Category Archives: camera kit

GoPro filming continuously for 5 hours solution

GoPro Filming the evidence

So part of the brief for a recent film project was to record continuously for up to 5 hours without the possibility of being able to change media or battery and with the camera left unattended for that entire time.

GoPro Hero 4 Black

GoPro Hero4 BlackOK this is an obvious choice, I could of used a DSLR but there would always be the risk that its desirability would make it too attactive to a thieve or the curious. Besides a DSLR in the hands of a 1st AC could be better purposed to capture B-roll for the main documentary.

All it took was a tiny bit of additional expenditure and a bit of creative thinking to come up with a working solution.

GoPro Hero 4 Skeleton CaseI bought a skeleton case for the GoPro, it cost less than £10 and worked perfectly for the job although the one I bought popped its catch just at the crucial time and almost caused me to miss the start of the event, in fact I had to delay the start until the camera was reinserted and secured.

The skeleton case is identical to the standard case but with cutouts to access the HDMI and USB ports on the right hand side. I needed this so I could attach a USB power source in order to run the GoPro for the entire event some 5 hours in all.

Power Supply

The original idea was to use a mains powered USB charger to supply the GoPro, which was fine for the internal filming but suddenly the brief changed and part of the filming was shifted to an external location in the middle of a field.

Portable Charger and Power SupplyThis in the end became a blessing as I dropped the idea of mains power and went directly to a battery option instead. The internal batteries on a GoPro from my experience depending on resolution used can be as little as 20 minutes so no way would that work for continuously recording 5 hours. For many years now I’ve used a backup portable charger and power supply for iPads and iPhones but I have found these extremely useful to have in the camera kit, this one comes with a built in torch as well.

Complete solution

The GoPro was fitted with a 64gb card and settings to maximise recording time, so 720p and narrow field of view. This gave a potential recording time of 7 hours of continuous footage. Now why didn’t I use a time lapse mode and save the worry of battery or card running out of power/space? simple the condition were set by the Guinness World Records and these state continuous recording and any battery/media changes have to be filmed/recorded separately, which of course we couldn’t do as the camera was to be unattended.

GoPro on standThe GoPro was mounted on top of a 3m Manfrotto lighting stand using a ball joint connection, with the USB plugged into the portable power supply that hung from one of the stands locking screws in a small draw string bag. With the stand at its full extension the GoPro was hardly visible and was certainly unobtrusive in it’s operation.

The Final Video

I’ve speeded it up because who really wants to watch 5 hours of people lining up to register and then being counted into the field where the World Record attempt was being held. Did we achieve the World Record? well it’s unofficial as I write this but yes we did 🙂

The Full Documentary

This is a work in progress of which this World Record was just a part, the final film will include the activities on the day with interviews with the organisers and the people working hard to eradicate Polio from the World.

DJI Osmo Mobile used for the first time

dji osmo mobile

First Use

First use dji osmo mobileJust completed filming on an action fight sequence, and for the first time made use of the DJI Osmo Mobile, which is a 3 axis gimbal stableliser.

Filming hand-held and getting a smooth shot is never easy and it seems to me that the process and kit is getting both more complex and heavier. I’ve filmed using the MoVi fitted with a Canon C300 MKI. While it’s a very impressive bit of kit particularly with the remote controller, it was heavy in use, too heavy for extended use and I would suspect that in long term use it is going to put pressure on your back. So while I love this piece of kit I’ve been looking around for something lighter and to be honest much cheaper to buy.

Enter the DJI Osmo Mobile, it ticks all the boxes, it’s lightweight and uses the camera you already have in your pocket, your smart phone. Mine is the iPhone 6 and in preparation for the shoot I purchased the Filmic Pro App.

Filmic Pro App

smudgerhunt film filmic pro appThe Filmic Pro App, which allows you full manual control of the camera settings on the iPhone and most importantly supports the DJI Osmo Mobile. Personally I found this App relatively intuitive to use, but I checked out the online manual to find out the how to use some of the more advanced features like rack focusing.

I had a few issues with the App during filming but I’ll go into that in another post but lets just say I nearly ditched using it during the project and just going with the DJI Go App which comes with the Osmo.

The DJI Osmo Mobile performance

The plan was to use the DJi Osmo mobile for the close up shots and for scenes where we planned to follow the action. First impressions were good, the movement was stable and smooth and the footage would not need any stabilisation in post production. This was promising and the quality of the footage from the iPhone was great, Filmic Pro lets you set the resolution up to 3K and to 50 Mbps, so my settings were HD 1080p and 50 Mbps.

 smudgerhunt film DJI osmo mobile setupThe link to the DJI Osmo mobile was a bit iffy and I needed to reset a few times but in use the setup is light, highly manoeuvrable and perfect for getting close to the action and places with limited access. Walking across an uneven surface didn’t faze this device and saved hours that would have been spent setting up track and dolly to get the same shots.

I’d not want to film a feature using this setup but for a short film this setup is perfect and I suspect with additional add ons like lenses with different focal lengths using the 35mm adapter/Image Flip and Anamorphic lenses like the Moondog Anamorphic 2.40:1 adapter you could have the perfect setup for a micro budget film.

Whats coming next? watch out for my posts on using Filmic Pro and Filming the short film ‘Fight or Flight’

BTS photos by Tim Way

BVE Show London Excel – What’s New 2016

BVE show was a good day out, nice to meet up with friends from the Industry and proved very useful for catching up with the latest tech. I found 3 things I must buy and 100’s of products to fantasize about owning. Interestingly I couldn’t find a camera that I wanted to invest in. BVE Show Atomos Recorder

Technology is moving so fast that if you buy today, its replacement is just months away. So the advice I’ve had from a Pro at the BVE Show is to buy something good enough for your everyday needs and hire when the project budget supports it. Most importantly and invest your money in the camera tech that doesn’t go out of fashion and makes the perfect investment, that is good glass and grips. Some of the products on my must buy list is the iographer, which is a iPhone/iPad camera rig with connection for cold shoe mounts for your shotgun microphone, led light etc. it also has 2 x 1/4 inch mounts for attaching to a tripod. The Atomos Recorder and Field Monitor also looked good for 4K recording on the run. Finally a really nice and very affordable pad light from Datavision, the LEDGO-E116C only £59+vat.BVE Show Panel Light

What I got from the BVE Show is that If I’m going to invest in glass it should be from one of the best manufacturers possible so in this case Zeiss wins my vote. I’ve looked at others and I already own a few and while some alternatives are very nice you know you will be buying 2nd best. Zeiss do a kit service through some of their distributors, you choose your lenses to go in a Peli case and get 10% off the total price. OK it’s never going to be cheap but this is a purchase that is unlikely to go out of fashion.

Looking forward to the next BVE Show early 2017, I wonder what will be on show this year. Will 8K Cameras be the thing or something else?

BVE Show Zeiss CP.2