Mounting cameras to kayaks

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Dunnart
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Mounting cameras to kayaks

Postby Dunnart » Fri Dec 16, 2016 6:59 am

Hi everyone

I'm new to the forum and returning to kayaking after decades of absence. My partner and I are getting into sheltered water and river kayaking (including some overnight trips) and want to indulge our video and photography interests. So I'm looking for recommendations on how to mount our cameras onto our kayaks. I've been looking at Ram suction mounts and rail blazer star ports online, but I was wondering if there are other systems/methods out there, pros and cons, etc.

cheers

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toquehead
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Re: Mounting cameras to kayaks

Postby toquehead » Wed Jan 18, 2017 12:40 pm

I'm very new to the action cam scene, but have mounted a "gorilla" style flexible tripod to my deck immediately in front of the cockpit with bungie cords. I have no remote control, so have to be able to reach the camera to turn it on and off, and I wanted something that would fold up instead of break if I get hammered in the surf in the shallows.

So far it is working well.

Simonl
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Re: Mounting cameras to kayaks

Postby Simonl » Tue Jan 24, 2017 8:44 am

Hi there,

A recent trip to Tassie was a catalyst to purchase a much wanted action camera. I opted for a GoPro Hero 5 session. It's very small and lends itself to some great mounting possibilities. It has WiFi activation via either a mobile phone (with free app) or you can purchase a dedicated remote. It also has voice activation for some of the basic functions such as take a photo, video etc. The voice activation has prooven to be of particular value especially when your hands are full. The only downside to voice control feature is that in strong winds and the camera more than a metre away, it will not activate, so possibly of limited value for kayaking in rough conditions. The REMO dedicated remote comes with a wrist strap, is waterproof to 6M and allows access to all the cameras functions. It will operate the camera up to (a claimed) 180M away so it's something I may add to my birthday wish list.

Although taking pics and video without a screen takes a bit of getting used to (you can use you mobile as a screen if you wish) I am starting to enjoy it's uses. 12MP still camera and UHD video are pretty impressive although I mainly have it set to 1080P for video as it's more than enough. It has a multitude of mounting options. Whatever you choose, make sure that in addition to the mount, you also tether the actual camera with an independent strap to another point of attachment to your kayak.

Cheers,

Simon

Dunnart
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Re: Mounting cameras to kayaks

Postby Dunnart » Tue Feb 07, 2017 8:59 pm

Thanks for the responses toquehead and Simoni. We've been away over January, camping and kayaking among other things. At this stage I've fitted a couple of Railblaza star ports to my kayak, just in front of the cockpit and have been using a Railblaza camera mount kit for either my Contour Roam or Olympus Tough 4G cameras.

I was a little disappointed about the loose fit of the camera adapter in the star port (it wobbles slightly), but it doesn't seem to have affect video quality (very few sudden jerky movements). A thin shim of plastic would probably solve this issue, but knowing me I'd lose the shims regularly :)

Simonl
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Re: Mounting cameras to kayaks

Postby Simonl » Wed Feb 08, 2017 6:15 am

No worries Dunnart.

I quick search on google shows a multitude of ideas people have for mounting a camera. I have to say though, many of them are terrible, using long pieces of PVC pipe etc. I can only assume these people don't play in the surf or unprotected waters.

I have made up a couple of options for my kayak. Pretty simple. I'll take a pic of them today.

Simon

Simonl
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Re: Mounting cameras to kayaks

Postby Simonl » Thu Feb 09, 2017 7:03 am

Hi all,

Well here is my rough and ready idea of my go pro mount. When not in use, the only thing left is a small stainless tang that protrudes flush with the deck at the bow and stern of the kayak. two small stainless allen screws mount the camera onto this.

It was a compromise between having the camera up high (to produce a good view point) but not too high so as to get smashed in waves or worse, create a potential for injury if I come out of the cockpit. Time will tell how well this performs, I may have underestimated the force of the waves in a good surf session and it may bend over rendering it useless. I also like the idea of a mount held in place with bungee cord like toquehead has mentioned. As such, I have ordered a go pro chest harness on ebay and plan to bungee this to the deck as another option.

Either way, I suspect I will find out how well it works this weekend...

Cheers

Simon
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Mark Sundin
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Re: Mounting cameras to kayaks

Postby Mark Sundin » Thu Feb 09, 2017 8:15 am

If you want the sea to look like the sea, and not be flattened out by the wide-angle POV lenses, you've got to get height on your mount. Head height is ideal.

This video is taken from a mount at head height mounted on a suction cup:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0RVVbElLys&t=24s>

This one is on the deck using a GoPro mount adhesive:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guCgJLvgqME

The water was pretty much identical on both days.

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toquehead
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Re: Mounting cameras to kayaks

Postby toquehead » Fri Feb 10, 2017 9:26 am

Here is a pic of my setup. It's been through rough conditions, sailing, and surf landings, all OK. But I haven't got trashed with it on yet. It is close enough for me to manually operate it, so I have given it a couple good whacks with the paddle blade when stern ruddering in the surf ... the tripod just folds down a bit and suffers no damage.

tripod.jpg


A higher mount point would make for a better vantage point, but also make it more vulnerable, and be subject to more yawing about when in bigger seas. For examples of the mount point perspective:

https://youtu.be/ZSz6kJ2KxKQ

https://youtu.be/WX3QNNp_3xA
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Camanche73
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Re: Mounting cameras to kayaks

Postby Camanche73 » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:30 pm

Great example of robust mounting,.....
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=RtbutcpWG0A

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JDJTas
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Re: Mounting cameras to kayaks

Postby JDJTas » Mon Apr 10, 2017 6:28 pm

Of course to do this properly for video production you need three mounts. One at the stern wide angle looking forward, wireless remote operation. Number two hand held stowed in PFD front pocket with camera such as SonyTX 30 that has a sliding lens cover. Camera three mounted on a telescopic pole such as one leg of an old tripod on a small ball joint mount. This can be attached to Kayak by suction mount or better still for security and stability a Ram mount ball/socket screwed to the deck, preferably two permanently mounted ball mounts, one either side on the deck within reach. I will publish some photos shortly. I have used this extensively for the last 10 years.
Better still have a double with many cameras and a second paddler with the same setup.
Have a look at this recent clip using all of the above.
https://youtu.be/uAhjojdJEU8 or this shorter photo only clip https://youtu.be/l0W8xOS6uIU

Simonl
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Re: Mounting cameras to kayaks

Postby Simonl » Thu Apr 13, 2017 5:07 pm

Well, after making the bracket attachments at the bow and stern of my kayak, I decided to remove them. I felt that the protrusions posed a hazard for anyone wishing to assist me in a rescue. I choppy seas, it would not take much for another kayaker to cop the mounting in the face. It's something that may be of benefit if playing in the surf alone, or kayaking in flat conditions.

I recently trialled using an adapted chest harness strapped across the deck but it failed miserably in surf. The first breaking wave sent the harness and camera facing upwards. It was a real shame because it missed some great footage of me being spectacularly smashed by a wave. It was a result of me facing in the wrong direction when I caught a wave.

Simon


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