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Action cam mounts for unique opportunities in recording HD video

shot of a snow boarder jumping from a helicopter

So you purchased your new HD video action camera (be it a GoPro3, iON Air Pro 3, Sony SteadyShot or other action cam) and are now looking to use it to record your important moments on HD video.

Depending on which camera you purchase, you might think you are limited to how you can mount the camera as a video producer. You are presented with many choices from suction cup mounts for the side of your car, chest harness mounts for skiing, hiking or biking, and helmet mounts for those days when you put on your squirrel suit and go for your best day of base jumping. But real-world mounts are also easy to come by, they just take a little more imagination.

shot of a Sony action cam mounted to a dog
Cute Animals Mounts

We've all been enamored with the cute kitty videos on the internet, but what if you could take it one step further? Mount your action cam to your own pet! Various options have recently been offered to the action cam public for taking hd video from your pet’s perspective. Is this something you really want to do? Let’s take a look at what could be useful in this instance:

·         Have your dog running behind you with a dog-mounted action cam on a trail to video your form

·         Strap the action cam onto your horse to record a unique perspective during your long rides

·         Is your pet getting out of the yard? Strap a camera on its back and get a front-seat view of the escape artist

·         Or for a more serious possibility, use it for rescue dogs to while they are running through the wilderness for search and rescue purposes (many newer action cams allow you to have a live preview on a phone app through Wi-Fi)

Sports Mounts

I am working on a review of the iON Air Pro 3 and during my tests, I strapped the camera onto a goal post to view HD video of what my daughter sees when she is goal keeper for her traveling soccer team. I mounted it on the top cross-bar of the soccer goal with a couple of zip ties. This gave her a new perspective of how her opponents were attacking the goal, as well as her reactions and how she could improve. Having an action cam available for training purposes is fantastic, but getting it into the right position to help is rather tricky. Most action cams are very durable and can take abuse, therefore using a small wire-leg tripod can help you place your action cam exactly where needed.

Another option recently being used by professional sports is to mount the action cam to the referee’s head so spectators can have a front aisle view of major plays and penalties, all in HD video. Be it soccer, football, boxing, hockey, or other professional sports, the fans are getting a unique view into the action of the sport (though, now there needs to be some language censoring software for those “opportune” times).

Steadicam Smoothee
Stabilizer Mount

One of the best situations I found myself in was the chance to video a bike jump contest with action cams using the Tiffen Steadycam Smoothee. During the contest I used my GoPro2 with and without the stabilizer attached. Though it was a fairly bulky mount, the quality of the video was head and shoulders above just trying to gracefully maneuver the action cams to follow the riders by hand. The stability of the shots, the fluidity and the overall professionalism of the video I received from the use of the Smoothee was well worth packing it around all day.

As people are getting more and more creative these days with their action cams, using a stabilizer and mounting it to objects in motion is becoming more popular and producing much better footage.

Aerial Mounts

Quite the rage recently (as you can see during snow style event the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia) is the use of aerial mounted action cams. This unique opportunity affords the viewers a fluid, stable and close-up view of action sports. Though the price can be a little intimidating, it isn't as intimidating as the learning curve to control these remote control devices. However, the quality of video is unparalleled for the type of shot it provides. There are a few different types, from Quadcopters and generic RC Helicopter mounts, to DIY mounts throughout the internet. We've recently seen a model rocket mount to shoot the action cams into the sky and film the horizon and the land below; very nice if you'd like to get an overview of an area.

shot of a GoPro camera attached to a bike
Bike Mounts

Using your action cam to take high quality hd video of you biking down your favorite trail is one of the most popular uses of action cams. However, taking a picture of your bicycle tires while riding your bike is limiting as to what you can really view on the ride. Try using a helmet swivel mount on your action cams for a 360 degree view of you and your ride. Though quite awkward the first time you try it, you will be hooked once you see the video you are able to capture.

Get Out There!

Since action cams have been around now for quite a few years and amateur video producers (as well as professionals) have been using them in more adventurous ways, the market for action cam mounts is growing by leaps and bounds. It even looks like the aftermarket isn't able to keep up with the demand for new uses, so the DIY crowd is jumping on board to lead the development of many new and future designs. Since these unique mounts can provide footage never before available, the action cam mount is bound to be a serious business in the years to come. In the meantime, get creative, have fun, and experiment on your own, there are no limits!

Brian Teal is a tech guru, an amateur videographer and participates in various extreme sports

Snowboarder jumping from a helicopter image from Shutterstock.

 

Brian
Teal
February 12th, 2014