...forgive the long post:
Hereís yet another gadget for anyone wanting to do video on the trail:
Itís called a Hague Mini Motion-Cam (MMC) stabilizer (shown above attached below my Canon T2i.) It's not $10K or even $1K, but a reasonable $150, and that includes shipping from England. On the first clip shown here, I exclaim, ďIt was worth the wait,Ē in reference to it taking a month to get to me in Denver. It was in NO WAY the shipperís problem, but rather ebay at first failing and then refusing to update our shipping address, instead telling the manufacturer in Great Britain to send it to a P.O. box in Miami that we havenít used for two years.
But after countless emails, it finally got forwarded here, and I was able to use it on our hike last week to The Crags, a gorgeous 5-mile hike on the west flank of Pikes Peak south of Woodland Park, CO.
What follows is literally the first clip taken after Iíd finished the fine-tuning to balance my camera on the stabilizer. The gizmo uses a pistol grip or handle connected by ball & socket to the camera/counter-balance apparatus. A curved bar holds the camera at top, with counter-balancing weights on the bottom.
Hereís the first attempt: First video clip with the MMC on the trail
I obviously was impressed.
But if you're still not, then check out the three takes near the end of the following video to see a real comparison, first with the MMC and then without and then with it again. I was walking on a hilly, winding, uphill trail bisected by roots when I used the MMC; I was on a flat, level gravel trail when I was recording without using the MMC.
You decide. Observations:Pros:
Lightweight (with the counter-balance weights for a Canon T2i, just under one pound.) It's inexpensive, ruggedly built (for trail use), and itís small size makes it able to fit in your pack when not in use.Cons:
Only works for lightweight camcorders and DSLRs like the Canon T2i (that weighs 1#10oz with the standard 18-55mm lens, battery and NO strap. (But then who wants to lug a super-heavy Canon 7D or Nikon equivalent on an overnight bp?) The stabilizer did have a hard time at the top of The Crags staying steady in a really strong crosswind. Plus youíll find yourself using more batteries when shooting video moving along the trail.
We did have to make one modification to the camera, and that was to make an easy-on/easy-off set-up with the neck strap, since it MUST be off the camera to use the MMC. Taking off the stock neckstrap without this modification would take 10 minutes everytime you wanted to use it.
So my wife cut and sewed the modified strap shown here using small carbiners and rings:
All things considered, this was an absolute joy to play with. I was having so much fun my wife was afraid I was going to step off a cliff while playing with it. (As my widow, no telling how much she could have made off that clip.)
I held that thing by the grip up and back on the trail with it out in front of me and my arm never got tired.
This last example is a short (4-minute) video of the hike up to The Crags (from 10.1 to 10.7K feet) and back, using a variety of clips with the MMC (many more than Iíd ever put in a typical trip report video.) But it shows how it handles using a sidestep (a hiker face-on, following the cameraman), off-trail, and shooting to the side. Hereís that clip (and yes, I do need a lens hood, itís on order): 4-minute MMC toThe Crags video
Just remember, both the still landscape shots (in 18mp) and the video were shot with the same camera, a single
camera. I've got the video in hi-def on facebook and you can see every needle on those bristlecone pines in both the still shots and the video clips.