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Zenif

Cameras for Nerf wars and more

Noticed allot of people using Cameras at BB and we all love watching the footage. I had been looking at getting a second hand gopro for a while for not just Nerf but general sport/ bike/ doing action movies with the kids and other fun.

I am completely a noob regarding this however! Cool

Considering a gopro hero 2 or 3 but not sure which would be best for general use and Nerf, still researching.

Obviously a gopro hero 4 silver would be nice but it is a bit expensive! I also know gopros are also not the only option around.

1. What cameras do you guys use for Nerf videos and what would you recommend?

2. Also in terms of practical mounting (head, chest, gun/ gyro) would you have any recommendations? I assume there is a trade off in cost, comfort and performance? - Head mount is probably the way I would consider best at this point.

3. What software/apps would you recommend for video editing?

4. What other kit / accessories would I need to buy /keep in mind?

Thanks!
OldNoob

Camera- 1080-60 frames per second or 720-120 fps should be your minimum resolution, 60 fps is a fair compromise. There are a million action cam clones for £60-100 which do this. Brand name wise you will spend 3-4 times that for very little gain beyond the name, old GoPro is a waste of money IMO.

Avoid chest mounts, you end up with a lot of floor. Gun mounts are fine if you point it up all the time. Head mounts offer more view but bounce more. Pole mounts are the best IMO but you can't play and film that way.

You can spend a fortune on software.

More batteries or a power bank, then a gimbal.
Boff

I picked up a Firefly 6S from Gearbest.com. They're a Chinese reseller of stuff. The camera's pretty solid and does up to 120FPS @ 720 which is pretty cool. It was around £60 including postage from memory.

In terms of power, the 6S did me for the duration of Bristol Blast 8 (shame the same couldn't be said for the SD card) so either a spare battery or mains to USB converter to top it up between rounds. You don't need a power bank for wars like BB. I use one for Green Cloaks but that's because they're hell long events.

Helmet mount is the only way to view Nerf war footage in my opinion. I wouldn't bother with a gimbal to begin with.

Final point and I would like to make it clear that this is my personal opinion. I don't see filming Nerf wars as much use for 90% of people. Unless you've got a fully co-ordinated set up between multiple players with a map and a rough location of each player, the aim of the game etc, it's not really worth it. It's not really all that entertaining watching a single POV without context. However, I do drink Nerf footage like a dehydrated fish because it gives me tactical insights on how to improve the game. I use any and all footage I can get to work on training drills, new tactical elements and general improvement. For example, Welsh_Mullet's footage of BB6 led me to write this article on how more serious players like myself can integrate with more 'casual' players fairly frictionlessly. NewportNerfer113's footage of BB7 has led me to codify the role of the squad support gunner and the need for fire and manoeuvre. I, however, am a massive fucking meta-gaming nerd that does shit like that and it's not terribly interesting to other people. Just my $0.02. Smile
Northwind

It's kind of like mobile phones cameras though, you can't just buy on spec- just like you can have a billion megapixels and bad software or optics, you can have a good resolution action camera with terrible light response or rolling shutter defects and the like which can ruin the footage. So read reviews etc. Most of the cheapies are gopro mount compatible now- definitely worthwhile, their mounts are the reason gopro destroyed the competition really, the cameras were no better than anyone else's. And there's tons of 3rd party gopro mounts too.

In theory an old-ish gopro could be good but in practice they're too expensive. I have an old model Gopro 3 Black and it still kicks the arse of most cheap cameras... But they still sell for £200! Doesn't make any sense for old kit.

Usually I'd say chest cam- it's great for most action sports- but it's horrible for Nerf. What I'd recommend though is whatever you use, keep it quick release- bolted mounts are a little more stable but you also change them less, and the one thing that adds the most interest to footage is varying angles. So frinstance I have a wee gorillapod tripod, which I attached a gopro "shoe" to. So I can clip the camera off my chest harness onto my helmet, or onto teh tripod for a static shot, in about 2 seconds (or add more sticky feet to blasters if I use it for Nerf). I just never do that when I need to undo a nut and bolt.
tbr

This isn't a post telling you what to use, just telling you what I use, but first of all...

The best camera is the one you have, it's more important how you use it, not how good/expensive it is.

Now even though I have all these Nerf related mounting options below and I like to put together little video's from GuN I don't actually put ANY effort into the actual filming, I turn the camera on and then Nerf, if I happen to get any decent footage then great.

Now onto what I use,

I have a GoPro Session that I got during the Black Friday sales, it's not just for Nerf so I didn't mind paying the "GoPro tax" too much, It's small and waterproof so really usable and worry free. I would recommend that whatever you get that it has the ability to attach to GoPro style mounts as that will open up a world of cheap mounting accessories.

I have a few different mounting options,

1) When not Nerfing I attach it to a short hand grip pole, helps keep things stable and I can easily point at what I want.

2) I have a baseball cap with built in GoPro mount, this is great as it's comfortable but still sturdy on my head. I like to use this as it keeps things stable and it's also looking at what I'm looking at (also you don't look quite so silly). I used it this past weekend for a 5km Charity Bubble Run and it was great as that as it's a cap I can take it off easy if I want to point it with my hands or quickly pop it on someone elses head.

3) I have stuck a GoPro mount to the battery tray of one of my Stryfes, and then the camera is attached with an L shaped mount, this gives me an FPS game type view with the blaster in frame.

4) Just got a picatinny rail mount for my other main Stryfe, tried it for the first time this past GuN and it works well but I wasn't paying attention to the filming aspect so I have lots of jerky footage from both camera mounts used.

5) I have a forearm mount that isn't so great for Nerf but great when I visited a theme park last year, when pointing towards the body it captured us all on the rides having great fun.

Software wise I'd imagine I'm a little different to many others in that I simply use iMovie on my phone (iPhone 5s), I do all my editing (I transfer footage direct from GoPro) on my phone as I don't actually have a computer at home, I'm an a computer all day at work so I haven't needed one at home for some time. I'm a 3D Illustrator/Animator, Vr builder, general dogsbody etc etc at work so if I want I have access to a decent computer (and render farm) at the office but I find using my phone stops me going overboard with effects during the edit and lets me edit where ever I am. I also tried out a software footage stabalizer on my phone for my most recent GuN, it helped a bit and was worth the £1.50 or whatever it was.
blindgeekuk

MTB guys recommend the Firefly that Boff got - great camera for the price.

I experiemented with a few idea at the recent WolfPack - a glasses camera, a camera in the hands of one of my kids, and 3 stationary - one watching the whole pitch, and one watching each half. Of 5 cameras, I got usable footage from 3 of them, and the camera footage was jerky as hell.

My experience of cheaper cameras is if they say 1080p, they do 720p at best... and changes in brightness etc can seriously mess things up
bigal123

I just use my phone for everything. I have a Sony Z5, takes decent footage, not top end good but films in decent enough quality for me in most situations. I've also invested in a couple of tripods of different sizes and one with a Bluetooth remote camera control, bigger memory card, also some clip on lenses. I also edit everything on my phone via apps, one which I pay for to get advert free and full access to options that I use for youtube videos and then publish everything from my phone, no computers involved, compleat smartphone media production, trying to make use if the £500 phone in my pocket rather than shelling out loads more on gear I will use sporadically. I read a great book about it called 'smart phone media production' it was very helpful and got me started producing media content as it's something I had never done before. My way is definitely the cheap option but suits me just now and makes use of stuff I have anyway just using it to its max potential.
Justajolt

Absolutely agree with TBR on this one.

1. I use Mrs Jolt's old Canon IXUS 90 IS by all means search for the specs if you're interested. I have reason to believe it would be regarded as producing a "strong mature vintage quality" of recording compared to the whipper-snappers (see what I did there?) of nowadays.

2. I dug deep into my pockets to find a suitable camera head mount, and this is the one I bought! http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Digital...item4d320146a5:g:vTQAAOSwrklVT-0H
"I assume there is a trade off in cost, comfort and performance?" Yes. There probably is, but
tbr wrote:
The best camera (read kit for my purposes) is the stuff you have, it's more important how you use it, not how good/expensive it is.
to paraphrase TBR.

3. My experience with software as follows:
Most of my videos are done with Windows Movie Maker Live. It's dead easy to use and free! You get one video track (which includes audio!), another audio track and a text layer on the editor, which has been more than enough for what I do! However, it is unstable sometimes, especially when working with several different audio clips (like background music) in the same project and when you clip and trim lots and lots with lots of different tracks. Saving often is essential because once one file becomes corrupted, it spreads and if you're not careful, you could lose an hour or so's work. Overall though, it's a great bit of software for dabbling and it's free. Lots of easy to use effects too!

I've tried out some others recently. Video Pad is superb! Very stable and incredibly useful! More complicated than the above, but you get multiple tracks and you can do more. I get the impression that's much more powerful, with the potential to produce high quality stuff. The above is based on making one video with it to test it out. Personal use is free. Commercial cost money. I've chosen not to use it because I monetise.

VSDC Video Editor is a non linear editor I spent a few hours with. I was really happy with the result, but then couldn't export without buying an upgrade. Only $20 or so, but nonetheless annoying because it said nothing about that when I downloaded it! It was easy to use, though. I very nearly spent money on it, but decided not to.

Finally, I'm now experimenting with Shotcut, which was originally Linux based, is open source (free!) and seems like it will be my editing software of choice for the foreseeable future! It takes longer to learn than Movie Maker Live, but you can include as many tracks as your computer can handle and do as much with it as Video Pad. You can also customise the interface to suit you.

I've also thought about Filmora Wondershare. Having used the trial version, this is as easy to use as Movie Maker Live, has lots of funky features, but costs money to actually export and use the stuff you make.

To make voice recordings for use on videos, I use Audacity. For screenshots, I use the good old windows Snipping Tool. I do have a couple of screen capture bits and bobs downloaded to experiment with, but I haven't used them yet, so can't comment on them.

4. I also have a £10 tripod which I sometimes use, but not much. Although stability is key in Nerfing, it doesn't feature very highly in my filming usually. I also have a combined headphone and mic, which I use with Audacity for voice recording (and duct tape shooting sound effects!). I didn't spend much on them either. I prefer to do things like buy Asda's smart price nachos and chili sauce to drizzle on them.

TBR: Youtube keeps offering to stabilise my videos for me (not just game footage, either!), but I think it would be like taking the bubbles out of the Root Beer!
Northwind

Aside, but the Battlescout is £29.99 at Argos right now and comes with a free modulus scope to boot. You'd probably have to be a halfwit to buy it for the camera normally but at that price, you could keep or ebay the other stuff and end up with the cam for not very much at all
n_g

Northwind wrote:
You'd probably have to be a halfwit to buy it for the camera normally but at that price, you could keep or eBay the other stuff and end up with the cam for not very much at all


I am a halfwit (no no, I really liked the shell of the blaster and figured it couldn't be that bad, I was wrong) and can confirm that the camera is not great. Even after you sold the battlescout on eBay the camera isn't even worth the 10-15 quid that you would have spent on it. The sound pick up is really scratchy for anything close to the mic, but not too bad for players talking near you , picture quality wasn't too bad (my camera work on the other-hand was horrendous). The thing that reduces its usability in my mind is that mine managed to record about 6-7 minute video before it stopped working completely. Thought I'd recorded 3-4 bits on the day, but of the 3 files on the SD card only one was more than a couple of meg and watchable. †Initially thought the batteries had run out on the day but after checking out the SD card I put some fresh batteries intending to run them dry just as test on how long it records for in one segment (to check that I hadn't stupidly left it partially on in my bag running down the batteries) and it just doesn't work anymore.

In conclusion: if you're gonna buy a camera, buy a different one.
Boff

Actually, the problem you're likely experiencing there is down to your SD card formatting rather the the camera itself. I had a similar problem back in 2015 when I used my helmet camera at Green Cloaks. Torukmakto4 experienced this, too and documented his fixes on The Dart Zone. I followed his fix guide (right at the bottom of the post) and can confirm it works fine. Smile
n_g

Boff wrote:
Actually, the problem you're likely experiencing there is down to your SD card formatting


For the missing files for the first time using it you're quite probably right (card has now been formatted), but it no longer even turns on/off anymore.
Clockwork Wino

It's worthwhile remembering that the SD cards are a vital part of the video equation (sounds obvious but is often overlooked).

Don't cut corners on cheap cards, I recommend spending a little more on branded cards (Sandisk are my personal favourite).

Rather than deleting files to clear space, always format the cards after copying off your footage. Formatting locks away any bad sectors to prevent them being used in future.

Even good quality cards will eventually corrupt. Depending on how often you use them, consider investing in new cards every couple of years or so.

Data from corrupted or formatted cards can often be recovered. I use Card Rescue which, although not quite as good for video as it is for still images, is pretty handy for the £35 price tag.

When choosing a camera, don't get too hung up on the resolution. Unless you're desperate to future-proof your masterpiece, 4K is just a great way to burn through your memory in a hurry. Whilst 1080 is great quality, 720 is adequate for publishing online and usually allows greater frame-rates, giving you more options on slow motion.

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