Turf Blog 13-04-23

I’ll start by saying, apologies for some of the things I write about in Planet Gary turf blogs, things that are not entirely strictly relating to the game of turf. I include them here because they are part and parcel of creating video blogs about turfing and I want to share these ideas, techniques and the equipment used, so that everyone can see how it’s done and perhaps have a go themselves.

Spent much of the day yesterday working in the shed trying to devise a stable mount for the GoPro Hero 10 on the Surly Ogre bicycle (and also be transferable to the Surly Pugsley fat bike and any of my Swifty kick scooters). The last three turf videos have been point-of-view, taken with a GoPro mounted on a GoPro chest harness. However, while so easy to make videos this way, they do offer a rather limited view point, only showing what’s ahead. What I want to do is mount the camera further forward on the bike and facing back towards myself. I did this some years ago with the Surly Pugsley fat bike and made a video in Edinburgh. The mount was made from timber, very chunky and hardy elegant. I used to call it Gary Cam. That footage was recorded in 2004 on the first GoPro Hero, hence the lower quality.

My idea was to mount a telescopic selfie-stick vertically on the front rack then mount the GoPro on that. However, after spending hours testing each and every combination of resolution and lens option was unable to get exactly what I was looking for. Either my head or the handlebars were out of frame. The issue was that the GoPro was too close and needed to be further away. I resolved this by cobbling together a combination of various GoPro mounts at the selfie-stick base allowing me to tilt the selfie-stick forwards but then found I was unable to rotate the GoPro to face me. After much head scratching, a Eureka! moment gave me the simplest of solutions, a ball-and-socket tripod head bolted to the carrier would provide the forward tilt and also the required rotation. Simples.

The next issue was vibration. Having a GoPro mounted on the end of a selfie-stick and sticking out from the bike is not the best location to avoid a ton and a half of shoogle, that’s Scots for vibration or wobble. And while the in-built software stabilization on the GoPro even at maximum boost does an amazing job, it’s not quite enough. Again, more head scratching found me eventually using two adjustable aluminium stays from an old mudguard, attaching them to the selfie-stick and to the rear of the carrier with rubber-sheathed P-clamps, forming a triangle, the most stable of shapes. Perfect. I’ve also added a GoPro mount to the rear rack and one at the base of the selfie-stick, both for additional footage. One final task is to paint those rather obvious aluminium stays black to match the other components.

I must say these projects never work as easy as you imagine. The P-clamps still need some rubber packing even if the size matches the item to which they are attached. When you mount mini ball-and-socket tripod heads on a flat surface you cannot turn the tightening lever, so some large packing washers were required to elevate it a little. I’m just thankful I have a whole collection of such useful oddities in the shed I can delve into.

The mini ball-and-socket tripod head has arrived. Ordered yesterday on Amazon and with free delivery, arrived this morning. Looks like everything is now perfect for filming. Just need to go and do some further tests to determine the ideal combination of resolution and which lens option to use, for example, superview, wide, lateral, lateral plus horizon levelling or narrow. Then there’s also the Max Lens Mod options as well. I mentioned a lens option called lateral plus horizon levelling; this is the one used in my recent time lapse videos. The camera does some clever trickery to keep the horizon level even while the bike is twisting and turning this way and that. You can see the effect when I corner as the handlebars twist but the horizon stays level. Just love it!

So, the whole point of all this palaver – total cost for the bits and bobs is less than £10.00 – is to record more varied turfing footage. With one GoPro mounted on the front high mount and facing back towards myself and the bike, another on the low front-facing mount looking ahead and the third (actually my GoPro Max 360 in standard GoPro mode to match), mounted on the back carrier and facing to the rear, should give me all the footage I require. and more. And also, the headache of managing three separate streams of footage for editing. Fun, fun, fun!

Next part of this project is a shorter selfie-stick and to adapt the setup to allow it to easily and quickly fold flat into the front rack. This will hide it from view when filming with the chest mount. And I haven’t even started looking at filming at night yet or live streaming! Back soon.

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