02 May 2010

Videoing the Ride

Every since I started riding, I thought about videoing the ride.  My first attempts were comical, trying to tape a Mustek Mini DV to the inside of my windshield.  Later I got a little more advanced--the $5 Camera Mount--but the mini dv was long gone by then, I'd broken the battery door!

I tried it with an older DXG camcorder that I got from my sister but that thing was a little too big.  Later, I used an Vivitar ViviCam 3730, but it's videos were too small and I wanted better quality.  That's when I stumbled across the MD80.  I wanted a small camera and I didn't want to pay a lot of money for it in case it flew off of the bike or something like that.

An Ebay search, led me to the md80 knockoff, the D001. for $0.99 + $16 shipping.  Well, for $17, I couldn't pass it up.  Since it was coming from China, it took a few weeks for it to arrive but when it did, I was in for a shock!  The quality surpassed anything I could have hoped for.  It was very small and very simple to work, once I figured out how to put the micro sd card in then configure the date and time.  It even doubles as a web cam, which I don't plan on using but it's nice to have the feature.  The only bad thing is it doesn't take still photos, but you can always capture them from the video using various software, so that's not so big a deal.

Here's a sample of my first video:

If you've read the Cheaha Ride report, then you saw the video I took with it clipped to the tail bag.  It bounced a little, but all in all it wasn't that bad.  It also gave me the option to compare my $17 camera with the Go Pro Hero that is so popular among videoing motorcyclists.

Rear facing video is fine when there's somebody behind you, but I want to see where I'm going too.  There's a whole process involved with mounting the camera and the best way to do that on the motorcycle.  The $5 mount worked great except my FZ1 has buzzy bars, that I've never felt in my hands, that affect the video.  I tried to build a little extension and mount it to the foot peg, but when I got the D001, I couldn't use it because the little camera doesn't have a tripod mount.

So I've been looking for other solutions.  There is a handle bar mount and case that I could buy to make this all very simple but the catch is all of that costs more than what I paid for the camera!!  The first was to use the suction cup mount that came with my radar detector.  I bent the tab to a good angle and stuck it to the front fender.  A great location that gave me terrible video due to all the vibrations.  If you saw the Therapy Ride Video report, then you know what I mean.

I looked on youtube to see what others where doing with their cameras and found one where a guy had his rear facing on what looked like the passenger peg with NO Vibes.  We exchanged messages and he gave me his secret:  Duct Tape. (Look very closely in the picture to see it!!)

It was too simple for me to think of, but I tried it anyway.

The resulting video:

It needs to be placed higher so that is one solution, I think.  I didn't get a chance to get the RPMs up any where near what they might be on a mountain road.  But, I still consider that an option.

Later, I thought about adding foam around it to still the vibrations some.  Since I had some left over from mounting the top case, I tried it.

Version 1.0

Then mounted to the frame slider:

I took a short ride, but it seemed to look a lot like the Therapy ride video, so I modified my "Ciggy Mini DV Camera Case".  Version 2.0:

Instead of using many pieces of foam, I used one piece and a little duct tape then stuffed into the ciggy box:

Later, mounted to the bike in the same spot, the frame slider:

I took another short ride, but the improvement I hoped for wasn't there.  In fact, I couldn't tell if there was any improvement.

What do you think?  Yea, I thought so too.  So I think I'm going to let the D001 Helmet Cam be a helmet cam and buy another camera for fitting on the bike. 

The Helmet CAM solution:

I have a video somewhere of this in action but I can't find it.  Dad showed up right after I stuck this on and we went for a short ride together.  The best placed video ended up being at night so I might have deleted.  I'll take another and put it up soon!!

As is my style, I won't be shelling out $300+ like others do for Go Pro or Vio or whatever the other options are.  The little mini cam has great quality, so I'm thinking another chinese camera, the D011 (I think that's it's designation) with similar specs might be on order.

Thanks for reading...
--patrice, tWT

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