I went to work this morning to discover I'm not working today. And I am the manager and I do set the rota and I forget to look at it myself. But I should have been working today, I just screwed the rota up.
Anyway, I get home all psyched up to work, so I start re-potting my spider plants, gotta get your priorities right. And then, finally, at long long last, I scrape up a mount for my bike cam. I remembered to get some velcro this week, and with a bit of hardboard and a lot of arsing about, I got a small flat board mounted to the centre of the handle bar.
And just on sunset, I went out for a quick test. I have 2 videos with a lot of camera shake. I'll be uploading them after I've edited the start and finish, for your amusement.
And I am open to suggestions to make a more stable mount. Currently I have a small piece of hardboard on top of some kitchen sponge, held down by stiff wire. The cam has a piece of velcro, the other being on the board, so I can easily pop it on and off. But as you'll see from the videos, any bumps (and there are many) cause a lot of frame drop. I thought the sponge would act as a shock absorber, but since the wire goes through the board, I suppose the energy is going straight from the bar to the board.
No, I cannot fit a gyroscope. But sensible suggestions would help.
I am thinking of getting a new/better/bigger card, and also of moving to the HD #11 808 as discussed before.
Here's the first test proper, heading into the sunset. There is a lot of frame drop-out and that's an issue. But it gets better right at the end. I suspect it's to do with the light levels, and the heavy shaking. I mean obviously the heavy shaking. But it gets better with more light.
That's the brake cable going up and over to the left brake lever. I need to either move the cam slightly to the left, or tie the cable down a bit, which might impair its effectiveness.
EDIT: actually I could tie the cable down a tad and try to move the cam more to the right. That would put any cable in picture down to the bottom left. Alternately, I can try mounting the cam somewhere else. I have enough velcro to stick it to my helmet. It has a keychain, so I can tie that to the helmet strap, so if it falls off I won't lose it.
You know, I was just looking at the second test (which you have yet to see but has much clearer images) and thinking Ghod these houses look awful Ghaaaastly red brick everywhere. And then I thought, mind you, somebody will look at these and think they are wonderful. It all depends where you are looking from.
That's the brake cable going up and over to the left brake lever.
Just snip it off, you've got two brakes haven't you, you'll be fine with one. Besides when you have a camera on the front, you wont want to slow down, and if things do go pear shaped you will have spectacular footage of the event to show your friends, You've Been Framed, the Coroner etc.
On the wobbly picture front, you can get software that can smooth the footage out, and the results can be very impressive. A colleague of mine at work used some, and made a speeded up footage of some of his rides that looked fantastic.
Dunno what he used specifically, though it was for the Mac, but there are ones for Windows too. A quick google shows there are free examples available like this and the sort if footage it produces looks like this:
Yes, it's true, I don't really use the brakes so I suppose it's OK to cut the cable away. In any case, if I have problems, I won't really be bothered with the video results.
The problem is not shake in the video. It's that the cam cannot capture frames because of the shake. There are a lot of dropped frames (black frames) in the result, so the video effectively freezes and jumps. I think it's just that the cam can't get a stable shot to build a frame, and just keeps trying until it gets one.
I'm trying to use VirtualDub to see if that will fix the video fault I'm having, but it's all a bit complicated and both Virtualdub and Avidemeux are documented by expert users for expert users. So I'm tired and am stopping for tonight.
Tomorrow, a 30 minute test on the way to work in proper daylight.
I'm currently uploading today's 15 minute test. Unfortunately, because my broadband is provided by TalkTalk, it is total shit, and youtube says it will be at least 10 hours to upload a 1mb file.
So please wait.
I've worked out why it shakes so much. The velcro attaches the cam to the board, but it does not actually hold it down. It just rattles around on the velcro like mad. So i just need to pop a band or a wire over the cam and hold it down. that should make it much better.
EDIT : rebooted everything and now it's only 16 hours to upload, at a whacking 18bps. TalkTalk is total shit.
This evening, TalkTalk is providing an upload rate of 18 mbps. Wow!
So it will take several hours for the two videos to be ready. Today's test was much improved, a much more stable image, but unfortunately for most of the trip I was driving directly towards the winter sun. So the image is badly blown out most of the time. heyho.
But I am pleased and things are improving. There was some heavy frame dropping at 2 points though, so it's not all great.
In other news. www.chucklohr.com reports that there is a new version of the HD #11 cam, now labelled as the #16. The Chinese manufacturer has been working with people in the RC hobby to develop a better cam and the hobbyists have coded the interface! It looks to be a better image, and has a swappable internal battery, and lots more features. Plus it's a few bucks cheaper. I definitely want to get a HD cam now.
I do think I want a bigger micro SD card though. I hope that splashing out on a better class and size will help the recording.
So here are two more tests, the first from Sunday. Yes, it bounces around too much. Feel free to jump to Monday's.
On Monday, I have the cam tied down firmly, with a much better result. Except the winter sun blows the image away. Plus there's some bad frame dropping in places (the picture makes jump cuts). If you get board, just skip to 11:30.
I recorded another test today, but it took an over-night to upload these.
EDIT: Today's video is not much different from yesterday's. The winter sun blows it out, but it's another stable image and I am relatively happy. I do need to get a bigger card, I'm not getting much more that 30 minutes out of this one.
I vote for Helmet Cam. The brake cable is really distracting. Cute houses in your neighborhood!
This would also stop some of the shaking! Your body is a great shock-breaker.
I've been thinking on this. Ideally, I would mount a helmet cam around my right ear. But if I place it flush to the helmet, it would be vertical, and so the image would be rotated 90 degrees. If I mounted it on the top of the helmet, that would be harder to build and arrange, especially without damaging the helmet.
I am not sure it would produce much better results. Certainly, for large bumps I lift off the seat, but for a lot of the smaller impacts, I don't really bother. I was keeping this in mind this morning, and just now, I don't see a big pay off. The videos from mountain bikers are using more expensive cams on properly designed mounts. My cam is 11 bucks and some wire and velcro.
But if I can figure out a good way of mounting it on my helmet, I will consider it.