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Old September 8th, 2009, 2:56 PM   #1
RobSpec
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Default Bullit cam and SanDisk Vmate??? or other system- help please

I am looking for a video recording system. My previous experience with the GoPro is that while it works sometimes (only with lithium batteries) it is too difficult to turn on when mounted behind my head. I also have an old RacerEye in my ITS miata and love that system. It overlays vehicle parameters and track info over the video....but is way to large for the FC. I don't seem to be able to find it anymore either...maybe they went out of business??

I have searched the forum and see people using ChaseCam, POV-1, GoPro, and others.

Cost wise I am thinking about the SanDisk Vmate with a bullit camera. Has anyone done this and what camera do you use with it? What do you think of the operation?

I would also consider a video overlayed with data if it were small enough and reliable. Anyone know of anything that in 1 step overlays data onto video that would fit in a FC?

Based on a little research the POV-1 looks to be the best cam/recorder without video overlay. Price is a bit high at $600 with a 12v adapter but I like the built in video screen to verify recording. One thing I didn't find was the length of the video cable to the camera. I am thinking a mount of the main unit on the dash where I can easily turn it on and the cam on the roll hoop behind me. Any comments good bad on this setup?
Thanks for the help.
Rob
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Old September 8th, 2009, 3:49 PM   #2
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The CountourHD looks interesting, though I have no first hand experience with the device.

http://vholdr.com/contourhd/helmetca...ourhd/overview

Its not really HD, but it is in the 16:9 format. You can always use TrackVision or DashWare after the fact, though that does make it challenging to utilize the data on the video between sessions.

If budget was of no concern, the broadcast quality of MPEG2 on the ChaseCam is very nice. Some of the other formats such as H.264 are quite good as well and are smaller. Older MP4 formats are worthless on a racecar.

Tim
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Old September 8th, 2009, 4:08 PM   #3
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I am running Chase Cam VERY happy with it.
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Old September 8th, 2009, 5:30 PM   #4
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I run the Sandisk V-mate with a sony bullit cam. It works quite well, the only real snag being the V-mate 5V power supply requirement. The remotes have a bit of a dodgy rep, but I haven't had any issues so far.

http://www.blurredvisionracing.com/video.html - some videos from last year.

If you have any questions on the setup, just let me know. I quite like it - easy to use, decent quality, dead simple to pull video onto the pc. No real downsides that I can think of.

Gary
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Old September 8th, 2009, 5:50 PM   #5
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Rob, the POV.1.5 comes with a 1.5M cable and we are offering the system for $549.95. There is an optional 3m cable for $59.95. The system has a handy remote control so if you can't reach the recorder, no problem. You mention the AC adaptor, it works well, but alot of racers want to keep it simple (one cable) and prefer to use the 4 AA batteries, they power both the camera and recorder and will last all weekend (4-5 hours).

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Old September 8th, 2009, 7:26 PM   #6
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I purchased one of the ContourHD cameras and tried it out this past weekend. Here is a link to a sample of the output.

http://www.vholdr.com/node/43806

I am pleased with it so far. Easy to set up and get stared. No wires to run etc. Let's see how it holds up.

I wanted to add, the wind noise is kind of high but there are a few tips I have seen on how to minimize it.

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Old September 8th, 2009, 8:45 PM   #7
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Tim, we have several of the VholdR 1102, which is the model that preceded the Contour, they are brand new in the box with warranty...$149.95.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimW View Post
The CountourHD looks interesting, though I have no first hand experience with the device.

http://vholdr.com/contourhd/helmetca...ourhd/overview

Its not really HD, but it is in the 16:9 format. You can always use TrackVision or DashWare after the fact, though that does make it challenging to utilize the data on the video between sessions.

If budget was of no concern, the broadcast quality of MPEG2 on the ChaseCam is very nice. Some of the other formats such as H.264 are quite good as well and are smaller. Older MP4 formats are worthless on a racecar.

Tim
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Old September 8th, 2009, 8:58 PM   #8
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I also want to mention that bullet cams, including the Chase Cam are analog cameras. These are basically security cameras. The recorders are digital but it all starts with the camera and they aren't digital. The POV, SUV-Cam and VholdR are digital all the way. Last September Sports Car Magazine conducted test at California Speedway and declared the POV the best video quality of all those tested. Also don't overlook the advantage of having a color viewing screen on the recorder. It guarantees correct camera placement every time, and you can play back your video in impound, the paddock, the bar, or wherever.

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Old September 8th, 2009, 8:58 PM   #9
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A big fat NO on the GoPro. Good company with great support but a bad, bad, bad camera. Sorry for the bad PR but it is way to inconsistant. 50/50 at best.
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Old September 9th, 2009, 6:35 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Gustafson View Post
Rob, the POV.1.5 comes with a 1.5M cable and we are offering the system for $549.95. There is an optional 3m cable for $59.95. The system has a handy remote control so if you can't reach the recorder, no problem. You mention the AC adaptor, it works well, but alot of racers want to keep it simple (one cable) and prefer to use the 4 AA batteries, they power both the camera and recorder and will last all weekend (4-5 hours).

Jim Gustafson
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Rob;

I have a POV.1 system. Simply the best, period.

Iverson
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Old September 9th, 2009, 8:56 AM   #11
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OK lets talk cost and operation...how much what extra "stuff" do you have to have ....you say HD or close to it??
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Old September 9th, 2009, 10:18 AM   #12
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Wow,
Thanks guys for the info. I had not heard of the Contour HD, the video that Jim Nash posted looked pretty good. I am leaning toward either the Contour or POV 1.5. Here is what I see for cost and features : Let me know if I am missing anything.

GoPro - $200
640x480 at 30FPS, up to 4 GB card
The bad - problems with battery life, SD card shutoff, vibration issues, hard to turn on/off while suited up, average resolution
The good - self contained, small

Contour HD - $280
1280x720 at 30FPS or 855x480 at 60 FPS,
The bad - non standard battery 2 hr capacity, no lens protector
The good - Best resolution available, easy on/off with one switch, self contained, high resolution, up to 16 GB card, ext charger available

VIO POV-1.5 - $550
720x480 at 30FPS
The bad - higher cost
The good - medium resolution, military spec, color viewscreen on main unit, standard AA batteries, ext charger available, lens protector available, remote control included

Chase Cam PDR100 - $950
520 at 30 FPS
The bad - higher cost, average resolution
The good - up to 32 GB card, ext charger available

TrackMate etc.... $1000-$2100 depending on setup, uses Chase Cam for video
520 at 30 FPS
The bad - very expensive, must overlay video using a computer - not automatic
The good - can overlay vehicle parameters onto video, also datalogs and displays results on computer. Good for full driver evaluation where full data logging is desired.
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Old September 9th, 2009, 10:28 AM   #13
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You need to compare bit rate as well as how many pixels are in a frame, and in all honesty you can't just compare bit rates across differing formats. I would not consider ChaseCam average (though it is SD, not HD) but the bit rates of a ChaseCam are higher than what TV was broadcast in until the digital switch over. The Contour HD is 720i effectively which is arguably a wide SD format and the H264 is a great digital format, but pretty sure even at its highest bit rate it wouldn't be considered broadcast quality.

But at $300, the Contour HD is very appealing and certainly appears good enough to get what you need out of a onboard video camera, as are most of the others you mention that actually work reliably.

Also consider what the FWF is (f#$k with factor) is for the system. Dicking with the camera all weekend is not going to make you faster. They really need to just work to not divert you from other important things on the car if you self prepare.

Tim
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Old September 9th, 2009, 11:01 AM   #14
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Default Specmanship

You do have to be careful here. It is very easy for the sales/manufacturers to play specmanship games. A few years ago a lot of digital recorders had specs that said up to 640x480 and up to 30 Hz, but they didn't say you could do them simultaneously. Tim's point on bit rate is also very important. Bit rate is really the determining factor in image quality and it is rarely spec'ed.

I'd spend more time looking at sample customer video (though video on the internet is generally at a reduced video quality too) and checking for simple user controls.

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Old September 9th, 2009, 12:08 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimW View Post
You need to compare bit rate as well as how many pixels are in a frame, and in all honesty you can't just compare bit rates across differing formats. I would not consider ChaseCam average (though it is SD, not HD) but the bit rates of a ChaseCam are higher than what TV was broadcast in until the digital switch over. The Contour HD is 720i effectively which is arguably a wide SD format and the H264 is a great digital format, but pretty sure even at its highest bit rate it wouldn't be considered broadcast quality.

But at $300, the Contour HD is very appealing and certainly appears good enough to get what you need out of a onboard video camera, as are most of the others you mention that actually work reliably.

Also consider what the FWF is (f#$k with factor) is for the system. Dicking with the camera all weekend is not going to make you faster. They really need to just work to not divert you from other important things on the car if you self prepare.

Tim
That is what I like about Chase Cam from day one..... it just works!
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Old September 9th, 2009, 10:05 PM   #16
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Default And then comes along Apple...

http://www.apple.com/ipodnano/featur...eo-camera.html

iPod nano now has a built-in video camera that lets you record fun as it happens. Then share it with friends on the Internet. It’s the video camera that’s small enough to take with you everywhere.


Video Capture



  • H.264 VGA video, 640 by 480 pixels, up to 30 frames per second with AAC audio
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Old September 9th, 2009, 10:40 PM   #17
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I feel obligated to chime in here about a disappointing experiance I had with a VIO POV-1. To cut to the chase, we could never get it to survive in the car for more than a few sessions before the recording unit would crap out. This was even though we had it wrapped in thick foam and away from the engine inside the cockpit.

The problem was that the vibration in the car would cause the unit to turn off. When the unit was new, it would run for a full session. After a few sessions, it would turn off after 10 minutes of driving. After a few more sessions, it would turn off when you rev'd the engine in the pits...

To their credit, customer support at VIO was very helpful, but after breaking two units, I gave up (and they actually refunded me the full amount I had paid for the unit, even though I didn't buy it from them).

You do also have to be careful about bit rates. Although the VIO-POV records in 720x480 at 30fps, the bit rate is only 3 mbps (which is low). As such, I was disappointed with the video quality. A standard DVD (non-HD) is recorded at 10 mpbs, meaning that the video in the DVD contains 3 times more information than the video from the POV, making the quality look much better, even though they are at the same resolution and frame rate.

Stack makes some really nice video recording units that I have full confidence will work well without breaking, but they are very expensive.

See http://www.stackltd.com/dvr/index.html

Their "Clubman" recorder records at up to 8 mbps, but is about $1000 if I remember correctly (without the camera). If you step up to the high end DVR2-400, it records at up to 15 mpbs, but then I think it's like $4000 (without a camera!). Their truly high end model is a new DVR2-500, which will do up to 20 mpbs (or up to 40mpbs in variable bit rate mode). I have no idea how much that one costs.

In the end, I just plunked down $1000 on a Canon HD camcorder, that I'm going to try to mount to the top of my formula car (it's about the size of a Coke can). I'm going to try to come up with a real anti-vibration mount (more than just foam). We'll see if I can get it to work without any rolling shutter issues. But if I do, 1920x1080x60i at 24 mpbs! We'll see... If it doesn't work, I give up - because I don't think I'll be able to get a camera with a recording quality I am happy with without paying a few thousand bucks.

In Nascar and Indy (and I assume F1), I understand they use an HD CCD camera from Iconix, which I think is about $14,000 (just the camera; not the recording device).

http://www.iconixvideo.com/

Good luck,
Jon
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Old September 10th, 2009, 10:42 AM   #18
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I found another interesting option called the SOLO BullitDVR.
http://www.axialvideo.com/index.php
Seems to have alot to offer.
720x480 30 FPS in MPEG2 at 8 MBPS. True DVD quality.
Includes IR laptimer compatible with many existing laptiming systems.
32 GB CF card.
Can add GPS for mapping and speed.
Can overlay speed and laptimes on video. user definable
Can add external mic and power
$800

Also available is a 3 camera system for $1200

Has anyone used or heard of this system??



As far as bit rates I haven't been able to find any on the Contour HD...other than finding that format H.264 is supposed to be able to produce equivalent picture quality to DVD with 1/4 the bit rate due to compression technology.
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Old September 10th, 2009, 11:02 AM   #19
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The native countourHD file I just received from last weekend at Mid Ohio is:

1280x720
29.97 fps
4914 kpbs

But you're right, due to differing compression formats, you can't decide 8MB MPEG2 over 5MB H.264 based on the numbers. You have to watch in on the video on the device you most regularly will be watching it on.

I put my MPEG2 files on my Tivo displayed on a 42" LCD television and they are really great, much moreso than on the computer LCD screen simply because its interlaced video which most computers are not optimized to show. So, if you plan on watching on DVDs, AppleTV, or whatever find a way to get a native file of all the contenders, post process the way you intend to then watch the differing editions on that device and make a decision.

But, again unless you're broadcasting, for driver development most any system that works repeatedly will help you between sessions unless its just continuously pixelated. I like MPEG2 as its certainly sufficient for track side use but also scales to my 42" living room TV via TivoGoBack, but similarly good H.264 will play well there now too.


Tim
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Old September 10th, 2009, 11:30 AM   #20
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Found another interesting system which is looks to be an updated version of my RacerEye system.....although MUCH more expensive at $2000
Race-Keeper.com

Does up to 4 cameras, full data overlay onto video, GPS, 8 analog inputs for throttle, rpm, brake, etc. All in one package. Very expensive though...out of my budget.


I have put together an excel spreadsheet of all of these systems if anyone is interested email me at seriousrob@yahoo.com and I will send it to you.

I am still considering the ContourHD, POV 1.5 and SOLO Bullet DVR (awaiting answers from them).

I like the Contour for the price, seemingly better video quality, and ease of use
I like the POV 1.5 for the viewscreen on the unit
I like the SOLO Bullet DVR for the video overlay of speed and laptimes, ease of, LCD screen for status.

Rob
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Old September 10th, 2009, 4:52 PM   #21
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I jacked around with low cost systems which would work a couple of races or half a race then crap out. I ended up with Chase Cam which works. I get in the car, turn on a switch, and it records. I should have spent the money up front.

My brother has the POV. Side by side the Chase Cam has provided better playback quality. Benefit of POV is all inclusive system which is easily used in different applications.

My two cents...

scott
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Old September 14th, 2009, 12:10 PM   #22
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I use a SanDisk V-Mate now, and I like it. I'd previously used a Sony camcorder but was worried it would vibrate itself to death. I'd rather lose 30 minutes of video than an $800 camcorder.

The V-Mate is dirt cheap (about $30), dead simple, almost weightless, and very small. It'll fit just about anywhere in your car, but it does require a 5V power suppy and a line of sight for the remote control. The ONLY way to operate it is with the remote, so you have to mount the V-Mate somewhere where you can see it while you start/stop the recording.

It's really intended as a cheap VCR for recording TV shows off the air, so the setup and menus aren't ideal for usage in a racecar, but it's very doable. For example, the V-Mate assumes it's connected to a TV and that you can see the on-screen menus. In a racecar, you've got to navigate the menus "blind" (unless you connect a monitor to your car), but once you learn the sequence you can do it. I use a small laptop PC -- the same one I use for downloading AIM data -- with a video input cable as my temporary "TV monitor."

The V-Mate has normal RCA input jacks for video and audio, so any normal "bullet cam" or "lipstick cam" will work. I happen to have the popular Sony-made camera from HelmetCamera.com, but many other stores sell the same/similar models.

The video quality is acceptable (to me) but not leading-edge. It's the same resolution as my camera, and does 30 frames/sec, so a better recorder wouldn't improve the picture any. It's fine for Web videos or for watching on TV, but certainly not high-defninition. The V-Mate uses standard (and cheap) memory cards, so recording capacity is essentially unlimited. Just swap out the card when it gets full.

The small size, light weight, cheap price, and total lack of moving parts sold me on the V-Mate. Now my wife can have her camcorder back.
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Old September 14th, 2009, 12:46 PM   #23
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Quote:
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In a racecar, you've got to navigate the menus "blind" (unless you connect a monitor to your car), but once you learn the sequence you can do it.
Not sure if you already know this - but you can just hit the 'rec' button twice after power-up - and it will start recording.

Gary
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Old September 14th, 2009, 4:16 PM   #24
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Yup, I figured that out.

What I really wanted to do was program the thing to auto-record at 00:00 on 01/01 (i.e., every time I switched on the power). But it's too smart; it refuses to do that. After the first recording it thinks it's done for the day and won't record again until 01/02. Bummer.

So I just press Record twice and then press the Stop button at the end of the session or (more usual) just let it fill up the memory card.

If you want to get tricky, you can program it to record for 45 minutes (or 30 minutes, or whatever...) and shut itself off, but that requires navigating the menus as I described.
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