Many WooFDriver adventures have a large pit crew in support roles, with a couple of cameramen taking pictures and video. But I often go out either by myself or with only one other to one of the farms. I looked for a way for a camera to be more automatic, to do more than just be stationary on a tripod, waiting for the action to come to it. That’s when I found this system. I call it “Follow Me”. It is actually an Automatic Tracking Tripod made by Soloshot. You mount the camera on a motorized panning tripod, and place a tracking device on the subject that will be moving. The tripod then pans the camera and follows the subject.
I often place the tripod in the middle of a field that my dogs are in, place the tracker on a dog collar, set the camera to record, and then let it do its thing. Other times I have set the receiver up on rooftops or on top of my truck to get different angles. The tripod can be placed where ever a stable surface can be found without obstruction to the area travelled by the moving subject.
There is a lag sometimes, when the camera doesn’t change direction as fast as the dog. And it doesn’t do too well at close distances, less than 50ft. It is designed to go up to 2000ft! But all in all it works incredibly well. I have video shots of my active, moving dogs without the need of an additional person. In some ways it is better than a person, because there is no camera shake.
This system started out as a way for surfers to record themselves from the beach. As a result, the transmitter is 100% waterproof. If the dogs take a dip, no problem. It is also very solidly built. The casing is a hard rubberized plastic on both units. The included tripod is of decent quality too. I do find the setup to be a bit cumbersome. The transmitter must be turned on 15min prior to operation to “warm up”. You must calibrate the transmitter and receiver each time by walking at least 50ft, preferably 200ft away and conduct an aiming process. But, once you get it all going, it just works.
There is a newer version of this unit, called the Soloshot2. Many added features include automatic tilt, remote zoom control, and multi receiver and multi transmitter capabilities. They are taking pre-orders as of the writing of this review (Oct2014) and expect shipments in another month.
The distance cuts in this video were shot with the follow me camera, the close-ups were not, obviously.