POV Videos & Sneaking Cameras on Roller Coasters

Sneaking Cameras on Roller Coasters: A Public Service Announcement
Technology’s a great thing. Who would’ve thought ten years ago that we’d be able to do the cool things that we can with our gadgets? Cameras have become so small that they can easily fit into our pockets. Or they can be integrated into even smaller cell phones. Just this week, Apple announced that the new, slimmer than ever, iPhone includes a video camera. All of the sudden everyone’s a reporter or documentarian. We can whip out our micro-sized cameras at the mall, at a fender bender, or at a concert. Unfortunately, this makes it easier than ever to smuggle cameras onto roller coasters. Years ago, it would have been pretty rare, but today a quick YouTube search for ‘roller coaster pov’ yields thousands of illicit POV videos.

I’ve never video taped a ride while I was riding it. But, I hadn’t really thought there was anything wrong with posting amatuer videos on the blog. For years I’ve had POV videos on my coaster review posts. One day, a commenter on the blog mentioned that they were planning on recording an on-ride video on an upcoming coaster trip. I realized that by posting the videos I may have been inadvertently promoting the practice of sneaking cameras on roller coasters.

Dad of the Year Sneaks Camera on a Roller Coaster (With His Kids)
Last winter, when I was working on the Roller Coaster Wiki I came across a video of a man who snuck his camera onto the aptly named 230-foot tall, 77 mph Behemoth at Canada’s Wonderland. In the video, he documented his first attempt which was thwarted after he was told that he couldn’t ride with a camera. On his way out of the station he previewed his plans for a second attempt and exclaimed: “Stick it to the man!” He then sneaks the camera back onto the Behemoth.

Worst of all, he was riding with his daughter and son! Way to go Dad. Great job of teaching your kids right and wrong. Would you want to get smacked in the face by a hard, blunt object at 70+ miles per hour? Have we forgotten what that goose did to Fabio’s face? (Picture here. Caution, it’s bloody.)That’s what could happen if you lose your camera while riding a roller coaster or other thrill ride. It’s just plain stupid and dangerous. For some reason this dummy and many, many others must feel entitled to get their very own POV video.

And just in case you’re the selfish type that may not care about other riders and bystanders, you could also be flushing $200 or so down the toilet when your camera falls and breaks into a hundred pieces. I hope that I’ve made my point that it’s just not worth it to sneak cameras on roller coasters. I’ve posted the video that I’m referring to only to illustrate my point, not to promote prohibited POVs.

No More Amateur POV Videos & Some Alternatives
During my hiatus, I removed all of the amateur on-ride POV videos that I’ve embedded into the blog over the years. It wasn’t an easy task, but I think I’ve gotten all of them. If you happen to find any, please send me a message.

There are a number of alternatives to unofficial POV videos. They’re fun to watch, offer much better quality, and don’t put anyone in danger. Try one of these:

  • Official POV Videos – Theme parks like Cedar Point & Holiday World have uploaded official on-ride and off-ride videos. Visit their YouTube channels: Cedar Point | Holiday World. Do you know of other parks that do this?
  • Roller Coaster Documentaries – Every year cable channels like Discovery and the Travel Channel produce roller coaster documentaries. And these days their in HD! Here’s Montu featured on a Discovery channel roller coaster program.
  • Local News Videos – These days it’s common for new rides to open with much local fanfare including local news reporters getting a first-hand look at the debuting roller coasters. Here’s a professional POV video of Kings Island’s Diamondback.
  • CoasterTube & Robb Alvey’s YouTube Channel – Theme Park Review’s Robb Alvey has created a website to showcase all of the videos he and his crew have taken on their numerous trips around the globe. Robb gets permission from the parks to take POV videos. Many of the videos in the Roller Coaster Wiki are from Robb Alvey’s YouTube Channel. Also check out the Theme Park Review Channel and CoasterTube.
  • Off-Ride Videos – Off-ride videos are actually better some times as you can see more of how coasters interact with their surroundings. Here’s an off-ride video created by CoasterImage of Hersheypark’s Stormrunner.
  • Ride DVDs – Ride DVDs are becoming more and more common. They often include both on and off-ride footage and professional production.

Here’s footage from a ride DVD of Incredible Hulk and Rip Ride Rockit (below):

The bottom line is that you’re not James Cameron. You don’t need to tape yourself and your friends riding a roller coaster. Especially not at the expense of an innocent bystander who’s just there to enjoy a day at the park. As the name suggests, YouTube is all about you, but sometimes it’s better to consider everyone, not just yourself.

What’s Your Take?
How do you feel about POV videos and sneaking cameras on roller coasters? Have you taken a camera on a roller coaster? Leave a comment below. I’m kind of late to add this poll, but pick which option best describes your view on the matter. Poll added: 6.13.10
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