If you’ve purchased a phone in the past 4-5 years, chances are that it has a pretty good camera. Video from your phone sometimes can be even better than the old fashioned video cameras that we used to lug around with us.
GoPro cameras are just about everywhere these days. GoPro video from your helmet, or a navigator helmet is OK, but not as useful as video from the ground.
Unfortunately, GoPro’s aren’t great from the ground. The very wide angle lens makes you look very small and far away in ground video. So if you’re using a GoPro from the ground, set your camera person up in the middle of the ring.
There are quite a few camera robots out there these days. They all promise more than they deliver, but when they work, they are often better than humans.
The main advantages are: (caveat to all of these advantages is; when the robot works as designed)
- They hold a fairly steady shot
- They don’t get bored or distracted when filming you (for the most part)
- They will record as long as you ask them to within the limits of battery life and memory
- You don’t have to have a second person to do the filming
The disadvantages are:
- Well, it still helps to have another person keeping an eye on the robot!
- They’re not all that robust and weatherproof
- Dealing with artificial intelligence can be really frustrating!
- Battery life and memory capacity can be difficult to manage
Here are my thoughts of a few of the robots that are out there:
I have not played with this robot yet. I mention this one first because it’s rather cheap, and it works with your aforementioned phone. It has been getting lots of favorable reviews, and videos that I’ve seen on the user groups have been pretty good.
I’ll probably add this one to my arsenal of gadgets soon.
I was an early adopter of this robot. I have a real love/hate relationship with this robot.
- All-in-one system. The camera is part of the package (get the bigger camera with lots of zoom.)
- Really nice video! (When you get video)
- Good zoom & follow, including tilt (moving camera up and down, critical when shooting in large are like a full-sized dressage arena
- Highly dependant on GPS satellite reception
- Can’t be used indoors
- Lengthy setup process (10 – 30 minutes)
- Remote functions unreliable
- Expensive for what you get
- Sketchy company, unreliable, sometimes non-existent customer service
Pixio or Pixium
I bought this system after SoloShot. I’ve found it more reliable than SoloShot, but I did have buy a camera to put on top of it. They do have a mobile phone model, which will likely have more compatibility.
- Fairly reliable once it’s set up (better than handing your camera to a person!)
- Indoor or outdoor use
- Fairly good customer service
- If you already have a camera or good cell phone, you can use that
- Live Online coaching possible (I have not tried it yet, but it has potential)
- Lengthy setup (10 – 30 minutes)
- Depends on beacons, so more parts can equal more issues
- Pan & Zoom only, no tilt
- Zoom only works with devices that they’ve programed
- Expensive, especially when you consider you have to provide the camera