Is it time to ditch a twin handcam set up?

The ability to carry two small action cameras has made the handcam product a much more marketable option to sell to your clients, the tandem students. The ability to capture HD video and high quality pictures on two units makes it quick and easy to edit after the jump. Your video files are on one SD card and the pictures are on another SD card. These can be imported in to the PC which is used to edit the video and quickly organised to send to the client. Action cameras have made it possible to earn more from each tandem skydive and with advances such as our Spin Spin cutaway glove that increase safety the handcam, no matter how much it is hated by external camera flyers, is here to stay.

So why on earth would a manufacturer of twin handcam mounts suggest that it is time to ditch a twin handcam set up. After all these cost more and potentially earn us more profits!! Well it is not always about profit. Within our industry, sport, hobby or Nobel cause the main aim should be to perform our tasks with the highest priority given to SAFETY. This should NEVER be overlooked. A single handcam is smaller, lighter and within some degree less of a hazard. Granted it is still a hazard but the decreased height and width, depending on configuration, is vastly reduced. Take our twin Hero 9 setup for example. The glove is manufactured to an extremely high standard, has a cutaway system and has been developed on the DZ over the course of two years. There have been ZERO incidents with our tandem instructors. Now compare this the single GoPro Hero 9 setup you can immediately see the difference in size and height and overall mass. Personally I have been flying two cameras for over two years now and the height and mass do not bother me and I am comfortable using this setup. That said I am always open to evaluating what I am doing and trying to find a better solution.

So what did I find and what are my thoughts.

The GoPro Hero 9 is an extremely capable camera. The video quality is leaps and bound ahead of what has come before. If you are still using a Session or GoPro Hero 4 you will be blown away with the difference. Now here comes the curve ball….. why not film in 2.7K and use a program to capture the pictures from the video. These pictures will already be so much clearer and higher quality than what you probably already capture using a twin set up. The problem arises when the video editor, be that you or another person on the DZ states this will mess with their workflow.


Capturing images from videos is not a new thing. There have been programs available for a long time. It is not about finding new a fancy software it is about evaluating health and safety and adjusting working methods to mitigate risk even further.

One thing I have used is Sony Vegas and I have done this for a long time. I have templates set up that I can use to quickly edit my videos to a set corporate branded video. This is then rendered in 1080HD even though captured in 2.7K. Why? Well the video file size and also HD looks incredible. I highly doubt the video will be shown in a 4K IMAX cinema and the chances are it will just be an instagram, facebook, tiktok or whatever social media platform video. If it is going to be 4K and needs some sort of full production value this is where the external video flyer will be needed anyways wont it?

But where are my pictures?

I have recently been using https://www.frame-shots.com/ which can be set up with pre-set templates to simply drag and drop your video and then this does the rest to capture the pictures at the same rate a second camera would. The picture quality is perfect for printing, social media and other applications. Again if true DLSR pictures are needed that’s where the external camera flyer is needed.

So to conclude I have adapted my workflow to still edit the video the same and have the same output for the client here. The only thing I had to change is instead of dragging and dropping the pictures from an SD card I now drag and drop the video to the Frame Shots program. This then outputs in to a named folder (clients name) and take about the same amount of effort.

The outcome is that I have one GoPro Hero 9 spin spin cutaway glove on my hand. I find myself knocking the camera in the plane less, especially in the limited space of a Porter. I find it easier to move about in the plane to capture more. I can use some fun mounts such as the Star Wars or Batman mounts (this is another discussion). Finally, although it has not happened, I have less of a snag hazard on my hand in case something really bad happens. Never one for the immortal WHAT IF but you know…. What if!!

The GoPro Hero 9 delivers a powerful performance for handcam work and with a little tweaking you could make life more simple and most importantly MORE SAFE!!!

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