October 2014

27Oct

The MSA (UK Governing body for motorsport) has deciced to ban suction cup mounted GoPro cameras. They wont even allow a suction cup mount in conjunction with a tether. Now, I can see the sense of this with an externally mounted camera. Subjected to aerodynamic forces as well as G forces, a suction cup mount isnt the right type of fastening for a camera. Heaven forbid it were to fall off, you could easily hurt someone with a flying camera, and of course, the camera itself would probably be destroyed, and they're not cheap. So I dont have a problem with banning external suction cup mounted GoPro's. Daft idea.

My issue comes from banning the use of the suction cup mount inside of a saloon car. I have tried the GoPro roll cage mount, and because of the position of the camera (bolted to the roll cage), you have to add several of the short connecting links, to a) re-orientate the camera, and b) position the camera to where you want it to point. This then leads to vibration of the camera, because the links extend the position of the camera from the roll cage mount, and the camera is not stable. Plus the roll cage fastening forces the camera to follow the profile of the cage, leading to far fewer places to gain exciting footage from.

The suction cup mount, on the other hand, is a far sturdier piece of kit, which in my experience, does not fall off a properly prepared surface and provides a stable picture. And by that I mean glass, as most cars seldom have a suitable painted surface inside thats large enough to accomodate the suction cup mount. In May I ran at the Prescott Hillclimb, with the suction cup mount inside the windscreen, pointing forward, and in October I removed the mount. It hadnt fallen off the windscreen in the intervening 5 months. Thats five months, stuck to the inside of the windscreen, with the weight of the camera on the end, without falling off. So my question is, why ban them from use inside a car? As long as they are mounted on glass (or perspex), and the scrutineer can easily see the suction cup foot print as the surface is therefore transparent, what is the issue with using a suction cup mount when attached to a window inside the car?

According to the MSA, they allow double sided sticky tape mounts, but not the suction cup mount. My problem with this is that the self adhesive pad is probably just as likely to detach itself from the surface, if the same surface wasnt prepared adequately for the suction cup mount in the first place. Come on MSA, relax the rules, allow us to use the suction cup mounts inside of saloon cars, so long as they are mounted on transparent surface, and given a suitable load test by the scrutineer, dont fall off. The alternative is boring in-car videos, with poorly positioned vibrating cameras, and less exciting footage. Double sided tape is no less a risk of falling off than an incorrectly fitted suction cup mount, and as long as the surfaces are prepared properly, either mount should be allowed inside a saloon car. In the mean time, I shall have to stick a double sided mount on the inside of the windscreen, and try to arrange the mounting arms to give me the view I want.

Just to prove a point, I again fitted the GoPro Hero2 to the inside of the rear window of the car, and for 2.25 hours, recorded the journey home from work. It didnt fall off. Thats because they dont when fitted properly.