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Mr_Polite

Using 2 go-pros for video/stills and charging tandems $120

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To summarize - it's a bold move and quite a return on the investment/effort, but at the same time a DZ, in terms of things like tandems and video/stills, is a business, and if they can get that type of return per customer, that's good business.



Since my DZ has more invested in the coke machine out front than any camera gear that frames any tandem leaving their aircraft that statement should be directed at the videographer [:/]:0 [/:/]
The investment DZ's are considering is more likely the handy-cam worn by the tandem instructor. They require no slot and never bitch about to much or to little work...
Still no more of an investment on a DZO than the coke machine:S :o[/crazy]
The end result is directly connected to the effort applied

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My next setup will be the nex 5 with a pancake 16mm and a GoPro 2 at 120 FPS on a medium FOV setting, All that will most likely ride on one of the new toneflys... I agree with most of your statement except maybe for the nonsense part. We do different things for different reasons, I personally don't do video for the money that's offered as much as I use the opportunity the video camera presents me with and that's putting me in a position to take the still shot. The money is good and it helps offset the cost... Others have different motives and drives... I don't consider any ones aspirations nonsense, I'm sure you didn't mean it that way anyhow, check this out not to long ago I was told by a member of our management team that Gopros and our DZ will not fly. (yet they still talk about handy cam) I have a west pro system with a hero 2 mounted underneath the platform that runs in medium FOV at 120 FPS, The video reselution
in that mode is no less than a DVD so there is no loss of anything rendering to that medium... What I've done for the past fifteen maybe twenty tandem videos that I edit at home for mail out is replaced the freefall footage from the cx150 with the Gopro footage.. I up load these videos to my YouTube channel so the costumer can view and share while their DVD package is in transit...I told no one, The only comments I've had from our staff is how smooth the slow motion seems to be.. Now I've let everyone in on my little secrete, It seems to be a past issue now.. Next the only (major) issue we have to solve next is stills... The mini series of mirrorless cameras with exchangeable lens will answer that I believe... Any camera I don't care if it shoots 50 megapixel shots, is only as good as the glass it sees through. (or plastic).
We seem to be on the same page but for different reasons ;)
The end result is directly connected to the effort applied

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Outside of skydiving I am a professional photographer so to me I think of it as any other paying job. I have mixed feelings on this. I would not use two gopros but at the same time there are guys that are using old cameras and crap glass that are out shined by even GoPro photos. GoPros take better video then a lot of handycams out there and when you put a $30 Opteka fisheye lens in front of that that just made your camera junk. I think it, like a lot of things, comes down to pride in your work. If I jump with two GoPros or I jump with my $10,000 camera I get paid the same and the pay is not there to risk jumping with my best camera. When people are paying $100+ they want to feel like they are getting their moneys worth and I don't think many people feel that when they see two GoPros and then look at the other camera guy next to you and they have "real" cameras. Maybe its because I was a photographer before a skydiver but from what I have seen its almost a joke. I'm not saying everybody is like this but I'v seen a lot of guys that have no idea what they are doing and just strap a few cheap cameras to a helmet just to make some money. I think within a few years most people will be jumping two GoPros. If it starts to become the trend why would anybody not do it? Why jump a $5000 setup when you can jump a $500 one?

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I think within a few years most people will be jumping two GoPros. If it starts to become the trend why would anybody not do it? Why jump a $5000 setup when you can jump a $500 one?



This is certainly a consideration.
Another consideration is the guy that jumps a 'real camera' probably started out doing so, but after hundreds (or thousands) of jumps, as realized the cost to his neck. When you're doing 10-14 jumps a day, every ounce counts.
That said, love my NEX5.

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True there is a lot to think about. Every job has the right tool. Maybe for the people that only want some photos and a video to put on Facebook and youtube GoPros are fine. How many people that do a tandem need/want these huge files. 99.9% will never print anything bigger then a 8x10 so why give them more then they want for no reason. I think the biggest drawback with GoPros are the photos, just setting it to take a photos every second kind of sucks.

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Yep. The conflict here is what skydivers want versus what the customer wants. Market demand doesn't give a shit about purity and craft. Fast food, instant coffee, automatic car washes are all inferior products. But only real coffee has held off its lower quality competitors. Why is that? The industry adapted to what the market wanted. The others didn't. The history books a filled with 'better' products that aren't around anymore.
The brave may not live forever, but the timid never live at all.

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Skydiving is a Sport and a Business, it is symbiotic.

After being a full-time videographer, I can tell you I never made profit after equipment expenses and poor living expenses from having pride in my work and having the latest technology. Being a pro meant having backup equipment having 2-3 rigs and 2-3 CX150s. Maintaining safe gear and packjobs cost money. My Canon with tokina 10-17mm got me great photos. But nobody prints nowadays.

I traded quantity and quality for a neck saving NEX C3 with 16mm pancake lens.

A TI will make more money with no equipment investment and packjob to pay for after a skydive. A handshake, certificate and they are done...maybe even a cash tip.

I cringe at
-Videographer using CX150 with shitty quality wide angle lens,
-Using HD Cameras to output to DVD,
-Outside Video Guys using Gopros for video and pics,
-One customer getting a great outside quality video and another customer getting far outside video with poor quality.

But it all comes down to the DZO stuck in the old business model who is paying the same amounts 10, 15, 20 years ago.
So every year you earn less due to inflation and rising cost of living and gear equipment. It would be nice as a "1099-Contractor" if you really got to determine your pay schedule.

The transition to HD and NLE had increased the expense and downtime for a videographer.

I find that factor has forced the lower quality in workmanship of videographers.

If only all DZOs would see the benefit of buying a DZ NLE that is cheaper than one Tandem parachute and get an office editor.

The only thing I really like about handicam videos is the initial reaction of the customer after the parachute opens and the parachute ride. Also video quality is standardized.

I am sure in 10 years time outside videographer are still getting paid $40 to $55 and TI $30.

Now I am a weekend warrior flinging drogues with a Sigma and GP3 Black Handicam and it is a breath of fresh air.

Peace
Kai

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For your own consideration. Some of you are talking about screen grabs vs. using the camera in photo mode. In photo mode they are pretty damn nice.

GOPRO HERO 3 Black Photos from summerfest. Note that facebook really kills quality so here is a full res sample.

I shot a whole event with the silver and feel most of them came out pretty good. And best off doing close to 40 jumps in 3 days and no pain in my neck for once! I do miss flying with the 5D/15mm combo, but for what I make on these shots $0, its not worth my medical bills (I have a spur on my upper neck)

You do need to fly your butt off with a gopro, be fairly close and frame differently but its do-able.

If a videographer can't fly for shit, their photos will suck no matter what they are using.

The opposite is also true....

Btw this is my setup taken with I believe a 7D by Buckie so you can see what fb does to photos.
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but for what I make on these shots $0, its not worth my medical bills



Damn straight, but this thread is about using that equipment on paid video.

As far as stills go, I really feel like my 'job' has become to take the stills and just let the video go along for the ride. Years ago I shot mostly video with no stills, and the job was flying the video, looking for angles and 'moves' I could do that would add to the final product.

Then I started shooting stills on every jump, but this was in the film days, and our SOP was to hand the used roll of film to the customer, so you never saw your stills. But once we switched over to digital still, everything changed.

Now I can review my stills within 10 min of actually shooting them, and that instant feedback can't be beat when it comes to connecting your performance to the final product. So now the 'job' is to get the stills, and the video shoots itself.

The point? Without control over the shutter and a 'quick' rate on the shutter (multiple fps), you're not doing the 'job'. Your just flying around with the cameras (both of them) on auto-pilot.

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Lets think a bit technical about this. You figure your tongue/bite delay is around 200ms and the camera typically around <100ms with a burts rate of ~300ms (depending on camera) so you are looking at a delay of ~300ms per each shot unless you are bursting. The hero black right now is shooting 1 every 500ms. So we have around a 200 to 300ms differential each shot. And then obviously some shots that we probably would not want but that is quick for the customer to click over....

What I'm saying in a nutshell is, with a gopro or a SLR you still need to spend the same amount of time in a particular position to get the shot.Perhaps a SLR is 200ms less, but within 1.5 seconds framing a shot you will have 2-3 shots on a hero3 and 3-5 on most dslrs.

If you want to prove me wrong and I will shut up, go up on a tandem with a recently updated hero3 black gaffered/affixed to your helmet at .5 second iteration and shoot the stills and see if you miss any smiles or frames you want to get. I doubt you will.

-Trunk
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Or... Lets think about this a different way. In order for a POV always firing camera to be acceptable to people saying I'm not in control of when its firing it would need to shoot 3-5 frames a second. I figure this is where the switch reaction time equals the burst speed of the camera. (~200ms as person's normal reaction time + <100ms camera's lag time). These numbers are realized and why we all have burst modes in sports cameras to compensate for our lag and the lag of the camera (fire a bit before and a bit after the smile basically).

And depending on what type of enforcement your dz has on lens and SLR models (someone with a kit lens firing a canon X from 1993) the quality may be there now or need to be slightly upgraded.

I guess I'm asking at what technical point does the "I'm a camera flyer I must be using an SLR" wear off and lighter, healthier options win? I think we are almost there...

Tandem students are not looking to print billboards, they are posting their photos on facebook, 8x10's, and maybe in a super small case canvas or 11x17. The Hero3 technically works for these cases.

In the end, as a videographer, its your choice the quality of work you produce for your customer. I just think we are quickly getting to the point where a POV camera is more than acceptable.
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As an addition...
Years ago actually I wrote something about the cost effectiveness of tandem videos&photos... Generally it was saying that an individual costumer has to cover all the expenses (slot, labor, DZ profit), while in the production world a whole audience covers all of the cost.
I love jumping with my 5D+ L lenses+ flashes or high end camcorders, but only if there's a return from it. (not always $ value though...)
...and as many other camera men besides Trunk already mentioned the neck issue and it's medical consequences.

The two GoPro set up can be an issue though if other staff members at the same DZ use better equipment. Standardization can help with those issues...

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The two GoPro set up can be an issue though if other staff members at the same DZ use better equipment. Standardization can help with those issues...



Standardization to the lowest common-denominator you mean? So as to "support" the liquidating of the product and not allow even an opportunity for "market influences" (because the customer won't even get a choice / be aware) - Is that what you are advocating?
coitus non circum - Moab Stone

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What is the oldest SLR that we allow at our DZs currently?
Does the DZ concession allow kit lenses? How about scratched up or full of dust sensors?

Please don't be quick on saying a HERO3 is the lowest common denominator. I would bet from what I've seen at most DZs it is not.
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By standardization I mean a few things.
Equipment isn't the only factor to provide descent video/still product.
Just because some owns a better camera gear it doesn't mean he/she can properly use it. Most camera people in the sport are skydivers jumping with cameras vs. photographers who learned to skydive.
So standardization also should require the same knowledge and skill level of photography of every cameramen/camerawomen.
And yes everybody should use a very similar equipment so each coustumer would receive a relatively same product for the same price.
It can be achieved with two GoPros as well. Of course the client (tandem passenger) should be charged accordinly...
If you go to the mall please check out one of those photo booths where they take pictures of family and children! They charge more than a tandem video&still packege cost at most DZs, while from the photography stand point it's lot more challenging to take photos jumping out of airplanes.
And while I'm not a big fan of the GoPros I have to agree with Trunk, they actually provide significantly better quality image than a Sony CX camcorder with one of the super wide single element lenses.
I advocate descent quality product according with the payment.
A $45-55 payment per jump for a camera person actually CAN provide descent pruduct even with GoPros.

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I'm not doing many jumps these days shooting tandems as I'm usually the one chucking the drogue and getting my picture for a change :)
Stills:
t1i: 15.1 MP JPEG format 4752 x 3168 pixels (roughly 15.5" X 10.5" @ 300ppi)
GP2: 11 MP JPEG format (roughly 9" X 13")
Both easily capable of printing an 8x10 without any degrading of the photo. I will admit I have been spoiled and have shot nothing but digital stills since I started and love that I can get with both cameras shooting between 200-300 photos for them that I widdle down to about 100 by the time it's over but I can now run that 3.5 fps on exit till I don't like the framing or the memory card can't keep up. But I can relax on my tongue switch and may not miss "the shot" because the gopro is clicking away every second.

Video:
cx110: 1080i 30fps
GP3: 1080p 60fps and capable of more but considering I'm overkilling writing to DVD anyway.... :S

Here are some pics I have taken over the years https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.47273918960.44500.738538960&type=1&l=d91908a589 And I know facebook sucks the life out of them but this is where most of our pics go to die. And yes I went through an artsy phase shortly after getting my first copy of Photochop :P

Here's one of me rockin my HC3 and XTi w/ flash from about 5 years ago. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=531801585215&set=t.738538960&type=3&theater

Now as far as only using go-pro footage and pics, ok when you're learning the trade and need a point of reference to see what you're shooting, sure. As far as for every student that walks through and you're shooting probably one of the greatest moments of their life. Nah.... Get some nice equipment and use your gopro as backup or on fun jumps. ;)

Just my $0.02
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I have many years behind me as a photographer and later started to skydive. To this day I still have trouble believing that you can get acceptable quality with these action cams. The technical specs make it like running an old school 110 instant camera.

Truth be told the gopros are now a $400 item and the quality of video is not far off from the trusty old CX-100. I've been battling with the idea of jumping ship for a while now. Stills will never be able to compete, especially when you're on a sunset load but the question really becomes one of "good enough".

This year I stooped to a new low and downgraded the SLR to a rebel series camera for the weight savings. I still get compliments about the shots I've done but deep down I know they would have been better with the 5D. I just don't know how long my neck will put up with a heavy camera setup...

One other thing I've done is run the Rebel with MagicLantern to get all but the freefall video. The quality is noticeably better but how do you get paid for this? At the end of the day as an outside video guy I can only spend $$$ on the better gear for personal satisfaction.

-Michael

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I too have been saved by flying backup, Video from a bottom mounted GoPro shooting 120 fps. With the FOV on medium it is very close to matching my .55 on the cx150 using active stabilization.. Makes for great slow motion exits... As a still its only as good as what its looking through (plastic vrs glass) , There is personal motivation in packing real glass and some of the shots I have printed and framed separate my desire from others... Thats all it really boils down to..
I wonder if Mike Mcgowan (spelling?) would have settled for a GoPro?
For me its not about the Tandem at all, it's about how I tell the story... My gear is what I choose, no one else decides that. I had to prove the GoPro hero2 shot video as well as the cx150... I dropped the freefall footage on twelve videos and replaced to with GoPro footage and the only thing noticed by those watching was the smoother slo motion exits...
Change is good and I'm seriously looking at the NEX for stills.. I don't see a real quality issue here if everything is set up right...
My rig is below
The end result is directly connected to the effort applied

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