Choosing a camera to film rowing

Video camera can be quite useful when rowing as it allows the rowers to get some visual feedback on the technical points you are working on (sometimes it can be that stimulus that can makes the athlete make the change you’ve been among them to make!)

However before you start looking how to use the video footage, first you have to get some! And for that you have to pick your camera and how to mount the camera:

Choices of camera

If you are mounting a camera on your boat, then you’re going to be filming at very close to your subject and in order to get all of the boat into shot (from blade tip to blade tip) you will have to consider a camera with a wide angle lens

Thankfully there is quite a range of sports cameras with wide angle lens available, two of the most popular ive listed below:

Go Pro Hero

The GoPro is a very popular option, with the widest angle lens (180 degrees) its possible to mount the camera very close to the rower and still get the whole boat into shot. The case camera is made from plastic so it does have almost a toy like quality, however it is protected by a clear case which is also completely watertight so it is a very solid option. There are a wide range of mounting options. The picture quality is very good (see the link below for some good footage), however I have found that the wide angle of the lens does mean that there is some distortion of the image (as discussed in the wiki article posted above), and so if you are filming larger crews (like 8+’s) blade angles can look a little off

Example video using a GoPro camera

The top of the range GoPro can record at 1080p High Definition at 30 fps, or 720p at 60 fps, but can be quite expensive (especially in the UK at around £265), however there is a cheaper GoPro 960 which can record at 720p 30 fps and at the time of writing is closer to £200


The Contour HD camera is also a very popular sports camera, unlike the GoPro it is made from metal so feels very solid in the hand. It sports a rotating lens (for aligning the camera to the horizontal depending on how its mounted) and has two lasers that can be used to align the camera and make sure its filming horizontal.

Unfortunatly, although the Contour cameras are splashproof, they aren’t waterproof, so you would have to consider the waterproof camera if you thought there was a high chance of the camera getting wet!

The Contour has a narrower field of view at 135 degree lens, however I still found this was wide enough to get all of the boat in as long as it was well mounted

Filmed on a contourhd 720p version

The Contour camera have several options so you can tailor your purchase to the features you need, going from the ContourHD which films in 720p, all the way up to the top of the range ContourGPS which not only films in 1080p but also has a GPS chip built in, so can be used as an all in one option if you are looking to bring GPS data into your video footage (which ill get into in a future post), but at a cost of over £300


About stelph82

I am a rower who is a lot of a technology geek as well!
This entry was posted in Rowing Camera Mounts. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Choosing a camera to film rowing

  1. Mark F says:

    Nice work on the videos! So, you’ve had good success with the suction cup mount? Seems that would allow positioning the GoPro in different positions on bow or stern of the boat.

    • stelph82 says:

      Yea the suction mounts work well, both the gopro and the more reasonable “camera suction mounts” on eBay stay sucked onto my canvas no matter the rate or balance 🙂

  2. Will W says:

    How did you mount the camera on to the 8+? I assume you used a tripod to get the camera above the cox’ns head. Did you purchase the tripod somewhere? Or make it yourself? I would love to film my crews from this angle as well, and any info you could give about the construction of a stern mounted tripod would be wonderful. Thanks!

    • stelph82 says:

      Hi, I fashioned the boat mount myself using a standard tripod and 3 x suction camera mounts which i glued to each leg. I’ll try and do a post about it with some pictures if it helps!

      • Will W says:

        Some pictures would be fantastic! I have thought about building one of my own for some time now. But I could never decide on a good method of attaching the suction cups to the tripod. Thanks again.

      • stelph82 says:

        No problem, I have created a post going over how I made it, hope it helps!

  3. Pingback: “Buy the best, pay cash, take delivery” « Northern Virginia High School Rowing

  4. Novice says:

    how would you mount the camera to check if one is feathering under water. Also how would you see if the stroke finishes when the legs hit the deck

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