Mounting your Point and Shoot Camera for Video

A couple of people have contacted me to ask how I’m mounting the camera, so I guess another post is in order. All PnS cameras (that I’ve ever seen, anyway) have standard tripod mounts, which is basically a 1/4″ threaded hole on the bottom of the camera somewhere. There are a wide variety of in-car mounts that attach to rollbars, headrests, or even windows or exterior body panels (suction cup mounts) which may be used to mount your camera. The old standard is the I/O Port mount, which is an extremely well designed, vibration isolated mount. I have this in one of my cars, but haven’t used it with the new camera. There is no doubt it would work fine, however. The downsides to this mount is that it’s expensive ($110), requires a rollbar in the car, and is relatively large. If you have a heavier camera, or one without good image stabilization, those would be two good reasons to go with the IO Port. Other good solutions are available from Chase Cam. I’ve used both the clamp mount and the single suction cup mount with success, though somehow I lost both of them and haven’t replaced them. The single suction cup mount probably isn’t strong enough for anything heavier than a PnS camera. The clamp mount is only for smaller mounting surfaces than your typical rollbars. I used this to clamp to small support bars on the Radical, for instance.

The fanastic IO Port rollbar mount, the OK Chasecam clamp mount, and the Chase Cam single suction cup mount.

In any case, if you’d like to see how different mounts stack up, I can help a bit. The “splitter cam” Spring Mountain video was taken with the single suction cup mount. The in-car from the same event, and same car, was taken with the Chase Cam clamp mount. You should note that you can’t blame all the bumpiness of these videos on the mounts, as the Radical is very stiff, which is the cause of most of the vibration. Also, these videos were taken with my wifes Casio Exilim, which has neither optical image stabilization nor decent white or color balance. Oh, and it’s also MPEG4. The Lotus chasing a Ford GT video was taken with an IO Port mount, and is the only video I have from the Lotus using the IO Port mount. It was shot with my old Canon SD700, btw (as were all non 848×480 Lotus videos, I believe).

All other in-car Lotus videos were taken using the worst shadetree mechanic-made mount you can imagine. So embarassing is it, I hesitate to post a photo of the arrangement. It is basically a 6″ x .125″ piece of aluminium barstock bent to support a camera, a piece of “all thread” rod bent into a U, and a 1/4″ bolt, attached to the harness bar in the Exige over 1/2 of an old mountain bike innertube to provide a bit of vibration suppression and protect the harness bar from the allthread. It’s a real beaut! but as you can see from the videos, it works. That’s the kind of thing I do the night before an event when I realize I lost my Chasecam mounts…and in this instance, it works so I haven’t changed it.

UPDATE: here is a picture of the camera mount of death. I also happened to find my chase cam mounts this weekend, so this mount is now retired…perhaps I should sign it for posterity and Ebay it off 😉

Disclamer – Every time I get in the Exige, I look over at that camera mount and think about how that thing could open my corotid artery like the San Andreas Fault if I got into an accident. So don’t go claiming I never told you my ideas could get you killed 🙂 I’m serious.

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