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Covering the GoPro HERO and other small Point-Of-View video cameras.


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Old October 22nd, 2013, 05:42 PM   #1
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POV camera for concert use

I shoot concerts, with a rather unique approach of doing an 8 camera shoot - by myself. I use a mixture of Canon cameras, and a pair of GoPro Hero 2 cameras.

The last two are a source of excellent shots, but are flaky and unreliable.I usually mount one to a microphone stand just above the snare drum, and a second by the keyboard. As a concert lasts far longer than any available battery pack, I have had to make power supply cables for each, to supply both the camera and it's wi-fi BackPac.

The only way to mount a GoPro is by having it in it's waterproof case, and as far as I can tell, that causes it to overheat, especially when running it on external power. I've been modifying the case, cutting holes to provide airflow and removing the glass from the case to improve the image quality - as well as providing access to the USB connectors and the SD card slot.

With all this, I rarely get through a whole concert without one or both of the GoPros crapping out.

Also, the mounting hardware is cheap junk. When you tighten the knobs, you run a risk of breaking them. But if you don't tighten them enough, they shake loose - especially the drum camera. The joints should be knurled with a radiating pattern of ribs to keep them from vibrating loose. And the parts should be made out of a less brittle plastic, more like the flexible but immensely tough plastic used to make the headbands of Sennheiser headphones.

And, of source, we need manual white balance and iris as well as a manual level control and attenuator.

I've probably gotten my money's worth out of these cameras, and will gratefully retire them if I find a better choice.
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Old October 23rd, 2013, 03:28 AM   #2
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Re: POV camera for concert use

Chris,

You might want to try upgrading to Hero 3 cameras. They may be getting cheaper now that the 3+ is out.

My GoPro 3 whites with battery bacpacs and built-in Wi-Fi easily run for 4+ hours recording 1080 25p. My 2 will run a couple of hours with the WiFi bacpac on.

The real problem is the WiFi. In some environments it just won't work, even if I'm an inch away from the camera with my iPad or iPhone. I suspect the stage environment would have a lot of interference to deal with.

You can buy third-party metal screws for GoPros that may be more robust for you. e.g. GoPole Aluminium Thumbscrew in various colours

You may also want to try a skeleton type case, or a GoPro frame case.

I suspect, though, that the answer is to use something other than GoPros. What about a bunch of cheap handycams, real low end Sony/Canon/Pansonic types?
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Old October 23rd, 2013, 04:10 PM   #3
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Re: POV camera for concert use

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Originally Posted by Mike Beckett View Post
Chris,

You might want to try upgrading to Hero 3 cameras. They may be getting cheaper now that the 3+ is out.
I'll keep an eye out.

Quote:
My GoPro 3 whites with battery bacpacs and built-in Wi-Fi easily run for 4+ hours recording 1080 25p. My 2 will run a couple of hours with the WiFi bacpac on.
I've put in new batteries in my 2s and never gotten enough battery life for a concert.

Quote:
The real problem is the WiFi. In some environments it just won't work, even if I'm an inch away from the camera with my iPad or iPhone. I suspect the stage environment would have a lot of interference to deal with.
In most concert situations, I'm able to see and start them, but they disappear after 30 minutes or so. I suspect heat, as I often open up the plastic case, and the camera is just uncomfortable to hold. I've drilled a grid of holes in the case to attempt to improve cooling.

Quote:
You can buy third-party metal screws for GoPros that may be more robust for you. e.g. GoPole Aluminium Thumbscrew in various colours
Thanks for the link! I wish they had a full set of mounting hardware, rather than the cheesy plastic junk that GoPro supplies.

Quote:
You may also want to try a skeleton type case, or a GoPro frame case.
I've modified my cases so they are basically skeleton cases now.

Quote:
I suspect, though, that the answer is to use something other than GoPros. What about a bunch of cheap handycams, real low end Sony/Canon/Pansonic types?
I like the fisheye lens effect, especially on the drums. But you're right, I suspect I'll eventually wind up dedicating my Canon Vixia HF200 to drum camera use. But I do think the GoPro is more likely to survive an errant drumstick.

But I still need to find more rugged mounting hardware. The main problem with the GoPro junk is their "smooth plastic to smooth plastic" nature. I ran across an alternative set of mounting hardware on a web page a few weeks ago that had knurled joints and looked like it could take a lot of vibration.
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Old October 24th, 2013, 11:16 AM   #4
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Re: POV camera for concert use

Have you visited a GoPro forum for more resources? I like GoPro User Forum • Index page and there are some folks there who do mounting solutions.

Sony just announced a new version of their POV cam with features aimed more at musicians than surfers: HDR-MV1 Music Video Recorder Hands on: Sony HDR-MV1 music video recorder (Wired UK)

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Old October 24th, 2013, 12:24 PM   #5
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Re: POV camera for concert use

Chris,

Take a look at our Cobalt Cage for the Hero 2. You can get the deluxe accessory kit which allows you to mount the camera naked in our open air cage, and pretty much guarantees you wont over heat.

You can also scrap the "cheap junk" hardware and use standard grip accessories like baby pins and maffer clamps to attach the cameras to anything.

For the smallest most compact setup, one of our Collins Clamp paired with a Billie Ball Mount would work great.
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Old October 24th, 2013, 04:32 PM   #6
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Re: POV camera for concert use

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Originally Posted by Fran Guidry View Post
Have you visited a GoPro forum for more resources? I like GoPro User Forum • Index page and there are some folks there who do mounting solutions.
Cool, thanks for that link!

I've looked through the mount forum, and did a few searches, and there don't seem to be too many people using them for concert videography. They are vital for my shoots, as some of the drummers are as young as seven years old, and are otherwise hidden by the cymbals.

Quote:
Sony just announced a new version of their POV cam with features aimed more at musicians than surfers: HDR-MV1 Music Video Recorder Hands on: Sony HDR-MV1 music video recorder (Wired UK)

Fran
Looks interesting.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Loren Simons View Post
Chris,

Take a look at our Cobalt Cage for the Hero 2. You can get the deluxe accessory kit which allows you to mount the camera naked in our open air cage, and pretty much guarantees you wont over heat.

You can also scrap the "cheap junk" hardware and use standard grip accessories like baby pins and maffer clamps to attach the cameras to anything.

For the smallest most compact setup, one of our Collins Clamp paired with a Billie Ball Mount would work great.
Thanks for the link.

Right now, I'm using my modified cases, the GoPro hardware and a Manfrotto MicroClamp.
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Old October 28th, 2013, 07:04 PM   #7
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Re: POV camera for concert use

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fran Guidry View Post

Sony just announced a new version of their POV cam with features aimed more at musicians than surfers: HDR-MV1 Music Video Recorder Hands on: Sony HDR-MV1 music video recorder (Wired UK)

Fran
Interesting. It has stereo as compared to the cheap audio of go pro.
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Old November 4th, 2013, 09:24 PM   #8
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Re: POV camera for concert use

Stereo audio and nice mics are overkill. It's not as if anyone will use the audio from a POV camera for any purpose other than syncing. I just want a switchable attenuator.
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Old November 12th, 2013, 06:04 PM   #9
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Re: POV camera for concert use

The POV thing for concert use it a tough one... I'm in the same boat as you, actually. Considered the GoPro cameras, but they aren't flexible enough and I've seen enough reliability issues that I'm not sure I could go that direction. The other issue with all of the POV cameras is image quality- especially in low light.

I do have a POV camera that has worked relatively well- the Sony HXR-MC1 (Sony Product Detail Page HXRMC1). Like any POV camera, the footage can be a bit tough to cut into better quality cameras because it really isn't as good. It has a 1/4" Exmor sensor and records AVCHD (although not 24MB). It records to Memory Stick Pro Duo cards which is a bit of a pain. These days, they are getting a bit hard to find, but they have always been very reliable. I have the accessory kit which gives me the wide-angle adapter as well. What I do like is that it has a zoom on it and between that and the wide angle, I can get some very cool shots that you'd never get with larger cameras. The zoom also allows for less than optimal placement when performance logistics don't allow for the perfect place.

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Old February 17th, 2014, 11:56 PM   #10
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Re: POV camera for concert use

I've been playing around with different mounts. I tried bicycle handlebar clamps and clamping onto the snare drum mic stand, but that did not get high enough. I found a 5/8" microphone to 1/4" 20 tripod adapter. I put the GoPro tripod mount on that and screw the whole mess on top of my own microphone stand with boom arm. It's more to carry, but you gotta do what you gotta do.


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Old February 20th, 2014, 01:24 AM   #11
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Re: POV camera for concert use

I use a few GOPro's for close ups in a symphony orchestra - tight shots on the piano keyboard, harp strings, etc. They work OK but triggering them by wifi from the iPhone is flaky. I hang a cell phone battery booster on each one and just start each one manually before the concert.

I use the Cobalt cages mentioned above and a few Lowel light stands.
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Old February 20th, 2014, 03:44 AM   #12
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Re: POV camera for concert use

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Originally Posted by Jim Andrada View Post
I use a few GOPro's for close ups in a symphony orchestra - tight shots on the piano keyboard, harp strings, etc. They work OK but triggering them by wifi from the iPhone is flaky. I hang a cell phone battery booster on each one and just start each one manually before the concert.

I use the Cobalt cages mentioned above and a few Lowel light stands.
My turn-around on each concert is so quick that I don't shoot using ProTune, as it takes forever to process and I can't monitor the camera video with my Hero 2. I loaded a 32 gig card into each GoPro I use, and that gives me a better than 4 hour load. I plug the cameras into the wall using the iPad chargers and the custom cables I built, check the aim on my Android tablet and start it as close to showtime as possible. If I'm lucky, the camera near the drummer will make it through the whole show without being shaken to the floor.

You're dealing with classical musicians. I get a few of those:


...but they are more usually like this:


(The Dutch shot at 3:17 was not intentional).

I copy the raw QuickTime files off the 32 gig card, and drop them into my beloved Edius which plays them directly. Then I make a SD proxy overnight of that and my seven other cameras so I can do my multicam edit after a tiny amount of padding and trimming for all the raw file types.

I looked at the Colbalt cages and light stand clamps, and nothing, I mean nothing, that can't be clamped down tight is going to survive. I keep experimenting, but I tried three different photo clamps and gave up. What I'm trying now is using red Locktite on the tripod adapter to the 1/4" 20 thread, blue Locktite on the 5/8" to microphone stand and this special gripping goo that bike shops use to attach carbon fiber handle-bars to metal in the hated GoPro plastic parts. I lock that down with a screwdriver, and use the microphone stand's clamps - I know those can take the vibration as that is what they are designed for. I honestly don't think most light stands can survive a whole concert on a drum riser occupied by half a dozen different kids.

The Cobalt Cage is $100. The ball joint to use it is $55. I can do a lot of experimenting for that price, and I'm pretty sure that the further I get from the photo world and the closer I get to the Rock N' Roll world, the better.

Last edited by Chris DeVoe; February 20th, 2014 at 04:00 AM. Reason: Responding to the Cobalt stoff
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Old February 20th, 2014, 12:11 PM   #13
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Re: POV camera for concert use

@Chris

Nice work!

I'm thinking of putting a camera on the timpani at the next concert as well as a couple on the pianist. - hadn't thought of using as many cams as you did on the piano but maybe I'll add a couple. I get reasonably good keyboard action shots from the rear balcony with a long lens because the solo piano is always out in front of the orchestra and to the left of the conductor so I get a clear shot from above and I have two "real" cameras (JVC HD 110 and BMCC) up in the balcony with me.

I only do classical so I don't have to deal with the sonic nightmare you're describing and the light weight stands work fine for me. I wouldn't want to be anywhere near a rock concert with or without a camera - I'll leave that to you young guys:))
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Old February 20th, 2014, 02:32 PM   #14
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Re: POV camera for concert use

Thank you very much.

I really dug the classical concert I shot. She's 19 and an amazing player. I picked that show up from shooting Stephen Spooner playing one of Horowitz's Steinway's at the local dealership. I tend to use a lot of cameras to compensate for the fact that I was the only shooter, and I can get some additional visual interest by cutting. I was stationed at my Canon XH-A1, seated in the front row of the audience, shooting over the instrument to get her facial expressions. I had my Canon HF200s behind, above, in front and by the sound board high up. I really wanted to be as discrete as possible with the cameras. The only ones visible to the audience was me at the XH-A1 and the reverse shot, but as I had no operator, it was not attracting attention. I had a GoPro clamped to the reverse tripod for an audience shot.

The above shot was lot of fun. The venue had a "tension grid", a mesh of 1/8" airplane cables roughly 3" apart. I stuck the camera lens through it, and used a clamp to stabilize it.

It looks so good because of the lighting designer. He really did a brilliant job. Most of the venues I work in, the lighting is terrible, and this shoot was a revelation.

The Ministry song was one of the hardest rock things they had done, but it had so much energy that my wife and I agreed it had to go up as soon as possible.And I've been to fairly similar serious music concerts - Diamanda Galas' "The Plague Mass" for one.

Hey, anything to keep from doing weddings! I'd rather do a dozen Guns N' Roses shows (my most loathed program) than one wedding.
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Old February 20th, 2014, 05:57 PM   #15
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Re: POV camera for concert use

@Chris

My wife is a semi-retired concert pianist so I've gotten a lot of practice recording piano (and pianist) over the 24 years (today!) we've been married. And we're on the board of a new orchestra here in Tucson so I get to contribute all the A/V for the concerts. But I enjoy doing it.

What I liked about your clip was that it used a enough varied viewpoints. Classical performance (compared to Rock) is really static and without camera moves/cuts it can be a visually uninteresting and boring experience.
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