Celebrating 21 years

In Car Camera

Last Updated on December 31 2015

I'd always wanted to film the footage from the XR2 at Sprints and Hillclimbs. It relays to others just what the sport is all about, and it acts as a great aide memoir, for when you revisit a circuit, so you can quickly see the braking and turn in points from your last trip. Video is also great for showing just where time can be made up. For instance, you may miss an apex, because you carry too much speed in to a corner. The footage can be used to work out why. Maybe you missed the braking point, or hit a spot of oil? The video shows all the faults of every run.

I used to run a bullet / lipstick camera, 12V, powered from the car battery, with a solid state digital video recorder. But the technology in solid state cameras today captures video at HD (1920x1080 resolution) which gives a much better experience when watching on Youtube or on the TV.

So in 2012 I bought a GoPro HD Hero2 Motorsport camera, and used it for the first time at the 3 Sisters sprint on August 5th, and the results spoke for themselves. The GoPro device is small and very portable, and can be mounted to the car either with the self adhesive sticky pads, or by using a roll cage mount. What I've found with the roll cage mount is that there are a number of plastic legs that are required to connect the camera housing to the mount, so that the camera is the right orientation inside the car. eg it points out the windscreen in the direction you are travelling. This leads to a lot of vibration. Each connection that extends the link between the camera and the mount, adds to the vibration.

So my preference is to use the suction cup mount inside the car, as this provides is very stable and vibration free fixing, which is almost impossible to shock. However the MSA in the UK has now made suction cup mounts illegal, so if you have one, you cant even use it inside the car to film your footage. The theory is that it could fall off, and hurt someone. Inside the car I dont see this as a problem. I totally agree with restricting the use of suction cup mounts outside the car, but inside?

For storing the video, I have fitted a 32GB card which gives around 5 hours of HD footage. However the limitation tends to be the life of the battery, which runs out after just a couple of hours. Why is that a problem? If you forget to switch the camera off after a run, then the device will soon run flat. So long as the camera is configured to flash the four (or two) red LEDs whilst it is on, you can easily spot if you've left it switched on.
A GoPro Hero2 camera

Since 2012, GoPro has continued to update their product range, and the latest GoPro 4 is now the model to have. The battery life is improved, and the footage is even clearer than before. However, given the cost of my Hero 2, I'll continue to use it for as long as it works.

Video clips recorded using my Hero 2 can be found on my Youtube channel.