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OG-Tahiti

Action cameras setup for tandem video and stills

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Hello everyone, I am from Tahiti and we have a small tandem operation that started a few months ago. And yes, we do tandem jumps in Bora Bora, so tell your non skydiving honeymooners friends B|

Right now our two tandem instructors use a pair of GoPro2 mounted on gloves. They are under specific french regulations and can pretty much do what they want, so the hand mounted cams was no issue to them.

For now we can not have someone doing video on every tandem jump but are working towards being able to offer this service. Some of use here will need to get equipped for that.

The classic option is T2i for stills and a CX110 for video. At least that's what I saw at all of the few DZs I visited.

But we think we should shift to a pair of action cameras. I think that we can all agree that unless you shoot with proper $$$ HD glass on your CX110 it is not that much better than what you can get with a GoPro3 Black, and if you shoot in the 2.7k mode you can do some serious post prod and video stabilization, or shoot in 120fps for some badass slowmos. I just feel like the GoPro3 Black has taken an edge on the cookie cutter CX110. If you use your CX110 to the max then yeah maybe not, but I know we wont for tandem video use.

The GoPro in 2 pictures/second is also very decent for pictures, but by no means can match a T2i with somewhat decent glass. So it would be a compromise to "downgrade" to an action cam for the stills.
But what I am wondering is if this downgrade is still well within the quality people expect when they pay for stills of their jumps. Right now they seem pretty happy with the bad handheld shots from beatup GoPro2s so we can only do better :)

I do not have much experience on the other action cameras, but from what I read and heard it would be between the GoPro3 Black and the Sony Action Cam, but seeing how Trunks trashes the action cam for skydiving I would tend to stick with the GoPro. By the way, Trunks makes some very valid points, you should checkout the article.

So, should we go the double GoPro3 option? We could use a 3D mount on the front on any simple helmet with a cutaway system (no ifs about it in france, makes it easy. Camera = cutaway + no rsl or you do not jump it.)

Or go T2i for still with a GoPro3 for video mounted right under it, using something like the new Ton Fly 2.5x video helmet with a flat top the shape of the T2i, I want one of those :) http://www.tonflyusa.com/1x.php

Thanks for any input and blue skies!!
"Common sense is not so common" - Voltaire
Dudeist Skydiver #9

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Of course this topic needs some pictures!! Check out the jumps from yesterday, and be sure to check older albums too as it was pretty cloudy yesterday ;)

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.516852665050643.1073741863.201763469892899&type=1

Hope the link works for everyone!
"Common sense is not so common" - Voltaire
Dudeist Skydiver #9

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Just a fast point;
GoPro isn't winning any love with the problems with the GP3Black, and now many pro's have quit using them citing the nearness of the new model.

The Sony AS 15 is being used daily by several videographers here at Skydive Elsinore and at several other DZ's as well. There is nothing wrong with it that any other camera doesn't have wrong with it (I hate microSD and hard-to-access USB ports on all of them).

I'm a fan of a quality camera, but have also faced the reality that overall it's a race to the bottom.
Cheaper, smaller, less creative cameras turn the trick on a tandem dropzone. Having spent all of today jumping a 27lb camera, I see the attraction. If I was doing 10 jumps a day with tandems, I'd want Sony/GoPro/Replay too. And they're disposable.

3D is dying/dead at every level, so I'd leave that completely out of the conversation.
For web-delivered photography, any of the action cams are just fine. So is your iPhone or Droid.

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Thanks for the reply Spot, this is exactly the kind of feedback we need.

Regarding the 3D I was only thinking of using the housing to have both GoPros in it, not the actual 3D shooting :)

Regarding the Sony AS 15, it looks like the mounting options are not that great, but that can be changed with the new Cookie mount for a side mount and as you said it mostly has the same problems as the others.

I just saw that chutingstar has a 37mm ring adapter for the ReplayXD. Would that make it the better option if you put some good HD glass on it?

What GP3Black issues are you talking about? I had quite a few when I first got it, but since the last couple firmware updates it is smooth sailing.

So it looks like it is becoming more and more of an option to go for action cameras to shoot tandems in a decent enough quality for the customers. Which is mostly web use of their pictures and youtube uploads of their videos.
Oh and I think I'll just side mount an iPhone on the right and an Android on the left to look like mickey mouse and call it quits ;)

Again thanks to you guys for the feedback and opinions.
"Common sense is not so common" - Voltaire
Dudeist Skydiver #9

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Ive been shooting handy as long as it has been around and regular outside vid since hi 8. I'd get two double GP sets per TM, FunJump makes a sweet swivel mount. Shoot every student, drop the glove to show vid and pics and take up the second on the turn. You can count on 30% add on percentage easy. Should have a 70-80% media rate.

Also better get a few extra cameras for the airplane. GP's sometimes get cranky and lock up. Better just to swap out in the plane than to scramble trying to get the battery out or in airplane format. Keep em charged and in the glove box...and an on the go charger too!

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Personally I think that well-taken stills will ultimately be more appreciated for longer by most customers, ESPECIALLY at a holiday/destination drop zone such as yours. If you have an outside video flyer that can CHOOSE his shots (rather than hope that 150 shots at a 2 second interval covers everything), you'll end up with a higher quality product to promote your dz and make the customer that much more happy.
For video, I think it's personal preference, but even the cx110/115/150 series has many features that an action cam can't match...One possible exception being the AS-15 which has a good steadyshot system for skydiving on it. Other than that they definitely need to put more thought in to mounts, cases, etc. I finally found two mounts that I like a lot for the AS-15 which I don't need to have it in the underwater case for (did Zeiss design the plastic case too?)
You might also want to think about doing some testing if you can for post processing time differences.

In short, while my neck doesn't agree, I still prefer quality for the customer over ease for the video flyer.
good luck.

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Thanks for all the nice feedback guys!

We did some helicopter tandem jumps over Bora Bora and I used my T2i with a 2.8 15mm canon fisheye for stills and the GPHD3 in 1080p60fps for video. Both turned out very nicely.

I still need to figure out the best setting for shooting in such amazing light conditions ^^

The album should be public:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.521725627896680.1073741866.201763469892899&type=1

My first jump shooting stills with the T2i, beer!!! ^^
"Common sense is not so common" - Voltaire
Dudeist Skydiver #9

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