But in an attempt to get a different perspective in my videos I was always looking at alternatives, the ideal situation would be to have somebody film me using a camcorder and tripod - but attempts with this with my wife and daughter were never that successful, then somebody introduced me to Soloshot...
The robot cameraman -
Ergh! Maybe not -
Soloshot 2 is a unit that attaches to a tripod and a camera (Camcorder, GoPro or DSLR) and will track a tag that is worn by the the rider and can follow them through 360 degree rotation (at 80 degress a second) and 150 degrees vertical tracking (at 35 degrees a second).
The tag is also waterproof to 30m.
With a range of 600m (2000 feet) and if you go out of range then it will pick you up when you come back into range - smart!
The unit is supplied with the base, a tag and arm band, charging cable, tripod tool and instructions.
The tag attaches onto the base for charging and transporting and both have extensive battery life the base for up to 8 hours and the tag 4 hours (the battery in the base can also be used to charge you camera - if you have a compatible camera, unfortunately I don't!).
The other issue I had was the thread size on my tripod was different from that of the base of the Soloshot, I had to buy an adapter for about $2.
Every time you use the Soloshot 2 or move it from one location to another (even after initial pairing) the base and tag have to be recalibrated and paired.
The initial calibration takes 8-10 minutes and involves the tag warm up, attaching the tripod, base and camera, framing and centering the shot. Then there is the walkabout pairing, in which you have to walk at least 50 paces around in a random way ending up back at the base to pair the item. You then walk back to your centering object to calibrate the base and tag (I missed this part when I first tried the Ozone R1 and therefore it didn't track properly!).
This sounds like a lot of trouble but is fairly simple once you get used to it and once the tag has warmed up (8 mins approx) is quick to do and I think the results are worth it...
There are various different settings on the Soloshot 2 depending on what sport you are involved in, wether you are on a level playing field, or will have altitude changes (getting some air) all designed to get the best out of the unit and these can easily be changed on the go.
If you have a compatible camera then there is also an auto-zoom function and DSLR can also be set to take pictures at preset intervals.
You can also pair one tag with multiple bases for lots of different perspectives or multiple tags to one base and switch between them by pressing a button on the tags while on the move.
The base is quite heavy, but this isn't an issue once mounted on a tripod. It does feel solid and well made and does contain the battery, servos and electronics. The tag and arm band are also tough (I know I landed on them during an OBE!
The downside - initially the pairing and calibration can feel a bit daunting, and the auto-zoom and charging only work with compatible cameras.
Positives - no wingy wife or kids filming you, steady smooth tracking, long battery life, multiple functions.