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Photo by Josephine Flohr, Elephant at Camp, Namibia

I haven't been everywhere...
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Photo by Josephine Flohr,
Elephant at Camp, Namibia

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Old 24 Jan 2001
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Video Camera

Can anyone give me advice on what is the best video camer/digital 8 etc to take to Afica.
I would like to film my trip but need some advice on formats etc


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Old 26 Jan 2001
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Vigo, Spain
Posts: 69

I must admit I know much less about consumer video than pro video or still photography - I can't recommend one cam in particular, but here's a bit of advice:

-Hi 8 is cool. Don't run out of tape, or batteries!

-Buy small, but also rugged to take a beating. Don't let yourself be talked into top of the line cameras, ridiculously great zoom range, or bells and whistles you don't need. You want every basic function to perform flawlessly, and will really-really need little else.

-Once en route, don't be obsessed with your video camera's security. Enjoy.

-Don't even try to record everything. Shoot sparingly but meaningfully, and never, ever show unedited footage unless you don't really care about your audience.

-Easy on the zoom.

-By all means buy early, shoot with it, get used to it, know it by heart.

-MOST IMPORTANT: Learn how to use a camera! I don't mean operating it, I mean timing, composition, travellings, zooming, resource shots, the works. Go to a nice book store and buy a book or two on the basics of video recording. Do not neglect this, it's by far the best piece of advice I'm giving you.

-Did I mention "easy on the zoom?"

That's it from me. Everyone else, anything you can add, especially on which camera?

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Old 30 Jan 2001
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Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Holland
Posts: 10
Hi Julio,
We used a sony Hi-8 video cam on our trips, also in Africa. We have one with stamina batteries that gives you long recording time. On the road we recharged the battery with a 12 V charger connected to a car-lighter- plug fixed on the bike-battery. We kept the cam in a softbag in the tankbag. It survived 8 months all the bumps and mudpools on the roads .Pack your spare videotapes waterproof. All the people back home who saw our tape liked it. It is a great way to cover your trip (together with photo's).
See you on the road,

See you on the road...
The BikeBrothers Harald and Udo.
See you on the road...
The BikeBrothers Harald and Udo.
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Old 22 Apr 2001
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Canada and the Alps
Posts: 134
Hi Julio,

After coming back from a month in the Alps and missing another year of not having a video of some great mountain passes, I finally bit the bullet and bought a SONY Digital 8, model DCR-TRV720. This is Sony's top of the line with all the features except for the built in printer found in the next model up (who needs it?).

If you buy the most basic camera as someone suggested, rmember that you'll live with the basics even when you are not using the camera while motorcycling. The important features to me were "Steady Shot" image stabilization and a large 4" LCD screen...after all I have to look at it. I also wanted a color viewfinder. Mega zoom (450X on my camera) is a battle between the manufacturers. You'll never need it and if you do, you'll need a tripod. The optical zoom is usually 25X and the digital zoom takes it up to the hundreds.

As you know, space on a motorcycle is prized land, so to keep items as compact as possible, I chose to use a very compact Sony BC-V500 2-battery charger. This unit works on 100 to 240V and 50/60Hz and is the same size as one battery. Then I bought 2 Sony NP-750 Info Lithium Ion batteries which I believe will provide more recording capability than I need in a day. While you are having dinner and a few cold ones, you can charge them up in your room. Of course, if you do not have access to electricity, the DC adapter will be the way to go.

I will store my video camera in my tank bag where it is safe and use a helmet mounted CCD camera available from helmetcamera.com. I just tested this unit and it works quite well. The audio leaves a bit to be desired, but then you could always use a seperate micophone(s).

I think this set-up is the best for my purposes. Some aspects may work for you.


Alex's BMW Motorcycle & Global Touring Page http://www.ott.igs.net/~ace
All the best,

Alex's BMW Motorcycle & Global Touring Page
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Alps Motorcycle Tours - Priced Right

- If motorcyclists claim to be individuals, why then do so many of them ride in packs?
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Old 1 Jul 2001
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: London, UK
Posts: 20
As a video editor and producer here is what I carry with me when I travel lite:

1) Canon Elura ($1200)
2) Helmet Camera ($200-helmetcamera.com)
3) Pelican waterproof case ($30-www.pelican.com)
4) MiniTripod ($6-search eBay)

The whole system can easily fit in a backpack. The tapes are tiny, but images shot outdoors rival proffesional 3-chip cameras. While working on a documentary last year I actually used my Elura on many occasions to capture people and places that a camera crew would have been too obtrusive to film naturally. The flip out LCD screen is excellent for quick viewing and a MUST for aligning the helmet camera.

I would highly reccommend any MiniDV camera over a Hi-8 or Digital8 alternative because of MiniDV's robustness, growing standardization, and superior image quality. Additionally, I would choose Canon over other manufactures because of the company's attention to image quality rather than electronic gimmicks such as IR and digital zooms.

Good luck with whatever you choose... and put some clips on the web for those of us not lucky enough to be on the road
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