Tuesday, December 29, 2015

SoloShot 2 Review

I have gotten some questions about how I film my rides.  I use the SoloShot 2, which I have a love hate relationship.  When it works correctly I absolutely love it, but I have had some massive technology fails which is really frustrating.

My set up:  Bag, Tripod, Base (orange), Camera, Cords, Armband, and Tag (white)

I will start with an overview of how I use it.  This may or may not be the best way, so if there is a better combination of settings please let me know.  I am not going to go over the entire set up, because it will take awhile and there are other video/instructions online so JFGI.

There are three basic settings that have options within each one and I use green green orange.  The first green (Tilt Settings) means it is in "Surf & Turf" mode.  I chose this, because it can still move up and down, but also allows for a relatively tight frame.  The second green (Trajectory Settings) means it has a one second trajectory.  I haven't ever changed this one, because in the dressage ring I shouldn't ever lose signal.  If I try this for cross country I would probably switch it for one of the others.  The final setting is set to orange (Camera Settings), which means the zoom is as tight as it goes.


The camera I use with the system is a Sony HDR-CX 405.  I absolutely adore this video camera.  It is small, lightweight, and works really well.  If you have ever watched my youtube videos, they were done with this camera.  There may be a few cell phone videos mixed in there, but anything from a clinic or a show they are with this camera.  I have also pulled quite a few pictures from videos and they have been excellent.  Camera=Love

Now for the more interesting stuff.  Things I love about this system.  I can film myself with it.  I can do it on my own time and I don't have to beg/bribe people to film me.  This is huge for me.  Also, because it tracks, I am able to get better video that with fence posts.  I think this has played a huge part in the progress I have made with Stinker.  The video quality has allowed D to be able to see what is going on and give me fixes.

Stinker waiting....and waiting...

The drawbacks to the system.  The set up time (which this has actually been beneficial for teaching Stinker patience) is a pain in the butt.  I turn on the tag as soon as I leave the barn, because it needs a 8 minute warm up time that must be outside.  I then walk up to the dressage arena which takes a few minutes.  I set the tag on a fence post, set up the tripod with the soloshot and the camera.  I then usually go make sure all of the boards are set up around the arena, because the horses are assholes and knock them out.  Sometimes, I play on Facebook while I wait.  When the tag is warmed up, you have to walk it around which typically takes 1-2 minutes.  I tend to be generous with this step, because I think it helps to walk farther (no actual evidence to support that theory).  You still aren't totally set up.  There are two more steps which take 3ish minutes.  All of this set up makes it impossible to do this in a rush.  Because of this, I am pretty much limited to using it on the weekends.  I have done a few mornings, but asshole horses knocked it over and I really don't want a draft horse to walk on said system (it isn't cheap).

Screenshot from a SoloShot Video

Next up, is the system is limited.  You can't set it up too close to the ring otherwise your tag gets too close to the base and that makes things act squirrely.  You also can not use in indoors.  This is not a big deal for me, because our winter is a joke.  While the tag is waterproof, the base is not, so you can't use it when it is raining or super damp.  Additionally, I have had a few problems with the link up either not working correctly the first time (I follow the instructions to the letter) or the link up losing in the middle of the ride.  There is nothing more frustrating than going to watch your ride and all you have is a view of the sky or the ground.

With all of that being said they are coming out with a SoloShot3 that seems to be fixing the biggest drawbacks.  It has an adapter that lets you use in indoors and it also is suppose to eliminate the wacko set up steps that drive me insane.  While, there are things I don't love about this system, I would buy it again because I do think it is a good product.  If I was made of money I would have gone ahead and upgraded to the SoloShot3.  Sadly that is not the case.  If you are wanting to get a system to film yourself while riding I would recommend you look at the SoloShot systems.  There are others out there, but when I was buying I couldn't find enough information on them and went with the more well known company.

SoloShot Video (you can see the white tag on my left arm)

13 comments:

  1. hmm sounds like a nice thing to have though if you dont have people around to film! I need to look into something like this...

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    1. It has been amazing for me. It's the only reason I've been able to do the video lessons.

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  2. Why does the tag need to warm up in the sun? Is that the reason it can't be used indoors? Still a cool system! I looked into the Solo3 since you said it was 40% off preorders... I just can't do it. I want weekly video of me so badly, but the price tag is such that I can either go to a recognized show or have a video camera :(

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    1. I believe it is because it is GPS/satellite based but I'm not 100% sure. And yes that is why the 2 can't be used indoor. I'm not sure what they did but the 3 has an adapter and it can be used indoors. The price tag is steep but when it comes to dressage I'm in such a wasteland that it was well worth the price. At the same time I'm not showing so I didn't have to make that choice :)

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  3. I SO want one of these, I also looked at the 3 but with vet bills, rehab, and not even knowing when/whether I'll be riding, I couldn't go through with it. I feel like it'd be worth it to me eventually, since I can see enough in videos to delay lessons, and my lessons run over $100 each, so if I can skip 6 lessons over the course of using it, it's worth buying. But not juuuust yet.

    Thanks for posting this! Even if it did make me want the system even more!

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    1. Yeah those vet bills will get you. I'm seriously considering having Stinker's show name be In The Red

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  4. it really seems like an awesome system, even with the drawbacks. can't argue with the videos!!! (when they work lol)

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    1. I have not regretted it at all. Even when it is finicky.

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  5. I had no idea this was a thing. Great idea! I'm pretty much alwasy alone so it would sure be handy for me.

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    1. I've learned so much just from watching my videos. I had a huge disconnect between what I was feeling and what we looked like and it has really helped me figure things out.

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  6. I've been wondering about these! Seems like an awesome tool. Thanks for the post. :)

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    1. I really do like mine, even with the limits it has.

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