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Tracking Comparison - Ski-Doc Camera Mount & Wakeye

HortonHorton Posts: 30,560 Administrator
edited February 2013 in Reviews
The goal of a pylon video mount is to film a skier as smoothly and accurately as possible – hands free. A photographer with some experience and attention to detail will always do a better job. Since you cannot always depend on your boat crew to know the difference between video camera and a ham sandwich, a pylon mounted video mount comes in pretty handy. Also, if you want your observer to watch you ski, you do not want them looking through a camera.

The more accurately the mount tracks the skier, the more the camera can be zoomed in without the skier moving out of the frame at the ball.

To fairly compare the mounts ability to track the skier, I used a camera with zoom fixed at 120 degrees. This is too wide of an angle for skiing analysis but allows for a fair comparison of the mounts. As you will see, each mount delivers relatively consistent results in terms of tracking the skier.

The typical problems with a pylon video mounts is not staying centered on the skier at the ball and excessive camera shake after the ball. Both of the units in the below video handle camera shake extremely well and tracked the skiers consistently. At approximately 4 times the cost, the Wakeye is more accurate at tracking the skier. The Ski-Doc mount is inexpensive, simple and gets the job done. Which mount is best? You will have to decide for yourself.

There are many more feature differences not addressed here. Visit the two web sites for more information http://theskidoc.com/ & http://www.wakeye.com/

The first skier is @Rico shot with the Ski-Doc Camera Mount. The second skier is @CharlieSkiWest shot with the Wakeye.
NOTE: The numbers on the video do not represent an angle or anything other than a reference point.

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Comments

  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,066 Mega Baller
    Thanks for doing that @Horton. They both seemed to track pretty well and I think you could zoom in closer and keep them in the frame.
    Mark Shaffer
  • HortonHorton Posts: 30,560 Administrator
    @Chef23 when I go to really use it to look at my own skiing I want to be as zoomed as possible. The point is no camera mount tracks perfect and the more error is has the more you have to zoom out.

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  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,066 Mega Baller
    @Horton I agree that no camera mount tracks perfectly. I think there is a fair amount of lg in my Trakker plus it is a hassle to put on and off. I am interested in the Ski-Doc because of its simplicity.
    Mark Shaffer
  • WishWish Posts: 8,268 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited February 2013
    In playing with my home made pipe design iPad tracker, I've been trying to get rid of that wobble that appears after the line goes tight (littlest of slack) out of the ball to the centerline. Been messing with changing the friction levels between pipe and pylon. Was told wobble was do the the weight of the iPad itself being swung back and forth. What I've discovered is so does the above two tracking systems with tiny light cams. No better no worse. So I'm done trying to get rid of it. Just use as is and have instant slow-mo replay with VideoPix app on the big screen.

    as said, dont think anything other then human hands will be perfect when the guide is being snapped back and forth with heavy line tention to almost 0 then back agian.

    Still, those are far more refined, work great and would make any videoing easy.
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • h2odawg79h2odawg79 Posts: 598 Baller
    @OB, I've got the EZ Cam, haven't used it yet, but it looks awesome and Darren is certainly a Great guy and ready to back his product all the way. I will be getting some Great Vid. this yr. and I will send some of them to you or Darren....
  • MattPMattP Posts: 6,263 Mega Baller
    @OB why don't you send one to @Horton for him to review?
    Wish
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,859 Mega Baller
    I like the objective approach to the comparison. Can we get a Tracker into the mix, too?

    With all such camera mounts there are really three elements that are of interest:
    1) Tracking accuracy
    2) Boat Vibration Dampening (appears to not be an issue with the boat in these videos)
    3) Rope Shock Handling (at the lean hook-up)

    Tracking accuracy impacts how tightly you can zoom in. The other two affect the overall quality of the video in as much as can you see what the skier is doing through all that camera shake. Steady-cam settings can help but can't take everything away.

    So, what do you guys think? Which one is better on #3 Rope Shock Handling (at the lean hook-up)?
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • Mateo_VargasMateo_Vargas Posts: 913 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Can anyone with a Wakeye tell me if it can be used with a shock tube?
    Success is failure that just hasn't happened yet
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,066 Mega Baller
    @OB will the EZ Cam fit over different pylons? The pylon on the Malibu LXI is bigger than the Malibu LX or Mastercraft 197.
    Mark Shaffer
  • HortonHorton Posts: 30,560 Administrator
    @Mateo Vargas I guess it would work but you would need a longer strap. Note sure.

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  • MattPMattP Posts: 6,263 Mega Baller
    Could you not strap it to the wakeye arm?
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 4,647 Mega Baller
    @Mateo Vargas, should be fine, shock tube usually just has a webbing loop for the pylon, loop that around the outside of the e-z-cam and drop the line down.
  • h2odawg79h2odawg79 Posts: 598 Baller
    @Todd, On a side note for comparison; I have a Trakker as well, and my PlaySport Z5 was not compatible. (Massive vibration and Freeze ups.)

    But more importantly, for me, the Trakker cannot even compare to the "On/Off," put away, switch Boats and Camera's! capability of the EZ CAM. I need to be able to switch out Fast/Easy. This feature alone will equate to 2-3 times MORE Vid footage for me this Season. (do we still call it "Footage"!?!?)
  • Ed_JohnsonEd_Johnson Posts: 2,267
    I believe if you placed a little foam padding on the inside of the Wakeye tracker arms, where the rope goes through, you could improve the image even more.

    I like the fact the Wakeye just clips on the pylon and gives you the freedom to shorten the rope without having to lift the whole camera assembly off the pylon.

    I think it is great that there are now 4 choices available for Video Trackers, as I feel this is vitally important to improve your skiing.

    Thanks John for making this comparison available to us.
    Special Thanks to Performance Ski and Surf and the Denali Adam's !!!
  • HortonHorton Posts: 30,560 Administrator
    I got an email from wakeye they have a new part specifically designed for shock tubes

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    McClintock's ★ Performance Ski and Surf ★ Reflex ★ Radar ★ Rodics OffCourseStokes

  • SkiJaySkiJay Posts: 2,314 Mega Baller
    edited February 2013
    @ToddL I can speak for the Trakker 4. I use a GoPro Hero 2 on both the Trakker 4 and the Ski-Doc. Although the Trakker takes 30 seconds more to mount than a Ski-Doc, I much prefer it.

    Trakker Good Points:

    1) The Trakker's extended rope guide causes it to track a lot wider than the Ski-Doc. With the Ski-Doc, my skiing uses the entire screen width, and with slack at the ball, I can ski right out of the picture. Zooming in tighter than the GoPro on HD narrow would be pointless. With the Trakker 4, all of my skiing is captured within half of the screen width (centered of course). If I had a zoom, I could zoom in substantially tighter without skiing out of the shot.

    2) Though the GoPro has no anti-shake, the Trakker 4, with it's hydraulically damped panning head is remarkably smooth and steady, with noticeably less shake than the Ski-Doc.

    3) Though more work to mount than a Ski-Doc, it really isn't a factor unless joining a tight rotation in someone else's boat. It only takes two allen-head screws (no washers or nuts) to mount in around 30 seconds, and the end result is a VERY stable platform.

    Ski-Doc Good Points:

    1) Ski-Doc costs three times less than a Trakker 4 (although you need three different models if you ski behind Nautique, MasterCraft and Malibu).

    2) Ski Doc is very simple to mount and travel with.

    Both of these systems work fine if you want to use a GoPro for training. I use the Trakker permanently mounted to my daily tug, and take the GoPro 2 mounted on a Ski-Doc with me to my coaches' lakes. As shown below, I've found a short shock tube helps damp towline lash a little, and it helps protect the Trakker's arm from damage from handle-pops (I've had the tracking arm wound into a pretzel from a popped handle).

    image
    www.FinWhispering.com ... Your ski should be your dance partner, not a wrestling opponent
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,066 Mega Baller
    We have had trouble with multiple cameras on the Trakker and I am pretty sure I have the 4. Cannon cameras in particular seemed to have trouble.
    Mark Shaffer
  • SkiJaySkiJay Posts: 2,314 Mega Baller
    @Chef23 What kind of trouble?
    www.FinWhispering.com ... Your ski should be your dance partner, not a wrestling opponent
  • mkcflmkcfl Posts: 4 Baller
    edited February 2013
    The choice of camera and the amount of zoom will always be a factor for success with any camera mount. It may be a matter of experimenting with the camera to get the correct zoom level and centering.
    The camera we use the most is the Kodak zx5 at 720p60 which at the widest angle gives a perfect picture that is large enough to get a good look at the skier.

    The camera mount is depending on being moved by the rope and the knot-less rope type is not ideal.

    @skijay - I don't understand that you with a Gopro can ski out of the picture. The Gopro has such a wide angle that you can video both sides without moving the camera.
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,066 Mega Baller
    @SkiJay the vibration transmitted through the Trakker causes some video cameras to have this rolling shutter problem where the video basically becomes unwatchable. We spent some time troubleshooting with the Trakker guys and tried putting some dampening material in there but never really fixed the problem.
    Mark Shaffer
  • raynrayn Posts: 410 Solid Baller
    With most CMOS HD Camcorders, you get what is called rolling shutter which is caused by both the vibration and the speed the camera is swinging, but mostly the vibration. The end video is very hard to watch.

    I just saw that IMovie now has a feature that may clean it up, but have not tested it.

    Wiki link for Rolling shutter defn http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolling_shutter

    Ray Newmark -
  • jdarwinjdarwin Posts: 1,381 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited February 2013
    We use the Trakker 4 in our tournaments for judging. We use a small JVC camcorder and it works very well for our purposes. Granted, we are not trying to analyze the skier - just determining if he makes it thru the gates and around all 6 buoys. And, not having to remove the device from the pylon in order to shorten the rope is critical. The video from the boat transmitted wirelessly to a big screen TV is the most effective means of judging (IMO).
    Joe Darwin
  • SkiJaySkiJay Posts: 2,314 Mega Baller
    @mkcfl The GoPro Hero 2 & 3's have three levels of digital zoom in their highest resolution mode. Narrow mode is actually perfect for use on the Ski-Doc.

    @Chef23 If some kind of harmonic or vibration is the problem with rolling shudder cameras, the Ski-Doc might be just the ticket. Ski-Doc has a nifty vibration dampening pad at the top
    www.FinWhispering.com ... Your ski should be your dance partner, not a wrestling opponent
  • GarnGarn Posts: 568 Crazy Baller
    @OB, how does one size fit all on the EZ Cam? Pylons are different sizes.
  • MrBMrB Posts: 146 Baller
    @OB, no response from emails (2 different email addresses). I received a weird message?? Anyway, does the EZ Cam come with all the mounts? Are they available now for shipping? Will the Paypal account work??
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 4,647 Mega Baller
    @garn - the mount is made of a plastic tubing, in manufacture they slotted the plastic, then they swedged it - heated it up and formed it to a smaller diameter. But since it is slotted the slot can open up if the pylon is larger.

    Also the swedged end should provide a small amount of drag to smooth out the wiggles/vibrations.

    Mine came with a top mount (plastic angled 90 degrees with foam rubber and screw for the mount as well as a spring loaded clamp to hold things like camera phones and go pro style cameras.

  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 4,647 Mega Baller
    edited February 2013
    @darren can probably supply more info

    I have one too, but am snowed in nicely.

    See the taper?

    image
  • JohnbradJohnbrad Posts: 15 New Baller
    Great skiing experience!
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