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Micro / POV Camera Systems
Covering the GoPro HERO and other small Point-Of-View video cameras.


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Old July 22nd, 2012, 08:21 AM   #16
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Re: Attention serious documentary filmmakers!

Thanks Guys for the input!

However the bottom line is "is it possible?" and "yes it is" !! When I go out on a shoot I'm the first to admit that I pick up my Panny Shoulder-Mount cams first, tripod and stedicam, then my GoPro case and finally my GH1 .... and I usually use them in that order too. It makes sense to me and that's how I do it.
But drop me from a chopper onto a mountain and I'd have to reassess my gear needs!!

HOWEVER you CAN get pretty nice video on a Hero2 and even audio too and you can lock it down on a tripod or stand. Is the footage terrible ..I don't think so...take a look at the wedding Nigel Barker has just shot on the Wedding and Event's forum here and that is certainly pristine footage so it IS possible and with a bit of care and planning everything doesn't have to be POV but some POV on a doc would add a bit of realism to the footage too (besides I wouldn't be too happy strapping 10 lbs of camera to my chest either or taking it a harsh environment either)

A while back Lynne was looking for an outdoor camera to take into the great outdoors with her and also do interviews...put the hero in a skeleton case, drop it onto a tripod and set the angle to narrow and yes it can be done. Her main issue I think was trying to avoid carrying a mountain of gear to make a movie.

Sure something like the GH series would probably do a better job, but way to delicate for my liking and also not practical as a POV camera either.

I'm quite surprised that Lynne hasn't tried it yet actually (or anyone else)

Chris
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Old July 22nd, 2012, 12:02 PM   #17
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Re: Attention serious documentary filmmakers!

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Thanks Guys for the input!

However the bottom line is "is it possible?" and "yes it is" !! When I go out on a shoot I'm the first to admit that I pick up my Panny Shoulder-Mount cams first, tripod and stedicam, then my GoPro case and finally my GH1 .... and I usually use them in that order too. It makes sense to me and that's how I do it.
But drop me from a chopper onto a mountain and I'd have to reassess my gear needs!!

HOWEVER you CAN get pretty nice video on a Hero2 and even audio too and you can lock it down on a tripod or stand. Is the footage terrible ..I don't think so...take a look at the wedding Nigel Barker has just shot on the Wedding and Event's forum here and that is certainly pristine footage so it IS possible and with a bit of care and planning everything doesn't have to be POV but some POV on a doc would add a bit of realism to the footage too (besides I wouldn't be too happy strapping 10 lbs of camera to my chest either or taking it a harsh environment either)

A while back Lynne was looking for an outdoor camera to take into the great outdoors with her and also do interviews...put the hero in a skeleton case, drop it onto a tripod and set the angle to narrow and yes it can be done. Her main issue I think was trying to avoid carrying a mountain of gear to make a movie.

Sure something like the GH series would probably do a better job, but way to delicate for my liking and also not practical as a POV camera either.

I'm quite surprised that Lynne hasn't tried it yet actually (or anyone else)

Chris
I think when you say 'she' (Lynne Whelden) you mean 'he' !

I agree, Nigel Barkers GoPro clips from that Jewish wedding looked pretty good (but then again it was right next to a huge window letting in a vast amount of daylight). But the GoPro was only doing what everyone uses it for; getting an unusual angle from a strange mounting. I don't reckon Nigel will be doing wedding videos exclusively with the GoPro anytime in the future....
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Old July 22nd, 2012, 07:46 PM   #18
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Re: Attention serious documentary filmmakers!

A huge apology to Lynne if I got your gender wrong!!!

Over here Lynne is normally a female name so I just assumed !

Chris
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Old July 23rd, 2012, 01:52 AM   #19
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Re: Attention serious documentary filmmakers!

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I mean what crazy person would venture through dripping rainforest after the Amazon Indians with a broadcast camera in the mud and insects
I'd say serious documentary makers that produce videos for Nat geo, but they probably got a gopro as well in their filmbag for those shots that are impossible to do with their bulky broadcast camera's :)
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Old July 23rd, 2012, 08:00 AM   #20
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Re: Attention serious documentary filmmakers!

No offense! Growing up, I got used to getting letters addressed to "Miss Lynne..." Too bad I wasn't able to parlay that into a scholarship for minorities.
I think a doc using the Hero as the primary camera would be the ultimate slap in the face at all of us (me included) who obsess about resolution and pixels and bit rates and technology in general. I'm not sure I'm the one "called" to be the ground-breaker, because I'm not that tech-oriented. But I'm sure it can be done.

It's sort of like a doc I did (on hi-8mm video) back in '90 on a blind man who hiked the Appalachian Trail, Bill Irwin. No one ever imagined a blind person, even one using a seeing-eye dog, could walk 2,000 miles over rocky trail.
Anyone who does the AT now always has that humbling image in their brain..."If Bill did it, surely "I" can. Who am I to complain?"
So too with GoPro cameras, if someone could make a serious (I'll repeat...not a music video, not an extreme sport zippity do dah slam bam thank you ma'am-type video) documentary...we'd never look at (or lust over) high end cameras the same way again.
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Old July 23rd, 2012, 08:07 AM   #21
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Re: Attention serious documentary filmmakers!

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So too with GoPro cameras, if someone could make a serious (I'll repeat...not a music video, not an extreme sport zippity do dah slam bam thank you ma'am-type video) documentary...we'd never look at (or lust over) high end cameras the same way again.
All you need for any kind of documenatry is a good story and editing skills, then cameraspecs don't matter, as long as you have image and sound your viewers won't mind if it's done on a pocketsize camera..
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Old July 23rd, 2012, 08:34 AM   #22
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Re: Attention serious documentary filmmakers!

Amen!
I'll just add a PS to that...
good audio rather than mediocre audio.
With good audio, a poor image will pass. Lousy audio defeats everything.
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Old July 23rd, 2012, 08:36 AM   #23
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Re: Attention serious documentary filmmakers!

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All you need for any kind of documenatry is a good story and editing skills, then cameraspecs don't matter, as long as you have image and sound your viewers won't mind if it's done on a pocketsize camera..
Totally right.

Here is a recent war documentary broadcast internationally that was filmed with mobile phones in Syria:

IPhone Investigation: An Undercover Documentary From Syria Made Using Phones | Co.Exist: World changing ideas and innovation

Clearly 'broadcast standard' is a flexible term, and at the end of the day interesting content trumps camera specs.

However the reason the Syian documentary was filmed on an iPhone was because journalists are being actively targeted in that country (for capture or worse), so the iPhone allowed the filmmaker to go about his business undercover. The iPhone was not a McGuffin to revolve the story around, rather it was a product of deciding what the right tool for that job was (in the eyes of the filmmaker given his unique set of circumstances).

If the GoPro is the right tool for the job for the filmmaker given his unique set of circumstances, then there is no need for further debate, just film the documentary and let us know how it went!

If the GoPro is just a McGuffin for the sake of it, well, then the debate will continue I guess.
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Old July 24th, 2012, 11:30 AM   #24
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Re: Attention serious documentary filmmakers!

IMHO the GoPro or any other POV wide angle camera has a very distinct look. It isn't due to the codec, bitrate or such, but simply due to the optics. For that reason I don't think a feature length documentary shot only on a GoPro would produce something that the general audience would be willing to sit through. I would argue that Noa left one very important item off his list of requirements for a good documentary, In addition to a good story and good editing, it cannot be fatiguing to watch. This includes audio as well as visual. The look of the GoPro footage serves a purpose. I'm planning on cutting in some footage from a GoPro with a piece I'm working on but it is because it is appropriate and serves a purpose.

Lynne, earlier in the thread when asked why you want to use a GoPro you answered:

'The reason I'd want to use a GoPro is the same reason why mountain climbers do mountains! "Because it's there."'

In my opinion this is one of the biggest mistakes someone can make. It is the same reason I can't stand 90% of what is being produced in Hollywood today. Just because you can have supper slow mo, 1" DOF, and camera moves up the wazoo doesn't mean you should do it. If it doesn't further your story and add something of meaning to it, don't do it. Your goal as a filmmaker is to take your audience, transport them into a magical place which is your story world, and hold them there throughout the entire film. Once you do something that allows them to slip out of the world you've created, and back into reality, you've lost your audience. An hour or two of documentary shot only on a GoPro, and you'd probably get about 2 minutes then you'll loose your audience. If the story is so compelling that they would still be interested, then you probably have a good enough story no matter what it was shot on, so why use a GoPro just to use it? Why not try to make it even better with the proper gear that suites the particular shot?

If you really want to know why you haven't seen a "serious" documentary shot exclusively on a GoPro, go shoot a 5 minute sit down interview with it and have someone watch it.

These are just my opinions and I'm sure will vary greatly from others.
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Old July 25th, 2012, 06:37 PM   #25
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Re: Attention serious documentary filmmakers!

The main reason for looking into small or tiny video cameras of the POV variety is that I make backpacking videos. I'm getting older. I don't (or am unable to) carry heavy gear anymore along on my trips. So for me it's both a hike (weeks or months even) and a video in the works.
Under those conditions, I'm tired, and I'm not often bursting with creative juices. So to have a video camera that shoots nice pictures but is easy to use and hardly weighs anything...well, that would be just great.
Also, for my next video I'd like to shoot others I might encounter along the way and record those initial few seconds more so than the following few minutes. Again, a small, inconspicuous camera might accomplish that.
Now that's my intention. Is it reality or fantasy? That's where I was hoping to talk to someone who actually used a GoPro for major production work to see if it was doable. But we're really discovering nobody has really expanded GP's use beyond trick shots.
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Old July 30th, 2012, 02:27 AM   #26
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Re: Attention serious documentary filmmakers!

I'd say just get one and try it out. Simple as to use. Virtually indestructable. Weighs next to nothing. I've done a lot of tramping/hiking, and now it would be my camera of choice take with me. Would need extra batteries however...
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Old August 2nd, 2012, 05:40 PM   #27
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Re: Attention serious documentary filmmakers!

I think it's doable within reason, as others have mentionned already I believe, the keys issues are:
-poor low light performance
-terrible sound quality
-the image distortion that's not so great(but if you shoot your subject head on it's perfectly usuable, in my opinion)
-lack of manual controls(exposure, iris, white balance etc)
-not so great Dynamic Range etc etc

It's kind of good at what it does, but it doesn't do much so let's not be excessively demanding.

I primarly use it for long timelapse shots and I supplement with footage from other sources

External audio is a must! I use a Zoom H2N

Now I'm not a pro, but I'm going in that direction soon.
Another Gopro HD Hero 2 is on it's away and will be used for documenting a festival in Danemark end of the month. I hope to shoot some interviews
Also getting the LCD bacpac is probably optional I guess, I managed without one up until now but I ordered one because there were too many situations where the shots where off.


Here is a not particurlaly interesting video that I shot a year ago, this was a week after getting my first gopro hd hero (the model preceeding the current Hd Hero 2).
There's a wide variety of environnements and it will give you a good idea of it's capacity(and footage maybe a little closer to what you may be shooting that just surf and bmx videos):
around 4:50 the footage is somewhat decent but the DR just isn't there with the blown out sky
6:20 low light in the city

some black and white footage (with maybe 5% footage that's non gopro):


and a rig shot(here installed on a tripod) of an inversed video handle that holds both the H2N and the gopro:
http://img577.imageshack.us/img577/5...1989711676.jpg
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Old August 2nd, 2012, 07:21 PM   #28
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Re: Attention serious documentary filmmakers!

Hi John

Nothing wrong with that at all and it shows it can be done quite easily..a still camera flash bracket works well for the GoPro to increase stability too!!

I notice on the weekend video that there wasn't a lot of curvature at all..did you shoot using the narrow angle setting mainly??? I normally use the medium one (127 degrees). Yep a zoom and you will have good audio too....The Yamaha C24's are very neat recorders and not as bulky as the zoom!

Chris
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Old August 2nd, 2012, 09:20 PM   #29
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Re: Attention serious documentary filmmakers!

Thanks for posting the videos!
Has anyone ever done a test to see which (reasonably cheap) hand-held audio recorder has the cleanest preamps...translating into the least amount of background noise under quiet conditions? I had mentioned somewhere else that my Zoom H2 was noisy and its static sometimes intruded into sounds recorded at a distance...like far-off thunder.
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 05:34 AM   #30
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Re: Attention serious documentary filmmakers!

Looks to me like the GoPro will be my camera of choice for holidays...
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