Sunday, February 21, 2010

My Hero: Video Replacement

During the past couple of years I have been using a Panasonic SDR-SW20 for my rolling bike video. I have RAM-Mounts on each bike. I originally selected the SW20 because it used flash memory, was waterproof and shock resistant which was perfect for Bike use. But with the addition of my Lumix ZS3 I have been spoiled with the higher resolution of HD video, so last Thursday I came home with this

(Hero: GoPro HD1080p30)

It comes with all the cables necessary, a Lithium Ion rechargeable battery and a waterproof case, a few extra mounting plates and a suction mount


This is the Motorsports model. I decided that I would purchase a model dedicated for bike use rather than a handheld consumer model as they are not waterproof and too bulky.


With so many curves on the V-Strom it was hard to determine the perfect spot to mount the camera and I was anxious to give it a try, so I mounted it over the instrument cluster, above the Speedometer and Tachometer right behind the plexiglass windshield. While it is not the perfect spot it is easy to keep an eye on it and operate the buttons. As I found out later, there is too much glare on the windscreen in the sunshine which causes stray light to hit the lens


I know, I have a GPS mounted on the left handlebar. I really don't get lost but I use it mainly as a speedometer as all motorcycle speedos are generous. I have heard that GPS units are redundant in Key West as they only have one road and it is impossible for anyone to get lost down there, but I suppose it would come in handy for those without Tachometers.

(GoPro is mounted just left of the factory supplied Tachometer, standard Equipment on a Suzuki V-strom)

(Front View looking through the factory windscreen)

The instructions with the GoPro say that they use the finest 3M adhesives available. The mounts can be used on helmets when skydiving, surfboards or mounted inide race cars but I thought it more prudent to attach a tether, just in case


The plastic, waterproof case is designed to be completely sealed against the elements. It comes with two rear doors; a sealed one and one with large openings for the microphone to pick up more sound. Of course only the solid door is completely waterproof.


Mr Conchscooter (<-- link) made a comment recently about the centre stand on his Bonnie . In times past all bikes came with centre stands, now for some reason they are an option. I had a centre stand installed when I bought the V-Strom, makes it easier to lube the chain or adjust the rear wheel tension


Several times today I had to adjust my left mirror. I first thought that someone had bumped into it at the BestBuy parking lot where I went to purchase another external hard drive. Later on while riding I noticed more of my arm in the rear view and had to move the mirror are again. Perhaps I was travelling too fast and the wind was moving the mirror. I came home and tightened the nut(s).


It was very large nut and luckily I had a couple of 22mm open end wrenches available, which I must have needed before, just like my 19mm and 17mm wrenches. I find that often you require two. One to loosen and the other to hold the lock bolt


I am not a mechanic but I don't mind buying good tools. You just never know when you will need it


Because we are the host city of the 2010 Winter Olympics I have included a few Canadian flags


The following is my first test video using the GoPro 1080HD but set at 720p30. I tried out a few test clips at home first and I could not see much difference between 720p and 1080p so in an effort to go green and save more gigabites I only used the 720p30 mode. Even so this video was around 600 megs and took over 1-1/2 hours to upload to YouTube. There is a bug with Windows 7 and they haven't solved the problem yet. Often it takes a couple of tries to get it posted. This video has been downsized to 6 Mbps but still 16:9 format. The light was getting quite dark near the end but still came out acceptable (to me anyway)

(GoPro HD recorded at 720p30 , 16:9 , 6 Mbps)


  1. It must be nice to live in a country where the economy hasn't exploded like a fragmentation grenade.Remind me again how is it Canada has stuff for sale that people can afford, free health care and a debt to GDP ratio less than half that of the US?

  2. Thank you for the vid. I hope to see much more of this in the future. please keep reporting how you like the Hero. I guess I might have found myself a birthday present, once I have my Beemer, that is...

  3. Bob, nice video. The audio capture was real nice too. This must have been the week for all bike mirrors to revolt - I had to adjust my left one as well - it must have been knocked loose when I brought the Triumph in for its oil change.

  4. Bobskoot,

    The 720p video looked great. I'm curious can the outfit be mounted to 1/4-20 tripod mount? I have been thinking about getting an HD video camera for a while, but I need it to be able to mount it to my magic arm.

    BTW, We don't need no stinking tachometer or center stands...well a center stand would be nice ;-)

  5. You beat me to it Bob! I also plan on getting one.

    That photo with the flags has a bit too much red and white and not enough blue. :)

  6. Hi Bob,

    Good video mate,the Hero's video quality compares quite well to my Christmas Cracker Chinese camera :)

    So when does BOB'S VIDEO DIARIES start??



  7. Bobskoot

    I'd read about the HERO camera before, though like you I can't imagine mounting it on one's helmet! The output looks pretty good though, perhaps that's the way to go for me in terms of videos from the motorcycle.


  8. Nice vid Bob, very steady and I want you to do a talking one to :)

  9. Bob,

    Like Chris, you beat me to it as well. I ordered mine today - the same HD Motorsports Hero Wide. Unlike you, it is much more difficult in the UK to buy these at regular retail stores, so I had to order mine online. I should have plenty of time to practice with it before my tour starts.

    Gary’s USA Tour

  10. Very nice video tour. I think the audio adds a lot to the video and I don't think having it behind the windscreen detracts much. The reflections and glare aren't to distracting. I was looking at the Flip cameras but I may have to rethink things...

    Thank you

  11. Very cool, Bob. The quality looks good! Does it by any chance record GPS data as it shoots?
    Say, that alley looks familiar ........

  12. Mr Conchscooter:

    Here in Vancouver, we have been partly shielded from the downturn through huge Winter Olympic Spending and infrastructure. Coupled with the fact that credit does not flow as free as in the USA and there are rules governing percentages of downpayments for homes based upon appraised values so not as many are "underwater"


    I can't wait until you arrive as you will most likely be viewed by millions of YouTubers being within the view of my GoPro as I am "recording" your riding abilities from the rear. I was going to suggest a nice ONE piece leather riding suit


    It was a nuisance having to move my mirror back all the time due to the wind. The only other option was to ride slower


    The unit can also record 1080p30 but I didn't notice much difference on my laptop other than huge file sizes. I read somewhere that there is not much difference between 720p or 1080p on Flat Screen TVs until you go over 50". I am disappointed that there is not a 1/4-20 thread on the bottom either, otherwise I could have used my RAM-Mount. I think I could make a "crade" for it with the 1/4-20 thread on the bottom. I like the idea of a dedicated bike VideoCam as it is safer.
    There is also a time lapse mode where it will take 5mp photos every 2 seconds.


    If I knew how to use Photoshop I could change the RED to BLUE for you. Since you have so much flat surface on your Ural you could use the suction mount. It is very strong


    I was thinking about it but I have to come up with a subject that I know something about. Perhaps something instructional


    It's much easier to used than a standard VideoCam. I like the idea that it is waterproof. There are some deficiencies and I will email GoPro and see if they will listen to me. There could be some enhancements made for easier bike use


    I would love for you to give me a talking to


    If you need any help with the software part just ask. I have been doing video editing for a couple of years now. I was using WMM (Windows Movie Maker) but it crashes a lot and freezes. There are few options and you are stuck with the bitrate it produces. I am very happy with PREL7 (Adobe Premiere Elements 7) I suggest if you are considering purchasing a program, get this one. It is top rated and relatively inexpensive. If we both use the same program then we can help each other. Studio Director 8 is tied with PREL7 but if you purchase SD8, then you are on your own. From what I have seen on the forums the "improved" PREL8 has a different interface and not as friendly as PREL7. Retail price here is $129. Cdn


    I didn't post the video where I rode directly with the sun in front. The glare from my windscreen, IMO, is unbearable. I need a mount in front of the W/S but then I will not be able to reach it to turn on while 'Rolling'. The other option is to mount it on the side, but with such a wide angle of 170 degrees I don't want the bike in it.

    I was also thinking of a FLIP style 720p but you need the one where the lens can rotate, such as the Sony MHS-PM1 . I was thinking of putting velcro on the body and some just below the windshield lip with the lens protruding "over" the screen. When you wish to use, you rotate the lens to the front. When you are finished you rotate the lens away from the wind. I may still end up with one. I noticed them on sale in Bellingham for around $129. US. Up here they are Cdn$199. There is also a standard 1/4-20 mount on the bottom so I could also use my Ram Mounts


    Sorry, no GPS data. I wanted to see how much vibration I got on an unpaved road. Can't wait for summer. Next time you are in front of me you will be in 16:9 full HD colour

  13. Bob and Gordon,

    GoPro do a tripod mount. See this link. Will this do what you want?

    Gary’s USA Tour

  14. Bob - Thanks for you software tips and it is a good idea that we use the same and share help with each other. I just read what others have said about Adobe PREL 7 and PREL 8 on Amazon and there are very mixed reviews. It sounds as if there are many problems with PREL 8 crashing, so 7 would seem the way to go. Have you experienced problems with 7? I have no experience of any recent video editing software, so I am happy to go with what you recommend.

    Gary’s USA Tour

  15. Bob, the suction mount with the GoPro is very similar to the one I have. I'm sure it'll work great. Mine is on the way via UPS... They do make a tripod mount for the GoPro. It's $7 on amazon.

    I've been using Windows 7 Live for video editing (it replaced WMM) and it works very well. No crashing. A friend is trying to convert me to Premier though.

  16. ''Dave:

    I was thinking about it but I have to come up with a subject that I know something about. Perhaps something instructional.''

    Bob...Knowing what I'm talking about never deterred me!!....Give it a try, its very liberating lol.



  17. Gary:

    Yes, that looks like it but the shipping costs would be more than the $7.

    I love the PREL7, I was going to upgrade but there are no new features and most don't like the new interface which is confusing. I think that the PREL7 is the best program to use

    I may try the 1080p30 option next, but it eats up memory card space fast. I have to learn how to do proxy editing.


    I'm not sure how Windows Live MM works. I am thinking that the program is on the net and you work with your own data, or otherwise the data is online which I don't like. I would rather have my own program and my own data on my own Hard drive

    My idea is that if all of us use PREL7 (or 8), then we can be our own support group


    Throw me a topic and I'll think about it. Perhaps a short video clip of Linda which I can loop, and I will add the appropriate words later . . .

  18. Bob,

    It is a download:

    How big of memory card are you using? I bought at 16GB class 6 SDHC.

  19. Chris:

    I have a few 16 gig Class 6, but my Kingston Class 4 works, even at 1080p30, and also 720p60. I tested it out.

    I had it set to time lapse on Sunday and it was taking 5 mp photos. I had around 2000 pix which I deleted.

  20. Geez, you take one photo of a female security guard's backside, and now you're getting bold with commenters.

    I presume you can get stills off of the video?

    As everyone is painfully and unfortunately aware, I am no expert. But the video looks good enough to be really useful. Maybe training videos are a possibility.

    Or maybe I'll wait until summer and do a "Bikes Gone Wild" shoot!

  21. By the way, if you are working on a bike, I'm pretty sure many of those small wrenches and some assorted screwdrivers will fit into the holes of the crocs.

    If you can still bend over, or bend your kneee, the crocs make handy tool holders. Just a great idea for free!

  22. Irondad:

    I like the idea of being involved with a BGW video (Bikes Gone Wild).

    Do you remember those GLOW shows after the news. I used to just stare at those participants. Perhaps you're not old enough to remember the GLOW

    I was thinking about those training videos and came up with an idea which would not embarras anyone. You could mount the camera in front of your bike and make some stupid maneuvers, take the wrong line when turning a corner, changing into the wrong lane, etc. Show it to the class and ask questions based upon what is wrong. then ride the same road using all the correct lane positions as a comparison. No one has to be in the video and it wouldn't need any commentary. The engine noise and changing gear noise would speak for themselves.

    I'll have to try the tool holder idea when the weather is warmer, otherwise I would have to hobble about on one foot as the cement is cold

  23. Bob - I will order PREL 7 so we can get our own support group going.