Thursday, May 5, 2016

You Can Get Arrested For That Sort Of Thing


I have always admired Christopher Columbus, Vasco De Gama, and Magellan, and hoped to emulate them. In an effort to discover a new trade route to India, I drove to Canning Vale the other day and made an experiment along the way.

I'd seen a number of cars with action cameras bolted to their dashboards, and a few with them looking out the rear window. One bicycle rider that used to visit the shop had an action camera mounted on a witches hat at the back of his bike*. It seems to be the coming trend, and I have always been on the cutting edge of technology**.

I don't own an action camera. Not surprising - I rarely display any action worthy of photographing. But the curiosity is still there so decided to adapt a camera I do own to the role. I tried to rig up my Fujifilm X-100 on a cradle looking out the front window. I say tried, as I discovered in garage experiments that while you can mount it in the cradle and mount the cradle easily at the windscreen, you cannot turn on the camera or trigger it without a vast mechanical and cable apparatus.  You might be able to reach to the bottom of the windscreen on an old VW beetle or a Ford Model A, but a Suzuki Swift has a deeply raked screen and it is all too far away.

Plan B was simple. After setting the camera to 800 ISO and AWB, I turned the focus to S-AF and the aperture and shutter speed to A. Then the drive control was pout on the video mode and I was set. I drove at the normal freeway speed while holding the camera up so that it looked out the windscreen. At no time did I take my eyes off the road or my right hand off the wheel, and I made sure that the section of freeway I selected had no Leeming Blunder Buses or Tray Top Tradies to make it dangerous. I did get passed by the Mandurah-bound train, but only just.

Result was replayed on the home computer and I discovered a number of facts:

Fujifilm cameras make excellent video cameras. Clear, sharp, well-exposed scenes.

Sound is pointless. You get it but as there is nothing but engine and wind noise there is no message to hear.

The camera is steady if you hold it yourself. Attaching it to the structure of the car may be fashionable, but you'll get a far more stable image if you just hold it by hand. Or rather, if your assistant holds it so. You don't even need complex rigs or counterweights - just keep it off your eyeballs and hold it horizontal. The files played back are hypnotising but unless you are looking for evidence, hardly bear repeating.

Did I find India? I found butter chicken, vindaloo, and basmati rice. Close enough for me.

* And the witch was none too pleased, I can tell you.
**And I have the scars to prove it.


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1 Comments:

Blogger Michael said...

and you do home deliveries!

May 5, 2016 at 2:31 PM  

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You Can Get Arrested For That Sort Of Thing


I have always admired Christopher Columbus, Vasco De Gama, and Magellan, and hoped to emulate them. In an effort to discover a new trade route to India, I drove to Canning Vale the other day and made an experiment along the way.

I'd seen a number of cars with action cameras bolted to their dashboards, and a few with them looking out the rear window. One bicycle rider that used to visit the shop had an action camera mounted on a witches hat at the back of his bike*. It seems to be the coming trend, and I have always been on the cutting edge of technology**.

I don't own an action camera. Not surprising - I rarely display any action worthy of photographing. But the curiosity is still there so decided to adapt a camera I do own to the role. I tried to rig up my Fujifilm X-100 on a cradle looking out the front window. I say tried, as I discovered in garage experiments that while you can mount it in the cradle and mount the cradle easily at the windscreen, you cannot turn on the camera or trigger it without a vast mechanical and cable apparatus.  You might be able to reach to the bottom of the windscreen on an old VW beetle or a Ford Model A, but a Suzuki Swift has a deeply raked screen and it is all too far away.

Plan B was simple. After setting the camera to 800 ISO and AWB, I turned the focus to S-AF and the aperture and shutter speed to A. Then the drive control was pout on the video mode and I was set. I drove at the normal freeway speed while holding the camera up so that it looked out the windscreen. At no time did I take my eyes off the road or my right hand off the wheel, and I made sure that the section of freeway I selected had no Leeming Blunder Buses or Tray Top Tradies to make it dangerous. I did get passed by the Mandurah-bound train, but only just.

Result was replayed on the home computer and I discovered a number of facts:

Fujifilm cameras make excellent video cameras. Clear, sharp, well-exposed scenes.

Sound is pointless. You get it but as there is nothing but engine and wind noise there is no message to hear.

The camera is steady if you hold it yourself. Attaching it to the structure of the car may be fashionable, but you'll get a far more stable image if you just hold it by hand. Or rather, if your assistant holds it so. You don't even need complex rigs or counterweights - just keep it off your eyeballs and hold it horizontal. The files played back are hypnotising but unless you are looking for evidence, hardly bear repeating.

Did I find India? I found butter chicken, vindaloo, and basmati rice. Close enough for me.

* And the witch was none too pleased, I can tell you.
**And I have the scars to prove it.


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