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Video Camera suggestions for Race coaching use

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Looking for suggestions from those of you who may use video cameras as a teaching/learning tool. (Main goal is not professional/saleable photography!) Looking for ideas of cameras to consider that a race coach can easily lug around in a back back taken on the hill, small enough to not be a big weight factor but also large enough to be able to be used by hands that are in gloves. Would love enough zoom to be able to be able to capture enough detail for learning in playback mode when used at least mid course for GS for JIII level and up. If there is any one with feedback about cameras that seem to tolerate cold/potentially dampish environments better than others, great- I realize the most practical solution to that is spare battaries kept warm and trying to keep the camera as dry as possible.

Thanks for any suggestions- Jan
post #2 of 16
I used this last season for teaching, and it worked very well.


I filmed both freeskiing and race course footage. I also used it to produce this:

The youtube vid was all hand held.

I've never had any temperature/weather issues with it, but keep in mind I'm in Colorado where humidity is very low. I'm pleased with it for what I use it for. It has a 40x optical zoom, which is more than most can use hand held. It's a super camera for the give away price.

Be aware, it's a Mini DV tape format camcorder. You may want disk storage, but you'll pay more, and Mini DV is a time proven and well respected format that is still widely used in professional equipment. There are pros and cons to each format, and people will have different preferences.

If you want better image quality, the new HD camcorders are great, but again, you're looking at more money.

A couple hints; put a neutral density filter on the end of your lens. They're cheap, screw on easily, and make a big difference in the quality of your footage. Also, to keep your camera warm and out of the weather, don't put it inside your jacket. Condensation is a killer.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your input Rick! I was pretty impressed with the fact that the footage that you sent showed definition with a person in white (looks like) pants! I have made a copy of the web site and camera that you referenced and thanks for your input about the "neutral density filter". Certainly the price seems "more than right"!

post #4 of 16

Nice video. But "Fame"?
post #5 of 16
Originally Posted by crank View Post

Nice video. But "Fame"?
Thanks, Crank. The song selection was a bit of an inside joke.

Jan, you're welcome. Have a successful season with the kids.
post #6 of 16
Originally Posted by crank View Post

Nice video. But "Fame"?
My thoughts exactly!!!
post #7 of 16
Rick, nice job on the video as far as the content goes. But I have to say the exposure is awful. Totally over exposed and blown out. You should be able to see the detail in the snow and there is none there at all.

I'd highly recommend to anyone who is planning on making any kind of quality videos on the snow that you get a camara that will indicate overexposed highlights right in the viewfinder.

I have a Sony TRV-900 (yes it's a bit large) that shows zebra stripes in any overexposed areas. I use manual exposure only when skiing and dial the exposure up to where it just begins to show a few zebra stripes in the just the brightest areas and then leave it there or back off a notch. The video comes out spectacular almost every time.

Unless you're out hucking cliffs and want a small cam in your pocket, I'd much rather deal with a slightly heavier, larger cam that gets perfect quality video any day.

I carry mine around either in a backpack or in a Gexar lumbar pelican case (totally bombproof). Unfortunately a google search for Gexar is coming up empty. Maybe they went under? Here's a small pic of it here though: http://www.photographyreview.com/cat...2_3139crx.aspx
post #8 of 16
I agree, carvemeister, for quality productions one should go with a cameral that provides more exposure control. To be fair to this little camera, it was about the brightest blue'ist high noon day you're ever going to encounter, I did not have any ND filtering on the lens that day, and youtube compressions don't help. Even with all that, even though the snow looks very washed, the skier detail is good enough for Video Analysis work, as Jan recognized.

This youtube video was put together as an after thought, from footage from a lesson. For my DVD production work I have a Canon GL2, and I take advantage of it's great exposure management capabilities. I also shoot from a tripod with a super duper video head, and use a wire attached remote so the camera doesn't get jostled while filming. I initially bought this little panasonic to use as a playback deck during capture, but then put it to use in my coaching students. It's small,,, easy to carry,,, provides usable material,,, and all at a disposable price.

Jan is a coach, thus I imagine when she goes on the mountain she's carrying more than just a camera. She lugging gates, and drills, and gate keys, and ski tools, etc. A small camera in a small camera bag stuck somewhere in her pack with the rest of the paraphernalia (what happens with mine), and one inexpensive enough that you don't have to overly fret about something happening to it, can be an attractive option.
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Rick and all-

Thanks for the thoughts. Rick seems to have a pretty clear idea of what I am striving for and he is right that a video camera is only one of much "stuff" that goes out on the hill at a given time. I have certainly seen even more washed out stuff from the hill and was impressed that the light colored pants still showed enough detail in a youtube film, suggesting that what the camera shows could be able to be used as a good teaching tool when played back. Also, fortunately, most of the subjects I would tape tend to wear more colorful clothing so that typically is not as much of an issue.

Thanks again!

post #10 of 16

Before last season I had the same wish and researched this pretty extensively. I wanted a camera that is small, easy to use with gloves, impervious to the cold (more or less), uses standard batteries and memory cards that last reasonably well, has lots of zoom, and a stabilized image.

Canon S3-IS.

Yes, it's a "still" camera, but it takes great video. The Canon is ready to go in seconds, with a dedicated video button. Amazing lens for such a small unit.

See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYZDH5hvU3U

Be sure to click on "watch in high quality," but even then youtube degrades the image substantially: the original is very sharp.

If you click on my user name "sugarbowlskier" you can view my other public videos. All of those from last season were shot with the Canon. (Season before was an Aiptek, an inexpensive non-stabilized video recorder.)

Best wishes,

post #11 of 16
I have a panasonic HDC SD5 AVCHD Camcorder.
It was the smallest full HD (by full HD i mean the highest resolution possible: 1920x1080p) camcorder, Its absolutly amazing and the quality is outstanding. It also has image stabilization.
Just make sure you get a big SD card so you can always film in HD and you might wanna think about getting an external hard drive as well.
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hi All-

Thanks for the thoughts- I am looking into all the suggestions. Had not thought about the camera/could be video camera idea. Would it be reasonable to use when capturing one kid after another...? have to look into that!

post #13 of 16
Originally Posted by jhmonette View Post
Hi All-

Thanks for the thoughts- I am looking into all the suggestions. Had not thought about the camera/could be video camera idea. Would it be reasonable to use when capturing one kid after another...? have to look into that!

Very reasonable. Every on-off cycle writes a separate video file on the Canon's SD card. So it's easy to separate and to see who's who. This is exactly how I use my camera.

The HD thing isn't nearly as cool as it sounds, unless you're planning on showing your video chiefly on an HD display using an HD player of some kind. That means not youtube, not on the cheap TV in your locker room, etc. (No point spending $ on resolution you won't normally display.) Also, I would avoid skiing with an expensive camera with a hard drive. Note that an SD card is much more robust than any hard drive, and usually cheaper too.

Best wishes!
post #14 of 16
Does anyone have any opinions on an inexpensive and small camcorder for night skiing? Some examples would be great.
post #15 of 16
I don't know about night time. If its race coaching and not producing presentation videos, I recently bought an inexpensive digital video camera. I haven't had an opportunity to take it skiing yet but it looks like it night fit the bill. It's inexpensive (under $200), has a pistol grip so its easy to handle, tiny so it will easily fit in your pocket, its waterproof and can take 8mp stills as well as video, records onto an SD card. Its a Sanyo Exacti E2. I sure wish something like this was available back when I was teaching skiing. Not a high quality device I'm sure but neither is it a thing I might be tempted to leave behind because of bulk or weight or concerns about breakage.
post #16 of 16
I think one of the best cameras for action footage is the VholdR camera. The camera attaches to your head and gives you great footage. It's priced at $299 and is well worth the investment.
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