September 26 2012 by Jason Fogelson
After I go away for a motorcycle trip, I always want to tell my friends and family all about what I saw. I take a lot of photos, which helps me to share my stories. But it doesn't convey the sense of motion that makes a motorcycle ride so invigorating. In the past, I tried a lot of different ways of mounting my video cameras to my bike, and all I wound up with was a lot of duct tape messing up my paintjob, and some very shaky video (and more than one camera shaken to death).
All that has changed with the latest generation of miniature HD video cameras.
I currently use a GoPro HDHero2 on every trip. The $299 camera measures about 2-3/8" x 1-1/8" x 1-1/2", and weighs under 3 ounces. It comes with a variety of housings and mounts, and you can add on a number of accessories, including additional batteries, an LCD camera back, and a new WiFi control system. The HDHero2 records brilliant HD video and passable audio on SD memory cards (up to 6 hours on a 32 GB card). You can also program the GoPro to shoot still photos (up to 11 MP) at regular intervals or in 10 photos per second bursts, which is a very cool feature. I have affixed one of GoPro's mounts to my Arai helmet, and I snap the GoPro on whenever I think I'm going to be doing some interesting riding.
Then, when I get home, I scan through the footage for highlights, cut them together in a timeline with some photos, and I can share my trip with everyone. You may have seen some of my video creations on this blog, like this one from my Central Oregon Trip or this one from my California Sea and Desert Ride. I use Apple's iMovie to create my videos. There are plenty of other consumer-friendly programs available for both the Mac and PC platforms. I like iMovie, because it is easy and intuitive to use, and I feel like the program is capable of a bunch of tricks that I still have to learn, so my videos will get better and better.
Once my videos are complete, I post them for free on YouTube, where I have created a personal channel. Then, I can send my friends and family a link so that they can watch my movie on the web at their own convenience. A link is a much more reliable and efficient way to distribute video, as opposed to emailing the video or burning it to disc.
I'm always pleasantly surprised by the reactions that I get from my videos. My 83-year old mother-in-law is a big fan. She says that watching the videos makes her feel like she's riding along with me, and helps her understand why I ride in the first place. How cool is that?
GoPro is hardly the only choice when it comes to video. The Drift HD Action Camera retails for $298.99, and has some advanced features right out of the box. Contour recently came out with the Contour+2, a very cool $399 camera. The V.I.O. POV HD was used on the Ridley Scott film PROMETHEUS, and retails for just $599.
Get out there and ride! And bring back some cool video.