The HF100 on a bike

Unterwegs from Martin Koch on Vimeo.

I fixed the HF100 to a bike and a bike trailer using a Manfrotto 035 Super Clamp to shoot the video above.

You get this type of clamp from stage lighting suppliers like this one in Germany or photo studio suppliers like this one in the USA.

The Super Clamp is made of metal with rubber protection padding and very strong. It clamps especially well to pipes from 13mm to 55mm diameter but can also be fixed to plane surfaces by using a supplied insert. Two mounting holes (which I used), one 1/4" and two 5mm threads and a secured socket for studs of all kind offer lots of possibilites to mount something to the clamp.

A Super Clamp plus a stud with 1/4" thread like e.g. the 037 or 036-14 (or a piece of 1/4" thread plus two nuts) is all you need to mount the camcorder to the handle bar of the bike. But since the handle bar is constantly moved while you drive it is better to mount the camcorder to the frame of the bike.

My solution consists of a 250mm long, 40mm x 50mm block of wood which I screwed to the clamp as shown below on the right. To mount the Quick Change Adapter I drilled two holes into it. Alternatively you can counter sink the thread for the tripod (as shown) and use just one counter sunk head screw.

This mounting method worked very well since the camcorder is away from the brake cables and above the front light. My bike has a horizontal frame rod but you can screw the wooden block at any angle to the clamp in order to have the camcorder horizontally mounted.

By rotating the camcorder adapter plate of the Quick Change Adapter the HF100 can be oriented at will.

I only filmed on smooth roads and tightened the clamp very well. I love my HF100 so please understand that I can't offer any experiences with mountain biking. Such shocks wouldn't be that good for the optical image stabilization system anyway.

A Quick Change Adapter is convenient but of course you can also use a 1/4" hanger bolt (a standard tripod thread is 1/4"-20 UNC) and a 1/4" wing nut. Note that you may not screw the HF100 any deeper than 5.5mm onto a tripod thread (see page 109 of the manual).

There are alternatives to the block of wood: An unfortunately expensive 244RC Magic Arm would be great as it allows a lot of positioning freedom. Maybe a 155RC Tilt-Top Head would also work if you can mount the camera to the very front of the bike frame. Or hows about a 042 Extension Arm with a 3/8" to 1/4" thread adapter if you don't own a Quick Change Adapter.

UPDATE February 21, 2012: I found the reasonable priced FEISOL Bicycle Mount. It's designed to be used with a ball head.


Stauros said...

That video "Unterwegs" is amazing...Keep posting nice work...I so wanted to go and have a bike trip after watching it, though I have no kids (yet) :)

Greetings from California...

Martin Koch said...

Thanks a lot for your kind comment.

amplifyfitness said...

Wow! What beautiful footage. I love that landscape and town. Nice choice on the music as well.

I wonder if there is any way to cushion the ride, to reduce or remove vibration. Your rig for the camera is very clever and detailed. I'm inspired to build one myself.

Keep up the awesome blog; very handy indeed!



Trygve said...

Inspirational video! Been planning something similar myself but never gotten around to actually do it - but you got me thinking about it again.

A quick question: What kind of settings did you use on the camera for the shoot?


Martin Koch said...

My settings where:
0.5x wide angle adapter, FXP, PF25, Tv-250, iAF

Darin said...

Really like the bike shot, especially the lower angle. And really appreciated your blog trying to find the ultimate HD and Still camera. I'm trying to find an HD video camera to do many POV action shots. Many from a mountain bike that would have some jarring.

You mentioned Optical image stabilization, would get jarred around too much. I did some initial tests mounting my Hf100 on my bike and did some beach riding and it seemed to have a lot of little vibrations. My next step was to get a full suspension mountain bike, but I wonder if I shouldn't get a camera with EIS (electronic image stabilization) instead. I really don't want to do anything radical, like jumps or bumps, merely basic dirt trail riding, and beach riding.

I was curious what you might suggest. Really appreciate your blog and your time.
Best, Darin

Steven Vance said...

This answer is for Darin, who questions the quality of Optical Image Stabilization.

Optical Image Stabilization is usually of higher quality than Electronic Image Stabilization because the jarring is correct by the optics - hardware. EIS is corrected by software within the camera and is modifying your original video. This may damage or change your video in a way you don't intend.