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Old 09-29-2004
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Lightbulb Guide to putting together an In-Car Video Camera System

After many requests, Iíve decided to put together my guide on how to acquire and put together your own high-res in-car single or double camera system. This system will sound hugely complicated to put together and operate, because it is. Thatís why Mike Marinoís service (Helix videos Ė www.helixus.com) is so convenient. You give them $100, you get in the car, and when you get home thereíll be a DVD waiting for ya (if it takes you a few weeks to get home).

But if youíre a control freak like me, and need to produce the best possible video, then itís the only way to go. Youíll also save money after two or three race weekends of use. This stuff works really well and the quality and reliability of it is really good. But again, if you don't want to be bothered with all of this 'stuff', then use Helix.

1. What youíll need to buy

Mini-DV Camcorder
Bullet Camera System & Accessories
Additional Low Gain Microphone
Mounting Hardware for R/T 2000 Race Car
Waterproof Camera Bag
Cable Accessories
Bungee Cords & Miscellaneous Other Accessories

Detailed Buying Info

Mini-DV Camcorder

The smaller, the better. If you already own a relatively small camcorder, then what you have should be fine. If you donít own a camcorder, go get one. It doesn't really matter if you buy a cheap one or an expensive one - as long as you get a compact model AND it has an 'A/V In' jack, it will work. When you spend more, all you get for your money with these camcorders is better durability, more features and higher quality video when using the camera by itself (not as an in-car camera). They will all act like a VCR in the in-car system, with the same quality video, so donít kill yourself to buy the most expensive camera if all youíll use it for is with your in-car system.

The only recommended camcorder now is the Sony HC96. Its the only MiniDV camcorder with both analog video/audio inputs as well as a LANC controller input. You can buy it here:






If you don't want the Sony for whatever reason, and want to see all the other choices (make sure you get a camcorder with the analog A/V inputs and a LANC controller port - otherwise it will not work well), click here.

Also, make sure you buy one of those thick Ďextendedí camcorder batteries as an extra. You donít want to run out of battery power at the track.

Bullet Camera System

Helmetcamera.com makes the Xtreme Kit 480 Line bullet camera system ($309), which I recommend. The biggest advantage over its competitors, other than itís great image quality, is that helmetcamera.com sells replacement glass lens covers ($8) for its cameras. You'll need them. After every weekend at Lime Rock the lens cover gets so specked up you'll need to replace it. Especially if you're slow and you sit at the back of the field.

The kit comes with:

Color helmet camera, submersible to 100 ft. W / Sony super had ccd image pickup device.
4 ft. Waterproof audio/video cable
Helmet Mount ('Xtreme Mount')
Connectors for digital & non-digital camcorders
High gain microphone w/clip
Battery pack

So, buy the Xtreme Kit 480 Line system ($309) and at least one 'replacement lens cover' for each race weekend you plan to do over the next two years. DON'T buy an 'Interchangeable Lens'. The lens that comes with the camera is the right one for our application. It's just 'wide angle' enough. Any more wide angle and the guy's rear that you tucked your nose cone into going up to the bus stop at WG will look like it's 100 feet away.

I recommend that you also buy their remote control button ($59), so you can turn on the camcorder, start and stop the recording (and so you can also tell if the bloody thing is on...) after you've already tucked the bag away. Otherwise you'll have to wait until no more than a few minutes before your session to turn on the camcorder, hit record and then pack away the bag.

Additional Low Gain Microphone

The problem with the microphones that come with these systems is that they are high gain. VERY high gain. With the car engine off and sitting in the pits, it will beautifully record your 'conversation' with the guy you took off on the lap before (Hi Martin!). But at speed, there's no way that you can isolate the microphone well enough from vibration and/or wind, which it is waaay too sensitive to - you'll just hear tons of noise. But weíll still be using it. A quick and cheap solution is to ADD (no, not A.D.D.) of 'Radio Shack's Hands-Free Tie-Clip Omnidirectional Electret Microphone ($24.99 - Catalog #: 33-3013)



which is a powered microphone that does a decent job of recording racing audio. Youíll be buying a few other pieces from Radio Shack, which youíll find below, so donít order just yet.

Mounting Equipment for R/T 2000 Cars

You'll need to buy one of each of the three following parts from Ram Mounts

Item # RAM-B-231Z - $13.95 - U-bolt (Holds the Bullet Camera)



Item #RAM-B-108B - $18.69 - Metal Strap and Ball Mount (Becomes the base for the Mount, and straps around the R/T 2000ís roll hoop)



Item#RAM-B-201 - $13.62 - Double socket arm (Connects the two above)



The double socket arm is compatible with Helixís mount, in case they have left one on the car for you to use. If Helix isnít available at your race weekend, and especially if you want to do a double cam setup, youíll need the Metal Strap and Ball Mount.

Waterproof Camera Bag

To hold your camcorder and everything else except for the bullet cam, you will need a good waterproof bag. Get the Lowe Pro SlipLock 50, $18.95 from B&H.



Cable Accessories

Youíll need a few more pieces from Radio Shack to make this contraption work.

1/8" MJK-Phono Plug #2740871 Ė This will let you plug your Radio Shack Mic into the system ($4.00)


GoldĖPlated PlugĖtoĖPlug Coupler #274898 ($6.00) Ė youíll need this to have a Ďdouble micí or a Ďmic & scannerí system


Bungee Cords & Miscellaneous Other Accessories

You will need to get an assortment of bungee cords, preferably from 6Ē to 14Ē in their un-stretched state. Get them from your local hardware or auto parts store. These will hold your camera bag in whatever place works for you. More on that later.

A bag full of black zip ties, around 4 or 5 inches long each, to help tidy up your cables.

Also, you should try and get a 4Ē x 1Ē x 1mm thick strip of rubber to use an anti-vibration buffer between the bullet camera and the U-Bolt mount. Itís not necessary, but a nice touch that canít hurt.

Finally go get yourself two or three packs of 8-AA batteries for the bullet camera system.


2. Assembly

Just follow the directions. Sorry, but Mike Marino, Allie and Lauren will not be there to do it for ya, so pay attention.

Steps to take well before are going to race (the night before etc):

1. Connect the yellow bullet camera video-out plug into the yellow plug receptacle on the Coupler

2. Connect the High-Gain Microphone Power lead into the High Gain Microphone

3. Connect the Audio-Plug of the High Gain Microphone into the bullet-cam audio plug, and the other end into of the harnessí audio plug either of the white or red receptacles on the Plug-to-Plug Coupler.

4. Using the Radio Shack Phone Plug, connect the Low Gain Microphone to the remaining audio receptacle on the Plug-to-Plug Coupler


5. As an option, you can connect the earphone output from your scanner to the Plug-to-Plug Coupler in lieu of the High Gain Microphone. That is a REALLY cool effect. To find out what kind of cable you need, take your coupler and your scanner to Radio Shack and theyíll oufit you.

6. Connect your Camcorderís A/V cable to your Camcorderís A/V in port.


7. Connect the ends of the A/V cord to the other side of the Radio Shack Plug-to-Plug Coupler


8. Load up your bullet-cam systemís battery pack and either tape it up so the batteries donít pop out, or zip tie it tight.
9. Zip tie everything into a neat, tight bundles. DONíT bundle or zip tie the bullet-camís video cable. Everything except for the bullet-cam will go in the bag, including the mics.

10. Put the battery pack inside the bag, oriented vertically and with the cable dangling up and free. Then stow as neatly as possible the Plug-to-Plug Coupler assembly and the microphones and cables in the bottom of your bag, alongside the battery pack. Make sure you leave the power receptacle for the bullet camera and the power lead from the battery up high and accessible, so you can connect the two together easier later on.



11. Bolt your bullet camera inside of the U Bolt assembly, preferably using the anti-vibration buffer. DONííT over tighten. Just enough to prevent the camera from twisting or sliding under a few pounds of pressure will do. Make sure you mount the camera UPRIGHT. Donít be a yutz.



12. Test your system to make sure it works. Instructions are further below.

Steps to take as soon as you have access to the car before your session:

If someone is driving your car in the session immediately before yours, you may only have a few minutes to get the gear going, so hurry up.

1. Mount the bullet-cam assembly to the existing Strap Mount if itís already there. If not, youíve got to put your Strap Mount on too, which you should try to do this earlier in the day, as it takes the most amount of time and doesnít affect any other drivers.

2. Turn on your camcorder and put it in ĎVCRí mode. Connect the bullet-camís battery pack lead to the power receptacle. You should see on your camcorderís screen what the bullet cam sees.

3. Adjust the camera mount so that the horizon is level and the car is in the middle of the frame. You will have to experiment with the vertical height, but most people like to have the bottom or the middle of their steering wheel at the bottom of the frame. That would put your helmet and hands in the frame, and also gives you plenty of above-horizon view.

4. If you have more than ten minutes before you have to get in the car, then shut your camcorder off and unplug the battery pack.

Steps to take just before you get in the car

1. If you turned off the camcorder and unplugged the battery pack, then turn them both on.

2. Turn the Radio Shack lapel mic power switch on.

3. Start the camcorderís Ďrecordí function, while itís in VCR mode.

4. Carefully take the camcorder and pack it in to the bag, making sure you donít crimp the a/v cable and that you donít flick off the power switch. Close the bag carefully and tightly using the cinch-lock, especially when itís raining.

5. Using one or two of the bungee cords you purchased, mount the bag on the rear bodywork under the roll hoop and on top of the fuel cap, or mount it inside the car. There are several places to mount it inside the car, and you will find the right place for it with some experimentation. Iíll try to take some pics of mounting locations next week at Lime Rock and update this manual.

6. Go out and race, and try to screw up as badly as possibly. That will give you the best footage. Crashes, spins, spins that develop into crashes Ė these are what make a video great. Stupid driving = watchable video.

7. When you are done with your session, and if your camera equipment hasnít been destroyed by your off(s), then remove your equipment and donít forget to press stop on your camcorder, unplug the battery pack for the bullet-cam, and finally flick off the Radio Shack mic power switch.

3. Now what?

Now that youíve produced a high quality video with questionable driving on it, you have to decide how to use it. You can either plug your camcorder into your tv (using the A/V cable) and watch it, or you can edit your video on the computer and maybe burn it to a DVD.

If you want to just watch it using your camcorder, you will find that you may want to only plug in one audio channel from your A/V cable at a time. One channel will have the High Gain content on it, which is again great for the ĎGo F Yourselfí conversations in pit lane. The other channel will have listenable racing audio on it. On the computer, you can just edit in our out whateverís appropriate.

If you want to edit your videos, youíll need to have a Firewire capable computer with editing software. Macs are brilliant with this stuff and are by far the easiest to use. They come with everything built in and make it somewhat easy (but VERY time consuming). A MUCH better option is to send your video off to Doug Harrison, whoíll make a kick ass DVD for you with music and everything. His edits may even make you look like you drive better than your wife.


4. Double Camera Systems


To setup a double cam (front and rear), you have two choices:

1. Build one system for yourself (which youíll always use as your Ďprimary/front camí) and whenever you want to use a double system, get Helix to do the rear cam. It will save you half the work, and thatís what I do. Or,

2. If you want to always do double videos and own your own systems, then duplicate everything here. Then just mount the two Strap Mount alongside each other on the roll hoop, and point one camera to the front, and one to the back. I donít have a picture of this setup, but Iíll try to do one next week and put it in. Youíll also have to use two different gear bags, because a bag that holds two camcorders and all of the requisite cables will be too big to mount anywhere.


5. Tips and Final Notes

1. You should Ďfocusí the bullet-cam lens before you first use it. Unscrew the lens cap, remove the glass cover, and using a tweezer twist the threaded lens assembly in small increments both clockwise and counter-clock wise (itís a threaded focus lens) until the focus is perfect. Make sure you do this with the camcorder connected to a TV, as the resolution of the camcorderís viewfinder is crap and wonít let you see if youíve really locked the focus in. Also, point the camcorder to something at least 10 feet away when you are doing this.

2. The focus lens (NOT the glass lens cover) will un-focus itself in time from vibration. I suggest that once you are comfortable with your system and have used it a few times, that you should unscrew the lens completely and put a little bit of clear nail polish on the threads. Then focus the camera. If you donít do this, after 7 or 8 uses youíll find that one of your videos was totally out of focus. Note: DO NOT USE commercial thread locks!

3. You can avoid all of the headaches of acquiring and setting up the system by paying me to do it for you. Even though the total of the parts (not including the camcorder) is around $500, and setup time is less than an hour, Iíll only charge you $5,000 for the system. That doesnít include the camcorder. If you want me to get you a good camcorder, I can do that, too. I only charge a small 500% markup on the camcorder. Oh, by the way, shipping is always extra.

Last edited by cdh; 03-24-2008 at 10:26 AM.
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  #2  
Old 10-01-2004
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Camera System

this one goes in the PHOF (Post Hall of Fame), thanks Sy.........
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Old 10-01-2004
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Camera System

As I've said before... thank god for Marino!
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Old 10-07-2004
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Camera System

I can't believe that I haven't gotten one order yet. You would have thought it would be a bargain at $5K (plus shipping).
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Old 03-08-2005
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Camera System

UPDATE: I've been notified that the HC-20 camcorder by Sony is incompatible with our systems, as it does not have an A/V input. The HC-20 is the cheapest of Sony's camcorder line.
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Old 07-12-2005
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Camera System



Anyone seen this?? I bought one today to play with it.... It has its problems, but there is potential.

Can someone post a small segment of high-res video from their setup? I want to compare and see it the extrenal camera is actually comparable or not.

http://product.samsung.com/cgi-bin/n...elTab=Features
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Old 07-13-2005
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Camera System

Joe - please reply with the model number on that camera. I'll try and upload a DV clip from an in-car soon.
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Old 07-13-2005
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Camera System

its a samsung SC-X105L
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Old 07-13-2005
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Camera System

Ok, I remember that thing now. Here's a review on it in NYTimes' Circuits:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/09/te...erland&emc=rss

Basically, avoid it. The capacity and video quality are both unacceptable for our purposes.

Last edited by sydude; 07-13-2005 at 08:34 AM. Reason: removed video link.
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Old 07-13-2005
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Camera System

I talked to the guys at helmetcamera.com and they basically told me that unless you plan on doing major editing to make a dvd, the 380 line camera will do just fine.
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Old 07-13-2005
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Camera System

Looking at the video you posted and what I have got playing with the camera, the quality is similar, but I am worried about how rugged the bullet camera is. It is a step in the right direction, the size of the camera is great, but I am still going to take it back... rather go with the more rugged bullet cam
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Old 07-13-2005
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Camera System

Quote:
Originally Posted by jtree007
Looking at the video you posted and what I have got playing with the camera, the quality is similar
I pulled that video as it wasn't a good video at all. The bullet cam takes excellent quality video, much better than what I posted. Also, get the 480 line cam.
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Old 11-04-2005
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Camera System

Here's a modification I made to the system to make it easier to use. I've wired in a power switch within a quick disconnect assembly to make it easier to turn the power to the in-car camera on and off:
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Old 11-16-2005
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Camera System

I want another cable - how much are you charging?
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Old 11-16-2005
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Camera System

Which cable are you talking about? The extended DC power cable I made or the new quick disconnect battery cable? My price for either is $750, but you get the usual discount.
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Old 11-16-2005
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Camera System

not trying to hijack this thread but since video is the topic what the hay. I have been asked what sort of computer equip should be considered when planning on video editing. All I can say is GET LOTS OF DRIVE SPACE

This picture is the current state of my drives. I have another 300GB EHD I'm about to fire up, open the spillway a bit. Us ubergeeks appreciate this, pretty funny if you ask me, so you probably shouldn't

OK, how can I tie this in with racing? I know, it's 80% race related video eating it up........
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Old 04-29-2006
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Video Camera System

I've been waiting for someone to make an accessory for the ipod to make it into an affordable high-capacity digital video recorder, and now someone finally has. It's only $299. If it works well, then dealing with video tapes and video capturing will be a thing of the past.

Here's a screenshot from their website:

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If you are interested in buying one and trying it out, we'd love to get your take on it and how it works. Here's the link to their site:

http://www.atollc.com/Products/iSee-360i/Default.aspx
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Old 06-14-2006
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Video Camera System

The iSee 360 has finally been released. The unit is $269 and the battery is $29.

I'm looking for someone to be our guinea pig and try this sucker out for us. If you agree to do a full write-up, I'll contribute towards the purchase price. Please let me know if you're interested.

S
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Old 06-14-2006
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Video Camera System

You are officially over the edge.Becoming a citizen does not mean you have to spend every dollar you make along with hours of your time.

GET A REAL JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You are the best
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Old 06-14-2006
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Video Camera System

Sid, I didn't say HOW MUCH I would contribute...
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Old 06-14-2006
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Video Camera System

SPOKEN LIKE A TRUE YID
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Old 06-15-2006
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Video Camera System

Sid,

I think you might be dyslectic.

You meant Sy is a real DIY for "Do It Yourselfer" not YID.

Signed,
Friend of Little SyDude
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Old 06-15-2006
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Video Camera System

DON so perfect and concise you always make me smile
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Old 06-18-2006
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Video Camera System

I just got the adventure cam 3 and its working well.

http://viosport.com/
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Old 06-18-2006
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Video Camera System

Welcome to the site, Ricky. It's good to have you here.
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Old 07-26-2006
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Video Camera System

As an update : The HelmetCamera set up had a price increase and is now $339 vs. the $309 in the original post. I did compare it to the Viosport and felt that this one looked more waterproof than the Viosport in this price range.

Also, you might need one more coupler for the microphone that comes with the helmet camera. I had to buy a male to male phono coupler from Radio Shack because of the new cable setup that came with the Microphone.

Lastly, My first attempt at LRP was met with a poorly secured bag on the car because we were rushing. Caused me to be black flagged and very probably a podium. Try to do a dry run before your first use of the set-up.

The battery cable connection that comes with the helmet camera is fragile and broke for my second race. I would suggest you wrap some extra electrical tape around the cable near the battery connector so that it doesnt break off when you put all the goodies into the bag etc.

Those are my suggestions from my first attempt. Helix is a real great service if you don't want to fuss or won't be doing too many races.
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Old 11-20-2006
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Video Camera System

I updated the recommended in-car camcorder choice. The only recommended MiniDV camcorder now is the Sony model HC96. It's the only consumer level modern camcorder I can find with a Analog video/audio inputs and a LANC controller input. The former is required and the latter highly recommended. If for whatever reason you decide to buy something else, make sure it has has an analog to digital converter at the least. You can buy the recommended model here:





Last edited by sydude; 11-20-2006 at 10:48 AM.
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Old 11-20-2006
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Video Camera System

Thanks Sy, also be sure the cam has a Lanc connection, or has that become standard equipment?
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Old 11-20-2006
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Video Camera System

Good call. The Canons have NO LANC controller input. So they're off the list. I'll see if I can find another substitute. So for now, only buy the Sony.

Last edited by sydude; 11-20-2006 at 11:24 AM.
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Old 11-20-2006
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Video Camera System

hmmmm, my baby Canon has one, ZR45 MCA, about 4 years old, may have to get a slightly better model for the Lanc in a Canon. Not a bad idea to get a higher quality camcorder anyway since you will be using it for more than just incar video, at least I do, more flexible that way.

BTW, the Lanc (Lan - C) is a connection that allows for remote control of the camcorder functions via the remote button that comes with the bullet cam rig. Very important in that you can turn the record function on and off after you have been belted into the car. Trust me, it's a bummer to find out the cam has dropped out of record mode when you are sitting on the grid, sucks! With Lanc you can recycle the cam and get it started again using the remote button.
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Old 11-20-2006
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Video Camera System

I just blew half my morning searching for this stuff, and it seems that Canon no longer offers LANC in any of their consumer models (the pro models are too expensive and too big for in-car use), and JVC and Panasonic no longer offer Analog to Digital conversion in their consumer models. If you find something different, let me know.
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Old 11-20-2006
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Video Camera System

I am bored at school right now, and not in a class, so i decided to search around for some in-car camera systems after reading this thread. I came across a Pegasus In-car video system. I don't know if anyone has mentioned it before and if they have i am appologizing for this now

They supply everything except for the actual base camera. They reccomend the Sony DCR-HC32 MiniDV Handycam.

Here is the actualy in-car camera link
http://www.pegasusautoracing.com/group.asp?GroupID=VIDEOINCAR


i know it looks like it has its ups and downs... but its just a suggestion I know that most people when messing with the lower end systems worry more about getting it to work then tuning their car (haha look familiar?)
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Old 11-20-2006
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Video Camera System

That's a good camcorder choice, but it's been discontinued. You may be able to find some leftovers online:



The pegasus system is oriented towards closed-wheel cars that 12v power supplies. You'd be better off with a helmetcamera.com or viosport system.
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Old 11-20-2006
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Video Camera System

ya i could understand that... I just suggested it because i know that is what they ran in the Ford Focus Midgets that i ran out in California. It had good quality and i liked it..but i definitely could understand why it would be better for closed-wheel cars.
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Old 11-20-2006
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Video Camera System

FYI, the cam mounting clamp shown in the Pegasus accessories photo is fine for a static shot but for shite in a moving car, no where near solid enough. I know because I own one and it bounces too much
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Old 11-20-2006
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Video Camera System

Fewer and fewer cameras have the LANC connection. Even when I purchased my Sony in July I had to buy a left over model or have to spend about twice as much for a newer version that had the LANC. Seems like they have priced the lower end cameras so low that they are leaving the extras to higher margin items.
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Old 02-02-2007
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Video Camera System

Not to rehash an old thread, but here is a specifically designed for a racecar enviroment cam set up. I may be getting one soon so I will let you guys know what I think. If anyone has played with it let me know.

http://chasecam.com/
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Old 02-02-2007
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Video Camera System

Also this may be worth $130 just to see what it delivers.

http://www2.oregonscientific.com/sho...cid=77&pid=709
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Old 02-04-2007
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Video Camera System

FYI I brought a new Sony DCR-HC96 to Daytona and it's an excellent camera, many features I reallly like, extremely flexible (the menu lists go on and on, very sophisticated), 16.9 looks fantastic, highly recommended.

Got it at B&H Photo Video in NYC (very good price), but I used their www site, ship to CT, tax freesies. Of course the problem with their site (for me) is I can never come away without ordering a bunch more $tuff



Quote:
Originally Posted by sydude
I updated the recommended in-car camcorder choice. The only recommended MiniDV camcorder now is the Sony model HC96. It's the only consumer level modern camcorder I can find with a Analog video/audio inputs and a LANC controller input. The former is required and the latter highly recommended. If for whatever reason you decide to buy something else, make sure it has has an analog to digital converter at the least. You can buy the recommended model here:
















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Old 04-11-2007
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Video Camera System

Here is a compliment to Sony's warranty repair. I used the DCR-HC96 as an incar camera for #42 Porsche at the Rolex 24. Worked great every practice, quali and the entire race. I cleaned it up and stored it upon return home.

A couple weeks later I used the cam for video capture, it accepts a cassette then goes dead, and I mean dead, would not even eject the tape. Nothing I did would resuscitate the cam so I sent it to Sony Warranty repair, no big deal right?

Problem was that tape in the camera showing the Daytona incar use. My concern was that might be considered abusive and not be covered by the warranty. There is a happy ending, cam was returned with a list of parts that were replaced, camera was cleaned, invoice amount = $0.00 - all warranty repairs, works perfectly again.

Thank you Sony, recommended more than ever! 5 Stars

cdh

I would not have had any argument.....tape showed camera was used in the car...
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  #41  
Old 11-10-2007
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Video Camera System

In the half-year that has passed since the last post here, has anything emerged as a quick easy and decent quality way to record racing for those of us who aren't as tech savvy as CDH and Sy? I'm asking because I got a really low quality CD from Helix from the most recent Lime Rock weekend, and Mike Marino has been unresponsive. I was really surprised at the quality (can barely hear the engine, don't even think about hearing the tires, the video was out of focus), it doesn't seem to have been made using the same equipment as past Helix CDs. And despite our initial communications, when I emailed Mike after three weeks and hadn't gotten the vid, he said he didn't have any of my billing info. In any case, I don't think I will be using Helix again if I can help it; was wondering if y'all have a recommendation for the tech-less-well-endowed for a way to tape their Skippy races (and practices!).
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Old 11-10-2007
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Video Camera System

Sorry if this is against forum rules, I didn't see anything against it.

On the side I sell some motorsports gear and one of the items I just started carrying is the GoPro Digital camera. For 179.99 they offer a motorsports kit with the camera. It comes with a number of mounts geared towards racing. The people who own the company own and race a Stohr F1000 and have tested it a lot.

More info on the camera can be found here.
http://www.goprocamera.com/index5.htm
and videos on course can be found here
http://gopro.vsocial.com/#102853 Front wing of Stohr
http://gopro.vsocial.com/#96656 Crash of Russell Mazda Car
other videos can be seen there too.

Camera is very simple to use. It just takes 2 AAA batteries and a 2GB SD card (15 bucks at Amazon) and you are good to go. It's easy to mount to a number of locations on a car.

Contact me by email or PM for specail preorder pricing.

The other nice thing about the camera is that you can use it for a number of other sports. I'm looking forward to seeing how it performs Scuba diving next summer and skiing this winter.

You can contact me through PM's here or by email

Joe Cooley
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Last edited by cdh; 11-12-2007 at 04:24 PM.
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  #43  
Old 11-10-2007
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Video Camera System

It would hard for me to beleive Mike would not work with you if you are unhappy. He and his staff generally do a great job and always make good when someone is unhappy. Mike did move away from digi tape recently and I suspect the units quality are not as good as the old cameras.

The weather at LRP in Oct was awful and I am sure that had some affect on the videos from that weekend. Mike was also traveling to other race venues right after LRP which set him back from his normal time frames.

I purchased a full camera set up last year per this thread and found that I didnt want to spend the time worrying about setting up my own cameras before my sessions. I used it one weekend and went right back to leaving all to Mike and his crew. If anyone is interested in purchashing my equipment at a much reduced price please send me a private message or e-mail.
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Old 11-11-2007
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Video Camera System

Well, from what I've read, I guess I wouldn't expect it from Mike either, but my questions about the quality got no reply, none at all, when, I think, any explanation would have sufficed, especially since I'm not too tech savvy, but just being ignored gets me going, I suppose. This video was of the final Masters'/memorial race, very nice sunny weather by that time.
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Old 11-11-2007
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Video Camera System

Sounds like technical gremlins.

My video from the Masters race at LRP was fine. Good sound and picture. I know Mike's been real busy so perhaps your communications got backed up or missed. Not sure about sound but I've had oil and other stuff coat the lens and seriously degrade image quality. Hasn't happened in a while but it can happen. Technical gremlins ate my Race 1 record at LRP (My first podium in champ group! ) but race 2 and the Masters were fine... Go figure...

Sadly, strapping delicate video equipment to the hostile exterior environs and vibrations of a Skippy car means you never get 100% results.

Way more often than not Mike gets it right
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Old 11-11-2007
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Video Camera System

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Originally Posted by dalyduo View Post
Way more often than not Mike gets it right
I agree, but I do have this to say: I like Mike, I think he is knowledgeable, a very nice guy, and works hard, and I will probably continue to use him (although this new setup looks VERY interesting-- I'm going to have to check it out-- I'm using video more and more as a learning tool and it may be worth a $200 experiment) but the kiss of death in a business is not attending to customer problems, real or perceived. Being "too busy" or "backed up" to talk to a customer will cause you to lose their business. I've learned this the hard way myself, and I was made to realize how inconsiderate this feels from the client's (or in my case patient's) point of view. No matter how good your intentions, you just can't not have the time to communicate, or lose track of a customer issue -- that customer will go elsewhere.

Back to the topic of the thread: I've always wondered how long the lens stands up to the pitting from debris that occurs in an external, open-wheel mounting, both with the Juicy-recommended setup and now with this new little GoPro gizmo.
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Old 11-11-2007
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Video Camera System

Having played with a number of camera systems in the last few months I'll agree that in a racecar, especially open wheel, there is an art to making them work well.

I picked up a copy of some of my time in car from Helix and was VERY impressed with the quality, presentation, etc. The only problem was turn around time. I like to know what I'm doing in between sessions if I have a chance. At Road America I just wasn't driving a good line through 14 until I saw my video in between sessions and made a few adjustments.

I also have a ChaseCam setup in my car right now. The video quality is amazing, however how good of a quality of video do I need to see if I'm 2 feet off the line or 2 inches from the apex. Plus, I'm afraid of hanging the 300 dollar camera off of the car in any place other than the rollbar. For a camera that can be replaced for 100 bucks I plan on doing a lot of interesting shots with the GoPro camera next year. I have at least 4 local formula guys that are going to use the camera and it will be interesting to see what kind of interesting angles we can get.

One of the reasons I've gone with the GoPro company is that the owners have a F1000 and seem dedicated to making this work on formula car appliations.

It does have it's limitations in that you can't replay the video without a laptop, limited recording time. However for the price it can't be beat and the company's customer service has only been top notch.
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Old 11-11-2007
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Video Camera System

Yeah, I've started looking at my practice sessions, and Helix has been VERY good about having a CD available for same day review. I've found this extremely useful, because the video doesn't lie-- there are plenty of places where I thought my line was fine but the vid showed I was leaving too much room at turn-in or not opening my hands soon enough, for example. The problem is that I usually do the video on Friday, which means the whole time uptil then I've been practicing these errors without knowing it. The instructors do an amazing job to give so many people individual feedback, but there is a limit to how much they can see with cars coming through one after the other. I like the idea of doing a session, then plugging this thing into my laptop and reviewing the session. Videoing so many sessions with Helix could get expensive. And I need simple-- not a techie in any way.
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Old 11-11-2007
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Video Camera System

We've started testing new in-car camera system setups for GPNY, and I'll post results and recommendations for you guys soon (warning, my 'soon' is probably different than yours). Joe, interested in lending us an evaluation copy?
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Old 11-11-2007
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Re: Guide to putting together an In-Car Video Camera System

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Originally Posted by sydude View Post
We've started testing new in-car camera system setups for GPNY, and I'll post results and recommendations for you guys soon (warning, my 'soon' is probably different than yours). Joe, interested in lending us an evaluation copy?

Sending you a PM so we don't clutter up the thread.
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