Category Archives: kit

Gopro stabilized footage – building a smooth fight scene rig

A while back I was called to film some fight scenes for a promo video. I love films like ‘Kingsman’ for the feeling of camera mobility during fight scenes and I wanted to recreate that feeling. Filming action with a DSLR is difficult because if you want to stabilize your footage it makes focus control very difficult. There are solutions available such as the DJI Ronin M but these add bulk and weight and are too expensive for a lot of amateur filmmakers. Instead I used the Zenmuse H3-3D gimbal attached to my Phantom drone to stabilize a Gopro solving two problems at once. Stable footage and no focus adjustment needed.

Using a drone is a great solution if you already own one but it has it’s disadvantages. It uses the precious battery power of the expensive DJI cells, offers no stabilization in the vertical plane and there’s nowhere to put a monitor if you want one.

Gopro Glidecam-1
Feiyu G4 on Gopro mounts

Instead I looked for a solution that would stabilize a Gopro like a drone gimbal does but mount easily to my Flycam 5000, a handled stabilizer for DSLR’s. After researching various possibilities involving ebay stabilizers and RC battery packs I bit the bullet and ordered the Feiyu G4 handheld electronic stabilizer for Gopro. The G4 does everything the drone did but is still susceptible to hand movement. It keeps the Gopro level but that’s it.

 

Fortunately, mounting it to a Flycam 5000 transforms the Gopro into a silky smooth cinema camera. The addition of the Boscam G20 transmitter allows a live feed for monitoring on the move and the remote control unit lets me control the pitch and follow mode on the G4. This really is a case of the whole being greater than the sum of it’s parts.

See the super stable results from this setup in the new fight video and Bikes and Boards promo:

The extra advantage of the Flycam kit is it’s ability to keep the camera level with minimal ground clearance. Lowering the head of the stabilizer allows you to film right from the floor up to about a foot higher than your reach, which is excellent.

A complete parts list for the kit is below:

  • Gopro Hero4
  • Boscam G20 Transmitter
  • Black Pearl diversity Monitor
  • Feiyu G4 3-axis stabilizer
  • Feiyu G4 remote and cable
  • Gopro flat surface mount
  • Gopro Handlebar mount

If you’re building this kit or maybe have a better one I want to hear about it. Leave a comment or follow JonHallPHoto to stay updated.

Boscam G20 video transmitter for Gopro Hero 3 and 4. What it is and why you need one.

The Boscam G20 is a 5.8GHz 32 channel composite video transmitter for the Gopro Hero 3 and 4 cameras. It uses the accessory port on the rear of the camera to send video to a compatible receiver and is the best thing since sliced bread.

Here’s why.

The Gopro Hero 4 is a pretty serious piece of kit for film makers. It’s sharp, light, relatively cheap and shoots 4k and 2.7k footage with usable frame rates and a flat colour profile. That’s a great start but using it to produce professional looking footage turns out to require much more in terms of hardware than you might think.

For capturing action sports the super wide view of the Gopro is perfect as a ‘fit and forget’ camera but when using the more cinematic narrow or medium fields of view, knowing what you’re shooting becomes more important. If you need live view when filming (and you do) you have a few options:

  • The Gopro App – Streams video to your phone or tablet via WIFI and offers full control over the settings. This is awesome for framing up your shots but rubbish for actual filming. The lag between moving the camera and the display updating is just too much to be useful. You’ll go insane trying to film anything seriously like this.
  • The LCD Bacpac (yes it’s spelled ‘Bacpac’) gives a lag free preview and adds touch control but is tiny and stays on the camera at all times. This means if you want to put your camera on a boom arm or stabilizer you won’t be able to see it. so it’s really no better than the app.
  • HDMI Out, this is the ‘pro’ choice offered by Gopro, assuming that anyone using their Hero4 for serious use will use a large rig and can trail cables to monitors with no problems. This is undoubtedly the best quality available but rather defeats the object of having a tiny mountable camera. Especially when the weight of an HDMI cable will prohibit the use of any handheld stabilizer.

The answer? The Boscam G20 transmitter. A self contained box the same size as a battery or LCD Bacpac that sends live video straight to a wireless receiver. No wires, no uneven weight distribution and perfectly designed for anyone using a handheld stabilizer such as the Feiyu G4 or G4s.

The Thing itself.

The Boscam G20 is a cheap, lightweight transmitter that plugs directly into the Gopro Hero3 and Hero4 cameras using the rear connector. With a 500mAh internal battery it charges via a micro usb socket and is supposed to last for 2 hours per charge. (I’ve not tested this fully yet but I’ll get back to you.) At 28g it’s extremely light and mounts perfectly into any Gopro mount or case designed for use with the Bacpac accessories. Importantly, it does work perfectly with the Feiyu G4 series stabilizers which is the whole reason I bought it. The specified range is 300m  though for film making use that will be more than enough.

To see the video you’ll need a 5.8Ghz 32 channel receiver. I use a Black Pearl diversity monitor that does not require a separate receiver and it works beautifully.

To set up your G20 you’ll need to power it up before fitting it to your Gopro, then select a channel using the mode button on the side of the unit. A long press cycles through the bands A, B, E, F and a short press cycles between channels 1-8.

Before buying the G20 I could find no information, no reviews, nothing. If you’re looking for a wireless live view solution then this is it.

I recommend buying your Boscam G20 from Banggood.com here 

If you’re still not convinced here’s a quick  video to show you it working.

As always, if you have and questions just leave a comment.

Liverpool One Christmas time lapse – Gopro Hero 4 and DIY motorised slider

A little something I cooked up last year. I love the Gopro for it’s versatility and quality but I didn’t want to pay out for a motorised slider so I made my own.

Here’s the result. If there’s interest I’ll blog the build too so leave a comment if you want to make your own.