With summer here, I want to take video of some fun stuff I like to do. Do you use an action camera to record things, and if so, which one do you use?
Go Pro or Go Elsewhere
Thank you for writing in. Good question, and I actually have a couple of different ones that I’ve used, so it’ll be fun to respond to your question.
I own a GoPro Hero4 that I bought a few years ago, and have loved filming everything from fishing trips to using it on a selfie stick and putting it underwater to chase crabs, and even just general family events. It’s a great camera, and the accessories and mounts available make it possible to film in almost any situation. I think my favorite accessory is a suction cup mount that I can put on nearly anything; it would take Arnold Schwarzenegger himself to pry that suction cup off whatever it’s mounted to. The video quality is incredible, but I have one gripe, and it’s not even really the camera’s fault. When I’m recording something and tilt the camera, the video it’s recording also tilts, so watching it afterward can cause a significant amount of motion sickness. I suppose it could be fixed in the editing process, but I came across another camera that solved this problem, and the entire experience from ordering the camera to receiving it was as interesting as the camera itself.
A year ago, I saw an ad for a camera called Revl, which was mounted to the center of wheel of a car; as the car drove, the camera automatically stabilized itself to remain level with the help of a gimbal located in the rear of the camera. I immediately thought of the last GoPro video I had recorded of my daughter catching a nice bluefish during the Derby; when I went to record underwater, I had flipped the camera upside down, and got slightly seasick when watching it on my TV later that night. I rewatched the Revl promotional ad online over and over, and decided to order one.
When placing my order, I saw the product wasn’t actually available yet; though I had missed the Kickstarter campaign, I was still considered an “early backer.” Though the current price is $475 with a coupon offered on their site, I was able to buy mine for less than that with the caveat of not having any assurances of when it would ship. After ordering it, I was invited to join a Facebook page for early backers, and it was fascinating getting updates from the top people in the company, detailing manufacturing updates, quality control, software development, and work being done in the company’s office. There were delays in most aspects of the project, but seeing video updates from the founder and CEO, Eric Sanchez, along with personal replies to my posts on their Facebook page, made it all fine. Most of us early backers did grow increasingly impatient, but Eric kept assuring us that the delays were because they were crazy about making sure they shipped a product they felt confident in, not just something shipped to meet a deadline.
I received my Revl in March, and after being impatient, got so busy with life that I didn’t end up opening it and using it until a few weeks ago. One word, though: WOW. I did what everyone does first — I put it on a selfie stick and rotated it around my head and toward the ground and watched the camera record level with the horizon. I then brought the camera to Maine when I dropped my son off at an Outward Bound program, and used it while I did my own hiking and kayaking to test it out. Though the camera is capable of 4k 30fps recording, I used 180p 30fps recording to save a bit of space on the SD card I bought for it. Recording and controlling the camera can be done using an app on the phone, which also syncs to display the videos; can automatically edit your video; and gives all sorts of data on the recording, including speed, GPS tracking, elevation, and more. In addition to the gimbal working to keep the camera level, it also uses electronic stabilization. It’s waterproof to 33 feet without needing a housing, and to be honest, if my camera is at a depth lower than that, it’s likely a result of a one-way trip from being dropped off a boat, though fingers crossed that won’t happen.
Though my videos were not as action-packed as some of the kitesurfing, motorcycle-riding, skateboarding clips I’ve seen online, the camera captured my hikes brilliantly, and I even got a quick recording of my first moose sighting.
The camera comes with adapters that make it compatible with GoPro mounts, so even though it’s a new product, it can tap into a wealth of pre-existing resources.
The GoPro is still a fantastic camera, and there are many versions to choose from, but I’ll stick with my Revl, as that stability feature makes all the difference in the world for an amateur (at best) videographer like me.
Thanks for writing in!
Adam Darack is the IT administrator for the town of Edgartown. He will be writing regularly about the technological issues facing Island business owners. Got a question? Send it to email@example.com with the subject line “Dear Geek.”