Action Video

The Camera

Update 16/4/2024:-
It now hangs up after only recording a minute or so of video. I have tried resetting the camera to factory settings, formatting the memory card, and operation with either battery supplied, all to no avail.

Since buying it I have recorded a total of maybe an hour of video.

Waste of money, time, and effort.

So I bought an action camera – a Dragon Touch Vista 5.

This was with the idea of taking videos of our dog Meg, and also on my scooter.

It was a lot smaller than I imagined. It came with two batteries, but no memory card. So I had to buy a 64Gb micro SD card.




It also had lots of mounting accessories and a waterproof case.

It does lack a few things though. In particular a lens cap.  Out of the case the glass  (or maybe plastic) of the lens protrudes and if it is laid face down it rests on the lens. Also when carrying it will get scratched in a pocket.
In the case the lens window is open to get battered by bugs and road dirt when fixed to the bike.

It is not ideal for selfies as the screen is on the back.

But how should I set it up for videos?  I made a trial video at 2.7K and 30fps H265 For software I usually view with VSL media player and intend to edit with VSDC.

I could not see the first MP4 properly on VSL Media player – possible because I am using an older laptop running windows 7. (64bit) Maybe this is more than VSL and my computer can manage. Anyway I changed it to 2.7K and 30fps H264 and it worked. I also found out that Youtube recommend MP4. H264

Some experimentation
There are different resolutions I can record at. 720 and 1080 resolutions mean that the vertical size is 720 or 1080 and the sizes are 720×1280 and 1080×1920.
After that, for some reason the resolutions are defined by the horizontal size so 2K, 2K7, and 4K are respectively 1152×2048, 1520×2704 and 2160×3840.

But it get weirder, 1080 produces smaller file sizes that 720!  The bit rate for 1080, which cannot be programmed, is smaller too at 19887kbps as opposed to 32591 for 720.

VLC media player can read up to 2K7 in HC244 but only 2Kin HC245.

I don’t know how happy VSDC will be in the higher resolutions.  For now I will stick to 1080 and HC244.  
I mounted the camera on my helmet and took a ride. There are some issues using this technique

    1. You can’t see where the camera is pointing.  It can be too low or too high.
    2. You are not 100% sure the camera is recording.
    3. The finished footing makes it look like the bike is swerving all over the road.  This is caused by head movements – simply looking at signposts, approaching cars, or the speedo.
    4. Mounting on the helmet is messy and almost impossible with a 3/4 helmet (which you are not advised to stick things to as it weakens the polycarbonate. But Itchyboots and Captn Jim seem to manage it.  Maybe just keep my head still and edit out those bits when I don’t.

    SO – I now have it mounted at the bottom of the left hand mirror stalk. I can see the screen, reach the controls and start it recording while moving, although I’m not sure a gloved hand will be OK.  I can stop and pop it out of the case for still shots although I think the Canon compact or Nikon SLR will be much better.  Although the remote will make it easy to do selfies.

Bottom of the stalk is better than the helmet mount. But due to the amount of rubber involved the camera vibrated severely when the bike goes over bumps. This was more than the excellent image stabilisation could cope with.

A more solid mount was needed.  I had an old stainless steel mounting bracket from a Royal Enfield Bullet silencer which, with the attention of a hacksaw and a drill, I made the new mount.

And here is the handlebar arrangement showing the muffs, the camera, the clock, and the phone mount.

The camera has a “drive mode” it can be connected to a usb port which is only on when the ignition is on and it does the job of a dash cam. But it has to be out of the waterproof case in order to plug in the USB cable.

“O.K.” I thought. “I’ll try it.”

Now we get the bugs.  It works sometimes, but sometimes it hangs up and won’t even switch off or respond to any of the buttons and it will stay that way until the battery gets flat. The only way to get it out of this mode is to remove the battery.  It retains the settings, including what mode it was in, but it loses the date and the time. I think this fault is triggered by switching the ignition on, then switching it off again before the camera has booted up. I have seen this problem reported on a dash cam.  I suspect that it has the same electronics.  

This from an Amazon review about a dash cam
– If the motorcycle is turned on and immediately turns off again, the switchboard will not turn off by itself and will remain recording until its internal battery is exhausted (I deduce that some few minutes)

This unreliability is a shame as the dash cam operation would be perfect.  Instead of having to remember to record particular things, I could just say “That was a nice ride, lets download it”.  In the meantime it’s a dash cam. Maybe a dashcam would be better. But a proper dashcam is much dearer. But it may be OK if I am more careful (i.e. don’t switch the ignition off too soon after switching it on). If that works I may jury-rig something in the waterproof housing to get the USB connector in.