3rd look at my Garmin Virb: Recordings and editing

A few weeks ago I decided to summarize my experiences with the Garmin Virb. Halfway through writing the post I realized, that I need to cut it into two parts. So,  in the first part I only  wrote about portability and the pictures I took , and now I will cover recording and post-editing. 


Buying something at least moderately expensive is usually a long process for me. The first stage is the initial excitement, when I spend the whole night watching reviews, exploring the alternatives, browsing for good deals on e-bay, comparing the technical specifications, etc.  Anyhow,  the second step is a longer period, when I just let the things settle, and don't think much about the issue for months. Slowly but steadily I figure out, how I want to use that particular gadget. Then, in the third act, I spend another night or nights with finding a good deal. 

The same happened with the Virb. In the end, I convinced myself, that it is worth the money, as I'll be able to take nice pictures, and make awesome videos about the beautiful places I got to see. I am not very good with video editing tools, and I especially did not want to spend a lot of time on that. So before I bought the camera, I decided, that I'll just put the recordings after each other, select a background musc, and upload it to Youtube. It was a nice plan, but I had to realize,  that...

Seriously. There is no such thing as "I'll quickly edit this video". This sentence could be the twin brother of  "I'll just drink a single mug of beer in the pub." If You strive always for the better in everything,  even if just a little bit, then be warned and don't buy an action camera, unless You are happy to spend the whole night listening to the same background track 50 times while perfectly cutting and syncing the recordings. Just to clarify: my edited videos are nowhere to that level, but still, the realization of a seemingly quick and cool idea can take a lot of effort, and suddenly the sun is up again, and you need to go to work in an hour. 

Now, just to break this Tolstoy novel, let me put here a compilation I made from the 2017 Bratislava Marathon race:


Ok, let's take a step back, and talk about the recording itself. As I explained in the previous post, the Virb fits very comfortably into my hand, and that big slider button is just awesome. The only thing to pay attention to is  to slide a couple of seconds earlier if the camera is turned off.

In general, I have very good experiences with the quality of the recordings. Maybe some competitors can guarantee better image quality, but what the Virb could do was more than enough for me. There is no sense in giving a Stradivari to somebody who has just started playing the violin.

There are, however some limitations of the capabilities of the camera, that should be taken into account. Firstly, the sound quality is generally ok, unless the surrounding is windy, then it is just scratchy noises.  Secondly, and more importantly, the built in stabilizer has no superpowers. If You are recordig while running, the result will be shaky. There are stabilizer algorithms in many editing softwares and even on youtube. However, they also can not perform magic.  To be honest, I ended up liking the non-stabilized version better, as my brain is more adapt to stabilize the picture itself than to straighten curly trees. Those really annoyed me.

So generally, my  good advice is, that if it is possible, stop for a couple of seconds and record while standing or walking. The result will be much more enjoyable, and You will only lose a couple of seconds.

And again,  to break monotony, here is a compilation from a performance hiking in the winter:


I am no expert on this so don't learn such things from me. My best related advice has actually nothing to do with editing: Videos of this sort that are way over ~3 minutes are too long and boring, so don't record an hour worth of material. I don't say, that I haven't seen extremely good 15 minutes videos of the same genre. The authors of those videos however did put a lot of effort into editing, script writing, effects, etc. If You are like me, and prefer to have another run instead of sitting in front of the editing software for hours, than I highly recommend You to take this advice. Even if You decide to make only a 3 minute video from 60 minutes of raw recording, it will take a lot of time just to select those 3 minutes.

If You look at my playlist, You can easily see,  how I decreased the duration just after a few videos. Simply because I realized, that even I am not patient enough to watch it again in its whole. 

I strongly believe that my videos did become gradually better. Another tip that worked for me is to alternate through recordings and photos in the edited video. See for example this recent one about my trip to Iceland:

I forgot to say, I use kdenlive for editing. It is simple enough to use by a n00b like me, but it still has a lot of features. (So if I'm not cautious,  I can "waste" a night exploring one of them in a new video.)

Mounting to bike & Remote control

I've just recently bought a mount from Ebay for my bike, but the first results seem to be unacceptably shaky. So unless I find something more stable, I'll not really use the Virb on the bike like that. But I've also made some shorter recordings on the bike while holding the Virb in my hand. Those seemed to be ok. So for the time being I'll just stash the Virb to my sleeve pockets, and take it out,when I need it.

One last thing: It is possible to connect the Virb with my Fenix 2, so I can start the recording from my watch or take pictures. This could come in handy, if I'll finally make a long kayaking tour, and mount the Virb to the boat on the front. Also, if selfies will turn unfashionable in the future, making proper pictures with us and a nice backround is easy that way. 

I think, that's all, so to say goodbye, here is a compilation of an obstacle race I participated with several co-workers at XBody

And as always: Thanks for reading! Sharing, comments and +1s are always appreciated. You can follow the blog on Google+Twitter, and Facebook. The embedded videos (and others) are collected in the RunnerMate playlist on youtube, and quick running related photos are shared on my Instagram.


About Unknown

Amateur fun runner, geek, hiker.


Write comments
October 4, 2017 at 5:04 AM delete

Hey, thanks for writing such a nice and genuine blog about virb. Now I have a crystal clear mind before buying it. And yes, I will keep in my mind all the tips u have given to produce some better stuff. Do upload more videos of your work.

October 4, 2017 at 5:38 AM delete

Hi! Thanks for the feedback, I'm glad that the post was useful for You :-) Let me know, how it worked out for You! I've actually just uploaded a test footage to youtube about my daily commute to work. I've recently purchased a cheap mount, and I'm curious, how shaky it will be after a yt stabilizer. IT is an unlisted video, I'll delete after a couple of days, so check it out if YOu are interested: https://youtu.be/-mARGx3o60Y