Cameras and Tech

The Cameras

Up to now, I thought that at the first or lowest goal level, this project would be accomplished with the GpPro Hero Black I already own. But, when I went to remind myself if it was a 4 or a 5 while researching some options I discovered that my Gopro camera bag is full of accessories, but no camera. Until now, I hadn’t looked much at new cameras because I didn’t plan to buy one unless we got to super stretch (or beyond) level funding.

As I looked to see what the lost camera would mean to us in terms of dollars, I saw that the newer cameras offered newer options and better features, and there’s a “special” now, putting the price well below what I paid for the older one I lost. As a percentage of total expenses the cameras just aren’t that expensive. If I’m going to put in the kind of time I’m planning on putting in (at any goal level) I should produce the best quality video I can.

We’ll still make upgrades and additional purchases in stages, but one or more cameras is now a given in the lowest level of the project. If we make it past one level, but not to the next, I expect surplus to be spent on recording and other equipment and upgrades. The first priority would be to get cameras on both of us. It would be nice to have a back up for failures, and the extra footage under regular conditions. And of course it will be important to have those cameras be the best possible cameras within whatever price range we end up working. The last thing we’ll do with our video camera budget will be to add 360 degree cameras. If we can do that, it will keep the door open for doing a virtual project later.

The Video Challenges

Our three biggest video challenges will be battery life, eliminating sound noise, and finding stabilization solutions, that is, controlling shake or vibration. All three problems seem to have good attainable solutions, which will be a little different now that we’ll be working with different camera models than the ones I researched. But I expect the solutions to transfer.

There is a way to rig a power supply and it looks like it will work with the Hero 9 too, but I need to look at things anew to be sure. A power supply is good for all the reasons it was invented. Long lasting battery life will be a big improvement over carrying a stack of camera batteries. It will allow us to make stops in natural locations instead of when the juice is gone, and it will prevent us from having gaps if we don’t notice the battery running out. Battery usage can be monitored, but that mode uses a lot of energy. Opening up the camera to change the battery also risks introducing trash into the body of the camera, so fewer openings lead to longer camera life. The biggest importance though is in streamlining. This is a big project with a lot of details. We will be exhausted, and I’m sure to regret having the idea in the first place. The more I can streamline the project on the front end to create smooth easy processes, the easier it will be to manage the rough spots when they arise.


The recumbent trikes will be better for carrying extras like the power supply. They will also be lower to the ground, Since we plan to switch back and forth between road bikes and the recumbent trikes for physical reasons. We’ll be experimenting with different set ups before we decide how different the image height will be between the them. I do not anticipate finding a good way to raise the image taken from the recumbent to the same height as the image taken from the road bike. I think if we try to use something like a vertical selfie stick, the unwanted movement will be too much. Here is where I’d really like to have readers who like to film their ride chime in and tell us what we’re doing all wrong, and what we’re planning well. I like the activity of planning, but I’m very happy to learn from others.

Other Tech

I expect that we will stay close to each other as we ride, but not right on top of each other, especially if we both have cameras. We’re looking to make the trail the subject of our film, not either of us. If we’re not side by side, communication will be an important safety need. Russ or I might be only 20 feet apart, but if something happens to the back and the front rider doesn’t notice, that’s like riding alone. I’d like to use something like a Fly 6 or a smart watch that detects a fall and communicates distress immediately. There is also a new Kickstarter communication device called Milo. Sure, we’ll have phones, but the Milo truly is a hands free device. We don’t plan to be chatty in these videos, but being able to convey an emergency or a hazard immediately with hands free is a significant advantage.

Fantasy Island

Fantasy Island for the cameras and other tech is just being able to assemble or disassemble the great gear for the best possible images in 5 minutes or less. It would also be super cool if we found a way to upload remotely or live stream in real time as we shoot. The Hero Black 9 will do that. The impediments are battery power, signal strength in remote locations, and additional layers of complication.

This post has been edited. The missing GoPro has also been found, but isn’t part of the current plan. and the plan has morphed a little since the post was originally written. We plan to use Hero 10 cameras, definitely have multiple cameras on each bike and definitely stream, though the streaming will be spotty in remote areas.