Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Experimenting With In Car Cameras

For some time now, I've been keen to experiment with some in car video camera work, and not long ago I finally bit the bullet and ordered in a mount from Camzilla. The mount turned up a couple of days before the weekends round of the Australian Top Alcohol and Pro Stock Bike championships at the Perth Motorplex. After testing it out in my 18 second ambulance on the way home from work one day, I decided to try fitting it to a couple of cars over the course of the weekend. The first car I put the mount and camera setup into was Belinda Hay's "Mrs Canada" 383 powered VN Commodore Super Streeter. This car runs regularly in the low 11 second zone and this particular pass was completed in 11.3 seconds.

After a quick look at the footage on the back of the camera, I decided to check out the Super Sedan lineup for something a little quicker. It didn't take long before I spotted Norbert Claite's low 9 second capable "Wild Ute", a 454 cube Big Block Chev powered Ford Falcon ute. Whereas I had mounted the camera to the passenger window glass in Belinda's Commodore, in Norbert's car I decided to fix the mount to the floor. The video from Norberts car gets a little shaky at times, which I put down to vibration in the floor rather than the mount itself, which is not only part of the testing process, but also a better result than some other video I've seen shot.

The camera is a Canon (of course) Legria FS200, it's about a middle of the range consumer camera, there's a lot of cheaper stuff out there and a lot more expensove stuff. This particular one is a model without an internal hard drive (as those often fail prematurely when used in cars a lot, due to the constant vibration), it does have image stabilisation, but I suspect the IS would be even better on a more expensive camera.

The mount is a Camzilla mount, these are assembled from components from a company called Ram mounts, and they look and feel like very solid gear. This mount uses 3 large suction cups to attach it to a flat (or almost flat) surface - it can handle slight curves, like a car window. The company claim you can use these mounts on the outside of cars as well as the inside, but aside from the wind noise problems that creates, I'm still not game doing that just yet.

Thanks to both of the teams for putting up with me trying out different locations in their cars to get these shots.

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