Video Camera ideas?

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I really enjoy the videos people post and share about canoe adventures and canoe related tips. I would like to get a video camera, both to record family events and for canoe trips, but I'm pretty much clueless when it comes to the options that are out there. I could probably search around for answers to my following questions, but I want to here from folks who use them around canoes.

Does anyone use their digital camera to record video's that I see online here and YouTube or are they always dedicated video cameras?
I see the GoPro Hero3 at $200, is that suitable? It would fit my budget.
What about battery life on an extended trip, how much to record a short YouTube type video would you need?
What about solo self portraits I see out there, do they require alot of editing to cut out the guy running to shut off the camera? Do video camera's have a delay mode? Is there such a thing as a remote on/off?

Thanks for any information. And thanks for posting those great videos, looks like they might be the way to go in the future, or maybe they are now and I'm just late as usual.
 
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Robin most cameras now do videos. Mine do..both the DSLR and the Pand S. I just don't think much about doing videos. I bet mine would be shaky and make people ill.
 
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I've looked into getting better video camera capability for the Yukon River races, the YRQ and Y1K. My voyageur canoe team has taken literally thousands of still photos over 4 years of racing the Yukon, but the photos are all fairly rushed, as during the race no one wants to take a lot of time off from paddling to capture any but the most interesting photos of opportunity. We have a very few short hand-held videos taken with video capable digital still cameras, but nothing extensive nor in the most interesting critical times such as in big waves during storms or in rapids, or when battling for position with another canoe, when all hands must be 100% paddling.

I thought I would get a GoPro Hero to somehow mount to the canoe for extended recording and ease of access. I really want to set it up for interval shots as much as for videos during the most interesting but can't-stop-paddling times. I would most like to take a single shot automatically every minute or two over an extended time, and turn that into a slide show sequence. The landscape is so huge that it would be a terrific effect to show our movement relative to the land.

The GoPro's maximum automatic interval setting is 60 seconds, the minimum of what I would like. But even worse, upon investigating battery life directly with the company I find that even in interval mode it drains the battery as fast as keeping the camera on continuously. At best I can expect about two hours of battery life, and that is suspect. Sure, I can afford a couple of extra batteries, but how many? For even selected sections of the 100-ish hours of paddling during the Yukon 1000 miler, that equates to a lot of batteries, and a lot of time and fuss spent tending to the camera. I thought about using a solar charger, which would work, but that still eats a lot of time and fuss that would be better spent paddling.

So I am still unsure of what to do this coming season to adequately record yet another adventure.
 
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I have a back country ski buddy that uses a GoPro strapped to his helmet. He has videos that capture our runs from top to bottom, sometimes 25 minutes at a time, and in seriously cold temperatures (-10 or -15F) his battery lasts for hours. In typical paddling weather, the battery life should last as long as the record time. I'm not sure what the total record time is, but I think it's near to a few hours.
My Nikon D80 does not do videos, but my nephew's D90 does...his videos are excellent. But either of our DSLR's are not too compact or light in weight.
I would go for the GoPro or similar.
 
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Yes, I've seen lots of GoPro videos and they are great. Your buddy might have the extended battery pack, which I believe is not a compatible fit within the waterproof case on the GoPro Hero. In conversations with GoPro technicians on two separate occasions separated by a year, I got the same answer... don't expect more than 2-2.5 hours of continuous interval photo on-time with the standard battery. A kluge modification to wire an external battery may be the only way to go in that regard.

The next question is where/how to mount any such camera. I'm not very interested in wearing a helmet or even a headband mount while paddling, as my head sweats plenty enough with wearing just a light cap. Besides, I want a fixed reference mount for the interval shots, not a moving head (I'm often zoned out looking down at my feet during boring time paddling. Did you know it is possible to sleep while paddling between huts? But that is another story...).

There are only two places on the canoe that would not interfere with 6 (or 7 in this case) team paddlers' strokes or hut paddle switch to the other side... on the bow or stern on fixed monopod/bipod type mounts. As bow paddler I would prefer to have it near me, but that precludes having any part of the boat in the image for a better photo effect. I am close enough to the end of the bow with my paddle swing that the camera would have to be mounted on the deck near the very end of the bow. A stern mount behind the stern paddler would be much more difficult and potentially dangerous for the stern paddler to control and monitor.
 
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I've done videos with both my waterroof pocket camera and my superzoom "bridge" camera. The pocket camera doesn't have enough battery life to last on long trips with video (even just occasional video), but the video quality is pretty good. The bridge camera is bigger (somewhere between a pocket and a DSLR), so it has a bigger battery that lasts a long time (I haven't found what the limit is yet). And the bridge cam does some darn good video. I don't see any reason to go with a dedicated video camera unless the use calls for a helmet-cam. Nothing I do is exciting enough to justify a helmet-cam.
 
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I have been using Canon PowerShot cameras for years. I have had them die because of a fall and some just die. I am now using a Canon PowerShot SX130IS. It is a point and shoot camera but also so much more. Its digital zoom goes to 48x.I want a camera powered by AA batteries and this one uses two. This camera eats regular AAs like candy but the Lithium AAs last for an hour or more of recording video. It takes HD720 video and produces very high quality video. The HD videos on my youtube site are from this camera. Storage is SD cards and an 8gig card will hold about 40 minutes of 720HD. Cards are cheap and the batteries last a long time so I shoot and edit out all the unneeded footage using Windows Live Movie maker.

To make a video that others will enjoy watching you need to use a tripod. Sometimes you can brace your body and not give everyone a headache if they try to watch. It is easy to not only trim the start and finish but also split the video and cut out unneeded footage. Most viewers will not watch any video for more than a few minutes. I can monitor all this in my youtube account and have learned how important it is to start with good content and edit the mediocre scenes. Some videos are documenting a canoe route and in that case I will make them as long as needed because I know that a select few will be gleaning all the details they can get. I have the most fun making videos that I have planned before I leave home. I know what I want to portray and have a list of "takes" that I will need to make it work. If conditions permit I secure the tripod to the thwart in front of my seat and mount the camera on it. When the cameras are only a few hundred dollars you don't mind doing that. I am then able to capture most things that I come across. Obviously the tripod is a moot point if the waves are rocking the boat.
 
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Well, I have a Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W560 that has HD 720p Movie capability's and we have a small tripod, so I guess I'm all set. I even bought a couple of rechargeable battery packs on line and have been using them for a while. I wasn't sure of their quality, but they last as long as an expensive Sony replacement battery pack, I'll get some more, along with some cards and start experimenting.

I really thought these video's I watch where made from really expensive camera's so I never gave it much thought.

Marten Said:
"Cards are cheap and the batteries last a long time so I shoot and edit out all the unneeded footage using Windows Live Movie maker."

"I have the most fun making videos that I have planned before I leave home. I know what I want to portray and have a list of "takes" that I will need to make it work."

Thanks Martin, now I have an idea of how it's done, I'm going to plan on making a video my next trip. Now I just need to get one of those French caps and a light meter to hang around my neck for my movie making "debut"....

Steve said:
. "I don't see any reason to go with a dedicated video camera unless the use calls for a helmet-cam. Nothing I do is exciting enough to justify a helmet-cam."

Thanks, Your advice saved me a few bucks.

yknpdlr said:
"... and a lot of time and fuss spent tending to the camera. I thought about using a solar charger, which would work, but that still eats a lot of time and fuss that would be better spent paddling."

Thanks, I don't want to add alot of time and weight to my making video's out there on the trail either, back home, ok.

Thanks for the great replies, big help.
 
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Robin, I think you are all set to start. You might find you want to upgrade as your video making skill improves. But that is later My cameras do 1080 p.But the brain behind the lens is not talented enough to make use of that higher resolution.

Viewers probably would need dramamine.
 
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Yes, I'll need lots of practice, and background music to cover up my dumb comments. I am amazed how well some folks come across on camera, I thought they where all weather men and news anchors out in the midwest that make canoe vid's on the side.
I hate hearing my voice on camera.....

Maybe John Denver will work, or some Emmy Lou Harris, or Buck Owens...:confused:
 
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I video hours and hours of canoe trips each year with the students. I actually teach video communications too. If you are serious about it, a dedicated video camera is the way to go. Cheap cameras like the Canon HF line provide an internal memory and excellent quality video. I also take a Canon T2i DSLR with me. It shoots nice video too, but "cheap" cards are not recommended for good quality video. Cards come in different classes, the minimum for good video is class 6, higher than that being better. They're not cheap either, and high quality video eats up your gigs like ants at a picnic. If your camera has to do both pictures and video, you better have lots of battery power, because the video will eat up your batteries pretty quick.

We edit everything on Mac's using Final Cut...never underestimate the power of good editing software!
 
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Yes, I'll need lots of practice, and background music to cover up my dumb comments.

Maybe John Denver will work, or some Emmy Lou Harris, or Buck Owens...:confused:
Since I like to show canoe racing as dramatic and powerful events, particularly in the Yukon, my videos and slide shows tend to be accompanied in part by the likes of Thomas Bergersen, James Dooley, Kerry Muzzey, Hans Zimmer, and the like. :eek:
 
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Hi Robin,

For several years my son and I have been documenting our canoe trips and posting the videos on our website www.explorethebackcountry.com . Our main camera is an older Canon HV20 high-definition video camera, but we also take along 2 GoPro Hero cameras as well. We use the older Hero 1 and Hero 2 cameras, but many of the features and operations are similar to the newer Gopro Hero 3. I would highly recommend the GoPro camera for canoeing or kayaking. It is durable and waterproof. It takes amazing wide-angle hi-def video as well as 5 or 11 Megapixel stills, and it allows you to shoot some amazing time-lapse videos with the built-in timer. The newer models have a microphone input as well. The batteries last several hours and replacements are cheap (about $20-25 ea.), but you can also get an 'extended life' battery pack(which also includes a waterproof housing extension) that doubles your battery life. Because these cameras are so small and light, they are easy to mount almost anywhere...sometimes you need to use a bit of ingenuity, for instance I've attached them to the handle end of a paddle and clamped the paddle blade to the bow or stern to get an 'out of the boat' perspective. Another trick we use is to mount the camera on a flexible arm that I used to use for an underwater strobe/flash. The 'arm' attaches to the the gunale of the boat with a small mounting bracket and I can then adjust the arm to point forward/backward/up/down. It certaintly is a durable little thing, and takes up hardly any room at all. Highly recommended. The only downside is they are pretty much automatic, not much you can do manually other than adjusting white balance or metering pattern...no aperature/shutter speed or ISO control.
-Wayne-
 
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Hi Wayne,
Thanks, good information for a start up operation, I liked your tent peg idea to hold the camera at eye level etc., your's and your sons work pretty much what inspired me to think about Video's, along with Martin and a few others here. I guess I will start with my little Sony Cyber Shot and see how things go. If I enjoy it, I will move forward and try to improve, if I find it too time consuming and takes away from my enjoyment of the trip, I'll stick to still's and watch what you all put out.

But I like this about the GoPro3 video camera "The only downside is they are pretty much automatic, not much you can do manually other than adjusting white balance or metering pattern...no aperture/shutter speed or ISO control."

That fit's my skill level to a tee!
 
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Robin, Forgot to mention...the new GoPro3 comes standard with a wireless (and waterproof) remote control!

-Wayne-
 
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Dear John-Robin Huston;
While the Academy celebrate your early success with such classics as The Maltese Falcon, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and The African Queen, the Academy of the Performing Arts must express its apprehension. Hell, we even stood behind your genius when you chose to film Moulin Rouge! (French girlie dancers in pfds! What were you thinking John-Robin?) But now, quite frankly you’ve gone too far. Moby Dick is an intriguing story I grant you, but I don’t remember the screenwriter substituting dories with cedar canvas canoes! Artistic license indeed!
In short, shareholders have pulled out, the extras have done a bunk, and the cast are refusing to leave their trailers. Oh, and the caterers still haven’t shown up, did you pack enough in your food barrel for everyone?
In conclusion John-Robin, I think you should go for it!! If anyone can pull off cinematic history, you can. I look forward to your next production.

Best Regards,

H. Bogart.
 
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You do not even have to have any video to start practicing editing one! With Windows Movie Maker and probably all the editing programs a nice presentation can be put together using still images. It is simpler and a good way to spend a rainy afternoon. An easy way to ease into the editing process. You can rearrange, set image duration, add titles and captions and then play with different transition effects. Transitions can bring life to the stills. When it is coming together you can put in some music.
 
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Robin, Forgot to mention...the new GoPro3 comes standard with a wireless (and waterproof) remote control!

-Wayne-
Do you have any idea what range that remote has? That is a feature I could really use on solo trips to keep it interesting.

Hey Brad, Wow, I see some creativity there, funny stuff, but didn't Clint Eastwood start making movies later in life....my first try will be hanging food barrels, I'll call it "Hang em High":(...maybe one on gathering firewood in WCPP, I'll call it "High Plaines Driftwood", and of course there will be one about Hygiene on the trail called (you guessed it) "Dirty Larry"...

Thanks Martin, I have seen some very good "stills" video's set to music and with really well arranged effects. I checked out Windows Movie Maker, looks like even I could work that. I also watched a video on YouTube on how it works, very informative.
Like you said, a fun thing to do on a rainy afternoon. When I retired I was told I'd be bored in 6 months, but finding interests like this just extends the paddling season and makes it all the more fun.
 
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