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Video camera for skiing technique analysis - What do you use?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hi,

I've been taking lessons over the Summer and have been really impressed with how much help video analysis of your own skiing can be.
With this in mind I am tempted to get a video camera for the coming season but have noticed how badly batteries can be affected when the camera is used in really cold conditions.

If any of you guys/ladies on this forum have any experience using video camera's on the slope would be very grateful for any advice about what to look out for and what to avoid. Any battery advice would also be gratefully received.

Thanks,

RR
post #2 of 17
Use a ski pole for a tripod unless you've got a real steady hands. Carry an extra batt. and keep your camera/batt. inside your jacket. Skiers note-Don't fool w/ your camera on the lift:-(
post #3 of 17
I used a canon mini dv this past winter in temps down to the lower teens. No power problems but also support what Slider said, keep camera and xtra battery inside your jacket and close to your body. I carry mine in an insulated pouch with neck strap. I also have a neck strap on the camera so it is never free to fall. I have fallen, however, without damage to the camera. I also support the pouch with a belt around the chest inside the ski jacket. Keeps things pretty secure and safe. Just fall the right way!:
post #4 of 17

?

Is it possible to use a hand warmer in the camera or battery case?

I've only tried to video twice and the second time "froze" ther cameras delicate little circutry permanently.
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys for the advice

Extra battery, padded pouch and neck strap added to shopping list.

I don't think you need worry about me using it on an uplift. I'm always so paranoid about crossing my ski's or catching an edge I don't think I could manage the two activities at once. Guess I need to hone up on my multi tasking skills :lol:

I've also been wondering if it would be worth looking at those Cameras that can write straight to mini-DVD?
They look a cool idea, but are they really worth the extra money or more durable?
I have visions of little tapes wrapping round heads in the camera like in the good old days of tape deck stereos :

Now all I need is to find an ISO mount that I can butcher onto the top of a ski pole.
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Yuki - You got me worried now. Did you by any chance get any moisture in the camera that froze?
Perhaps those little gel bags that you can recharge would slip into the padded case and would keep the camera cosy while on its travels?
What make/model was your camera?
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by rockyrobin
Thanks guys for the advice

Extra battery, padded pouch and neck strap added to shopping list.

I don't think you need worry about me using it on an uplift. I'm always so paranoid about crossing my ski's or catching an edge I don't think I could manage the two activities at once. Guess I need to hone up on my multi tasking skills :lol:

I've also been wondering if it would be worth looking at those Cameras that can write straight to mini-DVD?
They look a cool idea, but are they really worth the extra money or more durable?
I have visions of little tapes wrapping round heads in the camera like in the good old days of tape deck stereos :

Now all I need is to find an ISO mount that I can butcher onto the top of a ski pole.
rockyrobin, not only is the cost a LOT more for the direct dvd write but the size is considerably larger, at least the ones that I looked at. I purchased a dvd record deck that digitally reads from the mini dv tape. This feature allows precise editing and one remote for both the camera and the dvd recorder. I didn't originally have a dvd recorder. I think that the combined price of the dvd recorder/player and the camera were still considerably less than the camera with direct dvd record capabilities.As far as quality of cameras, I think from the specs that the components are pretty similar, at least in the canon line. For my use I see no real appreciative degredation of image quality going from mini dv tape to dvd. What I have seen is a real difference in picture quality based on lens choice. Canon is a bit more expensive but the lens quality has always been IMHO at the top. The other real challenge is to get your skiing companion to master the video camera so you get good images of yourself for self analysis.:
post #8 of 17

always in trouble ..

I think it was a Sony. No moisture, just a very cold day with a very light snow (flurries), the thing cut out in the first two minutes, it was in my pocket. The next day I kept it on a neck strap inside my jacket, it lasted about a minute before it quit (for good). Wife was so pissed that I ruined her camera ......... I was on "the list" for a week. She is hiding the replacement.

I'm always in trouble ............. but it's so much fun!
post #9 of 17
I use a SONY TRV-900 which is on the large side, but takes awesome video due to having 3 CCDs. Because it cost $$$, I keep it inside of this: GEXAR Pelican Lumbar pack It fits nicely with an extra 2 hr battery, an extra DV tape, and a neutral density filter. I've used it very often in all kinds of weather and it's very reliable with excellent battery life, and plenty of zoom.
I've never found it necessary to use a tripod at all since it has an excellent image stabilizer.

It's probably too big for most people, but gives professional quality video. You should probably get a good quality neutral density filter for video on snow. It's also doubtful that you'll be able to use the lcd screen when skiing, so I highly recommend one of these: i-cuff DV viewfinder eye cups, this helped immensely outdoors, and I almost never use my camera without it.
post #10 of 17
Canon 3CCD, any.

Never use a tripod, but a steadycam (bit on the expensive side, reasonable ones starting with 300€). Use the viewfinder to have a better view. A pole as tripod will not help you that much, I think my hand is a lot steadier when I need to swing the camera with the object filmed. If you want to use it just for a shot without camera movement, it might be o.k.

Hey it all depends on how much you want to film. Take my advice if you are a ski school teacher and have a lot to film, otherwise keep in mind that there is no cheap and good camera. Batteries will be the bigger (in actual size) the better. Most brands do not differ that much below 1500€, above is the prize region where you have to buy a camera to adapt it to its purpose, below its just marketing.

If you go into the 2000€ prize range, a HDTV camera would be preferable, as you do not mind the "video" look cause they suck regarding their 24FPS non-interlaced film modi. However then I would wait a year to get a HDTV of the second generation, those available now still have loads of probs.
post #11 of 17
Oh, and just a remark. If your television is capable of playing PAL without scaling than get a PAL cam instead of a Never The Same Color camera. This is especially important when buying canon's
post #12 of 17
Sony has better image stabilization than Canon. Panasonic makes a smaller 3ccd camera which will give you better color.

EC, Now I know what NTSC stands for, but I've never heard of anyone using PAL here in the states.

I use the neck strap under the jacket technique with my Canon and it works fine. Do keep an extra battery or 2 warm in an inside pocket. I have also used a handwarmer to keep the battery warm on a sub-zero day and it worked perfectly. Also, I once made a monopod out of a ski pole using a 1/4 x 20 screw mounted to stick up about 1/3". It worked fine but takes an extra minute to mount the camcorder and take it off every time you want to shoot. If you can't hold your camera steady it will work.
post #13 of 17
I have used a Panosonic GS120 3-CCD camera for the past year. I got very good video results. It does not have the best image stabilization feature, but I am able to take pretty good video while shadowing fast-moving carving skiers on a groomed slope. All bets are off in moguls. Don't forget to look where you are going, and learn to site the camera without looking through the viewfinder. Using a monopod or ski pole provides stability even while moving.

A DV tape system is the best way to go. My battery life has been 40 minutes to 1-hour of shooting time in cold weather. Lots of standby time and use of image stabilization, auto focus and other features can cut battery time. A spare is good to have.
post #14 of 17
It entirely depends on what you want to do with your videos. If you are planning to edit and sell your work, buy the best camera you can and also consider extra lenses because zooms will not cover every situation. If you are mainly interested in family shoots and personal Movement Analysis this approach would be overkill, and any small camcorder would probably do quite well.
I did ski films for about ten years and the camera was rarely an issue. Most of the time it was the operator and their techniques that made the biggest difference.
There was an article a few years ago in American Ski Coach (vol19, issue 4) concerning videography that might help you decide on equipment and cameras positioning.
A stable platform is the first thing to consider. Steadycam, image stabilization, or a physical device like a tri/mono-pod all have their place. One thing to remember is the more stuff you carry the less mobile you become. Myself I always carried a modified mono-pod no more than a foot in length and the camera. By placing the shaft of the mono pod on my shoulder and extending the handle forward, it provided a much more supportive and stable platform for the camera. Especially in soft snow. Then by rehearsing the camera movements you can adjust your feet/body position for maximum stability. Notice how most network pros support their camera with a shoulder mount or use a tri-pod? Some people will point out that part of the reason for this is the weight of most broadcast quality cameras. True! However, that extra weight also stabilizes the camera and adds durability. Holding a camera at arms length, even with a stability system requires a lot of practice and a very steady hand which most of us do not possess. The image might remain stable but the edges of the image move too much.
The power issue depends on how long your shoot is. If you plan on an hour have twice as much power as you think you would need for a summer shoot. An easy way to do this is to buy a power belt which I would wear inside your coat to mitigate the effects of the weather. BTW always carry a plastic bag or "rain gear" for your camera. For less than a penny your camera never gets wet and it also keeps the camera warmer when needed.
A trick that most people never think of is to roll a couple seconds before the action starts and a few second after it stops. You can easily edit out these but it allows you to make sure you never miss a shot.
A good trick I see used in ski school videos is to choose a slope and have the camera operator stay there while the subject(s) make laps. This is especially effective for MA work because the subjects get several opportunities to show their best stuff, or to do a comparative analysis of their on the snow coaching.
post #15 of 17
A neutral density fiter is a MUST. It knocks down the brightness of the snow and you get much better video. You have to have one to get any decent videos. I use one all the time I'm out on the snow. Also a UV filter is great just to have as a lens protector.

I like the lumbar pack. I'm asking them for the price right now. Great idea. Protect that investment.

I bought a large battery to go with my camera. I've not had problems with length of time filming on the slopes.

I don't recommend using a handwarmer. They can get way too hot. However, do protect your camera from the air when you bring it inside. Wait for it to warm up before running it. You don't want condensation on the mechanism to screw things up. I've use a dry sack and put my camera in it before coming inside. Once it is warm then I take it out for screening what I have done.

Holding a camera steady is critical for taking good shots. I use my tripod either in that mode or as a monopod when taking film. I'll kick off my skis and use the binding as a resting point for the monopod.

I've also used this to steady the camera. The strap goes around your neck and the arm steadies the camera against your body. Works well.
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post #16 of 17
Steadycams are also good. Commercial units can run in the low $100s to the $1000s depending on what you want. You can also make your own. Attached is the one I put together.

Check this thread for more ideas.

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=27371

There are some links at post 11.

Hope this helps.
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post #17 of 17

jonescam

Check this out

http://www.jonescam.tv/

he originaly made this stuff for the millitary (and still does), but he loves skiing and mountain biking so he adapted it for sports use
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