Monday, July 07, 2008


I spent most of a day Sunday trying to mount a video system in the car. Being in the video industry I planned the ultimate in-car video system. I have a Sony HVR Z1 U 4:4:4 1080P HD camera looking forward and a Canon XH-A1 1080i HD camera pointing aft. Using our Red ONE 4k camera seemed like overkill.

The problem is that pro- and pro-sumer cameras are large and heavy, each of the HD cams weighs something over 5 pounds and is large enough to make them all but impossible to mount safely in a car without a cage. They won't fit in the rear window becasue they are too tall. I fabed an arm the attaches between the stock head-rest mounts but found it too flexible for even a single camera. Hard braking dropped the point of aim by 6 inches. After a bunch of trial fitting and fabrication, I have decided on another, very different, path.

I gave up on the HD setup and ordered a GoPro HeroCam. $179 + free shipping. It is solid state, light-weight, comes with lots of mounting options and is designed for just this application. Plus it's in a hard plastic case to allow it to be mounted outside the car. Something quite out of the question with someone elses $5k HD cam.

I'll revisit the full 2-screen HD setup when the cage is in.

...and the Big Brown Truck just dropped off a new Nady PMC-2x Intercom so driver and passenger can chat in comfort.

Counting the days till NASA on Saturday -- lots of new things to try.


mark said...

I should have some videos from my Sanyo HD1000 posted soon. When it comes to sports video, my opinion is that interlace is an artifact of the 20th century. So I configured the camera to run 720p59.94, although it does have 1080i support. (Among the "top tier" Japanese handicam companies, I was having a hard time finding 720p.)

It's small and light, but does have threads on the lens, allowing filters, wide angle adapter, etc., etc. 720p60 records at 12 Mbps in H.264, and looks pretty good.

My current set up is an I/O Port Camera mount on the cage, but I was able to mount an old Hi-8 video camera in my cageless E28 using a tripod.

I got a Bogen tripod at a used camera shop, removed the back seat of the car, and strapped the tripod into place using the most solid anchors I could find (e.g. seat belt mounting points.) I think I used three points. Having seen in-car video of rollovers, I think I would use more anchors if I did that again. It's a heavy tripod.

Anyway, the Sanyo puts out files that play in quicktime (unlike the AVCHD(tm) format adopted by Panasonic, Sony, Canon, etc.). But some computers have trouble keeping up. I'm in the middle of a transcode to Sorenson 3 to see if that's a more CPU friendly format. (It will doubtless be a less bandwidth friendly format.)

mark said...

Using Final Cut Pro, it took 40 minutes to compress a 3 minute clip with the Sorenson 3 codec set to "best quality" -- and it produced about 70 Mbps. We're gonna have to try that again tomorrow at "fair to middling".

And by the way ... DUDE! A RED ONE!

Ren said...

I had the backseat out and thought about a tripod and the seat-belt mounting points.

Both HD cams do 1080P30 or 1080i60. I was thinking P30 to start. They both do HDV (MPEG-2 I-Frame) which becomes Apple Intermediate Format (AIF) on import to FCP.

I have access to complete set of Stewart Gaffer hardware. It works great but is really heavy.

I'm also a little worried about trying to tech anything too wild.

The Red is spectacular -- we really don't have anything capable of displaying it's output properly yet.

We are really just working it (and 4K) into our post-production work-flows.

mark said...

HD and quarter HD video here. (60p rules.)