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Old 07-11-2002, 06:57 PM   #1
GarySheehan
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Default Camera for In-Car Video Footage?

I'm about to go get a camera for recording in-car video footage. I've seen some DV cameras for $499 locally. On the other hand, there are some Hi8 cameras available for $229. Is a DV camera that much better to pay over double the price?

I'm not looking for bells and whistles. Just a stable image during racing.

Thanks,

Gary
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Old 07-11-2002, 07:08 PM   #2
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Gary as a video professional I will tell you that you should forget about HI 8 and go with DV the image quality is much better which is what you will need if you want to be able to analyze your footage. I would tell you to go with sony of cannon since they have the best image stabilization in the business. I let Subiegal borrow one of my cameras fro Rim of the World and we just couldn't get it to work and I suspect vibration was the factor. I was using a high end camera (about 3 grand) so I would tell you to find a way to get some dampening or look at one of those lipstick cameras that people are advertising in Grassroots they may work the best. If you have any video questions email me [email protected]
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Old 07-11-2002, 07:18 PM   #3
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I noticed that the Panasonic and JVC have more pixels vs. the Sony. What's more important, image stabilization or resolution?

Gary
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Old 07-11-2002, 08:01 PM   #4
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miniDV is much better quality than Hi8. usually the image stabilization is better on the miniDV cameras, as well. i would spend the extra couple hundred dollars, it's well worth it.
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Old 07-11-2002, 08:16 PM   #5
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Gary...
i have a digi Sony DV that i just purchased...
I just went through the research you are now doing!

The camera works fantastically - even in rally/rough rally!
very stable... excellent quality...
i just havent had time to upload any video yet...
sometyhing like this should be perfect for what you do!

they can be had beginnning at $300 and up...
depending on how many bells/whistles you need...

anyhoo...that's my recommendation...
cheers!
Jamie
www.subiegalracing.com
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Old 07-11-2002, 10:32 PM   #6
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Default in-car camera

I use a digital-8 because I had a huge # of tapes from a previous 8mm camera.
I put the camera in a foam-filled box and run a cheap camera lens to the camcorder input.
The lens and mic suck but it tells the story and allows many neat views because it is cheap and small and you can mount it anywhere. Put it on the front spoiler or behind a wheel. If it gets killed, its just $80.
The best part is when you hit something (the part you want to see). Because the tape deck is cushioned, the tape doesn't come away from the drum and turn white.
See www.randyzimmer.com for compressed examples of the "quality" - not great but affordable and does the job.
Newer clips are better because I screwed the lens on instead of just velcro.
rz
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Old 07-12-2002, 01:45 AM   #7
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What I've learned is that the image stabilization is not such a huge factor. A digital recording format is much better (be it Digital8 or MiniDV) because a lot of the jitter comes into play in the recording mechanism, not the image stabilization (unless you have a crappy mount). The best method is as Randy said, and Speed Channel does, using a remote video camera (CCTV type, check www.supercircuits.com) and some sort of digital recording deck with the deck in a foam soft-sided case of some kind. I have a nice solid mount in my car, with no image stabilization whatsoever of the remote camera, and the picture is rock solid.

$0.02

-Doug
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Old 07-12-2002, 03:04 AM   #8
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This may not apply to you gary, but you may also consider whether you would want your video to be used by another source ( ie Speed Channel). IIRC if a pro rally driver wants there footage aired, it must be from a digital source such as miniDV.

miniDV's are simply put, great. The guy I ran with at HW had a sony miniDV camera and the footage turned out great. The best part with most miniDV camera's is you can use the firewire connection straight to your computer (if you have the port - you can always upgrade) and then use the footage to make a Video CD or DVD or highlights reel with some video editing software.

I just bought a sony miniDV not too long ago, and for the better camera's, sony seems to be a preferred brand. but they do get a bit expensive. if you aren't sure what to get, check out some incar footage from someone that runs hi8 or digi8 to miniDV.
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Old 07-12-2002, 11:57 AM   #9
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Default go with miniDV

If you can afford it go with miniDV it's night and day compared
to Hi-8. miniDV is also a lot better in low light.

Digital-8 is pretty good but not as good as dv.

As others have mentioned miniDV is really easy to edit, put on the web, DVD etc..

IMHO I would try to avoid using the image stabilization on the Sony cameras. It digitally zooms in a few pixels then uses those pixels as a buffer. It costs you some resolution, not a lot but still noticeable. Although the newer cameras are better this image stabilization can also cause stuttering in the picture and make the bouncing look worse.

More important is getting a good mount. If you have a good mount and stay fully zoomed out (very important) you should be fine.

http://www.ioportracing.com/video.htm
I haven't used that one but I heard it works well.

Having recently shot some in car footage I can tell you the best way to do it is, like DCH said, using a mini camera and then recording that to a deck or camcorder of some kind.

But to do this you are going to have to buy a DV camera to record to it anyway. (A portable DV deck is a couple thousand). Then if you want to get a mini-camera with the same resolution as your typical miniDV camcorcer that's going to cost you several thousand.

I guess what I'm trying to say is spend the extra $200 you won't
regret it.

Peter
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Old 07-12-2002, 02:19 PM   #10
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I picked up a Sony Digi8 camera that had more outputs than the more expensive DV cameras. Is the difference between the DV and D8 that noticeable? Also, I'd like to get the racing footage here, to people on the i-club. The above post made it sound that DV is easier. Even if my D8 camera has USB and Firewire connections?

Thanks,

Gary
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Old 07-12-2002, 02:42 PM   #11
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Default DV vs. D8

Gary

If your Digi-8 camera has firewire, then it's just as easy as dv to put on the net and or edit. AFAIK Digi-8 actually records the same DV signal it's just on a different kind of tape.

The difference between the two formats, is in general the dv cameras are made with higher quality components (lens, mic, etc).

Is the difference between the two that noticeable?
between a $300 Digi-8 and a $500 dv cam not really and after you compress it for the internet, it's probably impossible to tell the difference.

I think the camera you picked out should work great for what
you need it to do.

good luck

Peter
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Old 07-12-2002, 06:41 PM   #12
Patrick Olsen
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Peter pretty much nailed it on the head, Gary. With the Firewire output it's really easy to capture video - it'll work exactly the same whether it is Digital8 or DV. Just get a Firewire card to add to your computer and you'll be good to go. The Firewire card will probably come with capture software, which you may or may not need depending on how new your computer is. I bought a Dell about 5 or 6 months ago that has Windows XP on it, and it came with Windows Movie Maker. That allows me to capture video in .WMV format, which produces video about 1/2 to 1/3 the size of the .MPGs I used to capture, and the clarity is noticeably better.

And, as Peter pointed out, by the time you save the video in an internet-friendly size, whatever difference in picture quality there may be between DV and Digital8 won't matter.

Pat Olsen
'97 Legacy 2.5GT sedan

PS - Here's a really short (210kb) video of me passing Gary during the 2002 OTC. (Video was shot using my Cone Cam www.conecam.com mounted to the side of the car with their 3-suction-cup mount, and my Sony digital mic was located in the engine compartment resting behind the driver side strut tower.)
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Old 07-12-2002, 09:08 PM   #13
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Ah.... Pat... Did you forget something? Where's the link?

-Ray
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Old 07-12-2002, 10:09 PM   #14
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Ahhh, just testing you guys! Good catch, Ray. Here's the link...

http://www.submariner.org/thepno95/V...%20Sheehan.WMV

Pat
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Old 07-12-2002, 10:29 PM   #15
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Wow! You passed him so quickly that Gary's like standing still! Go silver Legacy!!!

-Ray
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Old 07-13-2002, 12:37 AM   #16
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folks,

you are missing the importance of optics!!!!

you can get the best damn digital video deck and plug in a cheap-a$$ fisher price b/w camera and guess what you have?

mini DV vs D8, it comes down to size and backwards compatilbity.

if you take the output (via firewire) from both, you will notice a very small difference. assuming that the same type of optics are used.

3 CCD chip camcorders are expensive. $1500+. i think maybe sony has a 3 chipper D8 camcorder, but the rest use mini DV.

what's cool about the mini DV is that it's a small tape format that holds around 60 minutes. even the D8 limits the tape in half that of the HI8 due the amount of data stored (since the highest cap 8MM tape is 120 min analog, you get 60 minutes digital...). bad news is that the 3 chipper cam are gigantic, vs the truly mini DV cams. my favorite, the canon XL-1s is gigantic. then take a look at the mini canon one looks like it could fit in the XL-1...

anyway, another factor is the mount. i made a set of cheapy aluminum headrest mount that was little bit long (cheaper to cut long that short...). but that made a short drive during the RIM rally of boquet canyon jumpy. i checked afterwards and i did have the stabilization circuit turn on in my sony D8 deck.

oops... back to the drawing boards. actually back to cutting the mount shorter.
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Old 07-13-2002, 01:03 AM   #17
randy zimmer
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Default optics!

I'm not missing anything. I shoot the video with stuff that I can afford to trash for my own use and I share it with others for fun. This isn't broadcast quality but it works for me.
Besides, after compression for the web, everything looks crappy.
I have tires to buy.
Others may want to impress with their camera's image and cost, I want to see what I hit and not do it again.
rz
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Old 07-13-2002, 01:29 AM   #18
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Sorry but I do disagree with if it is firewire Digi8 is nearly as good as Mini DV but if you are not using it for broadcast than it won't matter to you. Just a trick when shooting in any digital format under expose you can always correct the exposure in post because the information is already there, if you over expose then you cannot do anything to correct it later. TO the comment made about using a DV deck I would tell most people to scrap that idea unles they feel like paying 1800 and up (for anything decent). Gary if you ever want to edit your footage let me know I would be happy to help you out if I have time in between projects. Jamie I just got my camera back from Sony and the reason that it didn't work at Rim was because it had a software glitch, sorry it didn't work out but I am glad to see that you picked up a camera. To all of those that do not believe image stabilization is important go look at footage shot on early high 8 cameras.

Ldivinag: PD 100, PD 150, Vx2000, VX1000, and GL1 all are 3CCD cameras that are not that big, if I remeber correctly one of the Sony TRV models is also a 3CCD camera.
Canon has the best color according to some (I would dipute this) and sony has the best resolution (there is a reason a lot of television is shot on the PD 150) Just remember to get some sort of dust shield if it is being used for rally (This does not apply to Gary obviously)
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Old 07-13-2002, 05:28 AM   #19
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Gary - I borrowed a Sony MiniDV camera that is about 2 years old. I mounted it on a square "pipe" that goes between the head rests. Here's a link from Thunderhill - I was plenty happy with the results!

http://208.184.121.11/vids/HPDE_vids/thill_Jan18.wmv
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Old 07-15-2002, 10:16 AM   #20
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Default Point of order on Digital8

It uses the EXACT SAME byte stream as miniDV. The only difference is that it gets stored on a different size tape. If you can see a difference between them, you are seeing the difference in the optics and the CCD's, not in the mechanism used to store the data.

That said, I have a Sharp miniDV, and quite like it. I wish the CCD were "sharper" though. The deck is more capable than the lens and CCD, as it takes beautiful recordings from a S-Video input or a ripped DVD source via the firewire, but footage through the lens is "soft."
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Old 07-15-2002, 02:12 PM   #21
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I've been shopping around for a camera lately for the same reason. Right now, I'm mainly looking at a Sony Digital8 camera, as it seems like a good compromise of price, quality, and quick interface to a PC.

A lot of people are talking about how easy firewire makes things, but in my shopping, a lot of the cameras I've looked at also have USB outputs. It seems to me that that's even easier, since no firewire card is needed. Or is there something that I'm not taking into account?

I also wondered how all these cameras held up to dust. Mine will be mainly for recording rallycross runs and TSD rallies. During the rallycross runs, the car can get dusty inside. What steps do you guys take to protect the camera from getting dust where it shouldn't be?
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Old 07-15-2002, 02:18 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by Narcisse91
A lot of people are talking about how easy firewire makes things, but in my shopping, a lot of the cameras I've looked at also have USB outputs. It seems to me that that's even easier, since no firewire card is needed. Or is there something that I'm not taking into account?
a few notes about that: 1) most USB connections are used to transfer images (since most digicams take pictures as well as video) 2) USB is inferior (lower bandwidth) than firewire so there may be additional time required to transfer.

I'd double check to see if the USB is used to transfer video. I have USB support on my Sony, but it's only for things stored on the memory stick, not video stored on the tape.
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Old 07-15-2002, 02:25 PM   #23
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for Digital cameras - firewire has become the universal standard. The current USB 1.1 spec. is far too slow for lots of video, hence firewire's accpetence for digital video. USB 2.0 on the other hand is just rolling out now and has speeds equal to or better than firewire. But because of firewire is so entrenched in the DV world, it will take years, (if ever) that USB will take the place of firewire.
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Old 07-15-2002, 02:58 PM   #24
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travmn, I appreciate you checking on that for me. The camera I'm looking at says this on the description on Sony's website: "Connect USB terminal to a PC and broadcast live video with audio, capture still images or even playback recorded videos scenes". It's a Sony DCRTRV140, and I don't think it can take still images.

If it just comes down to a matter of speed, I can deal with not using Firewire.
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Old 07-15-2002, 06:24 PM   #25
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The latest issue of SportsCar (the SCCA publication) has a big article on cameras for in-car (or on-car) footage.

I'm not at home, but I'll give you the page numbers (and the month of the issue) when I get home if you need it.

-- ConeMasher
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