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Advice for beginning camera jumping

 


Divalent  (C 40494)

Aug 1, 2012, 8:53 AM
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Advice for beginning camera jumping Can't Post

[Edited to add: as I note in response to a comment below, my purpose for having a camera is for personal POV recordings, with no intention to move on to become a camera flyer.]

I am approaching the point were I think I will be strapping on a camera (got a few dozen more jump to go). Although one can find lots of admonishments here to wait until you get 200 jumps, I haven't run across a good concisely-packaged list of advice for how to safely integrate a camera into ones jumping routine once they have enough experience. (There was, however, several threads where low timers were asking for such advice, and it seems like the only answer they got was "just wait or you will kill yourself; and when you have enough jumps, then go talk to someone who knows.")

Anyway, after looking over the camera incidents thread, and talking to people I trust as thoughtful safety conscious folks, I thought I'd take a stab at coming up with something myself. Obviously I have no experience, so this is just a initial attempt, and might strike those of you with experience as either naive and/or downright dangerous.

Please treat this as a starting list for someone who has the jump numbers and presence of mind to not get overwhelmed by adding a camera, but needs some pointers/advice so that they go about in a safe (or safer) way.

Thus, your comments, additions, modifications, etc. would be appreciated. Additional things you might want to add are particular skill sets that should be mastered: IOW, things not directly related to jumping with a camera, but should be skills that someone with 200 jumps might not necessarily have picked up along the way before they consider jumping with a camera.

Jumping with a Camera: dos and don'ts:

- get a helmet cutaway chin strap. (and learn/practice how to use it).
- get advice on mounting in a way that minimizes snag potential.
- become thoroughly familiar with using the camera on the ground (on/off, image settings, mounting, charge, etc) well before taking it on that first jump.
- Until you have a lot of experience jumping a camera, and are very comfortable with it being part of your jump routine, don't be (or pretend to be) a "camera flyer" filming yourself or others. Just think of it as logging your own experience.
- Turn on the camera at the 2 minute warning on jump run; not later than that.
- Do a complete handle check sequence and leg chest helmet strap check immediately after turning the camera on in the plane. (The idea is that you will record that check, so that it becomes habit, just in case thinking about camera led you to overlook something.)
- If something isn't right by the time the door opens on jump run, just forget about recording that jump. (e.g., forgot/failed to power on, or adjust aim, etc)
- Although one should forget about the camera is recording during the jump, do be aware that physically it is there, and be cautious when climbing out and when bunching together for a linked exit, etc. (But once out the door, forget about what the camera is recording, although be mindful that it is there.)
- Do several solo jumps with it at the start so you can develop a routine without distraction. (Perhaps even a hop-n-pop to start if you jump at a busy DZ.)
- Consider opening 1K higher than usual until you get comfortable with the presence of the camera.
- Think about scenarios that might involve snags on the camera and how you should adjust your EPs to deal with them.

Comments additions criticisms welcome.


(This post was edited by Divalent on Aug 1, 2012, 11:02 AM)


Premier billvon  (D 16479)
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Aug 1, 2012, 9:12 AM
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Re: [Divalent] Advice for beginning camera jumping [In reply to] Can't Post

> Although one should forget about the camera being there during the most of the
>jump, do be aware that physically it is there, and be cautious when climbing out and
>when bunching together for a linked exit

If your goal is to learn to do camera I would suggest you not start out by doing "regular" dives with it. I'd do the following:

-Do your "regular" dives until you are proficient at whatever you want to film. i.e. if you want to film 4-way, do enough 4-ways that you can reliably launch exits and turn several points on the dive. Learn the randoms and the blocks.

-Switch to flying in camera position for a 4 way _without_ a camera for a few dives, so you get used to the different exit/timing/position.

-Add the camera.

Using a camera takes some concentration and I find that with newer camera people, combining RW and camera is a bit much. That being said, taking a camera along once you are comfortable with whatever you're doing is not a very bad thing, it just doesn't teach you what you need to know as quickly to start doing camera (IMO.)

If, however, your goal is just to "take a camera on a regular jump" then consider a chest mount. Angle is better, fewer snag hazards during belly skydives and it's a lot easier to deal with in the plane (you can see it.)


theonlyski  (D License)

Aug 1, 2012, 9:26 AM
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Re: [billvon] Advice for beginning camera jumping [In reply to] Can't Post

Very good point Bill...

In reply to:
If, however, your goal is just to "take a camera on a regular jump" then consider a chest mount. Angle is better, fewer snag hazards during belly skydives and it's a lot easier to deal with in the plane (you can see it.)

My first couple dozen "camera jumps" were with a go pro on a mudflap that I had set up (and got the camera guys at the dz to approve/critique). Video turned out pretty good and it was easy to see if the camera was running or not.

If the OP just want's the camera along for the ride and not to be filming *-way or whatnot, it would probably be just fine and a unique angle for the video (that's not commonly seen these days).


DanG  (D 22351)

Aug 1, 2012, 9:45 AM
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Re: [Divalent] Advice for beginning camera jumping [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Turn on the camera at the 2 minute warning on jump run; not later than that.

Eh, I don't think it really matters when you turn it on. Discussed more below.

In reply to:
Do a complete handle check sequence and leg chest helmet strap check immediately after turning the camera on in the plane. (The idea is that you will record that check, so that it becomes habit, just in case thinking about camera led you to overlook something.)

I don't see the point of recording during your gear check. You won't be recording the check, you'll be recording the wall or floor of the plane while you do your checks. After a while you'll get sick of having two minutes of nothing before every dive. When I was jumping camera I turned the camera on after my gear check, and hit the record button a couple seconds before exit. I'm not saying that's how it should be done, but I don't get the idea of recording during your gear check. I do agree with the idea of building a routine. Just remember, if you discover something wrong during your routine, or get distracted, you need to start the whole routine again. The only problem I see with turning the camera on before your gear check is if you have a problem with the camera, you might run out of time to do the gear check. Do the gear check first, it's more important.

In reply to:
If something isn't right by the time the door opens on jump run, just forget about recording that jump.

When first starting out, this is excellent advice. It goes hand in hand with the idea that you shouldn't be holding yourself out as doing anything except filming for fun and education. If there's no pressure to get the shot for someone else, you're less likely to get focused on the least important part of the jump: filming.

In reply to:
(after that, forget about it).

I very much disagree with this. It's the same mindset that inexperienced people have when they say they'll just strap on a GoPro and forget about it. Having a camera, especially a helmet or hand mounted one, can have an impact on your deployment technique and emergency procedures, and can create emergencies that you wouldn't have otherwise. You can't just forget you have something sticking out of your helmet, you need to remember that, and adjust your jump accordingly.

In reply to:
Consider opening 1K higher than usual until you get comfortable with the presence of the camera.

I'd change that to: consider opening higher on every jump with a camera for the rest of your career. Getting used to the camera doesn't make it go away.

Disclaimer: I haven't jumped in 2.5 years, and only had about 500 camera jumps during my career.


Divalent  (C 40494)

Aug 1, 2012, 9:53 AM
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Re: [billvon] Advice for beginning camera jumping [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for your feedback. I should have stated that my particular purpose is to have personal POV recordings; I have no intention of being a camera flyer for others. The mudflap mount sounds like a possible intermediate step to get comfortable with having a camera on the jump.

Part of the reason (but not the only one) is to help me learn what I do, particularly under canopy. (E.g., do I really keep my head on a swivel? I know I do when I think about it, but do I really do it when I don't consciously think about it?)


(This post was edited by Divalent on Aug 1, 2012, 9:57 AM)


Premier billvon  (D 16479)
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Aug 1, 2012, 10:58 AM
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Re: [Divalent] Advice for beginning camera jumping [In reply to] Can't Post

>Part of the reason (but not the only one) is to help me learn what I do, particularly
>under canopy. (E.g., do I really keep my head on a swivel?)

For that chest mount might be ideal. You don't see much with headmount under canopy.


Divalent  (C 40494)

Aug 1, 2012, 10:59 AM
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Re: [DanG] Advice for beginning camera jumping [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
(after that, forget about it).

I very much disagree with this. It's the same mindset that inexperienced people have when they say they'll just strap on a GoPro and forget about it. Having a camera, especially a helmet or hand mounted one, can have an impact on your deployment technique and emergency procedures, and can create emergencies that you wouldn't have otherwise. You can't just forget you have something sticking out of your helmet, you need to remember that, and adjust your jump accordingly.

Good point. Perhaps it should be: "once out the door, forget about what the camera is recording, but be mindful that it is there." [I'll see if I can edit it still.]

Regarding recording a handle/strap check, the point is to (at least initially) have a routine that you follow after the camera is rolling to return you (if you were away) to the key things you need to be sure of when making a jump. And by recording it, you can later confirm you did it. Many incidents in the "camera incidents" thread were of folks forgetting something important (like, a chest strap!) because they were thinking about their camera. The idea is to develop good mental habits.


Premier DSE  (D 29060)

Aug 1, 2012, 11:02 AM
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Re: [Divalent] Advice for beginning camera jumping [In reply to] Can't Post

Take Norman Kent's camera course, or buy his training DVD (or both).


CSpenceFLY  (D 25252)

Aug 1, 2012, 4:45 PM
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Re: [Divalent] Advice for beginning camera jumping [In reply to] Can't Post

Learn to fly camera without a wide angle lens. They are a crutch.


nigel99  (D 1)

Aug 2, 2012, 1:17 AM
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Re: [Divalent] Advice for beginning camera jumping [In reply to] Can't Post

Peter,

One idea is to start jumping the cutaway/chin cup camera helmet now with no camera fitted. It helps to get used to the helmet/cutaway system so that it is not something else 'new'.

Also use the jumping with the helmet cutaway to practise/think through the revised cutaway procedures.

If you don't have an audible it is a good idea to add that to the mix now as well and get used to it.


speedy

Aug 2, 2012, 7:02 AM
Post #11 of 14 (1435 views)
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Re: [CSpenceFLY] Advice for beginning camera jumping [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Learn to fly camera without a wide angle lens. They are a crutch.

Without the wide angle lens the picture seems to suffer a bit more from camera shake. Then again that's maybe something to do with the camera.

Having said that, I prefer to film with the least wide of the wide angle lenses available. It helps me keep my distance from the idiots that I'm filming Tongue


airtwardo  (D License)

Aug 3, 2012, 7:58 AM
Post #12 of 14 (1271 views)
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Re: [DanG] Advice for beginning camera jumping [In reply to] Can't Post

I very much disagree with this. It's the same mindset that inexperienced people have when they say they'll just strap on a GoPro and forget about it. Having a camera, especially a helmet or hand mounted one, can have an impact on your deployment technique and emergency procedures, and can create emergencies that you wouldn't have otherwise. You can't just forget you have something sticking out of your helmet, you need to remember that, and adjust your jump accordingly.

In reply to:

Old Guy Camera Rant ~

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0p7FPCqbZ-M


Take a look at the above linked video and then return & read on.


THAT is any demo jumpers worst nightmare, dropping something from altitude that could hurt or even kill a spectator...it was caused by a GoPro.

At the beginning of the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh airshow this year the people from GoPro had a HUGE marketing program in place. They had a large semi sized mobile facility that had several wide screen TVs going showing all the great things one can do with this little camera.

They ALWAYS had several hundred people gathered around hoping to win a give-a-way or buying one of the units...GoPro had a great bunch of people there and in speaking with one I know they had a very successful time at the convention, I think I remember 1/4 million in sales being tossed out as a number.

One of the ways they were promoting the product was to outfit the performers with a Hero2 or more and then edit & playback that footage on the outdoor displays. Quite effective as it was very interesting to see the perspectives from the performers view ~ and the spectators just ate it up.


On the other hand...THIS grumpy ole fart saw problems from the get-go.
One of our more experienced demo jumpers was damn near out of control...'jump a cool little camera HERE, that WILL let me do just as they advertise...Be A Hero' ~YOU BET!

Problem is, although we jump with all kinds of extra stuff attached all over us, it's something we practice, something that's well thought out, and something that is actually the REASON for making the jump in the first place. . . attaching a camera with no training only serves to increase the complexity of an already edgy skydive.

It was obvious that my protests were not going to be heeded, after all I jump a camera on demos all the time and have for years.
But then again, I have 6-700 camera jumps and yes I DO turn it on and forget about it...that's obvious to anyone that's ever seen one of my demo vids! Sly

The best I could do was sit everyone down who was jumping a camera for the Beer! time and explain a few of the issues 'we have' discussed on these forums... define & warn against GoPro-itus.

By the 2nd day of the show - it was off the chain! People filming our briefing instead of listening, discussing the best shot angle instead of the spot...on & on. A couple of guys even FORGOT gear they needed once we were on board and had to go chasing after our support van to retrieve it...we had ANOTHER long talk that evening. Frown

It did little good, the following day a good friend, long time jumper (42 years) and one of the better demo jumpers I know...shows me his SECOND camera attached to his 'standard Protec'...it's sticking 4-5 inches out off the right side of the helmet on a mount that MUST have been designed to foul parachute deployments! Crazy

WTF...I explained how 3 possible things could happen and two of 'em were really bad. Wouldn't be deterred even after I explained in detail how well the noose he created would work and thankfully we'd have footage of his demise! Devil

...he landed ok, but deployment riser smacked that camera so hard the impression of it is in the side of the helmet forever, not such a great shot on that one. Laugh

Time to throttle it back...I discussed with the GoPro rep some concerns the next day. Showed him my GoPro mount which is side mounted on an L bracket, with a strong bungee going over it, with a short piece of super-tack holding the whole thing to the helmet so that even IF it were to detach it wouldn't drop on the crowd....overkill the rep thought, but he did go with less that day with regard to where and how attached.

Wasn't only US, as seen in the above attached vid, the Military team also had it's problems. Let me preface by saying these we some of the coolest people and most professional demo jumpers I've ever met...we got along well. I doubt they would take offence to my using this example as a learning tool.

That sequence was only 1/3 of the way through, the flag jumper wearing the camera was supposed to turn 90 and the side-by re-docks.
He himself open and honestly admitted he was concentrating on the shot and missed this cue to turn...thankfully the flag, WITH the heavy weight....landed out in the Pyro field and not on any spectators.

The next morning the airshow briefing was quite concise about things...'Start pulling those cameras OFF the aircraft & jumpers before someone DOES get hurt....do it NOW'

Think about this for a minute...THE BEST professionals in the business were not able to 'set it & forget it' ~ as many of the Norm Kent wanna be n00bs claim they will be able to do.

Make NO mistake about it, adding a camera adds complexity...IF your don't receive training, practice with it, have the right gear to go along with it ~ just a matter of time until something unexpected happens.

It might kill you or someone else..OR it just might end up being hilariously funny. The icing on the weeks cake was the last day, my buddy 'snuck' one more camera jump in.

This time it was a low in front mount. It looked ok and we had a quick re brief on EP's & forgetting it was there. WELL...I'll have to look for it but I have the download, GREAT shot of him coming in for a landing, the sun behind giving surrealistic detail to the shadow ever increasing in size.

Right up until he no flares into a two foot deep puddle of muddy icky drainage water...face first!

Reviewing the vid...hands in the toggles never move until WAY too late, the splash is gut busting funny, especially when all ya hear is ~ 'hope these things are water proof!' SlyPirate


SO...

MY ~advise for beginning camera jumping~

Get good at skydiving FIRST, then get some camera training and use appropriate gear. . .be SAFE, not a HERO!


theonlyski  (D License)

Aug 3, 2012, 9:30 AM
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Re: [airtwardo] Advice for beginning camera jumping [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
GREAT shot of him coming in for a landing, the sun behind giving surrealistic detail to the shadow ever increasing in size.

Right up until he no flares into a two foot deep puddle of muddy icky drainage water...face first!

Reviewing the vid...hands in the toggles never move until WAY too late, the splash is gut busting funny, especially when all ya hear is ~ 'hope these things are water proof!' SlyPirate

Ya GOTTA post that!Sly


airtwardo  (D License)

Aug 3, 2012, 10:25 AM
Post #14 of 14 (1216 views)
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Re: [theonlyski] Advice for beginning camera jumping [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
GREAT shot of him coming in for a landing, the sun behind giving surrealistic detail to the shadow ever increasing in size.

Right up until he no flares into a two foot deep puddle of muddy icky drainage water...face first!

Reviewing the vid...hands in the toggles never move until WAY too late, the splash is gut busting funny, especially when all ya hear is ~ 'hope these things are water proof!' SlyPirate

Ya GOTTA post that!Sly


I just got home last night from the show - still unpacking...it's on a stick somewhere, I'll download & link it when I can.

Poor 'Aqua-man' may never live this down! LaughLaugh

The best part is how he was tryin' to downplay it hoping nobody saw him.

He starts to get into the back of the Mustang convertible for the trip down the show-line...the 'clap-lap' ...when the more most easy going, straight laced guy on the team who was was already in the car, takes two sniffs looks over at him in disgust and after hopping out of the 'stang in retreat says ~

"Jesus Christ you freakin' STINK...where the hell did you LAND?!?" Shocked




~Of course ME always being the sympathetic friend, grabbed the card outta the camera LONG before he thought to do it! DevilWink



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