- Cheap Camcorder setup
- Go Pro Hero
I actually bought the camera for free using my credit card points last year. I was seriously considering this option but it required some mods and hacks in order to work properly in a race car environment. I just didn't feel like investing the time and energy into it. I will probably sell it off on craigslist or ebay soon.
So the choice for me was between the Go Pro and the Contour. Decisions, decisions....
I googled around for a while looking for reviews on both. There is plenty of info out there and lots of people have opinions. Opinions are like body parts. People usually have at least one and some of them stink. So I took what I read with a grain of salt. I wound up ordering both from Amazon.com using some of my credit card points accumulated during the build. I wanted to see and feel them both so that I could make a better informed decision. I figured I'd return which ever one that I didn't want.
I'll skip you the boring details but they both basically do the same thing. The video quality when viewed on YouTube or Vimeo is basically the same. Both have decent microphones. Both are small. Both are about the same price.
Two things I liked about the Contour over the Hero:
- I liked the fact that the Contour had laser sights which can be used to aim the camera w/o much fuss. You basically press the button and the lasers shine out through the windshield making it super easy to adjust. I got it positioned perfectly the first time.
- The power switch on the Contour was also a little easier to use than the Hero with my gloved hand. The Contour is a large sliding switch that you basically push forward and back to power on/off. The Hero's power button is a bit smaller and takes a bit more dexterity to use but still doable.
The Go Pro doesn't come with video editing software and you can configure it using the built-in menu which is a nice plus. The Contour requires you to have your laptop handy to run the Storyteller software to configure the camera. Thankfully, you shouldn't have to configure the camera often once you get the imaging and contrast set properly. Oh, there is no instructions anywhere on how to configure it so just guess at what works....
Now there is a lesson in this long rant. Be aware of your vendor options and buy from a place that will give you support if you need it. Pricing being similar, the support of someone who can save you time and has already learned the lessons is very valuable.
I discovered that fellow Spec Miata racer Juan Pineda of Art of Road Racing fame is a Contour dealer. If you wish to buy a Contour and want someone to tell you what you need to do to get it working w/o fussing around on support forums and such, I'd recommend getting it from Juan. Here is a link: Contour GPS - Motorsports vendor and support.
I'm still trying to figure out what to use for video editing on a Windows laptop. I'll think about it after the next race at Laguna. :)