Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Bird's Eye Camera

At the last race DC Doug mounted his GoPro to the tip of the tail of Our Lady.  The camera view was spectacular.  Unfortunately the battery was shot, so we only got a minute or two of video.  This seems like the Achilles heel of the GoPro in that it requires the battery to be changed with every pit stop (and perhaps more often).  We've had cameras on the car in the past, and while reviewing the footage is fun, it seemed like there were always problems with getting the card and battery changed in time.  GoPro's seem notorious for corrupting files whenever anything goes wrong.  It seemed rare that we got usable footage.

My quest to find a video system that would last the entire race lead to mostly high $$$ dead ends, but there was one ray of light: the ContourHD.  It's intended to be a helmet cam for extreme sports.  Contour has recently released some improved versions of their cameras that have some truly useful features: GPS, external mic, etc.  That means that the lowly ContourHD, that has none of those features, is selling for $140.

So I bought a ContourHD from Amazon.  I also spent another $140 on two 32Gb cards.  It looks like a pretty good deal, but I wonder if I might have been better off buying two cameras and switching them out during the race.  I think I can make the camera do the one thing I want: take continuous footage for an entire day of racing without having to mess with it.  Here's a quick shot of what it looks like holding the camera up in the garage:

The tail mounted camera has one drawback: the access panel on the back of the camera has to be open to plug in the charger.  Even the optional waterproof case would need to have a hole cut into it.  So cut I will.

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