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What are you using for camcorder launch video?

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firemanup

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Looking to pick up a decent camcorder to video launches but its been 15 years since ive done so, so i have no clue really what would fit the bill best.

I don’t think 4k is necessary but 1080 certainly is, main purpose would be to video launches and load them to social media, facebook/youtube.

I’m finding stuff from 350 to about 650 but just not real sure what would be best so looking to see what others are using.
 

SkyFire

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Mobius Mini; 1080, cheap on Ebay.
Tape it on your rocket or video the launch from the ground.
Mobius Mini.jpg
 

firemanup

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Not looking for onboard, looking for good video of launch to apogee, and deployment of recovery components, need to be able to zoom.
 

cbwho

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Mobius Mini; 1080, cheap on Ebay.
Tape it on your rocket or video the launch from the ground.
View attachment 437612
Thank you for this post. I'm curious about onboard...

I got this camera which is similar to Estes Astrocam: QUOXO U 360° USB Keychain Mini Spy Camera HD

It's cheap and the video sometimes doesn't "keep up".

Avoid: CloverTale Mini Hidden Spy Camera
it is useless
 

Idunno

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I'd like to know what people are using for internally mounted cameras. Do you still use a mobius? How are you mounting it?
 

teepot

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A mobius for down, a similar camera for side view, my phone and a small camcorder from amazon for $135. Should have bought a better camcorder. Battery life is bad. It does have wi-fi so I can load to the computer wirelessly.
 

SkyFire

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For professional results, hire a professional cameraman with a camcorder and another with a drone!
 

Senior Space Cadet

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Last Christmas I bought myself a Sony a7 II. I haven't taken any videos yet, incredibly, but one of the reasons I bough it is it's supposed to be one of the best of this type of camera for taking video. Full size sensor. A dedicated video camera might be better for shooting video, but this takes super high quality stills too.
If they ever let Colorado launch again, I plan on shooting some launches.
I've been taking my rocket photos on an old Canon Rebel.
 

Bruce

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Perhaps having the ability to shoot videos that play back in slower motion could possibly be of benefit?

It seems like the liftoff is usually too quick to see much detail at normal speed. If you took the videos at a higher frame rate, the playback could be more interesting.

A side benefit might be that the faster shutter speed required by the higher frame rate could provide clearer frames with less motion blur.

Some camcorders have a "slow" function where they take video at 60 frames per second instead of the usual 30. Others have options for frame rates like 240fps. Might be something to look for...
 

SkyFire

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Canon VIXIA HF R800 Portable Video Camera Camcorder
$249.99 on Amazon. 57X zoom.

Cannon camcorder.jpg
 

Rocketjunkie

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Things to look for in a camcorder.
Viewfinder rather or in addition to flip out panel. Essential in sunlight.
As much optical zoom as possible. Never go above 2x digital zoom.
Manual focus, preferably without affecting other functions such as shutter speed.
 

ChuckH

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Have you used this one?
I have. The gimbal stabilization works well once you get a feel for how it behaves. The autofocus system doesn't work so well while following rockets (I have yet to see one that does), so manual focus is the way to go. I find that the viewfinder is rather dim and is somewhat hard to use in bright sunlight. This becomes an issue when you are trying to nail manual focus or when the rocket is tiny speck in the viewfinder. Here is a sample that Justin shot using my borrowed AX53:

 

Senior Space Cadet

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If you are shooting the video while someone else does the launching, a tripod with a fluid head might be nice. If you track the rocket, as it goes up, a fluid head will make it look smoother.
I'm not sure if it would be better to shoot wide angle from close up or tele from a distance. Probably safer with the tele. With small rockets, I'd be inclined to get pretty close with a wide angle.
 

Bruce

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Have you taken rocket videos with a tripod?

I have never had luck using a tripod for rocket videos and have since gone back to hand held shots. The problems included not being able to pan fast enough and difficulty in following the viewfinder while its angle was changing.

But I would welcome any tips on using a tripod from people who have enjoyed more success with it than I.

How about some links to rocket launch videos taken with a tripod?
 

ChuckH

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I'm not sure if it would be better to shoot wide angle from close up or tele from a distance. Probably safer with the tele. With small rockets, I'd be inclined to get pretty close with a wide angle.
It's been my experience that being closer with little or no zoom yields the best launch videos.
 

Banzai88

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At least two folks at one of my launch clubs uses one of the high end Ipad thingys. Always seems fairly easy with like a square foot of view finder! Seems to produce decent video, too.
 

firemanup

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I have. The gimbal stabilization works well once you get a feel for how it behaves. The autofocus system doesn't work so well while following rockets (I have yet to see one that does), so manual focus is the way to go. I find that the viewfinder is rather dim and is somewhat hard to use in bright sunlight. This becomes an issue when you are trying to nail manual focus or when the rocket is tiny speck in the viewfinder. Here is a sample that Justin shot using my borrowed AX53:

Is there another camera you would recommend over the Sony, i have a Sony Ax53 located im about to buy but not sure if something else would work better.
 

Bruce

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Is there another camera you would recommend over the Sony, i have a Sony Ax53 located im about to buy but not sure if something else would work better.
The Sony looks good. Another option might be the Panasonic HC-V770,

https://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-Camcorder-HC-V770-2-3-Inch-Smartphone/dp/B00RBG5J02

Both cameras have the same slow motion recording mode of 1080p / 60fps and the same 20 X optical zoom. The Panasonic has a slightly larger image sensor, 1/2.3" vs the Sony's 1/2.5". The Sony has a look through viewfinder while the Panasonic has just the screen viewfinder. I'm sure either would take great rocket videos.
 

ChuckH

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Is there another camera you would recommend over the Sony, i have a Sony Ax53 located im about to buy but not sure if something else would work better.
I haven't really compared it to similar cameras from other brands. The only thing I would say is that I wouldn't even look at anything without a viewfinder for rocket videos.
 

Banzai88

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I haven't really compared it to similar cameras from other brands. The only thing I would say is that I wouldn't even look at anything without a viewfinder for rocket videos.
I'll second the 'viewfinder' assessment.

A few years ago I lucked into a Cannon Vixia HF R700 really cheap and I intended to use it for rocketry. It was a pretty good camera, still is, for doing 'regular' stuff. It's got one of those fancy side pop out screens.....that doesn't work very well in bright sunlight (like at a rocket launch) or for finding things way out there (like rockets in the sky) and has trouble doing the autofocus thing and keeping track. I tried at every launch for a year and a half to get decent launch videos with it....finally gave up trying to get anything better than 'hobby' quality with it.

I even tried a tripod, didn't help much.

My #1 complaint is CLEARLY seeing the rocket with the naked eye, and NOT having a viewfinder that's boresighted to the lens to make it quick and simple to make sure said rocket is in frame. I thought that the palm sized view screen would SURELY work better than a viewfinder.....I was wrong.

Most days, my Galaxy S8+ works better once the rocket is clear of the pads.
 

firemanup

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Ive got it narrowed down to these three, and they all have viewfinders, however the Sony and Panasonic are a little cheesy compared to the Canon.

9DAE490E-7285-4B2B-ADCC-DA4919C52D35.png
 
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