The work flow I described is the collection of “works for me” things. There’s no deep reasoning or anything left over from a couple of film classes in college.
Working in 1080p works - if it ain’t broke… I very specifically want 60 fps to minimize motion blurring. Overall, for me, The Image Matters. “If a job isn’t worth doing right, why do it?”
To avoid a possible confusion about what I’m carving up, of course I work with copies of the original footage. I use TerraCopy to duplicate the files and, importantly, verify the copy. For the Alps trip, I’m working with about 475 Gb of video. The good news is I have real-time GPS tracks laid on a map. What time was I where? The file names (about 3.8 Gb each) are tt:tt:ttyyyymmdd and I’ve put a day’s files in a folder with the date on it (stunning clever, eh?). Refer to the GPS track, get the TOD for some spot, and… there’s the ride over Penserjoch.
I started with Resolve. As I’ve said elsewhere, life with BMD isn’t a lot of fun. Shotcut does about 80-90% of what I need, and I much prefer the help available here. Lack of key frames, inability to vary volume or speed across a clip (Shotcut varies sound pitch with speed, AFAIK Resolve doesn’t allow stretching sound - score one for Shotcut), and the far too inadequate titling ability are what send me back to Resolve, as required. And the final rendering, with Shotcut, just isn’t what I need. I’m moderately confident I can duplicate the Resolve rendering in Shotcut, but I’ll stick with what works.
(The amount of time I’ve burned on editors and dealing with their quirks is… I don’t want to think about how many man-days, and possibly into man-weeks I’ve burned on sorting out or trying different editors. At this point, if it’s not working, it’s in the bit bucket.)
OK, stepping, I’m sure, OT…
IMHO much of the cost of a GoPro is paying for the name. Yes, there are all manner of sexy features. With tools, 90% of the time, 10% of the tools, in the tool box, are used. Ditto for cameras.
Name one action cam not built by China, Inc. They build some good ones, some mediocre ones, and some trash. The difference IMHO is the company. The good companies turn out good products… the scale’s obvious.
My first camera (see any of my videos prior to the Alps trip), a Sena Prism, integrates nicely with my intercom/phone unit (Sena 20S). It talks to me (low battery, video on, etc.). The form factor is slim and not as obvious as the GP-style cams. I can use external power. With a little computer magic I can use 64 Gb SD’s instead of the stated 32 Gb limit. Kewl! But!
The images are …um… lacking. 1080p @ 30 fps is the limit. I talked myself into thinking “close enough”. The really bad news is the signal processor between the sensor (somewhat lacking) and SD turns out inadequate, poorly processed images - blobs of color where there should be detail with 1080p. The good company/product thing - Sena’s relationship with the users is not good - they just don’t interact. Wanting to avoid “cheap Chinese junk”, not willing to pay GoPro prices, and having some Sena gear, I bought the Prism. Maybe a passable idea at the time, but maybe not.
The Prism literally fell apart (the right side of the camera started to leave the rest of the camera). I did some clever gluing to the point of creating “Franken-camera”. But the monster died anyway. By that point, I was just over a month from leaving for the Alps trip. Having no camera was simply not acceptable. Jumping ahead…
Sena did accept a warranty claim but the camera came back after I came back. The thing is still in the box.
I did some serious searching for a camera I was willing to pay for, and which did what I demanded: 1080p@60 fps with good images. More jumping…
I bought, on Amazon, an SJCam SJ7 Star for $200, or roughly half of a GoPro. The original firmware was buggy - that scared me. A lot. SJCam, however, chats regularly with the customer base. A couple of weeks later I had updated firmware. And have shot 500+ Gb with V1.15 and, now, V1.19. Good companies/products. Probably the best camera demo video is the St. Gottard Pass/Tremola video. For an “under $500” class camera, the color’s good, the resolution is very good, the camera is (now) reliable, and I can use big SD’s and external power. The form factor isn’t great, but very few companies vary from the GP “standard”. OTOH, all of the “session gear” (GP’s silly term for brackets and mounts) is interchangeable among GP clones.
Coming back to the camera specs, name the common resolutions, it’s in there. Above 1080p, it’s 30 fps, period, but 120 fps is available for at least 1080 and maybe 720 - I forget. 16:9 or 4:3 framing, of course. Time lapse, single and burst stills… the usual. The menu is long enough to be a short book, and a short book is needed to find them all. But the 90%/10% rule holds here, too. The SJ7 uses an excellent Sony sensor behind a very good lens and an Amberalla processor. The processor is programmable and Amberalla releases, to OEM’s, occasional updates. SJCam includes them in their own firmware updates. Coming features include RAW for stills, and enhanced electronic image stabilization.
Gripes. I got 'em. The camera would probably drown in a heavy dew. The SD slot is open to the interior. Internal battery life is about 3-40 minutes depending on speed and res. All the computing horsepower means a lot of radiated heat. With the camera inside its dive case (dew thing, 'member?) or external power case, I’m not sure how well the camera will do with cooking, thanks to bright and hot summer weather… Pull the external power cable and the camera shuts off instead of picking up with the internal battery (lost more than a couple of hours that way).
Would I buy the SJ7 again - dunno… The SJ8 just came out… LOL
Riding work flow. I did a trip similar to this year’s trip last year. Watching people tracking batteries, SD’s, fumbling with stuff, pulling over because the battery is about to fade, etc., etc. made it clear that’s not the way to go. With an external 50,000 mAh battery (vs typically 1500-3000 mAh), the camera can easily run, non-stop, for about 5 hours. A 128 Gb SD will, with a bit of off and on (I didn’t shoot a couple of hours on an autobahn, for example), last two days. That means changing the SD in the hotel room, and swapping the power cable, to the second pack, at lunch. Easy-peasy.
Another SJ7 feature is real-time video to a smart phone. That takes care of aiming and it also allows stopping and staring on the fly (My riding gloves have conductive thread so I can use the screen without stopping to fiddle with gloves.)
I’ve lost video (the first day’s ride from Munich, three mountain passes, and some village footage). NTL I’m satisfied with what I brought back.
My YT channel address
All of this is effectively dashcam video with music and titles. But it fills a niche - for some folks. [/smile]
And that’s the name of that tune.