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Subject: Pivothead & tripod tests rss

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Richard Ham
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So as those who are following my Kickstarter 2014 campaign already know, I had a stretch goal to try out the Pivothead glasses-mounted camera system.



I have now done an initial test, and below is the results.

Now, first of all, I should point out that Walnut Grove is not a game that really benefits from the Pivothead, because I could easily play it one handed. So put that aside

I can say that I'm really happy with the video and audio quality... surprisingly good, I have to say, no real compromise there. And I LOOVED having 2 hands free (even if I didn't need them for Walnut Grove)... it was so great not to have a sore shoulder at the end of this test by holding the camera up for so long.

It's a bit tricky filming with it, because I can't see what I'm actually filming, but I mostly solved that problem by putting some frame lines (using blutack) on the glasses lens, so I could tell when the board was going off the bottom of the screen. Worked pretty well.

The camera didn't quite focus on close stuff, but I just need to set it to "macro focus" mode, and that should fix that, from what I've read in the instruction manual.

The way the camera is positioned in the glasses, I had to sort of unnaturally look down more than I normally would... the glasses seem designed to capture what's in front of you, aiming sort of upwards towards the sky, instead of downwards towards the ground. Makes sense for filming while walking around, riding bikes, or doing extreme sports and stuff, but not so great for trying to run through a board game!!! But I'm confident that's a solvable problem... I probably just need to tilt the glasses up a bit on my nose to they point down a bit... with some more experimentation, I don't expect there to be any problem.

So a LOT of positive results, BUT... as I feared, my head is not quite as still as my hand when filming. Actually that's not true... my head is much more stable, I think, BUT the Panasonic camera has some built in image stabilization, which smooths that out. The glasses don't have anything similar.

So there's a lot more "extra motion" in the video... kind of like back when I was filming back with the iphone unfortunately. Not quite as bad as the iphone, but still, much worse than the Panasonic hand held camera

I'm curious what folks think... am I being overly sensitive? Here's a runthrough of Walnut Grove, with the Pivothead, immediately followed by a runthrough of the same with my normal Panasonic camera held in hand:

UPDATE: now the 2nd video is included which is the Pivothead video 'stabilized' by Youtube's software... enjoy The 3rd video is the runthrough filmed in my "normal" way, holding my Panasonic in my left hand





In other news, the other part of the Pivothead experiment was trying out a static camera view of a game with a tripod (which jen bought for 5 euros at a garage sale), since I now have 2 camera to film with. Here's what that looked like:



To my way of thinking, it makes the game look very static and boring, and prevents you from seeing a lot of detail, as expected. But OTOH, many people who can't handle watching my videos at all could watch this. They'd just be bored and maybe frustrated because my big fat hands and arms are in the way a lot of the time (presumably I could find an angle to minimize, but never quite eliminate, that

Again, feedback appreciated! Currently my thinking is I'll return the Pivotheads (they've got a 30 day no-questions-asked return policy), and buy a normal 2nd handheld camera for the steadycam...
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Richard Ham
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Also forgot to mention I'm processing a Youtube stabilized version of the Pivothead video, but that'll probably take 5 or 6 hours... will post an update to this thread when that's ready
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steven smolders
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This is what i was afraid for, it shakes to much for my taste. I like it much better with the handheld camera.

It's new and they will get better with time as they might build in an stabilization or so, for purpuse to film gameplay of boardgames it's not the best option.

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A Gateway Gamer Runs Through
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Reminds me of some of your earlier videos. Good job keep up the good work.
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Mat Thomsen
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I think image stabilization is important. Given the fact that you are talking, which causes your head (and face, where the glasses sit) to move. But I understand the added convenience for you.

I will watch no matter what, because you do great work. Keep it up, and thanks!
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Mark Powell
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Unfortunately, I have to agree. This feels like a step back from a viewer point of view. Without the hardware stabilization it really feels like it's back to the iPhone days (which I actually didn't mind too much, but have gotten spoiled with the panasonic). I hold any opinion on the tripod, I wouldn't watch it as I love how you focus on the current item you are discussing, etc.
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K B
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Great tests, but I like your stabilized handheld method best (panasonic). The tripod is nice and still, but the video lacks the "energy" of the moving camera.
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Richard Ham
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powellmark wrote:
This feels like a step back from a viewer point of view.

Yeah, it's a real shame, but it definitely seems like these were made for walking around doing stuff video (like this... the first thing I filmed, immediately after pulling them out of the box)

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Bryan Thunkd
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UGH! Way too shaky. In addition to being really annoying and disorienting, it just makes the video look unprofessional.

Your normal videos are a high enough quality that it gives the illusion of a high budget operation that rivals the dice tower network. This shaky video comes across as some random guy who's just picked up their iPhone and is trying to record a video for the first time ever.

This is a huge step backwards!

The static cam isn't a good compromise either. Although it avoids the jitter issue, it's too distant and too boring for me to want to watch it.

So neither the glasses cam or the static cam come anywhere near to approaching the quality level of your normal filming style. I implore you, please don't pursue this route.


rahdo wrote:
Yeah, it's a real shame, but it definitely seems like these were made for walking around doing stuff video (like this... the first thing I filmed, immediately after pulling them out of the box)
Seeing more of where you live was strangely fascinating... kinda like getting invited to the back of the factory to get to see where the widgets are made.
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Wil
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powellmark wrote:
This feels like a step back from a viewer point of view.

Yeah, I would have to agree. The early videos triggered some motion/dizzy sickness with me and I couldn't watch them. This initial Pivothead video is having the same effect. I actually turned it off after watching just a brief bit of it.

I had assumed my preference would be a static tripod since that completely eliminates this issue but in seeing your test example and becoming a definite fan of your style, I agree that the tripod isn't the right call.

Based on this, my opinion is to keep doing what you have been doing as it's working quite well. Less motion + full enthusiasm = great stuff.
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J Young
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I have to agree with others. Although I can appreciate how much easier it would be for you to have both hands free, I much prefer the Panasonic - image quality also seems a bit better with the handheld. As for the static, I like the idea, but think that an overhead mount would be the way to go. Smaller scale games would benefit, but larger sprawling games would miss out on some detail.

Are there no shoulder or chest harnesses for vidcams that would work? I have a GoPro and you can get several different mounts for it - of course I'm not using zoom or any kind of macro detailed shots with it either. Just thinkin'...
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Jason Speicher
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I'm curious if youtube fixes some of the stabilization things. The static/tripod'd camera is nice, very nice as well actually.
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Jason Speicher
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I like the idea of pivot head but without the image stabilization, it's just hard to watch, and i don't get motion sickness easily.
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J. M. Lopez-Cepero "CP"
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It's indeed a bit too shaky. But I wouldn't rule it out until seeing what software image stabilization does to the video. I think that just adding a bit of stabilization, perhaps cutting out 5% in each border, will surely make it *much* better.

See:


And particularly this one:


A caveat, though - image stabilization takes A LOT of time. Unless Youtube does a great job, it's not going to be workable for you until you get your shiny new computer. If you can clip a ~1-2 minute part of your run through, perhaps somebody can run it through a image stabilization filter and reupload it so that we can compare.

PS: Loved the Rahdo Runs Through... Home! video, BTW
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Bryan Thunkd
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Jefferoni wrote:
Are there no shoulder or chest harnesses for vidcams that would work?
Something like this:
http://www.ritzcamera.com/product/641635022.htm?
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Mark von Minden
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Another vote for the handheld cam here. I found the Pivothead cam too shaky for the runthrough (though it seemed to work great for the Rahdo Home Walkthrough!). I'm also not a huge fan of the static cam setup, as it loses that "at the table experiencing the game" feel which make your videos so great.
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Richard Ham
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Thunkd wrote:
Jefferoni wrote:
Are there no shoulder or chest harnesses for vidcams that would work?
Something like this:
http://www.ritzcamera.com/product/641635022.htm?

Interesting, though I'm sure it'll add just as much jitter.

For the record, in case anyone happens to be reading this thread not because they're interested in RRT, but because they're interested in Pivothead... it's an EXCELLENT product! I'm very impressed, across the board. The quality of the components, the packaging, the recording quality... everything is really top notch. They even look kind of cool while worn.

If I was filming stuff that is focused not within 1 meter of my head, but instead stuff that's 3-30 meters away, it would be a definite keeper. But I would say Pivothead it not an ideal system for 30+ long minute video content filmed within 1m.

I really want to keep the glasses to film stuff like riding on my scooter, going on tours of tourist attractions, just taking the beagles for a walk along Dingli Cliffs, etc. Very cool to capture day to day stuff, and I suspect Jen and I would enjoy them quite a bit.

But it seems they're, not really ideal for long video runthroughs of boardgames so back they go!

andvaranaut wrote:
A caveat, though - image stabilization takes A LOT of time. Unless Youtube does a great job, it's not going to be workable for you until you get your shiny new computer. If you can clip a ~1-2 minute part of your run through, perhaps somebody can run it through a image stabilization filter and reupload it so that we can compare.
I'm running the video through youtube's stabilizer right now. When I used to play with it before, it seemed to take anywhere from 5-10 hours to process a video. We'll see what it looks like, but I remember it always creating tons of really strange trippy artifacts...

Quote:
PS: Loved the Rahdo Runs Through... Home! video, BTW
Hehe, I'm sure Jen wouldn't be too pleased knowing I posted that, and if I'd known I was posting it myself, I would have been more careful about actually getting the dogs and chickens on camera!
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Murr Rockstroh
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rahdo wrote:
And I LOOVED having 2 hands free (even if I didn't need them for Walnut Grove)... it was so great not to have a sore shoulder at the end of this test by holding the camera up for so long.
.........
The way the camera is positioned in the glasses, I had to sort of unnaturally look down more than I normally would... ....I probably just need to tilt the glasses up a bit on my nose to they point down a bit...

If you have to look down unnaturally hopefully that sore shoulder won't change to sore neck and shoulders

rahdo wrote:
Currently my thinking is I'll return the Pivotheads (they've got a 30 day no-questions-asked return policy), and buy a normal 2nd handheld camera for the steadycam...

I'll wait for the stabilized version to come out (as you mentioned below) before I say "Good idea"

Thanks for all the work you do, you're personally responsible for about 33% of my game collection at the moment (though that is likely going to climb higher as time goes on).
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J. M. Lopez-Cepero "CP"
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How's the stabilized version coming along?
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Richard Ham
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Murr wrote:
If you have to look down unnaturally hopefully that sore shoulder won't change to sore neck and shoulders
Yeah, that is an issue... but I face that anyway. Most of the time, after a long runthrough, my left shoulder is pretty sore from holding the panasonic in such an unnatural position, trying to keep it as still as possible.

I do figure though that if I could find the right way to perch the glasses on my nose, I wouldn't have to crane my head down quite so much.

Bigger issue is the blutack I put on the lenses to know when the board is in frame. It works great, but having something that close to my eyes for such a long period of time kind of divides my focus, and creates a feeling sort of like wearing 3D glasses for too long, which isn't great.

I figured if the glasses were a keeper, I could use the 'framing guides' for awhile until I got used to which way I'd have to look, and could then take them off the lenses, but now I suspect it's a moot point...

andvaranaut wrote:
How's the stabilized version coming along?

Here's the link where it will be: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIweWVIPu1E

but I bet it won't be there for quite a few hours yet. When it eventually does finish, I'll post to this thread
 
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Mark Powell
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rahdo wrote:

But it seems they're, not really ideal for long video runthroughs of boardgames so back they go!

As a Kickstarter Backer, my vote is to keep them, enjoy them and use them for the conferences you go to as well as personal fun.
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andvaranaut wrote:
How's the stabilized version coming along?

The footage I'm playing with is absolutely awful. Lots of warping. It will probably be just as much of a distraction.
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Richard,

Instead of waiting 5-6 hours to check Youtube results of Runthrough you can record a 2 minute video and compare it with stabilization stuff. I think it will be much more faster and you can post it in a couple of minutes.
I really like Pivothead and it is a shame if it do not work well due stabilization problems.
 
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powellmark wrote:
rahdo wrote:

But it seems they're, not really ideal for long video runthroughs of boardgames so back they go!

As a Kickstarter Backer, my vote is to keep them, enjoy them and use them for the conferences you go to as well as personal fun.

I second this.
And for Rahdo runs through Malta.
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Just saw the video and have to agree that it has bit more motion than optimal... for me it's not too bad but I can understand that many many people would feel motion sickness...

That being said, I think you should keep them and use for the things you mentioned you'd love to use them...

You can also use them at Con or when you have games that require heavy shuffling so you can have the two hands... no one will die if they have a bit more of motion sickness in those cases... and when you record that way you can also record with the tripod for those people that can bare the motion...

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