Many saw my videos from the on-board cameras during the Tour Down Under and I’m grateful for it. Now I’ll explain how it was done, writes Jérémy Roy of FDJ.
This is the translation of a piece on Roy’s informative website jeremyroy.fr and he has approved its use here.
Stage 1: Authorisation
To have the right to film and broadcast my images of the Town Down Under, I first contacted the organiser who quickly replied that it would be no problem. But permission from the UCI was needed too. They gave me the green light just after the Christmas Holidays. The FDJ team was of course involved and they had me sign a statement as well. I had all the papers needed to get my project within the rules. For other races it could have been more complicated, especially with RCS Sport and ASO which have big broadcast contracts for the year. I’m keen to own what I do so if I’m given permission but without owning the rights to my own footage I’d say no.
Stage 2: Installation
The prerequisite is obviously to have suitable and approved cameras. I’ve got a Shimano camera, the model that the team used during last year’s Tour de France (INRNG: a Shimano CM-1000, see cyclingtip’s review for more). It weighs 85g and the mount is 55g, a total of 140g. I’ve also got a more versatile camera, which films in 720px compared to 1080px for the Shimano, and it weighs 73g in total because the mount is made of plastic. To fit the camera you fix the mount on the bars and rotate it towards the front. At the back you install it under the seatpost and it slides in with a click. There’s no risk of losing the gear during a race, no worries about it holding tight. That’s important because if my camera falls in the peloton I’m going to have problems…
Stage 3: Lights, Camera, Action
Press a button and you’re off. Simple. It lasts for about two hours so I was activating the unit with about 90 minutes to go to be sure. There was one stage in the Tour Down Under where I wanted to film the start, so I activated it on the start line, stopped it 30 minutes after, then restarted for the finish. Filming long sections allows me to load the raw footage to Kinomap and sync the video with my GPS data.
Stage 4: Production
Once back to the hotel I get to work downloading my SD cards. Two hours of video takes 40 minutes to transfer. It overlaps the timing of my massage. When I get back to my room I import all the footage into video editing software and start editing, selecting the content I want to keep for my clip. All this takes time, but if some outsider was doing this it wouldn’t be that efficient either because I’ve experienced everything that’s been filmed out on my bike: I know when there are lively or spectacular moments. I try to remember these moments as best I can so I can find them quickly in the file. Then it’s time to export the video production and then upload it to my Youtube channel and then share it via my social media channels (Facebook, Twitter) and my website. This long process is only possible when the routine of a race allows: for the Tour Down Under we were always in Adelaide and the stages were short. If I had a long transfer and was stuffed for the day I wouldn’t do it.
Stage 5: Going viral
Once the video’s been shared online it’s the spectacular content that determines its success. There was that giant crash in the Tour Down Under that I miraculously avoided. I was in the right place at the right time. The video got replayed again and again in the hotel dinning room where all the teams were seated. Later I discovered it had loads of views on Youtube. The next day riders came to see me to tell me I was so lucky not to crash. Others were intrigued by the camera, they wanted to know the model, how to attach it, if I put it on myself. More than one are keen to give it a go, I’m not the only technophile in the bunch!
No performance loss
I can assure you using an on-board camera doesn’t stop performance. 140 grams equates to three cereal bars… I made the top-20 overall in the Tour Down Under, despite launching attacks, helping Arnold Jeannesson. I didn’t waste any juice to put my recuperation in danger and working on the video is the same as reading a book, a website or watching a TV series. The footage can help the team too, we used it several times for the team briefings and debriefings, a way to review some of our team efforts. In short, yes to on-board cameras!
I kept some extra footage from the Tour Down Under in stock.
Big Thanks to Jérémy Roy for allowing the translation. You can read the original piece at jeremyroy.fr where you’ll also find many articles, a biography and more. Follow him on Twitter to see when he next shares a video and more.