Monday, 13 August 2012

Getting high viewpoints with a carp rod and a Flymount with a Gopro Hero 2 and an Adixxion

We've got some interesting shoots coming up and I need to have a camera high above the action, maybe even out over a chasm, and been wondering how to do it simply, reliably and cheaply. It's got to be light as well, don't want to be lugging great masses of equipment miles from the roadhead.
So I bought a carp rod, 7 metres of light plastic rod that packs down small but is strong enough to hold a GoPro or an Adixxion.
I glued a 6mm thread into the end, after discarding the last thin section, and then made an adaptor so I could use the Flymount balljoint for flexibility and versatility of mounting. The Flymount balljoint is simply epoxied to an L shaped piece of steel which fits on to the 6mm thread stuck in the end of the rod.
A GoPro just slots on or an Adixxion screws on using the camera mount adaptor
The rod bends but you can get some nice distance out from where you are

I changed the settings so the cameras recorded upside down - both the GoPro Hero 2 and the Adixxion allow you to do this easily
and then adjusted the angle to suit
and shot a very boring sample shot
To give you an idea of scale, the cage at bottom left is 8 feet tall, I can get up about 6 metres if the rod is straight up - plus my height of just under 2 metres - and that's about 25 feet in real measurements.
The big thing I want to be able to do is to run the camera just over someone's head as they fly by, or jump off a cliff, so it seems as if the camera is flying behind them. 
I'll start practising now!

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Difference between JVC Adixxion and GoPro 2 exposures

Here are a couple of screen grabs of a test shoot on the van - simple images and the Adixxion is pulled down by the lens protector and the GoPro is on 920 instead of 1080. You'll see the big variation in the exposure - I much prefer the Adixxion. Maybe I should have put the GoPro into spot metering mode but I wanted to see what the two cameras came up with in standard mode. Here's the GoPro:
and here's the Adixxion
You can see that the GoPro is preserving highlights at the expense of the foreground while the Adixxion favours the foreground and loses the highlights. It may be a result of the GoPro's wider field of view but it's worth thinking about if you are shooting from a vehicle and in dull weather.

JVC Adixxion lens protector - not a lens! Take care - not like the cover on the GoPro Hero 2

Here's the new JVC Adixxion with the new GoPro Hero 2 on top of my van. The Adixxion has a lens protector on it which I thought must be to protect the lens when shooting in harsh conditions - but it ruins the images. I can't find any info in the instructions or online - except that B&H suggest it's OK for sandy conditions but you'd have to desperate. The protector distorts and softens the image and adds flare like you've put a very greasy fingerprint on the lens. I'm getting used to the new Adixxion, though, and liking it. The GoPro Hero 2 has a much easier menu now, almost as easy as the Adixxion but not quite so obvious. We'll be shooting in France sometime in mid-August and using all the cameras - Adixxion, GoPro Hero, GoPro Hero 2 and the Drift. From my early shots with the GoPro 2 I can say it's a pretty good image maker and well worth updating to. If I was given the choice of a cheaper Hero or a more expensive Hero 2 I'd not hesitate to go for the 2.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

JVC Adixxion compared to GoPro Hero & Drift

Interesting cameras, these three, each with their own characteristics. I'm only a small part of the way into my in-depth test of the new JVC Adixxion but I can say from the early results that it's a winner. The handling is lovely, everyone I show it to wants one, they just hold it and it works in the hand and feels really good. Excellent design work here. I've WiFi linked it to my iPhone and shot using the iPhone as a remote viewer and shutter release and go about 50 yards away - although the shutter response is pretty slow so I've contacted JVC to see if there's a new firmware patch to update this. I like the angle of view - so here are a few screengrabs from a short video I did with all 3 cameras on top of my van as I drove round town. This is the setup - some custom made magnetic Flymounts for vehicle use - email us on if you want to buy the Flymount balljoint parts to add to your own magnetic slab and they'll cost £11 plus £3 postage. I used Araldite to glue them on to Taxi sign magnetic mounts, sawing off the screw threads on the metal side of the magnetic mounts so the Flymount balljoint would fit and work. Makes a good little mount. This is the Drift view: This is the Adixxion view: And this is the GoPro view: Again, here's the Drift view: Here's the Adixxion: and lastly, the GoPro: You can see that the Drift and GoPro are a wider view - fisheye at about 180º but the Adixxion is a bit longer, which is refreshing and I think it's a more useful angle of view. Look at the colour - the Adixxion is very neutral, followed by the GoPro which is a bit warmer and the Drift is very warm - much more yellow and magenta. These are screengrabs so they only give a general idea of what the cameras are capable of but it's a pretty good indication. Over the next few days I'll be shooting much more and I'll put up the first video report.