ClemSparks SuperDork
1/2/12 11:01 p.m.

I know I've read about here...or seen links here to excellent discussion on on-board video. But I can't seem to find it now.

So...I like the go-pro except that as far as I can tell, you choose a lense angle and you're done. It seems to be a pretty good camera for most stuff...but I want to go just a bit futher.

And by that I mean I want a little versatility in the way of other camera lens angles and mic inputs.

I remember reading about an aiptech (maybe?) video recorder that would accept external a/v inputs. I'd love to get the scoop on something like this.

I'd like a recorder I can plug in a wide-angle camera for recording the driver/cabin. Then on another run, I could mount it to the bumper or roof . All the while the mic could be somewhere with good engine sounds but sheltered from the wind. See what I mean? The recorder will also have to take a harsh (bouncing) environment.

I've been playing around with cars and video and have decided that video editing is a good winter hobby. Problem is...typical cameras (I've been using video mode on digital still cameras and cheap....really cameras) have craptastic mics, long-view lenses...and just aren't great (hey...they're cheap).

I'd like to mount cameras under cars and trucks, on top, inside...etc.

So far, I'm remedial and putting together cheesy stuff like this with limited footage:

I'll get better though! I'd like to have some equipment to help me gather footage.

What do you all think...what have you used? What's good? Where should I be shopping online, etc?

Javelin SuperDork
1/2/12 11:08 p.m.

The new GoPro (HD Hero2) has a mic input and more viewing angles. In fact, it just won a comparo with 3 others (all higher priced) in a different mag.

Keith SuperDork
1/2/12 11:12 p.m.

I've used a few things. GoPros are cheap and effective, but they do have their limitations and the interface is awful - although I haven't tried the newest and shiniest version yet. For in-car, I use a Kodak Zi8. No video input, but it will take an external audio source. I used a small lapel mic for ambient audio. It's small enough and light enough that you could probably mount it outside the car. I also have it on constant power in the car so I never have to worry about battery life.

To improve the range of lenses beyond the built-in zoom, I picked up a wide angle conversion lens as well as a telephoto. They came with adapter rings intended to screw into the lens of a camcorder. A bit of superglue and voila, I now had a threaded mount for whatever lens I wanted to mount. You can get these things for next to nothing on Amazon, so it's not a big deal if one eats a rock.

Sample video.

N Sperlo
N Sperlo SuperDork
1/3/12 9:24 a.m.

A buddy of mine made a bracket that attached to the head rest. Out on a rally track I don't think you want metal poles sticking around the interior, but I'm sure you could weld a min with camera attachment to the roof. I'd be happy to help out as well.

(before you get a go pro.) then I suggest many many go pros.

cwh SuperDork
1/3/12 9:53 a.m.

Kieth- I'm a camera guy. You have GRMd a fantastic set up. I get inquiries about in car video regularly for armored trucks, etc, but the existing systems are either crap or way big money. Your video is very good and audio as well. Great job. Chuck

N Sperlo
N Sperlo SuperDork
1/3/12 10:54 a.m.

Enjoyed that video, Keith. I'd live to rally on or off road. Maybe I'll pick your brain later.

Keith SuperDork
1/3/12 11:33 a.m.

Here are a few other things I tried - some after a wiring fault fried the Zi8 partway through the Targa. One nice thing about the Zi8 was that it takes external memory cards, so if you stick a 16GB in there you never have to worry about space even on a long day with a lot of stages.

Canon DV camcorder with a Canon wide angle adapter. Poor thing was being shaken apart after a couple of years of this. It did have an external mic input, but I never used it. This is the same stage as the previous video I posted, although the 2011 version starts at around 3:05 or so.

Flip HD with the cheapo wide angle adapter. No external microphone. The nice thing about the Flip was that it was SO easy to use.

Some ungodly expensive DSLR with a massive lens. Using the same audio plug-in as the Kodak setup - one channel ambient noise through a lavalier mic, the other channel straight from the intercom. The biggest problems with this setup were a limited record time (it would shut off after 15 minutes) and the physical size of the unit meant that it would actually start moving around on the mount as you can see.

Same setup but using the camera's mic.

Canon point-and-shoot digital camera in video mode.

GoPro HD in the car.

GoPro HD on the roof. We lost one camera from this location.

racerfink Dork
1/3/12 7:50 p.m.

Here's my YouTube page. A couple of the videos are from the virtual world, but most are from my car, shot with a first gen GoPro mounted with the wrist strap to the rear view mirror.

mikeatrpi New Reader
1/3/12 9:03 p.m.

I just got a Contour ROAM for Christmas. It appears to be a GoPro-like device. I'll have to post some videos after this winter is over...

Our Preferred Partners