Seems like only yesterday that we just heard about the GoPro Hero Camera for sports activities. The numerous videos I watched on You-Tube convinced me that this would not only be helpful for work but what a great toy! I don’t think I have meet a single person in any sports activity that does not like to share what they do with other. The Gopro people really hit on the name when they called it the “HERO” camera. We all want to see ourselves in action.
We looked at both the wide angle and the standard lens versions of the camera and in the end decided on the wide angle as we wanted to see as much as we could around us. Over the years we had tried a number of different general video cameras only to find we had tunnel vision to say nothing about how horrible the stability was. Vibration was the real downside of everything we used prior to the GoPro.
The first one of the GoPro cameras we bought we installed in the Mini Mania “Monty Mini Cooper” vintage race car. The installation seemed complex only because of the unbelievable number of mounting options. Because of the wide angle we considered mounting it beside the driver so that we could view both the steering wheel input and the road in front, perhaps even the tach. The kit we used included the roll bar mounting option as well as the various articulated joints that all you to ‘stick’ various quick-disconnect mounts on lots of different surfaces including the front windshield. Well after some degree of experimenting we ended up with a stick on mount right under the rear view mirror on the windshield.
While it would be nice to have had a remote control for the camera as after you strap yourself into a race car it is not possible to reach up and find the 2 buttons that had to be pushed to start the camera rolling, we found an easy solution. The typical vintage race is only about 20 minutes long and thus we simply started the camera when we go into the car in the pits. The 2 meg memory card was more than big enough and we simply kept a couple of them on hand for quick change. This process did have it drawback! A 20 minute video is extremely boring to show to your friends and relatives as you are trying to be a ‘hero’ and then if you add the time it takes to get yourself strapped into the car and wait for the race to start, the results have to be edited. But then you-tube only allows a 10 minute video anyway so editing is just a way of life with this kind of hero stuff! PS- I taught myself how to use ‘Windows Movie Maker’ in about 10 minutes and have loved it ever since. The self editing I think has become a real part of being the hero of the show! There is a sense of satisfaction in racing, a sense of satisfaction in being able to record it and a yet another great satisfaction in making your own video!
The first videos we did were not bad and in fact pretty good given our lack of experience. BUT sorry to say that racing and being able to make your self into a hero go hand in hand, just as it seems as though you can never have enough Horsepower, you can never have enough video to tell the complete story.
So it was that we ended up with 4 camera for 2 Mini Coopers at the last race of the season. Granted that using 2 per car seems like an extravegance but as it turned out the Monty Mini Cooper had problems during the very first run of the week-end and thus we found ourselves with 4 GoPro Hero Camera in ONE car! So we actually ended up with 3 different angles inside the car and one outside. We chose to mount one on the rear windows shooting backward, we mounted another on the windshield below the rear view mirror. The windshield cameras as aimed back at the driver to watch his hands, shifting, etc. The third camera was mounted on the roll bar just beside the driver’s head with a great view out the front of the car. The fourth camera was mounted outside the Mini on the bottom corner of the grille. All the cameras are the wide angle version.
We found from a practical standpoint that we would start all the cameras very early and simply let them run for the duration. As a precaution we would change both the memory card after every race and the batteries at the end of each day- we use the good rechargeable ones that seemed to not have a problems lasting for the 2 sessions we ran each day, probably less than 2 hours per day.
The results speak for themselves! If you really want to enhance you racing experience you would never again go to a race without one of these installed!
Most of us like to bench race but there is no hiding the truth in video, even if it is all great!- spoken like a true HERO
And of course if your fellow competitors also have a GoPro hero camera you can do this kind of thing: