Windsurfing, surfing, Maui, The Gorge, and random rants.

Monday, November 9, 2009

First GoPro Video + Stuff I Learned

As promised, I just finished editing and uploading my very first video to Vimeo. Whoo-hoo!

I thought I'd take this opportunity to discuss some tech details I leaned along the way. First I purchased a GoPro Hero Wide. The world's smallest, wireless helmet and gear-mountable video camera for outdoor sports. I also picked up a handlebar mount for the camera.

I'd already seen some great windsurfing videos taken with this camera. One of my favorites is the video below by Glenn Haslbeck...

So that was my goal - to produce something half as cool as that. Plus make a few back loops. Well I've got some more work to do on both (but I did make a few forwards at least). Anyway I mounted the GoPro on the under-back-starboard side of my boom - facing me and the waves while sailing out. I wanted to see both the waves and myself in the video. One change I will make in the future is to move the camera back to get more of the board in the shot, plus perhaps aim it down a smidge. Also I'm going to try a helmet mount so I can get other sailors and see more of the wave. But overall I think the boom mount provides a nice perspective - plus it's very easy to setup.

The GoPro needs two AAA batteries to juice it. I put in some fully charged Duracell DC2400 NiMH 1000mAH rechargable batteries and got a full 2 hours of video - the max the camera can take. So that worked great. I also upgraded the camera's firmware so I could use a 4G SD card - you get about an hour of video per 2G. Again that worked out perfect.

I had a major problem in this video with fogging. The GoPro comes with a water proof outer case. During my initial filming this fogged up - you can notice it in the video and this definately hurt the quality. I edited out the worse of it - most of the first hour of sailing. Without the fogging the video quality is very good and I will be posting a second video taken a few days later that shows that. But I wanted to get this first video out there so it is what it is.

Afterwards I spoke to GP (maui surf report) and he gave me some good suggestions to prevent fogging. First apply some anti-fog inside the case. Rain-X Anti-Fog is the recommended treatment but I used some snorkle anti-fog I already had and that also seemed to work. I also put regular Rain-X on the outside of the water-proof case. Note - do not put anything on the camera itself! Second, do not close the case until just before going on the water. I also turned the camera on a few minutes before hand so the camera warms up. This prevents temperature and humidity differences from being too great. On the second video (coming soon, really) there is no fogging so I'm confident these steps worked.

As for editing - and I can already hear the Mac fan-boys moaning out there - but I have a PC running WinXP here on the rock. I was determined to be cheap and use what I had, which means Windows Movie Maker 2.1. What I discovered was that my old Dell laptop (2005) wasn't quite up to the task of doing all the edits - specifically the hard drive (15G free), memory (1G total) and probably CPU were all lacking. I borrowed a friend's new laptop running Vista + Movie Maker 6.0 and had no problems. I'm not going to provide a tutorial on WMM but there's a lot of good info here for that. I ended up saving as a WMV encoded for DVD - 720 x 480 @ 3Mbps.

I ended up with a big-ish file - 92MB - and that's where Vimeo came into play. Vimeo provides 500MB free video storage per week (each week they purge the originally stored video and save only their compressed version). I've seen several action related vidoes on Vimeo and was impressed with the quality. They provide a handy desktop video upload app and the video size is not limited, other then the weekly limit.

Ok, so enough talk.. here's the video. Let me know what ya think!


BobD said...

nice, but i thought you were a better sailor than that!! lol. kidding ben. Jealous of your life. Get a few sweet jybes in for me, wish I could join you guys out there.

Anonymous said...

TOO COOL!! Love that you are doing and documenting what you love. Karb

Garrett said...

Hey Jones,

Try putting some rice grains in the back of your GoPro case, as a desiccant. Worked for me -- no more fog.

-Garrett Lisi

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