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Old 01-25-12, 02:20 PM   #1
k7baixo
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To record or not to record. That is the question

While watching the news last night, my wife asked about a story on some snowmobile riders who had to rescue one of their own when that rider was buried in an avalanche.

Her question was, "why was he wearing a camera?" I explained that a lot of people record their adventures and then I deftly mentioned that some bicyclists have cameras to record their rides and drivers' bad behavior.

I knew her response - "you should get one." The question is, I'm not sure I want one.

I understand it provides a good mechanism against bad drivers and I've seen the odd video or two on-line where drivers were arrested based on the video provided by the bicyclist. Here's a good example.

I've had the odd incident or two but generally, it's not a problem. I had a Phoenix city bus come w-a-y too close a few weeks ago and maybe a camera would have helped.

SO - do you use a camera? How handy is it? Is it worth the (my) perceived hassle?
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Old 01-25-12, 04:32 PM   #2
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I don't use a camera, but I personally think its a good idea. It's on my wish list.
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Old 01-25-12, 04:41 PM   #3
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Your average driver is not going to see the helmet camera, and therefore think, "I better treat this cyclist with respect, or he is going to rat me out."
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Old 01-25-12, 05:06 PM   #4
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I take my camera if I'm doing a "scenic" ride. Posting pics on BF is fun.
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Old 01-25-12, 05:18 PM   #5
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I had a few extra bucks and purchased a couple cameras the other month. Both were on sale. Got a Contour and a GoPro. I've been using them, but mostly just for fun to document my rides. I wonder how useful they would be in the case of having to identify a reckless driver. The field-of-view is so wide that the resolution for seeing detail, (i.e., license plate numbers), is pretty low. Also, the fov makes real distances difficult to quantify. You really can't tell how close someone comes to you with a wide angle view. They may just be a foot or two away from you, but on wide angle, it looks like they never came close to you. To me, it is still a "toy".
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Old 01-25-12, 06:03 PM   #6
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I used to film my races on my Ducati, but I stopped, 'cause knowing the camera was filming made me try harder and take more risk's which proved to be slower, so I don't think I will ever record my bike ride, I don't need to ride like a tool!!!!!!
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Old 01-26-12, 10:48 PM   #7
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I wanted to buy a GoPro, but couldn't really justify the expense. Then my son asked for one to record a class at college, so I bought the thing. I wonder if I'll ever get to use it on a bike.
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Old 01-26-12, 11:23 PM   #8
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Just another distraction from riding the bike . . .
Wear headphones while you're at it . . .
. . . or do some texting? And light up a smoke?
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Old 01-27-12, 12:10 AM   #9
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Just another distraction from riding the bike . . .
Wear headphones while you're at it . . .
. . . or do some texting? And light up a smoke?
I must be dense, but how does a video camera distract a cyclist? Unless one purchases a special accessory, the GoPro won't even show you what it is recording until you download the data. It just sits there like an unused light on its mount.

I was actually thinking of using it to show people some of the great places we have to ride around here. It turns out that most of the long-time locals hereabouts haven't ridden on some of the nicest cycling roads on offer. I seem to recall you writing that you once spent a summer in this area, so maybe you did a few miles out along the Siuslaw, Smith, Upper Smith, West Fork Smith and North Fork Smith rivers. Sadly, the public land I ride through may be handed over to a quasi-private board over the next few years, so I would like to help as many people enjoy it before it is clear-cut as possible, even if only via video.
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Old 01-27-12, 01:30 AM   #10
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Some have seen this before but I recorded it while lighting a cigarette and sending a text to Gina saying I'll be home a little sooner than expected.


I use a Flip and record them for my blog as a diary type post.

[video=youtube;B6jBSRAO4qY]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6jBSRAO4qY[/video]
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Old 01-27-12, 02:30 AM   #11
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I have made a few videos of my rides, including riding Wilshire Blvd, jam-packed with cars, and quiet roads in the Santa Monica Mountains above Los Angeles. They were, after a short while, amazingly boring videos to watch.
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Old 01-27-12, 06:13 AM   #12
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I have a GoPro and another cheaper camera and enjoy using them sometimes.

If you video and store complete rides you will quickly find that handling the great amount of data will wear on you. And your hardware resources need to be up to snuff for handling those big files. A fair amount of editing can also be involved to take the raw files and create something other people will enjoy. But making videos of especially scenic or meaningful rides can be a lot of fun.

It doesn't sound like you have enough safety issues going on to make the camera that much of a benefit in that area. IMO, the camera itself isn't much of a distraction once you have the mounting and aiming taken care of. (New K Edge mounts for GoPro are very nice!)
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Old 01-27-12, 06:30 AM   #13
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A fair amount of editing can also be involved to take the raw files and create something other people will enjoy.
I don't know anything about the GoPro, but I have been thinking of getting one to record some of the Saturday and Sunday club rides that I do and give copies to the riders that were there. Two questions about the video are: 1) What is the format of the saved video in a GoPro (file extension), 2) Is there video editing software that comes with the camera or can you use Microsoft's Movie Maker?
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Old 01-27-12, 08:50 AM   #14
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I use mine to record rides for fun, not a legal document. If I had to do that, I'd question where I lived and move. I use mine for fun and that is why I ride, for fun.
Some trail video coming soon.
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Old 01-27-12, 09:11 AM   #15
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I think it would be cool to have one but to be objectively useful, I just don't see it. Maybe twice in the last several years I wished I'd had some driver on video, but realistically it wouldn't have been any benefit. You'd need it if you had a serious accident, but that's it in my opinion.

I'm personally tempted just because some rides are unusual and it would be great to have video.
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Old 01-27-12, 09:52 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John_V View Post
I don't know anything about the GoPro, but I have been thinking of getting one to record some of the Saturday and Sunday club rides that I do and give copies to the riders that were there. Two questions about the video are: 1) What is the format of the saved video in a GoPro (file extension), 2) Is there video editing software that comes with the camera or can you use Microsoft's Movie Maker?
I have the GoPro Hero 2. It saves the videos as .MP4 files and they are HUGE! GoPro has downloadable software on their website, but I have been using Movie Maker to make smaller .wmv files for uploading to YouTube etc.

I am really enjoying the camera and I'm amazed at the image quality, especially of the original files. I watch them on the 50" plasma set and it is great. I am at the very early stages of learning what makes for an enjoyable video and how to process it.

I think it would be hard to make out license plates on passing cars. Maybe using the time lapse mode taking .jpg images every few seconds would work for that.
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Old 01-27-12, 01:30 PM   #17
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I have the GoPro Hero 2. It saves the videos as .MP4 files and they are HUGE! GoPro has downloadable software on their website, but I have been using Movie Maker to make smaller .wmv files for uploading to YouTube etc.

I am really enjoying the camera and I'm amazed at the image quality, especially of the original files. I watch them on the 50" plasma set and it is great. I am at the very early stages of learning what makes for an enjoyable video and how to process it.

I think it would be hard to make out license plates on passing cars. Maybe using the time lapse mode taking .jpg images every few seconds would work for that.
BluesDawg,

Thanks for the info. I will look into the GoPro a little further and then see if the groups would be interested in getting the rides video taped (although there is no real tape involved).
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Old 01-27-12, 03:15 PM   #18
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I've always thought that vehicles should be required to have sealed black boxes and cameras forward and rear. Or that those who do have their cars so-equipped should get a discount on their insurance. The recording would be a manageable duration, maybe a 30-minute rolling window that gets overwritten, unless the air bags get deployed, in which case the video file is automatically archived for legal purposes. In court, the black boxes of the vehicles involved would be unsealed by law enforcement and the contents reviewed to see just what actually happened, what speeds were involved, if and when the brakes were applied, etc.

The technology might be useful for cyclists as well, with the video getting automatically archived when the accelerometer exceeds 300g or something...

L.
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Old 01-27-12, 03:42 PM   #19
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I don't believe in forcing people to record themselves... kind of a 5th amendment (not to mention a few others) problem. However, I do wholeheartedly agree with folks voluntarily recording video if/when they deem necessary. I used to operate a Kustom Signals rig with radar and a digital video camera system, and the best feature for that was an adjustable pre-record buffer. Rather than run the camera constantly, or waste grey matter clock cycles on trying to predict when a recordable situation will occur, the camera can be activated within a few seconds of the incident and will save what's in the buffer.
Such a system should be pretty simple to set up with civilian components and a decently tech-savvy designer, with perhaps two small wide-angle cameras (one forward, one back).
This is an example. Dull video, but you can hear the beep 5 seconds in, when I hit the record button.
[video=youtube;aC8gaFueBIc]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aC8gaFueBIc[/video]
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Old 01-27-12, 04:29 PM   #20
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LBS has some, size of a small [1C] flashlight, velcro to the helmet..
given exposure to X games and the 'dumbest on wheels' clips,
my thought was .. when in the emergency room , when intake question is
"what happened?", you can load the memory card's clip into their computer.
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Old 01-27-12, 08:17 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John_V View Post
I don't know anything about the GoPro, but I have been thinking of getting one to record some of the Saturday and Sunday club rides that I do and give copies to the riders that were there. Two questions about the video are: 1) What is the format of the saved video in a GoPro (file extension), 2) Is there video editing software that comes with the camera or can you use Microsoft's Movie Maker?
Yes, they're MP4 files and and they are ginormous... will gobble up your hard drive quickly. I use a progam called Video Pad to convert the raw MP4s to WMV and then edit them. (WMVs are about 1/2 the size MP4 files so they still take up considerable drive space.) Movie Maker will likely work too. IMO making a video an entire ride is impractical and you will want to record samples of the ride and blend them into a video.
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