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Bicycle Race Video/Photo Job. Need advice.

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Dan Shaw
Bicycle Race Video/Photo Job. Need advice.
on Apr 18, 2014 at 3:18:58 pm
Last Edited By Dan Shaw on Apr 18, 2014 at 3:58:20 pm

Hoping to pick everyone's brain on an upcoming job I have. I am a photographer by trade, but have been given the opportunity to also capture some video while covering a cycling sporting event. I plan on shooting both photo and video with my Canon 5d Mark ii.

I'm confident that I can get the job done with the selection of lenses that I have, but one aspect that I think I might need some gear for is to help with the video end of things (camera cages, shoulder rig, view finders).

My budget is around $500.

- Event will be mainly outdoors.
- It will be a run/gun type situation where I will be moving around a lot so no tripods.
- I will be capturing a mix of action and also trying to gather some "interview" footage (audio + video). Quick outdoor stuff.

Equipment that I have:
- Canon 5D
- Lenses
- Audio recorded with either H4n mic or shotgun mic attached to h4n.
- LED hot shoe light.

I think I really need to have some way to better stabilize my video. I have been looking at shoulder rigs and also getting a view finder so that it gives me another point of contact to stabilize.

For a fast paced event like this is a shoulder rig too much?

I also need to figure out how to attach everything to my camera (microphone, light, h4n) as I am covering this. I could attach it to the shoulder rig or I could get a camera cage and and view finder and get around that way.

Camera Cage -

View Finder -

Any thoughts on those options? Or any thoughts on a semi-portable way to shoot video/photo? I appreciate any recommendations or ideas.

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Ken Zukin
Re: Bicycle Race Video/Photo Job. Need advice.
on Apr 18, 2014 at 6:14:07 pm

Hey Dan,

First thing I'd do is study Graham Watson's work -- he's pretty much the king of road cycling photojournalism...

I'd also consider bringing a monopod along for "deep" shots, and a very fast wide angle lens for up-close shots.

Good luck,


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Dan Shaw
Re: Bicycle Race Video/Photo Job. Need advice.
on Apr 18, 2014 at 8:08:41 pm

Thanks Ken. I will take a look at what he has done. As stated above I am not too worried about the photography end of things and instead need opinions on the video side of things. But thanks anyway!


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Mike Smith
Re: Bicycle Race Video/Photo Job. Need advice.
on Apr 19, 2014 at 1:24:31 pm
Last Edited By Mike Smith on Apr 19, 2014 at 1:26:15 pm

Filming isn't really just the same as taking skills.

A first question to consider is what your intended output will be; from that you can work out what video coverage you need so that you can get the desired output in the edit.

Where with stills it's often possible to direct attention towards collecting a series of images each of which in some way sums up some aspect of the subject, with video you're normally trying to collect the materials that will let you (your editor) tell a story.

So it's normal to think about getting a good balance of material - wide shots, mid shots, close-ups of the action and people and events you want to cover, taken from varied points of view, height, angle. Then it's usually desirable to collect a big number of "cutaways" - lots of little details that are happening at the same time as the main action, that you can use in the edit to help avoid unwanted jump cuts.

If you can't handle a tripod for speed of coverage, then for video you are likely to want to stay pretty well exclusively on the wide angle /ultra wide angle end of your lens range, to minimise the often damaging effect of camera instability on moving footage (other than for effects shots). So you'll be walking the wide angle in close for the close-ups - which will also help with focusing issues. I'm not sure how well the Mk 11 is suited to run-and-gun ; I think the autofocus doesn't work well for video? And with the loss of the image in the viewfinder in live view mode, then something like a might be the best single investment you can make. And you'll want someone with you with the audio recorder so that you can get the shotgun mic up close to anyone you want to hear in the final edit. I'm guessing you're going to rely on some kind of auto-syncing software to line up the zoom with the in-camera audio ...?

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Bill Bruner
Re: Bicycle Race Video/Photo Job. Need advice.
on Apr 19, 2014 at 2:05:24 pm

Hi Dan - I went to NAB last week and I had the same challenge. I thought about buying the $250 Photography & Cinema PR-1 or a $216 Kamerar Socom, but I decided to save some money and put my own rig together with a set of $21 rails, a $30 cheese plate, a $30 quick release, a $20 P&C pistol grip and a $35 convertible shoulder/shotgun rest. For lighting, I added a $199 F&V R-300 LED ring light, a $25 milk filter and a $40 rail mount. To mount my recorder and mic, I added a $30 Kamerar hot shoe extension bar and I was in business for a total of about $470 (not including the recorder and the mic) - and without an expensive cage. It worked great.

Here are a few photos of the setup, both on a tripod and on my shoulder. I have a mirrorless camera, so I use the built-in electronic viewfinder. You'll need a $90 Kamerar QV-1 LCDVF, since your Mark II's viewfinder is blocked by the mirror in Live View:

Hope this is helpful and good luck at the race!

Hybrid Camera Revolution

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