On Sunday I hopped in my car, attached my GoPro camera to the windshield and headed down Highway 1. For those not familiar with the area, Highway 1 winds down most of the coast of California and affords quite the view out across the Pacific Ocean as you wind around hills, fields, and cliffs. It’s one of my favorite drives and I recommend it over Interstate 280 if you’ve got the extra time. I recently realized that I’ve been missing long drives by myself. I really enjoy how they give me time to think while the scenery constantly changes and good music plays on the stereo. Plus driving along a beautiful highway with all sorts of interesting turnouts makes for a good way to spend the afternoon.
My recent acquisition of a GoPro HD Hero2 camera (thanks Heather!) and various accessories has me using it for all sorts of things. In addition to shooting wonderful 1080p video underwater in the British Virgin Islands, one of the features of the GoPro camera is a time lapse mode where it can take a nice high resolution image every second. The small size and portability of the GoPro as well as the various mounts make it much easier to use versus my gigantic Pentax K20D dslr. But, not having a dedicated LCD screen makes aiming the GoPro a bit difficult, so the video is slightly tilted as the windshield mount isn’t perfectly level and when I took it out on the cliff I was just using a Gorillapod in the grass so you might have to tilt your head a bit. I do have the LCD Bacpac to help with lining up shots, but for time lapses the Battery Bacpac takes priority.
For those wondering how I put everything together, it’s actually quite simple. Quicktime Pro 7 has a great “Open image sequence” feature that I used to make all the individual clips, then I wrestled with iMovie 11 and its limitations to put together the clips with some simple transitions and audio. I used ccMixter to get some Creative Commons music that would work with the track, eventually settling on DLDN Instrumental by timberman. I’m still trying to figure out a good system to match up the music I’m actually listening to while the photos are being snapped and try to recreate the feeling in the final video, but haven’t figured that out yet, not to mention the copyright issues of posting that music on video hosting services. In this case the soundtrack to a good portion of the trip was “Moods for Take Out”, an album I had received from the musicians themselves the previous weekend. Throw in some High Contrast, Underworld, and Boards of Canada and you’ve got the playlist for the afternoon.
If anyone’s interested, my route, tracked by my Garmin Vista HCx, is below. As you can see, I had a bit of a roundabout journey through the city thanks to a few blocks of the Great Highway being closed around Ocean Beach. The video of that fiasco as well as video of all the hanggliders and paragliders at Fort Funston was sadly never captured. (Note to self: check camera blinky red light more often) But as I headed south I managed to hit a handful of beaches and recognizable areas including my favorites: just past Devil’s Slide at the beginning of the video, Pompanio Beach, and Pescadero Beach. As the sun set, I watched the light of a boat on the horizon blink as it rolled on the Pacific waves and the stars and planets dotted the sky. Not a bad way to spend my Sunday.