Autocross Video Setup

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Autocross Video Setup

Postby Loren » Mon Nov 20, 2017 11:03 am

Pulled the trigger on a cheap camera, and hopefully not too cheap suction cup mount.

I was looking at $35-40 cameras, but ultimately decided to splurge and get a $52 camera. It does 4k at 30 fps (oooooh... overkill), but it also has the best frame rate I saw for 720p... it'll do 120 fps. Pretty cool if you're looking for frame-by-frame detail, which I am sometimes.

The other reason I went slightly more upscale/modern is that the sub-$40 cameras are all 1080p (which is fine) with no wifi or remote. One of the reasons I've shunned doing video in the past is that I don't have time for "complex". The new cameras with the remote control, and wi-fi for phone control. That's cool. I can turn the camera on/off from the driver's seat. I can see what's being recorded from the driver's seat, so I don't have to wonder if the camera has shifted. Good stuff. Camera technology is right where I need it to be!

Now, the purpose of this thread: I want to be able to do simple data overlay of at least speed and G's. I don't need full mapping or anything, and I don't want to blow another $100 on an external GPS. So, I'm looking at either just using what's internal to the phone, or maybe connecting to OBD2. I do have a Bluetooth OBD dongle.

What's the EASIEST phone app to get the data?
What's the EASIEST way to get that data onto a video?

If it's not easy, I'm less likely to take the time to do it.
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Autocross Video Setup

Postby jbrannon7 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 12:28 pm

Gs are the hard part, all applications that I have looked require the phone to be on the same plane as the chassis and they want it level when not in motion. So I had an old phone mount that I fixed to the console, it wasn't perfect but it was close enough. Like many here I use RaceChrono to collect data and Race render to merge it with the video. RaceChrono recommends an external GPS for higher resolution but if you are willing to accept your phones resolution it should work with that. A cheap OPDDII blue tooth device will also give you speedo , throttle position and a few other data points, I think you already have one of those.
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Autocross Video Setup

Postby Loren » Mon Nov 20, 2017 12:59 pm

G data is just gee whiz cool stuff at this point. Speed is almost a necessity. RPM and throttle position would be useful.

I'm okay without mapping for now.
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Autocross Video Setup

Postby puncturina » Mon Nov 20, 2017 5:14 pm

My sentiments exactly. More gizmos that require downloads, file merging, file manipulation, more interfaces, or whatever are not in the scope of my remaining brain cells. Will be interested to follow your experience with KISS camera solution.
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Autocross Video Setup

Postby Amphoteric88 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 5:48 pm

I think I posted about this before actually. I use Torque on Android to get the information. Almost anything the OBDII reader can read, plus whatever the phone's sensors can pick up, can be recorded. I think it spits out the data as an excel.

But logging that onto a video is something I lack experience with. I use an add on called Track Recorder to produce the overlay using the raw data. However, this requires recording the video from the phone itself.

Here's a screenshot of a video I made using the the app and my phone:

Image


The data on the screen is customizable. I happen to have those four on tap.
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Autocross Video Setup

Postby jbrannon7 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 6:01 pm

So Loren, what camera did you get? I could use a new one. Mine are all at least 7 years old.
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Autocross Video Setup

Postby Loren » Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:31 pm

This is what I ordered. Should be here Wednesday.
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Postby CaptainSquirts » Mon Nov 20, 2017 11:38 pm

What kind of mount are you going to use and where?
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Autocross Video Setup

Postby Loren » Mon Nov 20, 2017 11:49 pm

I bought a cheap suction cup mount with good reviews... hoping for the best. If it sucks, I'll upgrade. Before I trust it to hanging a camera on the outside of the car at an autocross, I'll stick it on an inside window and beat on it for a few days and see how it holds up. Reviews seem to indicate that the suction cup part is very good, the joints just aren't made as well as they could be and sometimes can't be tightened enough to not move.

I'm sure I'll do some in-car video to check on my driving habits. B-pillar vids are often some of my favorites, but I'll experiment. The car may be short enough in length to get something interesting with the camera on the rear hatch window, or maybe inside the passenger side window.

But, my immediate desire is to use it to try to get a better idea of what my suspension is doing to try to fix this wheel hop problem. So, I'll be sticking it to the side of the car and looking at front and rear tire movement and whatever other useful angles I can come up with.
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Postby BrantR » Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:58 am

I'm very interested in how this setup goes, as I'll be looking for a similarly budget-friendly and data-filled solution with minimal fuss.
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Autocross Video Setup

Postby CaptainSquirts » Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:23 pm

Calling it now. Once Loren gives his :thumbwink: a bunch of us are going to get the same exact setup since he did all the homework for us :lol: .
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Autocross Video Setup

Postby Evil MS3 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 1:18 pm

If anyone is looking for a another decent priced action cam that does real telemetry data I'd suggest the previous model Garmin Virb (link below). I purchased one of these for $120 (price fluctuates, there's also a refurb option) and it works great. Gives speed, Gs, map, etc and the software is pretty simple to use as it allows you to customize what data you overlay onto the video and how. I'll provide a clip below from a while back when I was still getting used to it. Not to take away from Loren's research, just adding another option.

New: https://www.amazon.com/Garmin-Virb-Elit ... virb+elite
Refurb: https://www.amazon.com/Garmin-Action-Ca ... lite&psc=1

Video was from when I just messing around with it at first.

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Autocross Video Setup

Postby Loren » Wed Nov 22, 2017 4:46 pm

I think if anyone is looking for "simple and cheap" just to get some in-car footage, your best bet is to use one of the all-in-one phone apps and invest in a good phone mount that will put the camera where you want it. In my case, I wanted the option to do out-of-the-car video, and I didn't want to hang my phone out there. (though I do have an older phone that, in hindsight... I probably could have used)

Anyway... camera and mount showed up today. All seems to be of good quality and very easy to use. There is a spot on the camera sensor, however. I thought it was on the display screen until I viewed the video on my phone. I probably should get it replaced. But, I get no joy out of playing that game, so I'll probably not bother.

Wireless stuff used to be a mixed bag of stuff that usually didn't work well and was very finicky when it did work. I think we're finally in the age where wireless has matured enough that a lot of things are pretty easy. Such as this camera. After I downloaded the app, it quickly and easily connected to my phone and gave me complete control along with live preview. :-D Downloading a 30-second test video took about 30 seconds. Uploading same video to YouTube also took about 30 seconds. (once I remembered that I had to disconnect from the camera and reconnect to my local WiFi network.

Pretty slick as far as basic camera operation and transferring files goes. Have to plug it in to charge it, but that's the only required cable!

The cost-factor... I started out seeking a $35-40 camera. Ended up spending $52 on the camera, and with mounts, right about $70. I thought I'd borrow one of my wife's SD cards... turns out none of hers are MicroSD. So, I had to buy an SD card. Could have bought a cheap 16GB SD card for about $12. Opted to splurge for the highest speed 32GB card for $25. So, I'm up to almost $100... for my $35 camera. :roll:

Here's the first couch-test. (and, no, I didn't cue the cat-craziness... that just happened)

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Time to start looking at software...
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Autocross Video Setup

Postby friskyflea » Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:39 am

Loren wrote:
Mon Nov 20, 2017 11:49 pm
I bought a cheap suction cup mount with good reviews... ... Before I trust it to hanging a camera on the outside of the car at an autocross...


https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PQ4ACQ2/_e ... 4MDZTYSBCM

the triple cup ones may be harder to stick on a curved surface (potentially 3 v. 2 planes)

and for the very concerned (as in I...)
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074C6GLSC/re ... il_3?psc=1


I use Track Addict and Philip uses Race Chrono. Both are free phone apps. The on board GPS is 1 Hz: both of us upgraded to a 10 Hz GPS unit. I mount mine inside, on the windshield. Philip's is spiderwebbed on, as his videos attest. Don't know if Track Addict will support your camera - I just use my phone's.
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Autocross Video Setup

Postby Loren » Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:41 am

If the single cup mount is unsatisfactory, I'm just going to get one of these and use the handlebar mount on it.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XF1Z8R7/

Still slowly looking at software. I'm finding hints that the easiest thing to do is load the videos to my phone (which is quick and easy) and let Race Chrono directly apply overlays to it. Track Addict will likely do the same thing. And then there's Harry's Race Timer.

Hopefully, I'll have something figured out before the next autocross!
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The "Push Harder, Suck Less" philosophy explained:
Push Harder - Drive as close to the limit of your tires as possible.
Suck Less - Drive something resembling a proper racing line.
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Autocross Video Setup

Postby Loren » Thu Nov 23, 2017 9:40 pm

Software. RaceChrono is supposed to have the feature that I wanted. Namely, the ability to overlay displays onto an imported video using only my phone. Well, it MAY be able to do that, but it's anything but intuitive, and the documentation is non-existent. A couple of useless tutorials, and a user forum.

I may end up coming back to it, but I'm gonna have to look at the other options. Even if it means using another program to merge the video output.
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Autocross Video Setup

Postby Loren » Fri Nov 24, 2017 12:09 am

Okay, Track Addict seems like a much easier to use program, and I really like RaceRender. Will do some experimentation tomorrow...
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Suck Less - Drive something resembling a proper racing line.
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Autocross Video Setup

Postby Loren » Fri Nov 24, 2017 7:42 pm

Not bad. Still not as simple of a process as I'd like. But, it works.

This is Track Addict for data and phone video, and RaceRender putting it all together.

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The camera control app didn't conflict with Track Addict, so that was cool. I was able to start the video, switch the app, and then start the data and other video.

Track Addict will WiFi transfer data and video directly to RaceRender on my laptop, that's easy. The quickest way to get video off of the camera is to pull the SD card. Could wirelessly transfer to my phone with the camera app, and then BT to my laptop, but that's a hassle.
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The "Push Harder, Suck Less" philosophy explained:
Push Harder - Drive as close to the limit of your tires as possible.
Suck Less - Drive something resembling a proper racing line.
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Autocross Video Setup

Postby Loren » Sat Nov 25, 2017 1:57 am

There just aren't a lot of software options to choose from.

Track Addict + RaceRender - It's good software. Free for most of what you'd want to do as an autocrosser, but it does tag the end of your video, and also puts an branded overlay on your video that you can reposition, but CAN'T remove without buying the deluxe version of the software. I get it, they gotta make a buck. Just pointing out that "free" often comes at a price.

Track Addict is your phone app. Will record data from BT OBDII, and your internal or external GPS, and your internal camera or linked GoPro. It records. It does not edit or export overlayed video.

RaceRender is the PC program. It takes the Track Addict data and video, plus any other video you want to include, and lets you edit and export a finished video.

SoloStorm - All the big-time SCCA autocross types swear by this one because it's written by an autocrosser FOR autocrossers, and the big thing it does (and, apparently does well) is lets you analyize your data/video very quickly and effectively ON YOUR PHONE between runs. That's pretty valuable if you're at high-level competition. And it's pricey. $200 software. Probably worth every penny, but out of my budget. My review ends there.

RaceChrono - Another phone app that will probably do all that you need for simple "use the phone camera" autocross video with the free version. It will also record data from your internal or external GPS, and OBDII. Unlike Track Addict, it will export your final product right on your phone. Cool! To unlock external video support and PIP features (and probably some other stuff that I don't care about), you have to buy the Pro version for $18. Pretty reasonable price.

Spent some more time with RaceChrono tonight. A proper manual would do this one a world of good! But, once I figured some things out (from a rambling video tutorial and a few support forum threads), I was able to get it to do what I wanted it to do. I'll spare you the Picture-in-Picture couch video, but it works. And since I've already purchased it, I'll definitely play with it some more.

I can say that if you want "bells and whistles", you want RaceRender. Lots of fancy gauge styles to choose from, multiple overlayed videos, whatever you want. With RaceChrono, you get fixed basic gauge styles, and only one PIP video layer. But, it seems to do what it does very well... and all on my S7... for $18. With no ads or other nags.

Others? - As someone mentioned, there is Garmin's Virb and the software that comes with it. There are likely some other proprietary software solutions, and other lesser-known apps. But, right now, as far as the "open market" goes, I think the above three are it.
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Suck Less - Drive something resembling a proper racing line.
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Autocross Video Setup

Postby Loren » Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:14 pm

Here's a proper test of RaceChrono. There is a logo in the bottom left of the video, but it's unobtrusive, unlike RaceRender.

This was all done on my phone. The video was recorded on the remote camera, downloaded via it's integrated WiFi. I didn't do a PIP video because there's a limitation in RaceChrono: It won't let you use the front camera. My phone mount gives a lovely view of a dash vent from the rear camera. So, I downloaded the external video and moved it to the proper folder. Linked and synched it with RaceChrono, and exported it. Okay, I had to do it 3 times to get it right (first time the video file was corrupt because the camera battery was dying, second time I got the synch wrong and had it set for metric units)... but, it really is that simple once you know what you're doing.

You can see that the GPS data is VERY laggy. I need to switch the speed input to OBD, that should be very accurate.

This is the camera mount. Seems pretty good so far. Can't complain for $8.

I also included one of these swivel mounts mostly just because it looked cool. It spring-locks into variable positions (I didn't count how many... maybe 16?), and holds them pretty well. I ended up deciding to use it as a sort of "Break-away" to protect the camera when mounted outside the car. Put it on the axis that the camera would get pushed toward if it hit a cone, and it will give right away, and maybe reduce some of the impact on the camera. It does have a LITTLE bit of wobble in it. But, I'm not seeing it in the videos.

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Push Harder - Drive as close to the limit of your tires as possible.
Suck Less - Drive something resembling a proper racing line.

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