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Thread: Cheap bullet-cam/DVR setup

  1. #1
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    Default Cheap bullet-cam/DVR setup

    Like the Speedcom systems? Don't want to pay $1000 for the setup? Don't want to trash a VCR or camcorder in the harsh in-car environment? Neither do I.

    A coworker has isolated the same digital video recorder they use for the RPW Speedcom kit. Turns out it's real cheap:
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detai...=photo&n=507846
    (if that doesn't work, search on amazon.com for the "Mustek PVRA1")

    Even cheaper is the pretty much identical (near as we can tell) Audiovox unit, for $80 - Audiovox PVR1000 (also on amazon.com).
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detai...ronics&n=507846

    Either one of these will use an SD memory card; according to RPW 1GB will get you about an hour of recording time. Either download after each session or get 2-3. Those seem to be maybe $65 each??

    I still need to get my bulletcam first, but won't be long. For that, seems like the best deal on a decent resolution is:
    http://store.yahoo.com/webtronics/sosuhadccdco2.html

    HTH...

    ------------------
    Vaughan Scott
    Detroit Region #280052
    '79 924 #77 ITB/GTS1
    www.vaughanscott.com

  2. #2
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    Chicago, IL
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    Default

    How much vibration do you think will be in the video???? I am assuming there will be less than a standard video camera since there is so much less mass.

    ------------------
    Doug Hillmann
    vfc-engineering.com

  3. #3
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    One thing I have found while playing with these things is that the lens/camera is difficult to pin down in terms of what you'll actually see.

    My first one proved to be too "wide" of an angle. I mounted it next to and back from my shoulder, and you could see the A pillars! Cool, but the cars were tiny!

    The second was a better angle, but the exposure latitude is poor. When mounted inside the car, even though it appears that half the view is out the windsheild, the camer overexposes, and the outside is white, while the inside is perfect. UGG.

    So it has been mounted on the roof, where it is better. But the color fidelity is a bit flat...too little chroma.

    Maybe I'm fussy, but, if you see the video from one that you like in a friends car, buy the EXACT same model. There ARE differences between them, and the specs don't tell all.

    ------------------
    Jake Gulick
    CarriageHouse Motorsports
    ITA 57 RX-7
    New England Region
    [email protected]

  4. #4
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    I have been using the PVR with bullet cam setup for a few months now and have been very happy. For the price and ease of use it's about as good as your going to get for full digital video. There are no vibration or tracking problems which had been a real issue with the old video camera setup no matter how much isolation I put in. Jake is right about the viewing angle. I found I had to mount my cam on the roll bar next to the a pillar to get the brightness balance on the camera to work out. Now that is done the viewing angle covers everything in front of me, I just don't have my flailing around behind the wheel in the shot. That's probably a good thing.

    ------------------
    ~Matt Rowe
    ITA Shelby Charger
    MARRS #96

  5. #5
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    Default

    Yeah, I'm intending to use the camera up top/front by the rearview; current camera location is back under the hatch, which does a great job of capturing me talking to myself in Italian but not such a great job of car-to-car action outside, and almost impossible to really see where I am on-track. I hope to capture the hood and track from the top of the windshield; if that doesn't work, I will consider the roof-mount option. At least this bullet cam is weatherproof.

    ------------------
    Vaughan Scott
    Detroit Region #280052
    '79 924 #77 ITB/GTS1
    www.vaughanscott.com

  6. #6
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    Vaughan,

    Can you use multiple cameras on your setup?

    G

  7. #7
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    Not at present; I need to add a PIP box to allow this. RPW and Speedcom sell the SS1000 which will do PIP. However I don't intend to use the second camera as a driver-cam - I'd rather have it pointed out back filming those chasing me. Would've had some awesome video from Saturday if I had! Instead, we pointed it out back Sunday, and missed everything going on in front of me.

    ------------------
    Vaughan Scott
    Detroit Region #280052
    '79 924 #77 ITB/GTS1
    www.vaughanscott.com

  8. #8

    Default

    Matt (or anyone else):

    Do you use the Mustek / Audiovox PVR as linked at the top of the thread, or some other PVR? At the Audiovox price, this is almost too good to be true!

    Al Seim

  9. #9

    Default

    And, as an associated question -

    What specific bullet cams has anyone used and liked?

    Al Seim

  10. #10
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    Default

    That looks like a really cool setup.

    The only question I have is the resolution. I saw a forum that said those PVRs record at 320x240. That's sounds kind of low to me.

    -Kyle

  11. #11
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    The nice thing about the DVRs is the price, and the fact that you get a digital file. But...you rely on SD cards...and they aren't cheap. I think you need either a laptop to download to or a few SD cards.

    I too am wondering about the resolution, it's *curious* that there is NO spec for any kind of resolution.

    Do the DVRs use vehicle power? If not battery life could be an issue.

    ------------------
    Jake Gulick
    CarriageHouse Motorsports
    ITA 57 RX-7
    New England Region
    [email protected]

  12. #12
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    Kyle - you're correct, the resolution is limited, compared to DV it's pretty noticeable. But for me, that's fine; given the improvement in cost and durability, I'll accept that. Furthermore that tends to be all the resolution I end up with anyway, after capturing the video and cutting it down to a size that I can post on the web, which is really all I do with my video anyway. So, in essence, I'll be gaining shortcuts in a) getting the video to a file format I can use immediately, and making the file a useful size.

    SD cards... latest survey of NewEgg.com shows the 1Gb cards can be had for $55 each (just ordered mine from there). They even have the primo SanDisk 2Gb for only $140, and we all know how the prices will evolve. Of course, I'll have the added advantage with this thing of using it with a 2Gb card as an in-car MP3 player, for my daily ride (a 924 Turbo which still is stiff, with stock suspension - MP3 players are THE stereo solution, never worry about skips again).

    Yes, you will either need to copy the files off the card or swap in another. For me, that's no problem; I already fire up my laptop at the end of the session to download my data from my dash...

    I would likewise expect that in another year or so the resolution of the PVR's will double for about the same cost as current. Just a matter of where you want to buy in.

    For power, these PVR's use 5V DC in, so you could readily wire them up to accept power from the car direct using a cig lighter adapter (or direct wire in). For now, I'll use the internal battery, not worried about it.

    The bullet cam and microphones use 12V, so those can be even simpler. Might still want a cig lighter adapter or some other power supply, to regulate and filter the supply JIC.

    I still have to hunt to find a better (cheaper) source for the mikes, since I want 2 for proper stereo (one in each window). Right now they take a $1 miniature mike, slap a small power and filter circuit board on it, then sell it for $20! I'm willing to pay $10 for somebody's expertise in that, but $20 seems a little high.

    Of course, with all this technology meaning instant access to all the data right after getting off-track, the next step of the evolution is obvious - I need to have someone Pimp My Ride! Anyone remember where they put that massive flat-screen display in the car, for playing video games? We need to put one of those in the tailgate of my tow vehicle, so we can play the video back afterwards on the big screen, right in the paddock! LOL Well, maybe just a small screen from Crutchfield... that would at least take less out of my cargo capacity...

    ------------------
    Vaughan Scott
    Detroit Region #280052
    '79 924 #77 ITB/GTS1
    www.vaughanscott.com

  13. #13
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    Pssst....Vaughan.....

    http://www.supercircuits.com/index.asp?Pag...ROD&ProdID=4123

    I've been running a bullet cam from these folks for two years with no issues as well.

    Jarrod

  14. #14
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    THANK YOU!!! I had a feeling that if I posted here, someone might clue me in...

    ------------------
    Vaughan Scott
    Detroit Region #280052
    '79 924 #77 ITB/GTS1
    www.vaughanscott.com

  15. #15
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    Default

    Used Mustek PVR-A1 on ebay: $88
    Cheap Wireless Camera w/sound: $28
    Tape to mount inside helmet: $.75
    SD Card borrowed from roomie's camera: $0
    Hearing self say "YOW!" after first session: priceless

    (max recording resolution on the PVR-A1 is 320x240 as noted by the image below, btw)...and I only had the camera in my helmet for a non-sanctioned test day for all the GCR nuts out there. I wouldn't recommend the el cheapo camera for anything but in-helmet use, though, it is kind of dim and the angle isn't very wide.

    Thanks improvedtouring.com for the help! Someone posted a similar topic to this a couple of months ago and it pointed me in the right direction.


  16. #16
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    Now that's budget!

    I've gotten everything except my microphones and the power supply/adapter for the bullet cam. If I can get it rigged up from Radioshack, I'll likely take the setup for a quick spin in my street car (also a 924, this one a turbo) to get a realistic idea of camera angle. The $70 1/4" Sony CCD camera came with a 3.6mm lens, which is 72 deg; 90+ would be better, but is an additional $30, so if I can deal with the 72-deg lens, I will for now...

    ------------------
    Vaughan Scott
    Detroit Region #280052
    '79 924 #77 ITB/GTS1
    www.vaughanscott.com

  17. #17
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    I have two of those mics...but when I got them, they were $13!!!!
    Jake Gulick


    CarriageHouse Motorsports
    for sale: 2003 Audi A4 Quattro, clean, serviced, dark green, auto, sunroof, tan leather with 75K miles.
    IT-7 #57 RX-7 race car
    Porsche 1973 911E street/fun car
    BMW 2003 M3 cab, sun car.
    GMC Sierra Tow Vehicle
    New England Region
    lateapex911(at)gmail(dot)com


  18. #18
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    Wow, the new digs sure are fancy!!! Good job!

    I now have in-car video taken in my street car (also a 924, so mimics my intended race setup) posted on my website (under "Cruising Woodward"):
    http://vaughanscott.com/videos.htm

    I've also seen video taken at WOR Games last weekend with this setup (but 90 deg lens and recording with the Mustek instead of the Audiovox, not that it matters)... excellent. I will not be disappointed.
    Vaughan Scott
    Detroit Region #280052
    '79 924 #77 ITB
    #65 Hidari Firefly P2
    www.vaughanscott.com

  19. #19
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    Oct 2003
    Location
    Woburn, MA
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    Thumbs up

    This sounded like a good idea, so I ordered the Mustek and Sony camera. But, I'm a bit baffled with the video output connector. Did anyone source an adapter to go from the (1Vp-p, 75ohm negative) connector to the RCA type jacks the Mustek PVR uses?

  20. #20
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    Dec 2003
    Location
    Woodstock, Ga USA
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    Default

    Originally posted by SWSpiers@Aug 26 2005, 09:42 PM
    This sounded like a good idea, so I ordered the Mustek and Sony camera. But, I'm a bit baffled with the video output connector. Did anyone source an adapter to go from the (1Vp-p, 75ohm negative) connector to the RCA type jacks the Mustek PVR uses?
    [snapback]59078[/snapback]
    Yes. Radio shack has the adapter.

    Chuck

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