July Challenge #1 - Get Broadcast Video & Audio Filming Bike-to-Bike

This little camera rig allowed me to get shots I'd previously been unable to achieve.

July is frequently a busy working month for me.  Many events that are covered by The Adventure Show take place in this month, so I knew there wouldn't be much time for my own personal challenges.

There is a big one coming this week- more about that when/if I complete it.

Towards the end of last month I filmed Ride to the Sun and came up with a great way to shoot one of our presenters bike-to-bike.

Previously I've held a small Sony camera, but the sound wasn't great and the shots were liable to wobble.

Using the GoPro wrist mount with the GoPro Hero 5 attached allowed me to keep my hands on the handlebars until needed (safer), then because my arm was at full reach when taking the shot it acted like a counterbalance, soaking up any bumps and vibration from the road.  The audio from the GoPro 5 wasn't great, but I was pleased with the footage.

Then the producers at The Adventure Show said they wanted the same type of footage, but from a gravel race endure event.  Could I ride an eBike alongside the competitors as they transitioned between the stages, and crucially, interview them about the previous stage?

The shot and the audio would have to be broadcast standard, while riding along a rough gravel track.

I already had the Rode Video Mic Pro in my kit for use with a DSLR, so I cut into a GoPro 4 housing and, using some Sugru mouldable glue, made something which worked pretty well.

Then I bought a metal housing for the GoPro 5 and the external pack that camera needs to run a mic.  The latter system is more bulky, but the screen size and quality of footage seems better from the 5 to the 4.

I bought the 'dead cat' windshield for the Mic and I was set, but I hadn't tried everything in combination until the event itself (I only managed to buy the mic adaptor while driving to the event!)

Using the mic without the dead cat just didn't work - there was too much wind noise while travelling on the bike.

While the dead cat cut the wind, it was much larger than the plain mic and intruded into the shot, with the GoPro 5 field of view set to Linear.  Actually, it bounced into and out of shot as I rode, which was even more distracting.

Switching the field of view to narrow seemed to fix this, but meant I had to either ride further away from the cyclists I was interviewing to get a wide enough shot, thus risking poorer audio, or ride close for audio and accept a fairly tight framing.  I went with the latter.

Rode make smaller mics, but I'm not sure whether they'd help.  Due to its battery pack, mine already sits well above the lens.  The smaller ones would be closer, so are more likely to go in shot.

If you decide to make something like this (it is easy if I can do it) then I suggest building the Sugru higher than you might think to keep the mic away from the lens.

There was another work challenge this month which involved me spending 25 hours in a rocking prawn boat crossing the Minch, but more about that when the item is closer to transmission.

Oh and as to that other challenge - more to come very soon.

1 comment:

Hung C. Smith said...

I like to read this interesting post, I envy you have enough time and freedom to do what you like.