Monday, February 13, 2012

POV Skiing: How Technology is Revolutionizing The Ski Experience

Remember when the only way to capture your skiing adventures was by taking a mental snapshot and through reliving those legendary moments with friends over a few drinks at the bar?  Telling the same stories year after year, only each time that jump you hit gets 10x bigger and better? Well those days are no longer.  Thanks to technology we can relive those moments not only in our minds, but also scene for scene all with the click of a button.  Whether it's carving up the mountain, catching huge air, finding a secret powder stash, shredding some glades, or one of your pals taking a fall; you can now capture it all on camera.

It first began in the 2000s when digital cameras and camera phones put the power of photography into the hands of the masses and pockets of skiers across the world.  Now a decade later technology has outdone itself once again and brought us tiny, waterproof, windproof, shock proof, mountable cameras that are designed for capturing those moments that once only lived in our memories.  It's become commonplace to see people on the mountain with these cameras strapped to their helmets, boots, skis, poles, and many other creative locations.  Every day thousands of photos and videos are uploaded from skiers and boarders across the globe who want to share their snowy adventures with the rest of world.
GoPro Hero HD 2

As for me, I've been shooting with my new GoPro Hero HD 2 which I received for Christmas...and boy is it fun!  I've had such a blast filming with this bad boy all season long for both personal enjoyment and work.  I was absolutely blown away the first time I hooked it up to my TV at home and watched my day on the slopes in high definition.  The colors, detail, and all around quality amazed me and I knew that this was only the first day of many more days of filming to come.  Of course out of those first few hours of footage I really only captured about 5-10 minutes of really great video because it takes time to figuring out which angles look best and are easiest to actually film...but that's half the fun!

Before taking to the slopes I created my own makeshift ski pole mount and it has worked out absolutely wonderfully!  The pole mount provides a lot of versatility in filming and allows for fluent angle changes and the ability to capture views that would otherwise be hard to capture.  What really surprised me was the stability provided by the pole mount, which I believe was greatly due to the way I attached the mount to my pole.  I found this video pretty helpful for making my ski pole mount How To Make A Pole Mount For Self Filming. If you have a similar type of camera and have only used it as a helmet cam I highly recommend playing with different angles and mounts in order to really capture your mountain experience, and I promise you'll be as happy as I was.

1) EXPERIMENT! Like I said before, it's all about messing with angles, getting to know your camera, and figuring out what works best for you. One angle I really like when using a pole mount is holding the camera out in front of yourself which captures your entire body.

2) If you're filming someone else...GET CLOSE.  Because the GoPro uses a fisheye lens objects appear farther away then they actually are.  I find that having the camera about 4 feet away from the person you're filming looks best but be careful when skiing/boarding because you don't want to crash into the person (this is where I find the pole mount works best).  And if you want to get a head or face shot of someone you really need to stick the camera right in their face in order for their face to fill the screen.

3) Instead of trying to capture an image using the single photo button or burst, it's easier to snag a STILL IMAGE from the video rather than try to push the button at the absolute perfect time.  The quality won't be as great but it was still be pretty darn good and you won't be frustrated when you miss the perfect shot.

4) HAVE FUN.  Don't get too caught up in filming that it takes away from the real reason you're on the slopes.  Remember, you spent at least an hour getting ready for the day, driving to the mountain, and putting on all this ridiculous winter gear for these reasons;  to have fun and enjoy the exhilarating sport of skiing and the beauty of being in nature.

If you have any tips, suggestions, thoughts, pictures, or videos of your own, please feel free to share them in a comment on this page, or on Facebook, or Twitter...we're always listening and love checking out cool media.

For now, here's a small selection of some of the pictures I've taken so far this season.  All of the photos are still shots from video and none have been edited or retouched. Enjoy!

~ Erika Nash 

Bluebird days are the BEST!

Snowmaking. The only thing that got us through this extremely sad Winter
Love my Stocklis, especially when they're in the air

Messing around with the pole mount and having fun of course
Pole Mount Angle...not the best skiing in this shot but it represents the angle I was talking about

An end to a great day...always remember to have fun!

~ Erika Nash 

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