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FreeEnterprise 09-30-2012 07:53 PM

Filming Paintball, Discussion on filming/editing/effects
As we all know playing paintball is super fun. But, ever since I started playing years ago, I always wanted to capture what I could SEE on film...

I started filming my games with one of the early action cams, (atc3K) which worked, but not very well. It had a good size, but it was only 640X480, the mic was HORRIBLE and if the person you were shooting at wasn't backlit (meaning light behind them) it was pretty hard to capture what you saw.

I kept working at it, learning how to mount my camera in different positions and learned that you NEVER put your camera on your mask on your "gun side" as you will just shoot tons of hopper. No one wants to see that.

But I had to totally change my playing style to try and capture good video. As you had to be CLOSE to capture your kills on film. And when I say close, I mean 30 feet.

So I decided the only way I could capture what I wanted to show was to film with a HD camera with great OPTICAL zoom.

So I started researching... After a few months I found on craigslist in my area a Sony HDR-SR1. Which was a top of the line "prosumer" video camera from years ago. This was the perfect platform for what I wanted as it had 10X optical zoom, and a built in image stabilization that was REALLY good. So I met the guy selling it and got it for $200 with an extra battery, AND a wide angle lens, bag and all the cables. (this camera was almost $2,000 new). The form factor is pretty small for such a high end camera, and the Zeiss lens is amazing.

Then I needed to figure out a way to mount it on my paintball gun. And I use an A-5 so it has quite a bit of "kick". And vibrations and HD based video camera's aren't a good mix...

So I needed a way to keep the camera from moving around from the vibration of the marker, as well as be able to SEE where I am shooting.

I tried the left side, and then the right side, and finally realize it had to be under or over the barrel. Since the camera weighs about 2.5 pounds I figured under the barrel made the most sense. (if you are laying down in the grass your image might be blocked though).

After a few years of testing, I have finally gotten it... Yesterday I played and HOLY COW... The footage is amazing. I'm working on a video that shows the differences between regular action cams (I'm using a Contour Roam currently as my helmet cam filming in 720HD with 170 degree field of view) and then I switch to my ZoomCam when I shoot.

I filmed part of the day at 5x optical zoom, then I lowered it later as I wasn't sure it was dialed in just right, but I wish I had left it as it was amazing.

Anyway, the point of this thread is to put your tricks and tips for filming paintball, and discussions on how to mount your cameras, as well as cool ideas for editing, and such.

I will update this when I get my latest video uploaded, so you can see what I am talking about.

Oh and I film in 5.1 surround sound as well. Which no online source can handle yet, but paintball should be filmed with this type of audio so you can hear "where" people are shooting. It is very cool in surround sound.

Justus 09-30-2012 09:53 PM

I use a ContourHD 1080p camera with the settings on the 720p 60fps mode. I have it mounted on the right side of my mask. Because I use a warpfeed, I have no hopper in the way. It really comes out like a FPS video game. Long distance shots aren't spectacular but, for me at least, paintball videos are more about moving and seeing how the field is played rather than simply killcams anyway.

I've found that the 720/60 mode is better for this type of action than the 1080/30 mode. I realize YouTube only plays at 30fps anyway, but if you're uploading anything to YouTube they're processing and converting the file anyway, to turn it into a flash video for bandwidth purposes. A 60fps video is a cleaner source, and I've found my videos uploaded to YouTube look better when I have a cleaner source file regardless of the YT processing and converting. Also, with the popularity of the 60fps videos, it's only a matter of time before YT starts supporting the framerate.

How, exactly, are you filing in 5.1 surround sound? Are you mic'd up with 6 microphones, or is it all in the processing?

FreeEnterprise 09-30-2012 10:24 PM

The 5.1 comes from the built in mic on my camera. Sony HDR-SR1 AVCHD 2.1 MP 30GB High-Definition Hard Disk Drive Camcorder with 10x Optical Zoom: Camera & Photo

I made holes in my ZoomCam enclosure so that it is more pronounced. (two up front, two on the sides, and the back is open. So you actually have spatial sound when listening to it on a system that can handle it. (I play mine back in my theater).

I'm having issues with blip only putting SOME of my videos in HD... I'm uploading my latest video for the second time tonight just on youtube so I can get it in HD.

It is a pain how all these systems don't work well together. Or they do for a while, then they change stuff, and you have issues.

As far as mounting, I like footage that is between your eyes. The way Akimbo Assassin does it is perfect, but you can't get an action cam like that easily... So the next best is right above your head, but between your eyes. (I put mine over my left eye, so my hopper on the right side doesn't block the shots).

I use the furnished tape mount that comes with the Roam, then I duct tape the back to keep it pointed up, and not moving around when you run.

Justus 10-01-2012 12:04 AM

On my mask, I usually don't use a visor, that way there's nothing interfering with the video. Even though it's on the right side of my head, honestly the only time you notice is when I look out the left side of a bunker.

If you're having problems with YT, Blip or Vimeo, you can always upload directly to Contour since you have a Roam. The Storyteller site does support 60fps too. ;)

No Mercy Ever 10-01-2012 12:18 AM

I have always wondered about your can under your barrel. I have a Sony HDR-SR12, which may be a bit bigger, but has the advantage of a 120 GB hard drive. Keeping my barrel up is never my problem, it's the problem with my Contour and the Midland's being able to record long files. Seems that if I keep them to no longer than 5 minutes, they tend to film okay, but if I have them for 30 minutes, or an hour, they have a file, but seeing it just does not happen. I am hoping to get a Sony Action cam, and have better luck with it.

But, I have noticed, despite the low definition, that cheap action cam from Jaks Pacific ($50 for the real cheapie, and $100 for the "high end" one) seems to work well with going from bright light to shadow's. Don't care for the mounting options as much, but it might be worth checking out.

FreeEnterprise 10-01-2012 07:39 AM

OK, so I made this video to give people an idea what you get with an action cam. Doesn't matter what brand, none of them have optical zoom. With your edit gear you can digitally zoom in and get a little closer, but not much.

I compare the same shots from my Contour Roam 720HD and my 1080 HD ZoomCam. (the first shot at :27 the best case scenario for an action cam, the target was about 70 feet away and backlit against the sky, and with everything going for the action cam, you still can hardly see what is going on... so the next clip was at 5x optical zoom, the next clip I zoomed in digitally another 4x for a total of 9x zoom with my ZoomCam).

At 1:28 we are about 100 feet apart, and you can see the paint flying and hitting him. Then I cut back to the Roam so you can see that perspective from the action cam... Clearly it would be useless in that situation.

Trails of Doom Action Cam VS ZoomCam Paintball Woodsball in HD FPS - YouTube

I upload in 1080HD and render in the best setting on my Sony Vegas 10 platinum software. (using a minimum of 5.1 plus the roam sound as well as a music track).

It has taken me years, but I am finally pleased with what I can capture on the field, and I have some incredible footage from my event this weekend. As I get time I will be uploading more to my channels.

Frgood 10-01-2012 10:34 AM

Nice job.

russc 10-01-2012 02:13 PM

I'm a big fan of the through-the-goggles type of cam mount, but it just isn't convenient for most people.

I think the biggest issue for most people posting paintball videos is the failure to edit the footage down. I just post a link to the unlisted full-length game, so if people want to see it they can. Otherwise, you can't fall in love with what you're shooting just because you were there playing. Sometimes I don't bother posting up kills, just because it doesn't look like anything on camera. If you can't see it well, it isn't worth posting, for the most part. Most paintball games can be cut down by 50 to 75 percent and still make sense to the viewers, who have short attention spans.

Justus 10-01-2012 03:06 PM

I certainly agree with that. If you're spending more than 5 or 10 seconds behind a bunker with no action (no shooting or coordinating with teammates), I lose my interest. So I try to cut down that time in my videos as well.

No Mercy Ever 10-01-2012 04:17 PM

What is a through-the-goggles camera and mount? I can't think of anything, beyond a pinhole type of camera lens that goes to a larger recording unit, that would work inside your mask that is safe.

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