LA IS A GREAT BIG FREEWAY

PAN AND ZOOM WITH DAVE
I’ve done two ‘copter shoots for Dave – one in Sonoma County, CA, the other flying over the Great Salt Lake. They were both scary but fun. Now he wants a third – early morning traffic jams on the LA freeways.

Flying low over freeways, yuk! I just don’t want to do it…

“What’s the matter Stefan? This is very, very important shot for an equally very important client. I don’t understand your problem; getting old, thinking of chucking it all in?”

“Gee Dave, you know how to hurt a guy. Look it’s just not my thing – and besides there are plenty of aerial cameramen in LA. You should use a real pro with a proper helicopter rig.”

ENTER THE POV.HD CAMERA
I’d never heard of a camera called POV.HD until Queen Cristina asked me to review it.

I phone Dave. “Hi Dave, that freeway job, I’ve got a new camera that does great point of view shots from the top of a car.”

“Sounds good but we still need that helicopter to show the advantage of car pool lanes. It’s very, very important…”

IT’S HERE – MY NEW TOY

POV.HD camera head and suction pad

The POV.HD (awful name) arrives with a box full of bits and pieces, which I guess are for downhill skiers or rally drivers. The only one I really need is the suction mount.

Like the GoPro, you can change the field of view by changing the size of the capture area of the sensors. 1080p has a FOV of 142 degrees, while 720p is not so wide at 95 degrees.

I do a few tests. 142 is just too wide – in LA we’ll be on a six and seven lane freeways, my guess is 95 degrees will be better. So 720p it is…

A GREAT BIG FREEWAY

The huge advantage of the POV.HD over you know what, is that the recorder is separate from the camera head. You can see what you’re actually shooting, you can stop and start and even playback to check that you really got it. At $599, it’s double the price but what’s $300 in a job costing thousands?

POV.HD recorder with 2” LED monitor

I wet the suction cup and clamp it down. “Is it safe?” says Dave. “Sure, I tested it at home.” “Safe at 80 mph on a freeway? Can you imagine what would happen if it flew off and hit another car.” I’m worried. I have two steel safety cables at home – why didn’t I bring them?

I give the POV.HD a good tug left and right, seems really secure. Being just the camera head, it’s lighter and more streamlined than the GoPro body.

Early morning, the sun is just up. We leave the car pool parking lot. Dave is driving; I’m at the recorder controls.

DAVE’S DIRECTORIAL DEBUT
We’re recording onto a Class 6 SD 8 GB card. Dave’s up to 75 mph; the camera’s steady, looks good, very smooth. We climb up the ramp from the car pool lane and descend into the freeway itself.

“Look at that traffic jam and we’re going whiz past it. How’s it look?”

We spend an hour shooting. Dave merges into the jam and in the POV.HD monitor I can see the car pool traffic passing by while we’re stopped dead.

Dave finds an overpass. We clamber up the stairs and I set up the shot. Dave is peering over my shoulder looking at my Sony V1 flip-out viewfinder. He’s excited.

“Pan and zoom, pan and zoom.” “That doesn’t mean anything. You got to say in or out – or left and right.”

The traffic’s really bad and the car pool lanes are almost empty. “Pan in.” I sense he wants to shoot it himself.

Dave’s overpass shot showing the car pool advantage

“Here you go. This is the zoom control. Pan and zoom as much as you like.” A huge smile comes over his face.

“I’m getting really good things. It’s great. I zoomed in. This is terrific! I’ve got it! Perfect. Tells the story. Cancel the helicopter!”

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