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Motorcycle Camera Mount Research

There are many people recording video from moving motorcycles, so I decided to post a few links to show some of the mounting technologies that I might use to attach a video camera to the Yamaha FJ motorcycle.

This is a Suzuki motorcycle, but my Yamaha has the same type of gas tank fill cap. I don’t have a grab bar on the back similar to where the second camera is mounted.

Videos made by pashnit.com to promote their group tours in the U.S. are edited well and show the group riding safely. Jones Helmet camera system has made videos of racing motorcycles, sailboats and even hot air balloons. Youtube and other video sites feature countless video clips taken with helmet cams and other video capture devices, but the quality is extremely uneven. I have not yet found anyone who is streaming directly from a motorcycle except for GP and other races that feed to a nearby truck, not directly on to the internet.

European motorcycle riders also have posted video of rides in the Alps, but they are not for the safety oriented. They are definitely in the sport bike category, with tips on penalties for speeding around the world. Don’t speed in Norway or you will loose your license! Fortunately, Canada is listed as one of the most reasonable on this topic, however, my license is completely clean and I intend to keep it that way. I may tour though Montana on my way home to make some “need for speed” video footage as there are no speed limits outside of certain zones there. That is definitely outside the scope of this tour.

These video examples give you an idea of the good quality of video production that can be obtained using consumer grade video equipment. One of the major writers of the pashnit site is a former Yamaha FJ 1200 owner who claims to have ridden over 30,000 miles on the bike before he sold it.

Here is the most economical mount yet …. the $5. camera mount. The sound on his video is mostly wind noise as he has no windshield. Great idea though. Unfortunately, my FJ has a very different system for the handlebars. Another problem is my windshield is so opaque that I don’t think I should take any video through it. That brings me to the idea of mounting a camera on my helmet. 

The helmet camera is also a popular option and there are many providers of camera equipment. The most durable of that system that I have found, so far, is advertised as crushproof even if run over by a truck! I hope I don’t need to find out if that is actually true. This vendor has compiled a list of features for each of their cameras, all of the vendors I have listed here use a Sony mini cam, but they offer different mounting options and quality levels.

Another vendor clearly explains how this type of system works and provides an explanation on the equipment needed and how to set up a two camera option. For real-time streaming the handlebar switch would be best, for video recorded for later processing, the dual record box option powers and captures camera 1 and camera 2. I think a switch is a practical requirement for on-line streamed video as a helmet camera moves the recorded image with every shoulder check. I notice that I move my head a lot when riding in traffic and I know from experience that fast pans and the many quick head movements required to ride safely will not translate into great video.

The use of one camera, securely mounted to the bike and one camera on the helmet, or otherwise placed on the body of the rider, with a handlebar switch should enable the best of both worlds. The idea of a tank mount seems very practical, but there are more options as detailed in the pashnit post showing different solutions.

After mounting the cameras and deciding on the switching and routing options, there are still many technological challenges to consider. The recording/streaming material captured has to be routed to a storage media or to the computer, then to the satellite modem for immediate upload to the server.

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