Monday, 8 March 2010

Is it really that small? (extended)

Further to my earlier posting below about the GoPro camera, I really should have written something about the different ways of fixing the camera to a bike. There are essentially 4 different ways of mounting a GoPro camera that us motorcyclists / bikers / scooterists / riders (take your pick) will be interested in....

- Stick-on mounts
- Using the suction cup
- Using handlebar or roll bar mounts
- Create your own!

Looking at each one in turn......

Stick-on Mounts – the version of the GoPro camera that I purchased came with a number of flat and curved stick-on mounts See this link for a picture. These could be used for sticking the camera to your helmet (this is ok on an old helmet that you don’t mind doing this to) or to somewhere on your bike (thanks, but no-thanks!). On his blog RazorsEdge2112 shows the results of mounting his GoPro camera to his helmet and whilst this gives an interesting viewpoint, when he moves his head to check traffic at junctions, the view changes a bit too dramatically for my liking. Bobscoot took the ‘sticking the mount to his scoot' route as seen on his blog. My verdict? - For me, I didn’t want to use either of these as I either personally don’t like the results or I didn’t want to damage my bike!

Using the Suction Cup - as my main touring bike is away being painted at the moment, I wanted to test the camera on my custom bike. This doesn’t have a windscreen, so there were only two ways I could mount the camera using the suction cup that comes with the camera.

The first, pictured on the left, was on the tank and yikes, I had to think about this hard because I didn’t want to do anything that might mark the paintwork. Also, I had to use just about all of the various mounting arms I had purchased in order to get the camera high enough to get a clear view over the handlebars – it did work well as the video in my earlier post shows. This is a picture of what the mounting looks like. My verdict? – being able to have the headlight and part of the handlebars in the foreground is really cool as it gives something to relate the rest of the view to. As a few people have said, watching the video makes you feel like you are right there on the bike and I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that you can see part of the bike on the shot. However, you look like a dork with this weird mounting on your tank.

Using the Suction Cup on the Headlight - this isn’t as crazy as it sounds because using the suction cup, I stuck the camera on the bike backwards pointing at me. See picture on left.

I was able to do this because the glass in my headlight is really smooth, but I imagine it wouldn’t work with ridged glass. Here is the result.....

My Verdict? – this is a really cool effect to cut into a longer video that mainly uses the camera pointing forward. Of course, the possibilities of where to mount the suction cup are many, even pointing backwards off the rear of your bike. The suction cup seemed to be achieving a strong fixing to the bike, but I would be wary of using this suction cup for really long journeys.

Handle Bar / Roll Bar Mounts - there are two different sized fixings you can buy for mounting your camera to a round bar. As I didn’t know what would fit best, I purchased the handlebar sized mount and the Roll Bar mount, where the latter is slightly bigger. This is the set-up I am likely to use for my tour of the USA with the camera either mounted to the handlebars or the crash bars of my Road King. However, there is a problem using these types of mount – they only work at 90 degree increments.

This means it is fine if your handle bars or crash bars are at exactly 90 degrees to your bike, but as there is no fine adjustment, it is a problem if for example you handlebars are swept back like this....

Create Your Own! - as this swept back bars is what I have on my red bike, I had to make something up by using the GoPro Tripod Mount, a ball & socket bar fixing and an enthusiastic son (Thanks Charles!) who helped me make this set-up.

This arrangement gives total flexibility both up and down and side to side. The video below contains the results of changing the set up to various views. This is OK, but I think I want to re-make to using something a little more substantial as I am not convinced it won’t move on a long ride due the the vibration. I am going to try it next weekend when I am going to take a long ride, so I will let you know how I get on with it.

This is the video I made from the home-made handle bar mounted camera position....

My Verdict of the Handle Bar / Roll Bar Mounts? – I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of this video as I saw a lot of vibration through the bars and thought it would affect the overall quality, but it is not too bad. This is probably the best solution for mounting to a motorbike, but GoPro need to manufacture and sell a fully adjustable mount. I am going to draw this posting to their attention to see what they say and to see if they have any plans for this. I will let you know what they say.


Mr. Motorcycle said...

Interesting. I'm curious to see what they will say. Looking forward to a follow up. They say that necessity is the mother of all inventions.

Unknown said...


soon, we are going to know every turn of your loop. That miniVan is still there from your prev video. I really liked the "rear" facing view sliced in.

I was going to get the Ram-Mount adapter

and just use Ram-Mounts for the other bits. I'm just waiting for the new LCD screen to arrive

so I can get them all together.

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Willy D said...

Yep, that sure shoots great video.

How many ‘things’ come darting out of all those hedgerows?

Gary France said...

Mr Motorcycle - I will let you know what they say.

Bobscoot - Thanks for the link. After seeing it, too have ordered the Ram-Mount Adapter and a few mounts. I think these will serve the purpose much better than my temporary fix. gpscity looks like a good organisation and I wish we could buy those sorts of mountings over here - that would save a lot of international postage costs.

Willy - only occasionally do animals make an appearance - sometimes a rabbit, a fox, or a deer, but nothing too large. The deer around my area are called Muntjac which are about the size of a medium sized dog. Scary enough if you hit one on a bike, but your rarely see them during the day.

Gary France said...

Bob - Sorry for the repetition - it is my local loop of about 10 minutes in riding time, so it is perfect for testing the set up of the camera, checking out the bike, or just having fun. I use it automatically now, but I will try to remember to use a different road next time!

Unknown said...


as for your black borders, I think the problem is your aspect ratio. setting to r4 1280x960p is only 4:3, try using r2 which is 1280x720p 16:9 . On YouTube, you probably didn't even notice but on the right side there is this little circle. "CLICK" on it and you are given options as to posting size. I usually select 385, something like that, one higher than 340. It depends upon the width format of your blog. There is a calculation somewhere to utilize the max on this blog. You can also change the number manually in the HTML coding. Just make sure to change it in all the places.

I looked for that Calming spot on your prev video, but you didn't include it

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Gary France said...

Bob - As ever, you were spot on. I don't care what you say, you are a guru!! I tried everything you said including changing the camera setting to R2, shooting a new piece of wide video, using the correct preset in PREL, finding the little circle in YouTube (LOL - this did take me some time) and changing the size to 480x295, I then uploaded this new test video to my blog in an old post and HEY PRESTO, it all fits perfectly.

I definitely owe you a beer or two....! These will now be my standard settings from now on. Many thanks indeed.

Unknown said...


I think you made an error on the Youtube upload. I'm sure you didn't mean to say 480x295, as that is very small. You probably meant 1280x720p but typed the wrong numbers. My short 5 minute videos 720p30 are upwards of 500-600 MB and take over an hour to upload using windows 7 with an intel 2.2 Ghz dual core.

I ordered some GoPro bits on Monday and my FEDEX just arrived. I may put up an entry later so you can see what I bought, and what I have on back order. I am not going to rely on suction devices.

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Gary France said...

Bob - I think we maybe mis-understood each other.

With my test video, when I used PREL to "share" the video you are right, I used the preset called HD 720p 30. I then saved that file onto my computer and then I uploaded that file to YouTube and then clicked on the small circle icon next to where the Embed code is given in YouTube. The 480x295 that I referred to was the selection I made in YouTube for (I don’t know what it is called so I will call it...) the frame size. This changed the embed code to show the object width as 480 and the height as 295. I then copy and pasted this into my blog and got what I think is the right sized video in my blog. This is the 480x295 that I referred to, which was in YouTube.

I created a whole new video using new clips I took in the garden and the whole video is only 12 seconds long. I wanted to use new shot clips as I wanted to test the R2 setting that you suggested and I wanted it very short so I could do a test quickly. That is how I managed to do it so fast. The final video is incorporated into an earlier posting on my blog here

I tucked it away in an old post just as a test and I will remove it soon. It looks ok to me.

I would be interested to see what you bought. I also am not going to rely on suction devices. When I get mine I will also do a posting, but mine are very simple. As mine have to get from the USA to the UK, I don’t expect to get my package until the weekend.

irondad said...

Can't argue with the results, but that headlight mount pointing backwards looks really weird!

Unknown said...

Cool! :-)

Chris said...

Nicely done Gary. It seems you are having the same "fun" that I am with editing the video :)

Unknown said...


I find video editing more satisfying than just posting Jpegs. You have action, sound, then you place your clips on the timeline, blah, blah, yada, yada . . .

Gary: Look at your topic heading above. I mean . . . small even when extended . . . I chuckle everytime I see it. That's probably why you have a H-D, and I a mere V-strom.

My buddy Dave in Turkey is also doing Video blogs, he is on my sidebar, "Travels with a Honda Transalp around Turkey"

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Gary France said...

Irondad – I was praying it wouldn’t fall off, because there was nothing I could have done....

William and Mary Ann – Thanks!

Chris – I am having fun with it, but jeepers, it takes a long time!

Bob – I agree, it is very satisfying. I experimented and have started making videos of things other than motorbikes and I thoroughly enjoy it too. As for the name of this posting, I couldn’t resist it. I will check out Dave’s blog soon.

FLHX_Dave said...

Ok, now I'm sold. Thanks for the I'm going to be dangerous. Having one of these things could be the worst thing for everyone when I get this cam in my hands. Beware.