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Author Topic: GoPro - Small (inexpensive) Video Camera
Z-MAN Verified Driver
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Received my GoPro Hero camera - looks cool seams to work ok but it does have a few issues I thought I would share with you.

1. There is no indicator for the amount of memory used/left.

2. The unit is a little difficult to get connected to the PC - You have to turn it on first - connect the USB cable to the camera then plug it into the PC. even then usually the PC tells you it is not recognized.

3. The sound is not good at all - even driving in a street car with the audio on the low setting it was just noise.

4. Ran the camera while driving into town on a 1GB card - the camera is supposed to tun off when the card is full and save the video - the card showed a video but it did come up on the PC?

5. The camera will not mount to existing camera mounts without modifying the mount or making an adapter. The mounts that are included in the Motorsports Hero Kit are pretty cool.


6. THE CAMERA CAN NOT USE SDHD CARDS.


But all in all it looks like it will get the job done - Good buy for the money.


Z-Man

Zack Steinkamp Verified Driver
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For the same or less money you can get the Aiptek A-HD (V5V) camera that shoots 720P hi-def, records to SD or SDHC cards, uses the H.264 compressor, and has a flip-out color screen. I bought one from Circuit City for $130. They have a $30 mail in rebate for it, so that drops the net price to $100.

Sound is crappy, but video quality is great.
http://video.thenobot.org/miata_aiptek_test.mov
http://flickr.com/photos/thenobot/sets/72157603555853029/

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Jim Boemler Verified Driver
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I bought an Aiptek, and took it back the next day; real POS. I've had the GoPro for about 10 days, although I've only had time for one quick test.

The USB on the GoPro was easier than the manual implies. It will take power from the USB cable, without even having a battery in the unit -- you can even record entirely on USB power, although the PC connection won't see it until you disconnect and reconnect. That one looks like a function of the USB interface code on the PC.

I didn't have any trouble getting the video onto the PC, and the video quality was good. Like Zack, I did a street run with the audio on "low", but it was down in the mud -- I didn't try high, but I think that would be the key. That is, it sounded to me like the audio was just not sensitive enough, rather than being clipped.

I do wish the camera had better mountings, along with remote power and controls -- I'm still thinking about those. The Aiptek, BTW, does have a standard tripod mount, but it's on the tiny edge of the camcorder, so the camera wobbles hopelessly. It also requires that the viewfinder flap remain open (both mechanically, and because that's what keeps it running) -- in a race car, it will probably shake itself to death in short order.

The icons on the GoPro display are insanely microscopic, and the batteries that came withit lasted a grand total of less than 10 minutes. I put in another set, but I think they may have already been low. Again, remote power is desperately needed.

I consider the GoPro a "starting point" for an adequate camcorder. I'm hoping to do enough surgery to make it really viable.

jim

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Just a clown

Zack Steinkamp Verified Driver
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Jim, check the flickr.com link to see how I solved the shake/wobble problem. If I get adventurous, I'm going to replace the Aiptek's mic with a 1/8" jack to try different mics and placements out.

If all else fails, I'm just going to use it in the trunk to record from the bullet cam and stereo mics I have been using in the car. As a standalone A/V recorder it's not bad ;-)

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Eric Richter Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Has anyone ever tried one of these in a car?
http://www.oregonscientificstore.com/oregon_scientific/product.asp?itmky=882426

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2009 SoCal SCCA SM Champion
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Jim Boemler Verified Driver
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That's a nice mounting you made, Zack. It looks like a different (better) model than I tried as well. Do post how the experiements go.

Why can't they (any "they") make something we WANT, rather than something we have to hack?

jim

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Just a clown

Jim Boemler Verified Driver
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One of my co-drivers at the 25 uses the AT18, and swears by it. I didn't get to see it while I was there, though.

jim

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Just a clown

Colin MacLean Verified Driver
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quote:
Originally posted by thenobot:
For the same or less money you can get the Aiptek A-HD (V5V) camera that shoots 720P hi-def, records to SD or SDHC cards, uses the H.264 compressor, and has a flip-out color screen. I bought one from Circuit City for $130. They have a $30 mail in rebate for it, so that drops the net price to $100.

Sound is crappy, but video quality is great.
http://video.thenobot.org/miata_aiptek_test.mov
http://flickr.com/photos/thenobot/sets/72157603555853029/

I got the same camera for Xmas. It's an incredible cam for the money! As you say the only downside is the mic. Everything else is great. A great feature is that since you can charge the cam via USB and it can record while charging, you can hook up power and run it constantly in the car and not rely on the 90 minute battery. Also, you can fold the LCD screen backwards so it mounts flush to the camera so you have access to the power button and don't have to leave it open like Jim thought. Mine has an 8GB card which should record around 4 hours at 720P. For $100 how can you possibly go wrong!?

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Colin MacLean
Flyin' MacLean Motorsports

Tom's Double O Verified Driver
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I am searching for a new video camera. I'm looking for a camera that can do it all(car, family video and stills).

Here's one I came across and investigating; the Canon TX1. HD(720) video with 7meg stills and 10x optical. Very very small(nearly Elf size).
Biggest draw back is in high def, it will only record 14 minutes of video(not good for our 30 minute races) But in 640x480 format, you can Get up to an hour of video. Other draw back is files are large, but the file size can easily be reduce, and easily edited.

Here is a link to a review;
http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/canon/powershot_tx1-review/

Can be had for about(not so inexpensive) $400. What do you think?

Tom

cnj
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In the last 2 weeks I have bought or been given 3 cameras and am in the process of testing them.

1. Sony NSC GC-1. This is a very inexpensive ($149) video camera which runs entirely off a flash drive (I use a 4 gig). At 640 x 480 one can get more than an hour of recording. The software is interesting in that it is not traditional editing software, but rather media organisation software. It also sets up videos for direct upload to You Tube. The video quality is decent. The audio is pretty useless as the input microphone will overload with anything louder than speech. I am still working on this. I expect to use this primarily on my SM. It was a Christmas gift and I am happy with it.

2. Casio Exlim S880 ($240). I brought this as a micro camera, but it actually serves as a very effective 640 x 480 video camera with built in editing. It also auto formats videos for You Tube. A pretty surprising unit. I will try it out on my SM.

3. Sony HDR CX7 ($1,100). This is 1080i with AVCHD format compression recording directly to flash drive. Very small with stunning video quality and good image stabilization. There are multiple lens options for those who want to spend more money. It also takes rather good photos. It has a touch screen which when flipped around should record to be engaged from the drivers position without contortions. This is for the more serious video user (not cheap). Note that AVCHD formats are not yet supported for direct digital transfer by some editing programs. For example we could not use Adobe Premiere to import digitally but had to connect via component video. This by the way is true for other manufacturers using this format. This should be updated soon as the format gains ground. In the mean time Sony is happy to sell their software and Final Cut Express imports digitally. I look forward to trying this out on the track.

Craig

cooleyjb
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One of the keys for the GoPro is to use good rechargeable NiMH batteries or the Lithium batteries duracell and energizer are recommended by GoPro. I've had them last roughly two hours on my demo model. Also as has been stated use the low level for sound.

Since they only just shipped the motorsports hero setups in December I don't have any video of my own. I have a few customers who are going to run a bunch of winter kart stuff and get some video back to me. Of the videos I've seen shot with the camera the sound is okay. What I like about the camera is that I'll be able to put the camera in spots that I wouldn't normally put a camera because I'd be afraid to lose 300 dollars of equipment instead of roughly 100 bucks. I used a Chasecam setup last year and the video was very good but for the most part I didn't need the near DVD quality to see where my car was running and when I put it up online the compression of youtube killed any of the quality that there was.

Zack Steinkamp Verified Driver
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Just a followup on the Aiptek... I ran it as a HD camcorder at Thunderhill on Friday, and also as a standalone DVR recording from an external bullet cam and mics.

HD Camcorder: http://www.thenobot.org/video/watch.php?20080111-thill_team_s3_hd.mov

Recording from bullet cam:
http://www.thenobot.org/video/watch.php?20080111-thill_team_s5.mov

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ethan666
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Cool, thanks for the examples!

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ethan

Team Cochran Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Any body got a good recommendation for where to buy a cheap but good bullet cam?

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Geoff
SM 80

Zack Steinkamp Verified Driver
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I bought my bullet cam, mics, and power adapter from http://hoyttech.com/

I got the 580-line model (Sony). Not sure how the lesser models would perform with my setup...

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jigou Verified Driver
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quote:
Originally posted by Team Cochran:
Any body got a good recommendation for where to buy a cheap but good bullet cam?

There are a number of places, but I've had great service from http://www.supercircuits.com

Jarrod

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bo2573 Verified Driver
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quote:
Originally posted by Eric Richter:
Has anyone ever tried one of these in a car?
http://www.oregonscientificstore.com/oregon_scientific/product.asp?itmky=882426

I have one of these. It doesn't work very well. The video is dark and crappy.

Michael B. Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Okay I used my GoPro this weekend at a test & tune. The picture quality is pretty good. The volume set on "low" is very low but its still workable. I think that the cam already sits in a little Plexiglass case & that case soaks up a lot of the sound as it is. I was pretty happy with the way it worked and it seems easy enough to use (read: Its a good buy). Additionally I think the mounting parts are extensive and do a good job as well (a little shake but limited). Here is a vid for comparison. Watch as much as you can before falling to sleep. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YZRgAF_P8A

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MB.

Vick Verified Driver
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I have to emphasize the comment made about batteries earlier. Had two GoPros out at Watkins Glen over the past few days. I originally used Lithiums, which were great. Tried to run an ok set of Nimh rechargeables, and the camera shut itself off. One of my friends was using the energizer "titaniums" and they were good for about 50 minutes or so a set. Not ideal or cost effective.

Has anyone hardwired one of these? I think I saw a setup today while at Watkins Glen but didn't get a chance to talk to the guy.

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RYGAR Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Zack,

The Aiptek A-HD (V5V) Hi-Def video you posted looks pretty amazing...and the camera is ony $100-150??? Wow.

I am VERY interested in getting that for my car (especially now that I finally have an HDTV...and my Sony cam is dying anyway).

The sound is awful, but it seems as if that's been resolved with an external mic?

What mic did you use from that website? You've been using that same Aiptek Hi-Def camera for all of your races and track days and it's still running strong? I still can't believe the quality of that video for the price...

Thanks!
-Ryan

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Ryan G. #29
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Gibscreen Verified Driver Series Champ
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Slightly off topic, but what's the maximum amount of video you can all get from a 2GB card? And what camera gives you that amount?

The reason I ask is I run a lot of enduros, and I'd like to get all 3 hours without changing the SD card? Right now we just change the SD card during the pit stop, but if there are any issues, that's the first thing we forego.

For reference, I have a Toshiba GSC-R30. On a 2GB SD Card, it can record almost 2 hours (1:48) at the lowest video quality, which is still pretty decent.

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Rob Gibson
RJ Racing
2010 NASA Nationals TTE Champion
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2007 NASA SoCal SM Champion
rjracing.net
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RYGAR Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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why not throw in a 8GB card?

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Ryan G. #29
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Vick Verified Driver
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The Go Pro doesn't take an 8 gb card. A 2 gb card holds 56 min of video on that camera. I have no experience with the Aiptek camera.

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RYGAR Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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My reply was in response to Rob's question... Instead of swapping out cards during pitstops, he can maybe drop in a 8GB-- maybe he can get the whole race and with a higher quality setting...

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Ryan G. #29
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Cole
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If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I just paid Zack Steinkamp a compliment.

I bought an Aiptek and same Hoyttech setup that he described.

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Lotta people go through life doing things badly. Racing's important to men who do it well. When you're racing, it's life. Anything that happens before or after is just waiting.

- Steve McQueen, Le Mans

ERIC THOMPSON
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all i can say is that i bought my gopro the week of of the 8/23-8/24 event at njmp. despite all the obvious pitfalls states by Z-MAN. it has an
extremely narrow angle(you wont see your steering or shifter inputs when mounted to an sm cage), and they just released a gopro wide angle(from 46 degrees to 170) with more megapixels not 3 weeks after my purchase! and after back and forth emails with cust service they told me i'm S.O.L.!! i should've trusted my gut and pennied up for a real camera for maybe an extra $100 bucks. like the saying goes, if it sounds to good to be true it probably is!

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Z-MAN Verified Driver
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The video seams a little shakey because the fit between the mount and the base is a little sloppy when you clip them together - add a couple layers of electrical tape between them to fix that.

I rigged a power supply from Radio Shack 12VDC input has a selectable output used the 3VDC output.

I cut a hole in the case and camera then soldered leads to the camera.

Good luck,

MZ

jeremybarnes
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Sorry, slightly (but not entirely) off topic, too: What editing software is everyone using?

I have a Panasonic mini-DV camera that works quite well in the car. I just tried downloading to the computer using Windows software built into Vista, and a 2-minute test video is over 4MB.

Perhaps i'm doing something wrong, or perhaps it's just not great software -- which would it be? And would I do better to simply use a commercial package instead? If so, which one do various people like?

thanks!

Jeremy.

Vick Verified Driver
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the microsoft movie editor that came with xp allows you to change the quality of the movie you save as a wmv. that may help.

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Richard Pressman Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Depends on the quality at which you are saving the video. Windows Movie Maker - at least the XP version that I am using - has a drop down which lists several different video "qualities" for your movie. At the highest quality (not HD), a 25 minute race uses about 275-350 mb. That same race saved at one of the lower settings uses about 50-85 mb. If you are just going to post the video on the Internet the lower settings are fine.

Blake Thompson Verified Driver
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quote:
Originally posted by thenobot:
Just a followup on the Aiptek... I ran it as a HD camcorder at Thunderhill on Friday, and also as a standalone DVR recording from an external bullet cam and mics.

HD Camcorder: http://www.thenobot.org/video/watch.php?20080111-thill_team_s3_hd.mov

Recording from bullet cam:
http://www.thenobot.org/video/watch.php?20080111-thill_team_s5.mov

wow is that sound quality horrendous. the video really makes up for it but wow.

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