Capturing the Moment

Action cameras
Capturing the action and preserving memories has become easier with action and sports cameras. Cycling Malaysia looks at what’s on the market for your action video needs.

Cameras have become ubiquitous these days. With the advent of digital cameras, and smaller and higher quality CCDs, almost everything has a camera built in, and everyone has a camera ready to hand. With faster computing power, it was a simple step to make a still frame digital camera turn into a video recorder. The invention of HD (high definition) lenses and digital formats quite quickly made the ordinary Joe into a movie director and producer.

This meant that everything that happens, especially if it is insane and/or dangerous, needed to be recorded gave rise to the need for action cameras. Initially intended as a point-of-view (POV) camera, it was soon realised that action cameras, when mounted in off POV locations and odd angles, made for dramatic video. With the added advantage of their small size and lightweight, action cameras could also be put in places where regular video cameras couldn’t go.

Today action cameras broadly fall into 2 types, box format and bullet. Bullet type action cameras have a slim form factor that doesn’t protrude much, and are ideal for helmet mounting or where space is tight. Box format cameras are, as their name describes, rectangular in shape and bulkier than bullet cameras. Their advantage is a more stable picture, and usually better resolution due to being able to mount a bigger lens.

When purchasing an action camera, think about the type of picture or video that will be taken. Will waterproofing be important? If so, look for a camera that comes with a waterproof casing. Some cameras have built in water- proofing, but weather conditions can sometimes be hard to predict.

Battery life is another important consideration. If going for all day, epic rides, spare batteries may need to be carried. Memory storage is another factor. SD and Mini SD cards are practically the de facto standard these days, in various capacities, so shop around and purchase cards that will fit the shooting requirements.

Most action cameras will have handlebar and helmet mountings. The mounting should be secure and stable, damping out or eliminating unwanted vibration and move- ment. This is more important than at first glance, as a shaky, wobbly video will rapidly give viewers motion sickness. Needless to say, the mounting should secure and not loosen during the course of the ride. Looking for the camera in the undergrowth and mud after it has dropped off is no fun. While most sports action videos tend to be short and have background music, audio quality may be an important consideration, especially if videoing interviews and conversations.

Shooting great video with an action camera takes a bit of practice, as things have now got to be considered from the cameras POV. Think about the image that the audience is going to see, and the story that is to be told. Riding style and speed may have to be adjusted to suit. Camera angle and placement plays a big part. But most of all, get an action camera, go out, have fun riding, then come back and relive the memories.


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