Friday, August 26, 2011

Rig me up

Most people won't want to spend 50 miles with me on a bike, so how else can I give them the next best thing? Video footage.

I spent 40 minutes this afternoon putting together a camera rig to get some footage of me on the trike. My arm isn't long enough and it hasn't grown the past year. I decided to use a 5'-0 long cardboard tube I found laying around the garage from one of our living room rugs. It was strong and a good length so I figured it'd work.

With a little bit of strong double sided 3M tape and the Monkey Grip Tripod, I figured I had it set. Hahah. It only took 30 minutes to realize it wasn't going to work. The camera kept falling to the side and during playback everything would be 45 degrees off or worse - completely upside down.

Unfortunately even if the rig did work out, I won't be carrying around a 5 foot long cardboard tube everywhere I go. I thought about strapping something to the underside of the trike, but there's got to be a better way.

Even with my background in design and construction, I figured I could fabricate something really cool but mounting it and unmounting it would still be an issue and to carry around a rig on a trike w/no panniers would be a hassle.

Not much luck today.

If nothing else, I've at least been able to entertain the UPS truck driver that stations near my house during his lunch break. I'm sure this afternoon was the first time he's ever seen a weird three-wheeled bicycle thingy rolling down the street with a cardboard tube attached to the end. That'll be his last time b/c I'm getting a new rig.

It's called the Pocket XShot - normally $30 plus shipping and tax but of course I don't pay full price for much. $20 shipped from Amazon sounds about right. It'll be here Tuesday. We'll do some test shots then.

So what's this thing do? It's basically an extension arm for the camera. It telescopes out much like an old school tv cable antenna. Cameraman holds the handle and the camera sits on the other end. Only 7.5" long but will extend up to 30.5".

It seems kind of stupid at first. $20 for a long stick? But it's not so much about the product as it is about the value of what you can get with this little gizmo. After seeing some videos on youtube of people using this, I'm convinced that it'll help me get some footage that I otherwise won't be able to get.

During my last ride with the boys, I tried getting some closeup shots of their rides but it can get a bit dangerous riding so close with cars, pedestrians and other obstacles to look out for. This extension should help. Also when reclined on the recumbent, it's tough to get over-the-head shots. If I can extend the camera 30.5" + the length of my arm, I can get some pretty neat shots not otherwise achievable with just my body.

How else did I convince myself to spend $20 on this stick? I figured I could use it for more than just triking. Vacation photos! Maybe our future vacation photos will include shots of me too instead of just the wifey. This camera on a stick would come in handy during cool outdoor activities too like snowboarding. I wish I had it when we went parasailing earlier this month. I'm sure after I get it, I'll find more and more uses for this little gadget.


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