – I’m emailing him to find out more. Patrick Lawler out of San Francisco is the guy.
MORE INFO FROM THE CINEMATOGRAPHER OF THIS PIECE ON HOW IT WAS DONE
I emailed Patrick, and he promptly and graciously answered my questions without me having to do any, actual, you know, journalistic work:
The GoPro shoots in 3 resolutions 1080p30, 960p30, and 720p30/60. But it’s backwards in regards to focal length. When you shoot in 720p it’s about twice as wide angle as opposed to 1080p.
The codec is a simple yet frustrating mp4 quicktime avc codec or something. Basically in order to edit it you have to bring every clip into compressor and compress all the video into a codec that is native to FCP (DVCPROHD, XDCAM, PRORES) I conformed all the 720/60p stuff to 24p using cinema tools, then used compressor to make then XDCAM files in order to take up less space than Apple Pro Res files.
The entire skimboarding video was shot at 720p60 It’s prettymuch all I shoot with on the GoPro now, because I love slow motion. I didn’t do any further manipulation of the speed of the footage.
I did some minor color correction using FCP’s 3-way color corrector just to crush the blacks a bit and then I desaturated it about 10%. The only problem I had was trying to get the 60p stuff into Final Cut in regular speed for the intro and outro where we’re talking to the camera. The audio got all messed up in the compression process and it took me about 10 trys with different codecs to get a 60p video that was native to final cut that wasn’t in slo motion.
All the other slow motion stuff I shoot is either done at 720p60 on a Panasonic HVX or a 7D. Then for the REALLY slow stuff I shoot 120fps on a Red One at 2K. I wish I had access to a phantom! I’d disappear off the face of the earth and come back 2 months later with 100 terabytes with footage!
One last thing I would like to mention is, as a DP it is pretty hard to use this camera because you can’t see what you’re shooting! You have to point it and hope for the best, this is however very fun because you never know what you’re gunna get! Apparently there is an external monitor in the works, but right now we just have to guess and hope that what we point it at looks good! It has auto exposure as well, so you can’t really control how the image is going to look, but I’ve been very satisfied with it.
Here are some more GoPro videos I’ve shot, they’re all pretty fun!
• GoPro tied to a bunch of balloons: http://www.vimeo.com/7460863
• My friend jumping a gap between two roofs (more broom-pole action) http://www.vimeo.com/7564107
• New skateboarding angles: http://www.vimeo.com/7554906
• Suction cup mount for a car: http://www.vimeo.com/7564159
Looking at those other clips, rolling shutter (as you’d get on Nikon or Canon HDSLRs) can be an annoying issue – the skimboarding stuff was surprisingly free of it (I didn’t notice) – perhaps the higher scanning speed of the 720p60 mode? Dunno.