Our Blog


by Nick Olson

Chupacabra Offroad has been in the YouTube world for just over two years now, and we have definitely learned A LOT! We aim to create not only great quality videos but also valuable content. Filming in the offroad space can be challenging, but we’ve spent a lot of time (and money) testing out different cameras and accessories to ensure we capture the best shot possible. Hope you found this video helpful for when you decide to create your own off-road content!


Hey everybody it’s Nick and Haley here chupacabra offroad. This is Haley Sutton, hey guys how’s it going and we are the team that cranks out a majority of the content you guys see on the YouTube social or basically everywhere else and we thought we’d do a different video um we’ve become students of this ourselves over the years and checking out our favorite youtubers and figuring out what makes really good b-roll makes for great content and how we can add to off-road culture and take some of those ingredients and make a really good off-road channel which is kind of been our goal here so we want to kind of talk you guys through what we use some of the gear we’ve bought over the years what we’ve learned and how we think about creating content on the YouTube channel and beyond so we started a YouTube channel about two and a half years ago in April of 2018 and learned a lot if you guys follow channel you’ve seen we’ve been to moab we’ve been to mexico we’ve done some racing we’ve done glamorous we’ve worked with other videographers and learn a lot along the way I really want to kind of share that with you guys you know what our real takeaways are from the gear that we’ve used from the environments that we’ve shot in and how we think about trying to make good content so I really had an interest for this at a younger age back in college but um haley’s been part of the team here for what five or six months now roughly roughly yeah so obviously haley is way more into this even than I at a younger age so how did you get into creating content well um I was about nine years old when my mom and dad gave me a camera for the very first time so that was a polaroid camera back in the day which isn’t apparently that long ago so starting off from having a camera in my hand then I always had it in my hand like at school from to the dunes um I even studied film and photography in college where I also dabbled in like sports photography and videography um and I just carried out my passion from there to make it my career so I started off a little bit of a younger age not nearly as into it and passionate as haley was but I did some video production myself back in early 2000 making videos of friends and purchased a video camera and made a video on my first mountain biking trip up in whistler in 2008 and I think to the day it’s got over 170 000 views that’s nice wouldn’t we kill for 170 000 views you guys need to subscribe no but um that was fun and I’d always had a little interest in it and me being like I said much older than haley I came from the crusty demons of dirt video series dirt biking the fox terra firma series some of my favorites um all that type of stuff where the ingredients and of course the travis pastrana pre nitro circus dinner so like action sports stuff as it’s really kind of bubbling brands are being created in the late 90s and early 2000s so that was a lot of my inspiration back then that’s just so funny thing about you know we didn’t have smartphones we didn’t have even an easy way of sharing content yeah um but these videos were being pushed out and sold at scale on vhs tape so there’s obviously these movements and these subcultures happening and that’s just kind of how it happened and fast forward to today you know it’s totally different now you can hop on YouTube or many other platforms and find exactly what you’re looking for definitely growing up in the YouTube culture in 2008 I was actually only in eighth grade and that’s when like FaceBook had just came out um for public and that’s when myspace was starting to die like YouTube culture became really big right then there so having a hundred thousand views in 2008 was even more than 100 000 views of worth today and then today growing up with YouTube like I’ve listened and watched multiple YouTube influencers like peter mckinnon is where I could learn a lot of b-roll editing um color correcting with photography um casey nasset also um daniel scheifer um I have a few other influencers like jay chanzadine who does a great job at shooting b-roll of adventures and outdoors so there’s a lot to learn on YouTube that just really didn’t exist even 10 years ago that’s a good point too you know speaking of not existing like in a lot of off-road video content um even when we started as recent as two and a half years ago I didn’t really think there was anything like what we’re trying to do in terms of um southwest ride trips um and then looking at some of those ingredients like you said you brought up peter mckinnon and casey neistat I’m kind of thumbing my through I get adobe premiere and I’m like teaching myself how to edit I’ve done some little stuff with imovie and of course it’s like on a whole different scale of what you can do and I still maybe scratch the surface but looking at what these other creators do who are super talented or really like really like holding our hands on YouTube and explaining us about what camera gear to buy and like some how to make you know gorgeous b-roll how to color correct all these type of things that I was really interested in learning of course to give us the best content that we can make and um you know I just I don’t want to approach the off-road content making space like everybody else like there’s a lot of other youtubers or content creators that are far bigger than us but like that’s cool that’s that’s what they do and I wanted to have our own approach and this is like a theme that we wrestle with all the time is creating the best content we can make we’re going to call the best content possible we kind of always feel like we are in a slave to the views of the subscribers even though that’s definitely not our north star we aim to like make sure we’re doing everyday content along with full production videos and I think that’s something that this space in the off-road industry doesn’t have like there’s a ton of fully produced videos and then there’s a ton of like everyday vlog style but there’s not a company that’s doing both so I know that that’s a goal that we have is to make it something that relatable to our viewers yeah you know we like to produce those pieces as much as we can that are just on a bigger scale and for us that looks like extra help shooting you know using multiple pieces of camera multiple angles trying to tell a story and then make all that relatable to like passion and off-roaders you know like make a real glamorous video of people who really love the culture like they really appreciate and so on so with that being said let’s get into the gear because I think it’s a perfect time to talk about a drone now I have been wanting a drone seen them but starting this channel I knew that we had to have some aerial shots especially all the places we get to go rides you look at our channel like even just seeing drone footage of the dunes um moab like I couldn’t imagine going to moab now or some of these other gorgeous places I’ve been able to go to and not showing you guys and conveying the experience with the drone and it started off this is what haley’s holding is the dji mavic air ii but I started off with the mavic air which is the predecessor to this um and it was a great piece it had 21 minute flight times it shot in 4k which is most important but as we move forward we just picked this up and haley’s phone it a couple times I want to know what you think about it but the biggest takeaways are this costs the same price that the one did when it came out but it’s got a 34 minute flight time which is huge and even other upgrades they’ve made like 12 megapixel photos are now 48 yes um shooting with this drone just even practicing with it there’s a lot of tricks to it that I still don’t even know like you can learn so much in manual mode of this drone also learning how to fly it it seems really intimidating but it’s actually a lot easier than you would probably think it does because it does a lot of the hovering itself which I feel like a lot of people don’t know with drones like it just kind of it can sit there on its own you don’t have to constantly be moving it um one of the biggest takeaways also with flying a drone is making sure that your shots aren’t too high um because then it just gets washed out in the in the footage if you just stay low and say where you want the subject to be focused on then you get a great shot yeah I think that’s one thing another videographer taught me too is keeping it lower than you think so it’s gonna be more interesting shot and you can see what’s going on with the subject a vehicle or whatever one thing too for us is a lot of the automatic features this will fly in a perfect circle so when we’re flying we’re still really notchy you know I’ve been flying for a couple years but making nice smooth shots so you can use those in the video and it’s not notchy and annoying to watch but you know like this mavic 2’s got a lot of them presets so we can just have to do a nice perfect circle let’s say over the sand drags then we can use snippets of it we can speed it up we can reverse it in post-production and just have a really nice amount of shots that we can add so the drone is used in its capacity it’s not just somebody who’s up in the air right shoots really well in night as well it does a great job of picking up low light situations during sunset absolutely gorgeous yeah we’ll talk about that now we’ve kind of reached from a two and a half year cycle we’ve shot at glamis a bunch of times we’ve shot in mexico several times so I always think about like what can we do to provide a different experience and different viewing angle and some of these same rides so if you’re interested in going to one of these rides you know we can add value by showing you what the landscape looks like so you can you know get excited about it or maybe pull the trigger on a long drive that maybe you otherwise wouldn’t you know that’s kind of like one of the goals I think is that we can put together a piece of content that gets you really fired up to go maybe explore a new area or even all by the end of this video I will give you some tips on maybe wanting to step up your own game and with a minimal amount of money get into this because you don’t need all the stuff to make banger videos I have hundreds of thousands of views no it just helps so of course you can’t shoot action sports photography without a gopro and I haven’t really used a dji or other competing brands action cameras but I do feel like gopro is winning has won has iterated they’ve had competition and continually stepped their game up I agree with you especially coming from the very very first gopro um I had that back in the day set up on our sand rail the very first gopro hero and then all the way to the three to the seven um they’ve definitely stepped their game all the way up to the nine yeah so you know started off um I started a youngster gopro 383 plus had used it done some video editing it was good I think it shot 1080 at 60 frames a second which is stuff that looks really clean we still produce a lot of videos at 1080p that look good even pulled up on a big screen tv in your living room but once we started the channel at the time the gopro 6 was the hot new camera which was like their first foray into like the real image stabilization yeah so we don’t have a six here but our buddy andrew has it I’ve let him use it for content creating out where he lives in southern california and after we use the six I used it for quite a bit um I ended up purchasing this little five session and used the five session on a gimbal and really I didn’t realize I thought the six would work on a gimbal and I was using this for some bike footage motorcycle footage so I thought oh with the gimbal and the six is gonna be perfect but as it turns out the six audio would get ruined because of the fitment of the gimbal so I got this hero5 session it’s nice and small the battery actually works surprisingly well um I think it’s a great piece for mountain biking because it’s so lightweight but I wouldn’t recommend for off-roading that you spend your money on one if they’re either even around if you’re gonna pick one up used um the there is no stabilization I used it more recently on a ride in mexico earlier this year and it was just really really shaky I I just don’t think it’s worth it for your money basically yeah I can agree with that so then we moved on to the gopro seven and the seven here is set up on a vlogger setup because start to realize hey we’re vlogging how can we use this for everything and at the time you know a lot of people on YouTube are just kind of coming with these little makeshift setups so this is like a little 15 12 cage and it fits a little housing for a gopro audio adapter so you can see we’ve got a little rode micro external mic and this mic’s been super reliable we beat the crap out of it and it works really well you have to have this adapter plug in to get the external audio because of course as we know when we’re outdoors it’s always windy and it can ruin audio right it’s also missing the piece that goes right here to cover it to help with wind the mic does a really good job enhancing vocals and as well as capturing the best sound possible in those off-road situations the seven has really been a great workhorse the stabilization got even better than the six um we beat the snot out of this thing I think I wrote in the back from from glamis like and it got all beat up and the screen’s cracked but it still works fine and I think now you can pick it up for 250 bucks so hard to beat dollar to performance ratio it’s a great camera I highly recommend and then we moved on to the gopro 8 because in the midst of all of this vlogger set up they come out with the media mod set up which when you look at it like oh this is sweet you can throw the back of your camel back um it’s one less piece that could potentially break it takes up less space and then it integrates where you can plug in an external mic or we can put in a lapel mic if you will right the battery dies really quick when you use the the media mod and unfortunately gopro shifted away from the removable lens which this lens just pulls up and pops off and these are easily replaceable on amazon which I’ve broken a few and scratched many have it on the side of my razor yeah and you can’t do that in what they ate you’ve got to send it in and the only downfall about this medium mod is that the mic is still not that great you still want to use an external mic when you’re recording so far pretty lackluster with the eight I think if you have a six or a seven don’t spend your money but on the opposite note we picked up a nine and the nine is the b’s b so far so I used on the mexico trip a few weeks ago the screen in the front is such a game changer because you know I’ve got long arms I can just hold it with that ram mount and I can vlog and I’m in the frame for the most part and you can see yourself because you’ve got the front screen which was a long time competitive advantage of the dji yes and we used this um in the sand dunes a couple weeks ago and it the new gopro 9 has the horizon leveling feature which when your car is moving like this and your camera doesn’t move it looks so smooth it looks so clean it looks like you spent thousands of dollars on getting this great shot so I think the gopro 9 did a good job of enhancing their stabilization feature for sure yeah the horizon leveling is really cool it’s the point where gimbals have really become obsolete one other thing like with the screen on the front I’ll put it on the side of my razor all the time and I can see in my mirror that it’s on just so I know that it’s on and off I’ll show you guys in a second where we have mounted up on our razor I like running it on the side of the b-pillar because I can turn it on and off I think it’s a pretty cool shot you can see the terrain you can see the suspension work and you can see me with the driver input but that’s just another nice feature everything about it it’s a little bit bigger it’s a little bit heavier I still wouldn’t be opposed to running on top of my helmet on a dirt bike it’s not that heavy the battery life is phenomenal yes the battery life really does last a long time we rode for I don’t know five hours last weekend and it did not die on me by any means like going on and off obviously not a full five hours going on but the gopro eight that just dies within 20 minutes of riding and you lose your shots yeah so kudo is a gopro for stepping it up you guys definitely stumbled with the eight but if you’re an off-roader I say spend the money and get the gopro nine now we’re gonna call it 350 bucks if you go on their website it says 450 but 350 if you sign up for their service now I like the service because it gives you a warranty we’re really hard on these things as off-roaders as well as it gives you discounts on the accessories so we just ordered the new media mod for it today there’s a new max lens option when it comes in stock we’ll get it too um but the nine I think is going to be our ultimate workhorse we can use for vlogging we can use for everything I think we’re going to use the heck out of it and it’s going to look pretty beat up in about 12 more months but um the experience is waterproof it’s going to hold up well and I highly recommend so that’s pretty much it for our gopro camera recommendations I guess one final thought haley like we’ve been experimenting with a lot of different camera settings and a lot of export settings so I’ve become a pretty big fan of exporting our videos at 2.7 k well what would you recommend export settings for the camera um I definitely agree with exporting in 2.7 k YouTube does a great job at showing 2.7 um and then it’s quick and easy on your computer to export if you go to 4k it can take a little bit longer to export um shooting wise shooting in 2.7 k it still gives you a really clear image um but in the end of the day you can do 4k and still export it in 2.7k which is the what I would recommend mostly yeah you have fast internet to upload I mean it takes up more memory doing everything in 4k we’ve done some projects and shooting with the drone in 4k you know for projects two seven basically a 4k is this big a 2.7 is this big so we can zoom in the shot a little bit more the quality looks really good and just what like haley said you think you’re flying too high and you’re low you still would like to zoom in and it makes for a better looking shot right now I think that’s how we export most everything in um you get a big memory card and a 64 we’ll put a 128 at the nine and I’m gonna take it to glass this weekend and probably shoot most everything on it yeah we definitely run 128 in the drone and in the gopro nine and you’re set for the entire weekend so pretty easy guys last thing you want to deal with when you’re out the dunes you’re trying to keep these things charged but having to dump memory cards is a huge fan yes it is so of course you can’t have your gopros not having a mounted safely and securely and I’ve been a big fan of the ram mounts you see the nine um that haley’s got here has got an arm on it now basically you they have a little ball system that’s pretty easy this is a roll cage mount where you basically have a hose clamp and put a little rubber around it so you don’t scratch your vehicle I always carry this little eight millimeter got it in my door bag at all the time so I can switch mounts around but you can throw it on and off of your vehicle in different situations throw it on a buddy’s vehicle and I’ve got multiple mounts on the car the one thing for me I always kind of get lazy is moving the gopro around to get different shots on the car throughout the course of a trip so at least I have a couple of these mounted up all you got to do like I’ve been on a sand hollow ride recently we’re going on a slow trail where people were behind us so we got out for a quick stop I jumped out I threw this behind the car and then just filmed the car behind me just to get a different perspective because I imagine a lot of you guys like myself like I don’t want to just watch gopro of one angle for too long right so here’s the nine with the ram mount we talked about here’s one of my most favorite mounting positions you can see you can just kind of set it up turn the screen on get it exactly how you like it I like shooting in the super view on the side of the vehicle because it opens up a lot there’s a linear mode which is really good for vlogging because it’s less of that bubbly fish eye so you can go back and forth with those really quick and again like I like the amount here for the ram a lot better than even something like this we’ve experimented with this gopro mount which is kind of cool you can move around and get some interesting angles it’s real quick and easy but it still has like that vibration that the rams don’t so um and it’s just that easy come around here to the back of the car we’ll pop it off like I said I’ve stopped on a trail ride had one back here popped it right on this one I can’t really see out of the back that well so I’d pull it up on the app make sure the screen is quick but like I said if you get a super view and you kind of straighten it up and get it close it’s going to get pretty much exactly the shot that you need whether you’re going up and down up and hills and stuff so ram mount can’t beat it get a couple of these like I said you have the tool in your pocket you can easily get four or five different angles which adds a lot of flavor and a lot more of a idea for the viewer of what your ride’s like so the ram mounts that work well they’re definitely not cheap I think if you’re getting into it just getting an arm and a couple little pieces you’re looking close to about 80 to 100 but the amount of adjustability you’ve got with them I mean with two of these with that arm you could really get five or six really clean angles I think at least oh yes there’s so many different places you can put them especially if you have the right size for your roll cage then everything you can move it from both driver side passenger side you can have it in the center your options are endless basically and you know it gets all um putting the little stickies all over the gopro stickies all over your vehicle I think that was kind of like old school passe and this is I think the cleanest way to go like I said you can throw it on anybody else’s vehicle move it around um you don’t run out of stickies it’s not annoying an eyesore in your vehicle and when it done there’s some of these other mounts like here’s a gopro mount like I said because I have the subscription some of these items are on sale it’s the roll cage mount as some adjustability you can swivel it around but it does have some spacers to kind of go off of your roll cage size depending on how big or small you are but I don’t know I I picked this up I think for 20 bucks it was a decent deal but we’ve hardly ever used it because it’s it doesn’t get the camera exactly how you want it like you can do with the ram so highly recommend ram um for any and all gopro stuff all right so moving on to our big camera you can’t see it at the moment because that’s what we’re filming with but we have a canon 6d mark ii with a 24×105 lens now I had done some research I had started off with a nikon d3300 when we first launched the business we needed a decent camera to take photos for amazon listing images and for our website and we still need that we still use the photography feature quite a bit but the research I did from youtubers everyone said the 60 is like a really good price point for um a little screen that pops around we’re looking at our screen right now you can use it as a vlogger and I actually had it with this moby held up in the old school days of 2018 as a vlogging setup and I’m sure there’s a lot of people who still vlog that way but for what we do I I told haley I said look haley if we get a couple gopros we have one set up as a vlogger the other is our action cam for what we do it’s so easy would you agree I definitely agree um coming from a photography background I’ve used multiple cameras from nikon tony and then a canon so shooting with this the image is crystal clear the photos turn out beautiful the video is really nice I love the autofocus feature on the canon it does a great job for everything that we need to do going from vlogging style to doing action sports it still does a great job yeah so it’s just really cumbersome to use out in the field like for instance we were doing the pre-run havasu and haley just had you know one of these set up and she could take some little snippets at different angles kind of just to share the experience of of the pre-run and just for a little little snippet segments I mean with the the stabilization I think of the eight you’re using you got some good little shots a little you know wherewithal you can see us in the car you can see the terrain and that was far more achievable than if you were holding the 60. absolutely that is the one downfall of this massive camera is that you can’t really you don’t want to take it anywhere that’s going to get damaged where the gopro you could literally throw it off your razor and it’ll still be fine yeah yeah so um definitely nice to have an slr of trying to step your game up so speaking of stepping your game up you know we had the camera we worked with a videographer named nathan mcbride who’s super talented if you guys have watched our glamis presidency video 2019 it’s I think it’s our most popular video and nathan shot and directed and edited that video but he had brought out a 400 millimeter lens which we ended up purchasing ourselves so you know I realized the value when I was watching him shoot especially at the sand drags especially just getting cool b-roll people hanging out having fun at the at the swing set all that type of stuff and we were using it recently at utv world championships guys coming in from the end of their first lap going through some loops and stuff so this pops right on to 6d it gives us really a really great tool for capturing those shots in those areas and really glad that we bought it yes um coming from a sports background I’ve used a dozen different lenses similar to this typically they’re prime so they’re only 300 only 400 this actually ranges from 100 to 400 with still the f-stop being great using a lens like this comes with some downfalls if you’re filming video with it you really have to have really steady hands or an awesome tripod or monopod so that way you don’t get so shaky um but the photography on this is really nice to have when you’re at the drags or when we were at utv worlds capturing the beginning of the race and the ending of the race this was one of those things that was really nice to have just to get those really close and tight shots that you don’t see with a gopro yeah we can really only get so close right if we’re out of race so we’re at glanves you just can’t get tight enough and that’s really where that lens is is worth its weight um difficult to bring around we have a backpack that we use it’s got a rain fly or a dust fly if you will and it keeps everything safe and um you know I’m actually gonna go to glam this weekend I’m probably gonna drag around my tripod as well because I plan on using the 400 for sure for the drags and maybe some other good b-roll shots of hanging out with sunset hill and all that so that’s kind of a whole breadth of what we’ve got guys um this hopefully this gives you guys a little idea of like how much energy we put into trying to make this content good how much money we spend but you know thanks to you guys our customers help help grow our brand by buying our products we want to reinvest and make as much content as possible and as good as content as possible so we’re still learning how to scale that up we got some projects we’re excited to be working on later this year I want to make a couple of bear glamis videos for the season we know that the glamis crowd really over indexes on YouTube and we’ve seen a lot of momentum I know a lot of other stuff you see throughout the year like what we’re doing so I’ve got any good ideas for content that you don’t think exists any suggestions for us we’re all ears you know we’ll talk about in the future maybe a part two and that you guys have to respond in the comments talking about okay here’s part one here’s all the gear but then part two how do we edit it and then how do we um choose content and put together a style of video that people love yeah definitely let us know in the comments if that’s something that you’re interested in final snippet I don’t want to leave without giving you guys some tips let’s say haley you want to get into this for about 500 bucks this video got you excited you want to shoot some better content how should I spend 500 bucks so 500 can get you either a lot or very little so for the most bang for your buck I would suggest getting the gopro 9. um I know that sounds a little cliche with it being the newest thing on the block but it’s still relatively decently priced you can get a really good new media mod on it so if you want the extra microphone it’s great and then also getting the ram mounts attached to it that’s still bringing you under 100 bucks upgrading the memory card to being a high speed and 128 gigabytes again you’re still under 500 bucks and a good vlogging camera today even the small point-and-shoot ones are all over 600. um the lenses are all over 600 some of them are thousands of dollars cameras are thousands of dollars so honestly in this industry in the off-road space the gopro 9 is what I’m going to say is the best best for your 500 yeah you know I think you can do so much with it just with that little ram out I can hold it and use it as a vlogger the gopro app has really gotten a lot better which is another reason why I think it’s probably the best action cam you can take little snippets and just upload those to social really quickly right off your phone there’s even some color correction you can do in the app and it’s worked a lot better than it has over the years like haley said a little bit bigger memory card maybe the media mod and ceramics you’re right about 500 bucks and really hard to beat for something you could use a lot of different angles you can put together a video which I think is some action shots and some of you talking because you know from what we’ve learned people want to want to know about the people who are there and that’s part of the whole experience too and then if you do want to step up to level two um I did see dji just launched the mavic mini part two um the first one was inexpensive this one’s a little bit more I think it’s 400 bucks but it now shoots in 4k versus the first mini which didn’t so I think 4k for a drone is non-negotiable because you’re always so hype in the air you want that that wide shot so that you can eventually scale it down um software wise um you know 500 bucks we’re kind of cheating but if we assume that you do have a mac you have imovie which is a really good place to start yes imovie is a really good space to start especially if you have a mac or an iphone um you can download I imovie to your phone and edit from it as well as the gopro app like you mentioned earlier making it really seamless to do it on the fly or just even when you’re sitting down on your couch doing absolutely nothing else so we also have a subscription to premiere pro so that’s what we use um creators typically have that if you don’t you can get it relatively decently priced for like what 20 something dollars a month there’s a ton of different free options there’s a shot cut and a few others that are online that are free that do a decent job as well yeah adobe premiere you know so many features you can use after effects once you get really good and just for color grading all that type of stuff we’ll go anywhere from a quick project like this we can probably shoot it and edit it in what two hours to a glamorous video with multiple camera shots where it’s all hands on deck because another way we try to add value we shoot our contents we want to get those videos up right away we’re not going to go shoot veterans day this weekend and then we’ll launch the video in January like people have already forgotten about it so that’s always been a big sticking point for me if we’ve hired people what not utv world championships not to pat ourselves on the back but we raised utv world championships the following week we had sancho and we were able to get four videos up on YouTube in between so um we do as much as we can to get it out just as quick as quick as anybody hopefully can and also keep the quality as high as we can we’ve learned a lot of mistakes about how not to get good audio how to get good audio even shooting stuff on our phone whenever we can just kind of add it up and mix things up so thanks everybody who follows us who subscribe to our channel hope you guys appreciate the effort and appreciate the channel any comments like we said a comment below or all theirs we just want to make this content this channel as good as it can be thanks for watching we’ll see you next time see ya you.


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