Taking interesting skiing videos is (surprisingly) harder than we first thought. Just strapping a camera to your head, your snowboard or just attaching it to your chest will only get you so far. These types of mounts may get you great shots, but getting a shot that will include some scenery, yourself and your fellow skiers is a little more difficult. For this to work you could use a monopod, or as we like to call it, “a third of a tripod”.
To improve our skiing videos I purchased a monopod, and used the GoPro tripod attachment to connect our GoPro HD to the top of it. For extra effect we used the Three-Way Pivoting Side Arm Assembly attachment to allow us to easily angle the shot towards us, or away from us. This type of setup also gives you the maximum flexibility for the style of shooting. You can change the length and angle of the monopod easily, for framing your shoots depending on your wishes.
We purchased a Velbon Ultra Stick L50 Aluminium, which was relatively expensive. For about €41 we would have expected a better build quality, but perhaps it wasn’t built for the wet and cold of the ski slopes, and our testing was a little too extreme for it. It is light weight, and is suitable for filming between 35cm and 155cm. You don’t need a monopod much longer than 1m, as the longer it is the quicker your hand tired will get holding it. It’s also easier to keep you balance if the monopod is shorter. And a further advantage of the monopod is you can easily pop it in your backpack when you are done filming and continue along the piste.
Some of the negatives about the Velbon Ultra Stick L50 monopod : One of the rubber grips quickly came off after about an hours use. While its not essential for use, it was still surprising that it would come off. Also I noticed some issues with the locking mechanism, which could be temperature sensitive. During the operation of the monopod, it sometimes got difficult to change its length. Perhaps the plastic had contracted and the space between the picking system contracted. Despite these two issues we were really happy with the device, and the video improvement were quite noticeable.
Using the monopod allowed me to film a few different types of shots on my snowboard.
- the view of the skier looking up the slope
- the view from behind the snowboarder going down the slope
- the view of tracking other skiers as the go down the piste