Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Working Out the Kinks for Mounting My New Video Camera

I've spent a couple days of iffy/rainy weather fiddling with and looking at different mountings for my new Drift Camera on the Raider... and also trying to figure out... just what it is I really want to do with it.

I don't think I want to get going with full scale, frequent Vlogging, but you never know. :) More likely I'll work at trying to produce some focused, thought out, stand alone videos. Good roads... maybe a lil' philosophy now and again... a whole lot of ideas floating around... and... I'm listening to suggestions... :)

As for motorcycle camera mounting options, I've come up with four locations, so far, on my Raider... that look like they should work.

First of course... for a Helmet Camera is the Helmet mount. Which turns out to be kind of problematical with my Nolan Helmet. You can't put it on top because of both vent controls and clearance needed for the modular face to swing up... the left side has the commo door location... which only leaves low on the right side... which... should work just fine.

The second location is the Handlebar mount. Again, on the Raider a little bit of an issue. The space between the Riser and the first bend in the bar is juuuuuust enough to squeeze it in. The camera will actually point a couple of degrees to the right, but... with 170 degree field of view... I'm not expecting that to be an issue.

Location #3 is a camera mount up on the forks... just below the triple tree. Now here I've got the option of ordering a commercial made mount... for maybe $35 bucks or so... plus shipping... or ... fabricating my own.

I've chose to try out a home built camera mount to start with. Taking an idea I've seen on a couple of you tube videos... I got some pvc parts, and a couple of hose clamps... and I think... with a lil' tweaking here and there... it will work... with parts at something like $10 bucks at a pricey Ace Hardware...

*Parts for a Home Built Motorcycle Action Camera Mount*
I'll cut that PVC T in half, down the long side. The plug will get glued into the remaining leg. The hose clamps will secure the two halve around the upper section of the forks...

Then using some of the Drift Supplied Industrial Velcro attached to the head of the PVC plug and one of the misc. bases from Drift Innovation... I'll have a fork located camera mount.

... and if the camera don't run into the fuel tank... Bada Bing! I'm golden! :)

The fourth possible location I've seen, on my bike... is to again use some of that HD Velcro... and set a mount under the tail rack on the Raider's Backrest...

Not sure how much I want to film where I've been, rather than where I'm headed... but it might could be a nice clip or two cut in to a video...

One small issue I've not yet dealt with... and a negative, in my mind, when it comes to the Drift Camera... is the microphone.

Now... the Microphone itself seems to work well... and... Helmet mounted, there'll be NO issue... but I have a gripe about other locations...

If you want to mount the camera down low on the bike? or out front... or whatever... and want to be able to add your monologue audio? They only provided maybe 3 feet of wire on the Microphone lead. It's just TOO SHORT... Now... that wire is really small... probably costs maybe 50 cents a foot? and they think folks would squawk if they made the lead to the camera another couple of feet longer to make it usable for better camera angles? Get real! I'll likely fire off a Suggestion to Drift Innovation... add a dollars worth of wire to the lead... I'll pay it! Sheesh!

... so... I've got to see if I can find a cable extension with the correct ends on it... that the microphone can plug into... all 'cause some bean counter figured they could save a buck?

The weather seems to be letting up a lil'. Maybe, spring is finally here... I've just lost much interest in rain riding when I don't have to. :) So... I'm hoping the sun will co-operate with me... and I can get some road tests and practices done... and start producing some proper Videos... 

Yeah... and all I need do is buy what? Three more cameras... and I can go down the road doin' multi camera filming... just like the big studios! :) ... yeah... right...

Let's all hope I don't go That Far... around the bend!

Grab Your Handles and Ride!

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

New Helmet Cameras and Good Roads...

Lot's goin' on... and nothing... all at the same time.

My HD 170 Stealth action camera, from Drift Innovation arrived the day before we left Fort Collins. A couple days of travel, and then several days of rain since we arrived at Flaming Gorge kept me from doing anything much with it.

Then... just to add another couple layers of confusion and fun, the Wife picked up some sort of a nasty bug, and my main laptop got its own Virus, all at the same time. So between dealing with the weather, ER visits and trying to clean out electronic viruses, my videography education is advancing realllll slow...

I played around with it yesterday when the weather finally broke for a while. It's going to take a bit to work out mounting points on the Raider. The handlebar mount clamps up OK... the problem is, on the Raider, there isn't enough room between the riser and the first bend of the bars, for the camera to sit pointing directly forward.

*Drift Innovation HD170 Stealth Action Camera*

It kicks off a couple of degrees to the right, or left, depending on which side you've mounted on. With 170 degree field of view, I think that might not even be an issue. It'll have to wait for a test ride/filming to know for sure.

An option is mounting one of the misc/helmet bases on the headlight can using supplied velcro... another option requiring a test ride. As solid as that point seems, there might be too much vibration there... we shall see.

A third option I've found is a mount system from a third party company that would allow mounting to the forks, just below the triple tree... That could be an interesting angle... I'll have to order that mount in and give it a try as my video blogging education moves along.

So... though the first Video hasn't come along yet... there has been progress toward actually producing some Riding/Touring Videos! I just have to do some more studying. :)

I played with it some, learning the buttons and working out a way to mount the external microphone I got with it... inside my helmet... but still more to learn! :)

In the mean time... I have found another road for Bikers traveling through the NE Utah area... Highway 44 running from Manila across the southern end of Flaming Gorge National Recreation area and connecting with US 191, 28 miles east.

The country is beautiful, with great views around many if not most of the twists in the asphalt...

*View along Utah 44 east of Manila*
You can just see the grey flash of a bit of the highway as it twists through the hills... in the left center of the photo... and for those wanting twists and turns... on their Ribbon of Highway... this road won't disappoint...

*A sample of the Twisties along Utah 44
From gentle sweepers to tight peg scrapers, you'll get your fix... one word of caution... especially in the early season, stay aware and keep it a lil' easy... We had plenty of rock fall pop up sudden like as we rolled around a few of the blind corners. Rock big enough to bust a Freightliners axle... let alone a Roadliner! :) So... watch yourself.

You'll be rewarded though... it's a gorgeous country...

I'd recommend you turn in and take in a bit more of Flaming Gorge itself, not just the road running past. You might even want to set your camp in one of the good campgrounds available; Red Canyon, Canyon Rim, Greens Lake, or Skull Creek, good Forest Service campgrounds all.

*Flaming Gorge Nat. Rec. Area*
Just watch out for one of the Utah traffic jams that are getting kinda common in the area :)

So... it's back to school for me...

I gotta punch the buttons enough, to get comfortable with that new Helmet Camera!:)

Grab Your Handles and Ride!

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I've Joined the Ranks of Motorcycle Vloggers

Well... almost...

I've been thinking about it for quite a while... made a couple videos using my regular digital camera... and finally decided that it was time to put up... or shut up...

Now... I don't know anyone who's ever accused me of ... shutting up! so...

I just hit the ORDER button and now have an HD 170 Stealth Action Helmet Camera from Drift Innovation, in the pipeline and heading my way!

I had looked at several others and finally settled on this unit for a couple of reasons. First, all the reviews I found rated it pretty highly. Second, it's one of the few that has an external microphone jack... so you can record decent audio at the same time... w/o having a normal camera stuffed into your helmet somehow...

That also allows you to mount the camera in some places to hopefully get some good/creative videography... while still recording clear audio!

Geeze... guess I have a whole new lingo I've got to learn now!

... and third, this camera has the capability to shoot fast enough that you can produce decent slow motion footage...

Now... since I don't have it in my hands yet... I can only go by what's claimed... another week or so and I'll be able to actually see if the claims are justified... but, so far, it looks real good to me.

I ordered from an outfit that for the time being shall remain nameless. I'd almost ordered from another outfit a couple days ago... but something kept me from pushing the order button... and then, last night I stumbled across another outfit selling the same camera... at the same price... but with pretty much $60 worth of accessories FREE...

Well... DUH! seemed like a no brainer to me! and this time... when I went to push the order button... that lil' voice in the back of my head was silent... So... I guess it knew something! :)

As soon as I actually have the unit... and can verify the service of the outfit... I'll hang a name on it!

Hopefully, I'll learn to use this new Helmet Camera well enough and quick enough... that I'll not run off the readers I've managed to attract so far...

My intention is to post Videos on the blog in support of the existing blog, and on the site in general, that first off, pass on some information other riders might find useful... second... to have some  fun doing it, passing on some of those hopefully good times... and third... the mercenary part :) .... maybe in the process, set my blog and my website a little apart from all the competition.

Only time will tell... and I doubt that Steven Spielberg has much to worry about... but... from what I've seen of Videos of this sort on Youtube or the net in general... it's plain to me, a guy ain't gotta be too awful good to be better then most...

Damn... that sounded kinda rough on some folks didn't it? Well... maybe so... but it's still true. I've looked at quite a few videos while I pondered doin' this... and all I can do is wonder; "Didn't they look at this junk before they uploaded it? or...even think about what they were gonna say... before they hit the record button, and sat there stammerin' like in idiot...

So... while I might could just crash and burn... as soon as the camera I ordered 'bout 10 minutes ago gets here... I'll start practicing and experimenting... and we'll see what happens!

Guess I'm not going to have too long to get decent with it either... A Friend in British Columbia has invited me to ride along with 'em when they take a run from Prince George to the Black Hills in early July... My plan is for me to meet up with 'em as they clear the border ... sort of an Old Bikers Can still Split the Wind with the Best of 'em sort of a rendezvous...  my plan will be to keep the Camera rolling... just in case one of us falls off!

It's gonna be a fine summer!

Grab Your Handles and Ride!

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Monday, May 2, 2011

Saturday... I Got Thrust Upon me... The Sight a Rider Never Wants to See...

You roll down a long straight into a sharp right downhill... the hillside hiding the tighter, harder, steeper, left downhill, immediately following... that is really more of a U-Turn... that the righthander dumps you into...

You know it's there... so you're dropping through the gears at the end of the straight... squeezing on the binders and thinking in your head; "This thing is usually sandy, so take it slow..." as you lean into the corner, and back over into the left, running tight onto the center stripe... to stay out of the sand on the outside...

You concentrated on the road in front of you... not the bike following...

Looking back in your mirror, you expect to see the friend following you, on her Harley Fatbob, who's never rode this road... You expect to see her following along where you went... how you went...

... Your eyes focus on the mirror expecting to see just that in its reflection...

In that split second, as your eyes move to the glass, the sound of an impact hammers through your helmet...

...As your eyes see the reflection in the mirror, of her Harley slamming into the guardrail and your friend tumbling across the pavement... to slam into the rail herself, a split second later....

But you can't keep watching... 'cause the road bends back right... you have to grab hold and get your own ride shut down and parked... somehow... The Fear of What's happened behind you... spinning in your brain.

... You leave your bike in the road... there's no where else to shut it down... and... run back up the road muttering... "No...No... No... Jesus.... No...."

When you get there, she's standing beside her bike, kind of stunned... the front end of her Harley, wedged under the guardrail.

A few seconds of stuttering are exchanged as you look at hands, arms, legs... eyes... questioning... looking for and hoping to not find any serious injury... and miraculously... finding none...

The thought is flipping through your head... "She almost didn't put her helmet on... thank God I pushed it..." ... as you look at the gouges on the side of her crash pot...

There's always that possibility... that risk. It exists even if you take that same road in a Toyota... It's a risk that every rider has to weigh and decide... is what my Motorcycle gives to me... worth the risk?

I've weighed that many times... and the answer is always the same... and, for me, it takes scant seconds to reach the decision..

The loss of Riding... The loss of the Open Road, is a greater cost, and a greater risk to my life... then My Motorcycle will ever create.

But... just the same... there are sights... I can do without.

... and next time... I'll think about the road I take a little more... when I'm not sure about the experience of those I'm gonna ride with...

Grab Your Handles and Ride!

Return to the Home page of Motorcycle Touring on Freedom Road
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Share your stories and opinions;
*Tell us Which you think is the... The Best Touring Motorcycle
*Share...  Your Personal Motorcycle Philosophy with us!
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