Friday, 5 March 2010

Is it really that small?

I am of course talking about my GoPro H-D Video Camera, which I received in the post a few days ago. The box has been sitting next to my desk for a few days now and I have had to resist the temptation to open it, because I have had too much to do.

I was still busy this morning but this afternoon I now had the time and I did the following.....

- Opened the box (as Chris said on his blog, this takes quite a long time!)
- Sorted out what-was-what
- Was stunned at how small the camera is
- Fixed the camera to my red bike (I did have some problems with this)
- Shot some test scenes riding around where I live
- Lost my reading glasses from my jacket pocket while riding (bugger!)
- Loaded the results onto my laptop
- Installed Adobe Premiere 7
- Opened the Premiere manual, look at it for 30 seconds
- Closed the Premiere manual
- Looked at some training video clips on You Tube about Premiere
- Loaded my clips into Premiere
- Edited the video
- Added a title
- Created a You Tube account
- Created a video that is web friendly
- Uploaded the video to You Tube
- Took a photo of the camera
- Created this post in my blog
- Worked out how to create a link to You Tube

And then finally, smiled at how easy it all was! Sometimes computers really work well. I think today was one of those times.

It was all remarkably easy. Of course I have only learnt the absolute basics and I am sure I have probably done things wrong, but over time the refinements will happen and I hope to get better at this. OK, I am no Quentin Tarantino, but give it time.

So ..... big drum roll...... here is my first video clip....

In true Oscar fashion, I would like to thank those who starred in the film, my parents, my lovely wife, my children, bobscoot for suggesting Adobe Premiere V7, my dog, and everyone else that helped me achieve a life-long ambition......


Unknown said...


It was like I was riding on your shoulders. I'm not used to being on the WRONG side of the road. Also there was that place where the road narrowed to One-at_a-Time and you had to stop before proceeding. Have never seen those before.

doesn't it make you feel good when something works out right ? glad you didn't have any problems with the camera or software.

we have another Cecil B DeMille lurking in the background . . .

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Gary France said...

Bob - I was pleased with the outcome, even though I was on the wrong side of the road! It is odd, that in the UK we drive on the left, but almost everywhere else I drive, it is on the right. You might think it would be difficult to adapt, but its pretty easy really.

As you could see, we live in a rural area with mainly small villages and farms around us. Those one-at-a-time arrangements are what is called a "traffic calming measure" which essentially means it is there to slow vehicles down, and they work too. You have to be careful on a big though, as many car drivers don't concentrate and don't see you. I think it is the same in the US. I make sure my headlights are on all the time for that reason and you just learn to watch for people who are not looking out for you.

Yes, it really did feel good when it all worked out so smoothly. I am sure I could have done better, but I was pleased with my first attempt.

Unknown said...

Bravo! VERY good for your first time with the new camera. I enjoyed the ride!
- Mary Ann :-)

iansolley said...

Good one Gary - I have done some filming with a video and I generally end up with the camera on when it should be off and vice versa.
I have been having chats with my professional photographer about making a proper promo video for my bikes and maybe you could come down and ride one? I have the soundtrack and location sorted just need to finish the next bike (I want 3) and a sunny day!

SonjaM said...

What a great ride, I am glad that your investment works out so well. Hope to see much more. What time of the day did you ride? There's almost no traffic... Cheers from Vancouver, Sonja

Anonymous said...

Hey great wee video, i surprised with the quality considering the size, next winter you can watch it on full screen mode put yer nose close up to the screen and it will feel like you are riding, but do it when yer on yer own though....!!
How much was it to buy.

Learning to Golf said...

I echo Bobscoot on the wrong side of the road comment. Video quality was great and the lack of wind noise makes it worth the price alone. I might have to think about upgrading.

Gary France said...

Mary Ann - Thank you for your kind words. In a way you are right - watching it is just like going for a ride.

Ian - Just tell me when and I will be there!

Sonja - It was 1pm. Where I live, if you see 2 cars together, that's a traffic jam! Yes, I suspect you will see some more video clips in the future.

KelticWolf - If I turn up the volume on the speakers connected to my laptop really loud, my desk vibrates! This could be hours of fun when the snow and rains comes! It was about £300, but you can get it for about $300 in the States. I got it from the UK because I wanted to charge it in the UK with 240 volts, but I didn't realise it ran from a USB, so I recommend getting it from the States.

AHD - On their website, GoPro talk a lot about having worked hard to solve the usual wind-noise problems and I think they have done it.

RazorsEdge2112 said...

Very nice video! I bought the standard GoPro Hero 5MP Wide yesterday and WOW!

That first vehicle you approached, I almost cringed... You are on the LEFT side of the road! Watch OUT! Then the brain cells kicked in. :-)

Willy D said...

That was incredible. The lack of wind noise is enough to make me take a look at adding the GoPro to my inventory of toys.

Baron's Life said...

Thanks for the post on the Go-Pro HD video camera. I didn't even know they existed till I read your post. I did go on their web site and I'm convinced it is the kind of tool I need to add to my riding gear. They are pricey, but it beats having to fiddle with my big cameras...the HD and your initial video look good. It feels as if I was really there riding with you. I also like the fact they offer a mounting bracket kit so you can install the camera on the side of your helmet (Probably, not very practical for the UK..since it rain like it does here in BC) but hey for sunny days or can't beat it.
Thanks for sharing this.

Tim France said...

Very cool - there with you, and looking forward to clips from your US trip. Nice to see around your village again. I have to admit, I was waiting for the moment you swore at one of the motorists. More commentary please.

Gary France said...

Razor - LOL! You would need a day or two over here riding on the left and you would soon be used to it. The GoPro clip on your own blog looks good too - it really is a great product.

Willy - We all love our toy's!

Baron - What I didn't say is that the camera comes with a waterproof case that means you can use the camera in the rain and even underwater - GoPro claim it can be used down to 180 feet, which if correct, is amazing. Yes, a little bit pricey, but the quality means they are worth it.

Tim - Glad you could see the village again, where we have very good and polite drivers! Well, most of them. I haven't tried commenting as I ride, but I will try that. BTW, Chelsea won and have now reached the semi-final of the FA Cup. They did the draw straight away afterwards and it is Aston Villa vs Chelsea, Portsmouth vs Fulham or Spurs

FLHX_Dave said...

Man, I have been waiting for someone to post something taken from that vid cam. I'm sold. Awesome.

Some questions, Where did you have that thing mounted? Looks like you had it mounted on the tank. If that's the case the vibration was squashed damned good. The other question; Did you know you were on the wrong side of the road mate?

I don't know why but I'm all pumped to see this trip through your goggles. It looks like you will be right in our area at some point. BigSur & Monterey CA. Let us know when you are in the area.

Radar said...


How fitting that I'm watching your debut film on Acadamy Awards night. Excellent videography!

I'm intrigued by the possibilities of these video cams and how we can use them to capture the total biker experience. Really like the helmet attachment, perhaps we can get 4-5 of them and mount them all over the bike, then edit them together for a 360 degree view!

I hope your preparations for the USA tour continue to go well. Speaking of which, don't forget the BBQ and beer drinking practice.

Unknown said...


I don't think you have anything to be worried about. Persons who wear Pink Crocs don't carry baseball bats. Hope you were just kidding

There was no HD option on your video. All of my videos are using the r2 option , (720p30). I know Chris posted his 720p60 but I think it is being played back at half speed. Most video editing programs play at 30 FPS, NOT 60 fps. I will have to check whether you can alter a preset to playback at this faster speed.
As for narration/commentary, I think it best to add narration from within PREL7 and not put onto the original video "soundtrack", otherwise when you delete the voice you also delete the engine sound. When I added a sound track you are able to alter the volume levels of both audio tracks, so you could have the engine noise and voice both at 50% if you wanted

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Gary France said...

Dave – You are right – for that video I had the camera mounted via a suction cup on my tank. To me, this wasn’t a great solution as I wasn’t sure about how well the suction cup would stick to or damage the beautiful paintjob on my custom bike! In my original post, I said I did have some problems with fixing the camera to the bike and I will try to find time today to take some pictures of the various options available and do another posting on this subject.

Yes, you are correct about being on the wrong side of the road – the only trouble is, when I try to revert back to driving on the right here in the UK, I have to try to convince 50 million other people to do the same! I was in the Big Sur / Monterey area in May last year when a bunch of us rented H-D’s for two weeks and did a tour of California. I will let you know when I will be back there on my main tour – at the moment it looks like mid to end of October.

Radar – I thought about the same topic of using more than one camera. I considered using just one camera but changing its position and going back to film the same piece of road with the camera in a different position on the bike. Then, create a video with 2 clips side by side (I would have to read bobscoots postings to discover how to do this) with one pointing forward and one back. That could be quite cool, but in hindsight, it would look odd because the single camera being used twice would record different things. The only option is to either buy a second camera (too expensive) or borrow one from somebody who lives nearby.

The other option would be to do as you say and get 4-5 and create a stitched-together totally immersive video approaching something like virtual reality, perhaps with James Cameron directing..... or am I getting carried away??? BTW – how cool must his ex-wife feel this morning!!

Bob – LOL - of course I was kidding – my attempt at a joke which didn’t work!! You sound like a really nice guy and are the absolute antithesis of somebody wielding a baseball bat!.

I see what you mean about there wasn’t an H-D option on my video. I went back and looked at yours in your posting of 21st February and compared it to mine. On yours there is an additional box to the right of the volume control where either 360, 480 or 720 can be selected. I think this means that you probably you did something that I didn’t know about, so I have re-looked at settings etc. My camera was set at r4 (960 pixels at 30 fps). This is the cameras default setting and I haven’t changed that. I remember seeing that the “Edit” section of PREL 7 software was set at 30fps (I actually saw it was 29.97 fps and I remembered reading one of your earlier posts that mentioned this exact speed). So, I think my settings should have allowed for the H-D options, so I wonder if I did something wrong when I went through the “Share” part of creating the video – I wondered about this at the time. I used the share “Online” option which meant the clip was uploaded directly from PREL to You Tube. I did wonder if I should have “shared” this to “Personal Computer” first, and then uploaded it after having first saved it on my own computer. Is this how you do it, but saving it to your computer first?

I see what you mean about narration. Recording direct into the camera would give me no flexibility so you are right – do it afterwards and add a separate sound track. I will have to look into how to do that. I will let you know how I get on. Thanks for your help with this (for anybody else reading this, I consider Bob to be the guru on the subject of video, especially when it comes to video on the web!)

Unknown said...


I am not a Guru, just a hobbyist who has been dabbling (or is that babbling) and using the T&E method (Trial & Error).

The problem is that you do not have a PREL7 preset for r4 which is 1280x960p, but there are already presets for r2 = 1280x720p30 . The other problem is that you used the "on line" share option which downsized your video to small resolution to save (them) file sizes . This is the same problem with using WMM. They limit your bit rates to max 2500 Mbps.

better to use save to computer option. If you are going to stick with r4, then take a MPEG 1280x720p option, then click on "advanced". You will get another screen where you can change some parameters. so change the 720 and replace it with 960. The problem now is that your aspect ration will be 4:3 and not widescreen 16:9. You will get more road, or front fender views in your video as 960p is "taller", more vertical height to your view.

I have been perusing other video forums and found that the sweet spot for output is between 5,000 to 6,000 Kpbs, and I have set Quality to 4. You will notice these settings on the "advanced" screen. After you change these settings you are prompted to save the setting as another preset to be used again by just selecting it.

On your time line you have multiple "tracks". Normally your scenes are dragged to Video 1, Audio1 tracks. You can add other sound tracks above, say to audio2. They can be wave or mp3 files, but mp3 would be best for smaller file sizes. All tracks above "1" take prescendent, so if you drag an MP3 to Audio2 it will "hide" the Audio1 below. There is an option to "mix" the two sounds tracks and have sound from the original as well as the "overlay", or merely just delete the original sound (if you wish), or perhaps just make Audio2 set at 100% which will not let any audio1 be heard, your choice.
PREL7 has an option to record your own audio using your built in microphone, or you can record from any source that can be saved to mp3. I also have a professional digital PCM recorder capable of high quality recordings.

you can sync the sound by playing it back on the timeline at the same time

another thing that would be cool is if you plan on producing another video comprised only of still photos. 250 photos playing back at 2 seconds each can produce an 8 min video, WITH NO SOUND. You can take the sound track from your engine and just loop it for the entire length, or mixed with narration.

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Unknown said...


Almost forgot: last week there was a sale on the SD GoPro cdn$139., but today it was back to cdn$179. or parent co:

Mount the SD on the rear of your H-D before you ship your bike over. Video taken at the same time will have the same sound Sync'd. Also you can do PIP for the rear view so for the smaller window you don't need HD for the rear camera.

at today's exchange rate, cdn $180 = approx 116 GBP, so it is a cheap alternative, or perhaps purchase a used one somewhere . Here is a GoPro forum . . .

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Gary France said...

Bob - I tried what you suggested about saving the file to the computer, using the advanced settings to change it to 720p etc, and it seemed to work fine in You Tube, but when I linked it back to my blog, the size of the video was too large. So to get something that was viewable quickly, I went back to my old way of doing it.

I am going to stop trying to do this today (it is already night over here), go and have dinner and try again tomorrow. Thanks again for your guidance - it is much appreciated.

Darn, I have just seen that Chris has posted a cracking quality 720p video on his blog. Well done Chris.... what am I doing wrong... what am I doing wrong.... what am I doing wrong?

I will dream about this tonight now....

Canajun said...

Gary - I may have missed a couple of posts on this, but what model did you finally get that delivered that great video?

Gary France said...

Bob - I managed to get the 720p video working and at a size that fits on my blog. It is in the posting after this one called "Is it really that Small? (Extended). You will see it has the 360/480/720 options all available and the quality is MUCH better. It is slightly smaller than I would have liked, with quite a bit of black space around it, so I am going to try to fix that. I used the preset that you suggested and saved it to my computer first rather than sharing it straight to the web, and it worked ok... just the size issue to fix now, but I will get there.

I will try adding sound a bit later, but I want to get more confident at some of the basics first.

Canajun - It was the GoPro HD Motorsports Hero, see this link

irondad said...

Is it really that small? Interesting how cell phones and motorcycle mounted video cams are the only thing men brag about having the smallest of?

Chris said...

Sorry Gary. I don't know how I missed this post. I haven't been able to get PREL to work the way I want it yet, so I've been sticking with WLMM. I've been using R3 because the 60fps produces a smoother playback with fast motion. It can also be used for slow-motion which is fun. Bob is right though, the consumer grade products don't handle the 60fps very well. For some reason only WLMM works perfectly. I make sure to save my projects with 16:9 and then save them to the computer with 720p. Then I upload them to youtube/vimeo. Getting a couple more GoPros would be very fun.

Everyday Riding

Chuck Pefley said...

Great video, Gary! Thanks for the neighborhood tour. My first thought was "Oops! He's on the wrong side of the road!" But then I remembered where you were -:) An amazing little package and I'm certain it will be a great addition to your upcoming tour!

Gary France said...

Irondad – That made me laugh. I actually think that some cellphones have got too small – at least they have for my eyesight to be able to read what it says on the tiny screens. A friend of mine yesterday told me that he bought an iPhone because the digits and text on the screen is big enough to read. Now, where is my nearest Apple store....?

Chris – I really struggled with PREL at first. I had bought the “Adobe Premiere Elements For Dummies” book, but this was obviously written before version 7 was created as what is in the bok doesn’t bear much relationship to the actual software. I then searched in YouTube for videos about “how to use Adobe Premiere Elements 7” or something like that and found a few videos that helped with some of the basics. The part I really didn’t understand was the various settings for how to save a file and then publish it onto YouTube. There are so many different settings and options that my brain hurt. That is when I sought the knowledge of others (namely Bobscoot) who soon put me right. However..... I have looked at the videos on your blog and the quality is terrific, so using the old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” I think you should stick with WLMM.

Chuck – If I get half as good with my videos as you are with your camera, I will be happy! Your above the clouds picture of Mt Rainier at 14,411ft is a stunner.