Maiden Voyage

March 17, 2012 Video, Wicklow

If you cast your mind back to this and lived to see the other side of it, you’ll understand why I recently bought a couple of Drift Stealth cameras to make the filming process a little easier and a lot less stomach churning. The above was the maiden voyage and very much a learning exercise. I need to see what the hardware can do, what it can’t do and what I shouldn’t make it try to do before the ‘big holiday’ to the Alps in August. This was a routine trip from Dublin city down to Wicklow and back again. Thankfully back again that is, the low/no petrol light was taunting me for most of the ride back to Dublin.

With the included mounting hardware, I ended up with a camera on the engine bars (more on that later) and one on the side of my helmet. That still left me with oodles of spare hardware, velcro pads and elastic straps to play around with so I’m going to need to come up with a few more mounting locations. The helmet was the winner, video (shot at 720, 60p on both cameras) turned out smooth. The engine bar location, if I decide to reuse it, will need some work. Perhaps a kind of shock mount. Thankfully the cameras have standard tripod mount screws on them so I can spoil myself with the myriad of mounting options out there.

Things I learned
1. I don’t need to check that the camera is still on the side of my head every 5 minutes. The velcro is strong and all the bobbing around to look at the camera in the mirror just screws up the footage.
2. Nodding or generally acknowledging other bikers on the road leads to further footage foul ups. I think I’ll have to adopt the standard European leg waggle. Not that many bikers in Dublin return the salutation these days anyway.
3. Mounting on the engine bar is generally going to be a no-no. There are certain speeds it works beautifully at and if I continue to use that point I need to become aware of those speeds. Otherwise it’s a rolling shutter fest.
4. Syncing footage between two cameras is a bit harder than I previously imagined it would be.

Another interesting thing I learned is that the majority of car drivers behave a lot better when they spot a camera on the side of your head. Some even slowed down to stare.

A note on the music is perhaps required. When I go out on rides like this, I never fail to default to two albums. “Between Two Lungs” and “The House That Dirt Built”. It’s proven to be great back road riding music. So before I get takedown notices from and/or sued by Florence And The Machine and The Heavy I invite you to play the above at the appropriate volume.

Also and somewhat vitally, the above is standard definition but the footage is actually in 720p. I can’t currently do HD embeds from Vimeo because I haven’t paid my dues to them for a ‘plus’ account. ($60 seems a little overkill at the moment and I may just end up using Youtube). So if that kind of thing bothers you and you want to view it as I intended it to be watched, you can get the 720p version on the video page.

Next stop, Austria.

6 Replies to “Maiden Voyage”

  1. aafke says:

    ha, had your blog sitting ready for viewing when the phone rang. all of a sudden the mbp’s fan started humming like an airplane taking off…. didn’t know what was happening
    (your video had started without me realising…thankyouverymuchforthesurprise)
    safe travels

  2. Vlastik says:

    I really liked that, especially the cuts to the second camera. If you know in advance that you’ll be passing something on the side, what about having the camera pointing to the right or to 2 o’clock direction?
    Another idea would be to mount the second camera much lower, onto the bottom bar, so you have really low POW. And the faster for this camera, the better. Change of the bike angles could make us really dizzy 🙂
    It’s great to see your toys are working well for you. I cannot wait to see more soon.

    • ryan says:

      Thanks for the ideas. I’m Thinking about a few more mount locations, just need to get creative with some cable ties. I should be able to mount the second camera a few inches above the ground, just not sure what it’d be like with rolling shutter. More experimentation required!

      • Vlastik says:

        It is always good to have recordings of mechanical things to cut them into the movie, to enhance dynamics of the clip: Pressing the clutch, operating the throttle, using indicators, working suspension and rear arm, spinning discs, chain movements (if you had one, DOH!), changing gears, boot coming up from the ground onto the pegs, view from the instrument panel onto you (closing helmet, looking around, greeting others, switching on the camera),…
        Such fillers can be used to keep the dynamics of a clip, could be nicely tied to the soundtrack and if you are on a road for a bit longer, you could have few different recordings in the same weather conditions.
        If you are driving through a wooded area, also shots upwards could be useful.
        Not to mention using as subject and also camerawoman your passenger!

  3. julie says:

    Wow, I get to look around way more than you do… I think I get the good deal.

    I always wondered what you were listening to when you start bobbing your head about the place. Although I spose you better not do that when you’ve a camera attached to it…

    • Vlastik says:

      Oh, I almost forgot about you, sorry! I thought you were holding tight, or just knitting back there 😉
      Honestly, I am very interested what you are looking at, while being a passenger. I had never been a passenger on a longer trip, so I have absolutely no clue, how does that look and what can be seen.

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