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Old July 13th, 2008, 09:59 AM   #1
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60p from a bicycle with a consumer HD camera?

Hi,
Iím looking to shoot some 60p HD footage from a moving bicycle on a consumer camera (say, less than $1500). Iíd like the stills to be as sharp as possible Ė given that Iíll shoot daytime in bright sunlight, a high shutter speed shouldnít be a problem.

So I started searching for camera that can record 720p60 and came up with this list:
-Toshiba Gigashot K40H/K80H
-Sanyo Xacti HD1010
And uh, thatís it. Am I missing something?

I went to a few stores and shot test footage on both, mostly by just very quickly panning the camera back and forth by hand to get an idea of how good incoherent frames look.

-The K40H doesnít seem to have a manual shutter speed setting. By forcing the lightness(?) setting down (bottom right icon) to -5 (I think), it seemed to crank up the shutter speed. But the images still had a lot of blur in them. The specs say the shutter speed goes to 1/4800, but I donít have any way of testing how it works in good outdoor light.

-The HD1010 has a shutter priority mode, and the still images werenít excessively blurred (though not as sharp as Iíd like), but the compression artifacts were pretty horrible.

It was hard to tell with hand-held shots, but there seemed to be some shearing distortion in both cameras, which I take is the rolling shutter effect? Panning seems to be a worst case Ė any idea how bad forward motion will be?

The K40H is dirt-cheap, so Iíd love to be able to use it, but I just donít know if will produce good results. Anyone have applicable experience with it?


Am I asking too much in trying to get high quality full-motion 720p60 out of a consumer camcorder?

My other thought was to maybe shoot 1080i60 and downsample fields (ie avoid de-interlacing) to 540p60 or perhaps filter a bit to 720p60. Any idea if that would work well?
I was thinking of going Canon HV20 or HV30 or HF10 for this, but donít have any idea whether HDV or AVCHD is better for avoiding compression artifacts with incoherent frames. I did some 1080i test shots with the HF10 and wasn't incredibly impressed with the compression, but don't have any way of testing an HV20 or HV30...

Thanks for any guidance!
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Old July 21st, 2008, 02:05 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Atman Binstock View Post
Am I asking too much in trying to get high quality full-motion 720p60 out of a consumer camcorder?

You could shoot at 1080i on something like a HV30 and extract 720p from that.

Your bigger (much much bigger) problem is getting decent footage from a camera mounted on a bicycle (god knows I have tried everything) - if the camera is not shaken clean off :) even on - what appears to be - smooth road.

Expect the footage to be poor to unwatchable, regardless of how pristinely you have captured this unwatchable footage.

I recommend against a HDD camera like the HF10, the unavoidable shaking with almost certainly force it to park it's read/write heads - this is what happened when I tried this with a JVC Everio HDD cam.

Your best bet will be to employ some type of helmet cam as your neck/head will act as a steady cam - coupled with on board camera optical or electronic stabilization - and possibly some post stabilization/tracking you can get a decent picture.
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Old July 22nd, 2008, 03:33 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Wilson View Post
You could shoot at 1080i on something like a HV30 and extract 720p from that.
Any idea how well fast motion will look with respect to compression artifacts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Wilson View Post
I recommend against a HDD camera like the HF10, the unavoidable shaking with almost certainly force it to park it's read/write heads - this is what happened when I tried this with a JVC Everio HDD cam.
Ohh, very good point. Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Wilson View Post
Your bigger (much much bigger) problem is getting decent footage from a camera mounted on a bicycle (god knows I have tried everything) - if the camera is not shaken clean off :) even on - what appears to be - smooth road.

Expect the footage to be poor to unwatchable, regardless of how pristinely you have captured this unwatchable footage.

...

Your best bet will be to employ some type of helmet cam as your neck/head will act as a steady cam - coupled with on board camera optical or electronic stabilization - and possibly some post stabilization/tracking you can get a decent picture.
Yeah, my first attempt was using my point&shoot still cam that does 480p30 strapped to the front of my bike. It was amazing how every little invisible vibration showed up in the footage!

I actually have a helmet cam now - it works great. The problem is that it is 525i and just doesn't produce enough detail. But having it on my head produces reasonably stabilized footage - definitely good enough for my purposes. Is there some reason that an HD camera needs to be stabilized more than an SD one? I was planning on jury-rigging a helmet-mounting for the HD camera too...
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Old July 22nd, 2008, 08:27 AM   #4
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You going to have to do some jury-rigging with the cam.I film a lot of motorcycle racing and mounting the camera on the bike is awfull.You will however find that a handy cam rigged to your helmet gets very heavy after a short while.I now use a helmet cam for this,however the quality is not as good as you are looking for.
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Old July 22nd, 2008, 09:42 AM   #5
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What kind of videos do people shoot from bicycles?

I'll suggest using a very fast shutter and then stabilizing in post with tools like "Deshaker".

You should probably avoid a CMOS cam for this application.
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Old July 24th, 2008, 10:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atman Binstock View Post
Any idea how well fast motion will look with respect to compression artifacts?
It (HDV) holds up very well, you here much about compression artifacts in rapid motion - but I don't seem to find it a problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Atman Binstock View Post
Yeah, my first attempt was using my point&shoot still cam that does 480p30 strapped to the front of my bike. It was amazing how every little invisible vibration showed up in the footage!
Welcome to my world of pain ! ;P

It is amazing that you think you have just floated over the smoothest piece of road laid down since the invention of the wheel, with your super smooth cycling style and have just captured a steadicam like piece of film - only to watch back footage that looks like you forgot to put tyres on your rims.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Atman Binstock View Post
I actually have a helmet cam now - it works great. The problem is that it is 525i and just doesn't produce enough detail. But having it on my head produces reasonably stabilized footage - definitely good enough for my purposes. Is there some reason that an HD camera needs to be stabilized more than an SD one? I was planning on jury-rigging a helmet-mounting for the HD camera too...
It seems you haven ended up in the same place as me ! I also concluded the only way to go was to strap a HD camera to my head somehow, I almost sold my HV10 when I got my HV30, but now I am looking at it's compact size and thinking . . . . hmmmm . . .

Best possible cycling footage from a bike without anything exotic like having a steadicam strapped to you . . .

++++++

Small good quality HD cam strapped to your head (your body's steadicam).

Image stabilization switched on - preferably optical image stabilization.

Wide angle lens, this makes a huge difference !!

Practice technique to see what gets you the best results.

High shutter speed, higher the better.

Stabilize the footage in post, there are many good and cheap (even free) footage stabilizers out there.
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Old July 24th, 2008, 10:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seun Osewa View Post
What kind of videos do people shoot from bicycles?
Footage of the road ahead, other cyclists on bike rides, tricks and general bike fun !

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seun Osewa View Post
I'll suggest using a very fast shutter and then stabilizing in post with tools like "Deshaker".
Yep ! 100% agree, this was also one of my conclusions, fast shutter to freeze the frame without motion blur - stabilize in post - I use After Effects and iStabilize (cheap + good + fast !).

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Originally Posted by Seun Osewa View Post
You should probably avoid a CMOS cam for this application.
You do see the rolling shutter effect on very past panning shots, but you would be surprised at how unintuitive it actually is.
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Old July 28th, 2009, 08:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
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I recommend against a HDD camera like the HF10
It's not a HDD camera it's a HD, quite a difference. It records on SDHC memory cards.
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Old August 7th, 2009, 02:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seun Osewa View Post
What kind of videos do people shoot from bicycles?
Volume Bikes: Joey Cobbs Edit on Vimeo

I shot the majority of the moving shots in this from a bike. 480i60 from a VX1000, and one from a VX2100.

edit: Anyway, I don't think that you're going to get anything too great out of a cheap(er) camera shooting 60p.
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Old November 9th, 2009, 03:34 AM   #10
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It's tough to get a smooth shot from a bicycle...you need a unicycle for that :)

YouTube - Unicycling In The Streets of Manhattan
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