Snowsports Academy tested the Insta360 ONE X2 camera for two weeks. The focus was more on ease of use than the technical specifications, so if you are looking for detailed information about all of the functions, or information about resolution, frame rates and other technical details, you will not find what you are looking for here. We were exploring and testing functions that provide added value, especially while skiing and snowboarding. We were looking for ways the camera can support us in our work as instructors and trainers, or simply open up new perspectives on our greatest passion – snow sports. And the camera has a lot to offer:
If you haven't had any previous experience with previous models, it should be said that this camera works completely differently from "normal" cameras. Even more so than with conventional videos, which are impressive from an image quality standpoint, but really come alive after editing the footage, through the powerful Insta360 software available in the app store (free of charge).
On the camera itself you can only choose very basic settings for example toggling between the two available lens angles: 150° or 360°
All the functions and cool effects are pulled out of the raw footage using the Insta360 software.
The image stabilizer is sensational. Even the shock on a landing is not noticeable in the video and looks like it was recorded by a drone.
The selfie stick is reliably and completely removed from the image. A selfie shot always looks like being filmed by a drone.
The 360° function or software-based tracking offers the possibility to film a subject completely regardless of the which direction it’s travelling in. The software keeps the selected object very well in focus and tracks it reliably.
An existing screenshot function makes it easy to take pictures from the existing video.
The camera is waterproof without any additional protective cover.
For newcomers to Insta360, the app itself needs a little bit of getting used to. The orientation within the apps is initially unintuitive compared to other apps. Not to be confused however, with more complicated software programs which achieve similar results. After some time and one or two online tutorials you will find your way around within the app.
Our favorite applications:
1) 360° - "Selfie" & "Follow"
The recording of a ride either alone with the camera stick in hand, or filmed by a second person, is "only" a variation of the classic ‘Action Cam shot’ and the Insta360 ONE X2 performs very well, but combine it with the advantages of good image stability and software tracking, it opens up a world of impressive footage.
Of course, snowboarders, who have no poles while riding are clearly at an advantage over the skiers when taking selfies. A construction to attach the camera directly to a ski pole would be a solution to the problem of holding your ski pole, and the camera stick in your hand at the same time – but there are other ways to get around this.
Distortions due to the fisheye effect cannot be avoided and lead to somewhat distorted images of body positions and angles, but saying that, it is to all intents and purposes an action camera and not intended to be used as a spirit level! However, it is precisely this aspect that can lead to disadvantages in certain aspects of instructor training and movement analysis.
Challenges that involve "selfie filming" then disappear when filming another person. It is much easier to track someone with this camera than with conventional cameras, as focusing is done by the software afterwards. When filming, you can keep your eyes on the slopes and almost completely ignore the job of positioning and pointing the camera and after editing, the object will always be in the center of the image or in any other desired position in the image, no matter what angles you were holding the camera at!
2) "Clone Trail" function
We particularly like the Clone Trail function, as the representation of a person in different positions of a movement sequence is a classic image representation of movements in sport. For these sequence shots the camera needs to be placed on a tripod. The subject can then make their movement at a close distance past the camera and the result is created in the app. This makes individual elements of the body movements come to life, such as subtle changes to body positions or trajectory.
3) Auto Time Shift function
The Auto Time Shift feature is an interesting edit of your footage provided by the app itself. It’s main function is to highlight certain points of interest and show specific areas it captures in slow motion. It is an ideal way to show a downhill run with special highlights such as lift stations, mountain huts or junctions. The software detects these elements and slows the video down to show it in a striking manner.
Advantage: It is a wonderful way to create a sense of orientation in an unknown environment.
Disadvantage: You cannot define the points of interest yourself, but you have to trust that the software recognises them in the editing. But once they are recognized, you can choose whether they should be used or not.
The Insta360 ONE X2 impresses regarding image quality and the app-based processing of the videos. The camera itself is very easy to handle, finding your way around within the app requires some patience and practice. The diverse and creative possibilities that arise from both the hardware and the software stand out from standard cameras or traditional action cams and the results are outstanding. Many effect-oriented functions, as well as some very useful applications are available with this camera, which will definitely enrich our work training ski instructors and athletes.