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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 August 12th, 2012, 03:36 PM   #61
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Re: Attention serious documentary filmmakers!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynne Whelden View Post
All the while, keeping everything light, light, light.
The X/TM/HS900 models weigh half a pound and would fit in one of the holders of the backpack designed for water bottles. You could easily fill 30 SD cards with video in two months. A 220GB in-camera hard disk would hold it all, but without a backup you need to be lucky to avoid a disk failure.
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Old August 14th, 2012, 11:10 AM   #62
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Re: Attention serious documentary filmmakers!

Hi Lynne
I think we are looking for the same camera; an ultralight, backpacking micro camera but I don't think the gopro is it. I just wish that a young Jonathan Ive (Apple) like designer would have the courage to think differently and produce the perfect expedition camera as it seems like every week some new pov camera is launched onto an already over saturated market. I guess my wish list would include; XLR sockets for external mics with very quiet preamps, APSC sized sensor with adequate heatsink, waterproof, shockproof but still able to use interchangeable fast prime lenses, full manual controls, follow focus, optical viewfinder and cable plug in screen with hood, integral, ultralight folding fig rig/shoulder brace, steadicam and slider (maybe using telescopic walking pole(s) somehow, can be chest, head or helmet mounted, should be discrete enough that it could never be mistaken for a gun/rocket launcher in wilder countries and should be cheap enough so that it is available to all and if it does get crunched by a police baton or falling boulder you can just buy another one without squeeling. Is this really too much to ask? Seems to me the technology is all here it just needs to be integrated appropriately and there is a massive market out here. The big camera companies seem to be producing the same old stuff for a segmented market that no longer exists while their profits are being squeezed between crappy camera phones and a shrinking dslr market. Time for a revolutionary camera for revolutionary times. Rant Over...
The gear I'm gathering together now for my next trip with a no/low budget is a gopro (roughly 200g), Sony Nex 5N body (287g), fastish Nikon 50mm manual lens with adapter (200g'ish), Olympus LS-5 (165g) (or Sony PCM-M10 (187g)) sd recorder (both have very low noise preamps), home made binaural EM172 mics and a Rode NTG-2 (180g), home made blimp and walking pole boom attachment (the best sound is always just out of reach). I guess with cables, filters, batteries and pelicase this is heading over your 2lb limit and every ounce counts. What do you think?
I understand the desire to use the one gopro but by combining the gopro pov aesthetic cut with the more intimate cinematic Sony Nex its possible to tell the story and get the emotion across with both cameras giving more variety, texture and rhythm for the video.
Regards
Adrian ( first post/rant)

Last edited by Adrian Brewster; August 14th, 2012 at 11:20 AM. Reason: stupidity
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Old August 16th, 2012, 03:32 PM   #63
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Re: Attention serious documentary filmmakers!

Lynne, have you looked at the Steadicam Smoothie? $125 for a real steadicam, can be modded to carry more weight via the Cheesycam mod, I've used one with the Hero2 and a Nex5n and its great.

A little late to this discussion, but the 5n is far superior for standard - non sports stuff that GoPro's usually shoot. You get more framerates and a normal FOV, and you don't get all the distortion that the GoPro lens introduces. The kit lens is stabilized and if you thread a small handle into the tripod socket you can get good handheld footage, carry a small monopod and its gets even better. Carry the Smoothie and you can fly. I use the 5n with a Zoom H1 on top with a cold shoe adapter and its nice.
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Old August 16th, 2012, 09:23 PM   #64
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Re: Attention serious documentary filmmakers!

I'm jotting these models down on paper with a note to check them out! Thanks.
Hadn't heard of a "cheesycam" mod for the smoothie...I just figured it was capable of handling slightly heavier cameras by making some changes on the built-in balances but I must be wrong.

Had noted that the Sony M-10 recorder was reputed to have fairly quiet preamps but wasn't aware the Olympus LS-5 was in the same class.

The Sony NEX 5n I'll have to check out again. I recently heard about their RX100 pocket camera as being the "best compact camera ever"...altho' nobody seemed to comment much about the video (and when they did, it ranged from average to just above average in quality).

No doubt, there's a need for a high quality miniature video camera that has a nice ergonomic design (making it easy, even desirable to carry) and offers some manual controls and good, no, great audio. It probably has long existed in espionage work but will be many years before it trickles down to consumers, if ever. People want quality packed into a tiny package. ipods and iphones prove that point.
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Old August 17th, 2012, 10:18 AM   #65
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Re: Attention serious documentary filmmakers!

Taking this thought further....
It really does boil down to ergonomics!
The current-style camcorder (ie, rounded, hand-held) was derived from the shoulder-mounted cameras. But is holding a round camera in one's hand really a useful way to shoot?

Wearable camcorders seems to be useful for many shooters nowadays. It seems to me the flatter and thinner it is, the more mounting options exist.

When all is said and done, all we're asking for are small, flat (ie, pocketable) cameras with high quality optics and audio, that's all. No manufacturer has yet responded or has perceived a niche. GoPro's pro tune update is a step in the right direction...
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Old August 19th, 2012, 02:42 PM   #66
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Re: Attention serious documentary filmmakers!

Unless something else surfaces in the next few months, I believe it's going to be the Sony RX100.

Its ergonomics meet my criteria. (Meaning it can be "worn" in a sense, or at least worn flat on one's chest so it's read to shoot in a moment's notice. It's not dangling downward or rolling around as a round camera would do.)

Its image quality is apparently fairly decent.
It has manual controls and focus assist.

Unfortunately the mics are pointed upward (huh?) and there's no ext. mic jack. Thus I have no choice but to add the Sony M-10 hand-held recorder to the mix. Now we're up to one pound in weight (8+6 oz.).

I'll supplement that package with a Hero 2 and (hopefully) the pro tune update so that the data streams match more closely. Now I'm up to about one and a half pounds. I have a lightweight tripod-- that brings me up to 2 pounds. Add the extra batteries, charger, SD cards and I'm well over my limit.
If I wanted to go up to 3 pounds (believe me, when you're puffing up a steep slope and it's 90 degrees out and your pack is bursting from all the water and food and gear stowed away, you start to curse the extra video gear as the one thing that's not vital to survival), I'd add the steadycam "smoothie" for a visual treat for viewers. But that's (I think) another whole pound and a half. Sigh...oh well.

Meanwhile, it remains to be seen if any manufacturer (private, hopefully) will see the potential for a high end pocket, wearable video (not still) camera.
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Old August 21st, 2012, 05:32 PM   #67
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Re: Attention serious documentary filmmakers!

How about the Sony GW77? Water/Weatherproof and pretty good sound and image (for the size). $700
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Old August 21st, 2012, 08:28 PM   #68
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Re: Attention serious documentary filmmakers!

I had never heard of that. Looking...
Hmmm....too bad the lens is 30mm.
Its ergonomics isn't the best (for my purposes, that is). Requires being hand-held just so or tripod-mounted. Wouldn't adapt easily to being "worn" on sleeve or chest (as I envision).
But its being waterproof and its high quality image is seductive. It's a "niche" camera at the far end of the spectrum.
Who knows? Maybe the new GH3 will be so slimmed down it will become a contender...

Last edited by Lynne Whelden; August 22nd, 2012 at 06:21 AM.
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Old September 7th, 2012, 10:59 PM   #69
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Re: Attention serious documentary filmmakers!

Hi Lynne,

I got the RX100, its very good. Full manual control possible. F1.8 lens is very good for low light. Beat my NEX7 with kit lens easy, coz kit lens is so dark. Downside it is not waterproof like my Olympus TG-1 (video quality quite to GoPro HD2, but I like GP better ). By the way I am a GoPro nut case ha ha ha. The photo quality of RX100 is awesome too, for something this baby size, I love this RX100 very much.
Sony GW77 can't do manual controls the way RX100 can.

If you use tripod and very low light, RX100 will assist you a great deal for those, "man holding 1 candle scene". Lens equivalent to 28-100mm is not bad. You get video + photo capability, it could be the camera for your project. If you have the budget, the dive housing is available now but US$950 -1,200 from RecSea and Nauticam. These are not toy UW housing, these are battlewagon grade 100% aluminum professional unit, especially the Nauticam ( US$950 ), if you ever need any serious underwater shots. Or perhaps those generic waterproof bags maybe suitable if simple submersion is what you need.

GoPro Protune update will come by end of year for sure, be patient. Me waiting for it too.

Have fun researching and good luck for your project.
.
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Old September 8th, 2012, 01:01 PM   #70
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Re: Attention serious documentary filmmakers!

I think I'll pass on those expensive waterproof covers!
Question for Sony RX100 owners...given that I'm trying to assemble a "kit" that's under 2 pounds total (at this point it's the Sony AS15 Action Cam at 90 grams and the RX100 at 8.5 ounces), can a nice "steadycam" effect be achieved simply by holding the camera with maybe a GorillaPod attached to the bottom? Does the camera's "steadyshot" circuitry smooth out the bumps and weaves?
Or is there nothing that compares to the Steadycam Smoothee? (At 1.75 pounds it's hard to justify such a device.)
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Old September 16th, 2012, 07:54 PM   #71
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Re: Attention serious documentary filmmakers!

You really should check out the GW77. It is superior in all ways but one (manual control of shutter and aperture) to the RX100. Having a big sensor packed with pixels is not really useful for run and gun video (the GW77 also has an f1.8 lens, but it stays large even in telephoto, unlike the RX100).

To name a few other very importnat advantages of the GW77 over the RX100:

1. Higher resolution video and no moire - the RX100 has moire and relatively poor resolution compared with today's camcorders. The GW77 video is also better than that of the NEX-5N (which I own), to give you a benchmark.
2. Better audio - there is a GW77 setting for audio that defeats agc; it is only agc on the Rx100.
3. The 4:3 LCD on the RX100 makes the effective 16:9 screen in video mode much smaller than the 16:9 lcd of the GW77, which is articulating. The RX100 LCD is rigid.
4. The GW77 has an optical variable-speed 10X zoom that is QUIET. The RX100 zoom is one speed and is clunky and NOISY. And it is 4X, with an undefeatable awful digital zoom.

Need I go on? And the GW77 is waterproof, dustproof and shockproof and equally pocketable. It does have manual focus and exposure control and manual wb and, unlike the RX100, touch focus, which is really useful.

Here is one video from it (not possible to take with an RX100):

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Old September 16th, 2012, 08:54 PM   #72
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Re: Attention serious documentary filmmakers!

Another interesting suggestion! Thanks for the heads-up.
Question...in very quiet room, does the mic pick up the sound of the AF working hard? (The only way around that on the Powershot S100 I tried out was to set the lens manually, just guessing for run and gun situations.)
Is there much difference to the eye between 28 and 24 mb/s?
Easy to mount on a tripod?
Does video take a hit when using the steadycam (if it has it)?
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Old September 16th, 2012, 09:54 PM   #73
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Re: Attention serious documentary filmmakers!

Question...in very quiet room, does the mic pick up the sound of the AF working hard? (The only way around that on the Powershot S100 I tried out was to set the lens manually, just guessing for run and gun situations.)"

Zero sound from the mechanics. That's the key difference between a real camcorder and a camera with video capability. No sound from zoom or focus - zero.

Here is a GW77 video demonstrating focus pull (touch focus) and tracking, with sound - the focus is shifting during the clip, and there is no mechanical sound at all:

Sony HDR GW77V Test Video: Focus Tracking and Focus Shift Tests - YouTube

(select 1080p)

"Is there much difference to the eye between 28 and 24 mb/s?"

The 28Mbps setiing is progressive (60p); the 24Mbps is for interlaced (60i). Progressive is better, and I see no compression artifacts.

"Easy to mount on a tripod?"

Yes; standard tripod screw hole on the bottom.

"Does video take a hit when using the steadycam (if it has it)? "

It has optical stabilization, with active mode. The posted (Stockholm) video was taken all handheld with stabilization on. You can see what a good job the stabilization did; and you can see how sharp the video is - sharper than all DSLRs and all POV's, by a longshot.
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Old September 17th, 2012, 07:31 AM   #74
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Re: Attention serious documentary filmmakers!

I'm glad you brought it to my attention again.

Another question...is it your opinion the audio gathered with this camera (with AGC off) is good enough to be useful for recording "natural" sound? (In other words, foregoing an M-10 handheld recorder and just using this to record audio?
I am sort of bummed they put the mic ports at the top rather than the front. I don't understand the reason why that seems to be a trend. They must think all filmmakers love to talk to themselves while shooting. Do the mics seem to pick up what's in front well or do you notice a sort of "sky bounce" (off-mic) quality?

I also notice that the amazon reviews are pretty brutal, especially regarding bugs in the software and battery life.
How do you know when the manual exposure is correct? Zebra? Histogram?
Also, does the fact the glass covering the lens can't be protected cause you concern? How can it be protected from scratches then?

Last edited by Lynne Whelden; September 17th, 2012 at 01:07 PM.
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Old September 18th, 2012, 07:46 AM   #75
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Re: Attention serious documentary filmmakers!

The audio with agc off is excellent. Here is a sample of audio from one afternoon's video takes - sound from a distant boat bell, to large engines (including an airplane engine starting close up), to an outdoor a cappella chorus, to a solo singer outdoors, to a soft harmonica sound. The full dynamic range of these sounds is captured. Best audio I have heard from a camcorder:


Sony HDR-GW77 Test Video: Testing the Sound Performance - YouTube

The Amazon review is silly. There are no software bugs. And the lens is protected by a glass shield that is scratchproof (just like the glass on smartphones). And note that crazy reviewer praises the quality of the video (I have had direct communications with that guy and he is indeed odd).

On exposure (which can be set manually), you use the accurate LCD - there are no other aids.
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