Camera stability on a motorbike — TomTom Community

Camera stability on a motorbike

M'bikerM'biker Posts: 47 [Sovereign Trailblazer]
I mostly take footage from my motorbike, and experience problems with vibration. I use the 360 degree pitch mount (which is a brilliant device), attached to the outer cockpit fairing, and get an uninterrupted view of the road ahead. However, vibrations from the engine and road surface conspire to reduce the quality of much of my footage. Even when stationary, vibration from the engine alone is pretty bad. I've experimented with digital stabilisation software (PowerDirector 15), but it does little to help my video - not to mention the cost of image degradation and cropping.

I'm aware that a helmet (or chest) mount would improve camera shake immensely, but I much prefer the bike-mounted perspective - without bits of the bike showing. I see other bike-mounted Bandit video on YouTube that has less shake than mine, and wonder how they do it. Bike suspension is obviously a factor. My Triumph Sprint (a Sports-Tourer) is a reasonably heavy bike, but is still fairly firm on the road. Certainly I've found that riding with a pillion really helps to smooth out those bumps for the camera - not enough for my liking, though. I've wondered if flex in the pitch mount is adding to the vibration, and have tried wedging bits of rubber against the inside angle of the mount. This may help some, but the results of my testing have not been conclusive.

Does anyone else have similar issues or can offer advice on getting smoother footage from a motorbike without resorting to a helmet mount?

Comments

  • M'bikerM'biker Posts: 47 [Sovereign Trailblazer]
    Further to my post above - I'll attempt to embed a video that demonstrates the vibration problem.

    This is about as bad as it gets.
  • AndersNordhAndersNordh Posts: 257 [Sovereign Trailblazer]
    Well, we monted the camera on my wifes engine bar using a RAM mount, more stable than in your example ... Is your fairing moving or might it be just a little bit flexible allowing the camera to move around?

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3V5f2czr8QKVWYahL51i0A?view_as=public

    Have a nice evening,
    Anders

  • M'bikerM'biker Posts: 47 [Sovereign Trailblazer]
    Thanks AndersNordh,

    Yes, my fairing could be amplifying vibration over uneven surfaces. I suspect the pitch mount of flexing as well, but it's hard to tell.
    In theory, the middle of the bike should be less bumpy than at either end. So my camera's position - above the front forks - is not ideal for stability. But how much of a difference that makes, I don't know. When will they make a gimbal that fits our camera?

    I had already watched a couple of your group rides after following a link in an earlier post of yours, and was surprised by how stable your video is. The countryside reminded me of my tour of Scandinavia (by car) about 15 years ago. After driving up the coast of Norway, I entered Sweden near Abisko and eventually made my way down through to Denmark. It would have been a great journey by bike, if a little chilly in October - north of the Arctic Circle. My memories from Sweden are of lots of pine trees, pretty lakes and pretty girls.
  • AndersNordhAndersNordh Posts: 257 [Sovereign Trailblazer]
    Hi M'biker,
    Hmm, don't you have any part of the frame accessible that you could use for a camera mount, RAM produces a whole lot of varying mounts for all types of needs and I really recommend them ... The TT Bandit on my wifes bike will be replaced with a GoPro Hero5 Session now and the Bandit will be used for occasional video clips from the rear of my bike facing backwards, I have a remote for it so might be nice.
    I have seen the same vibrations and erratic behavior as your shot when cameras been mounted to the handlebar even though one might think of that as a stable mounting point which it isn't.
    Good to hear about your great memories from Sweden, if you get back to the southern part's just send a message and I might be able to hook you up with a bike, would be happy to show you the surroundings ... ;-)
    Ride safe,
    Anders

  • M'bikerM'biker Posts: 47 [Sovereign Trailblazer]
    Solution:
    I've moved the camera and changed the mount, and it's made a big difference to camera stability. I was originally using the 360 degree pitch mount at the front of the bike, fairly high up beside the screen, near the panel edge (see first photo). The second and third photos show the new location above the front wheel, using a regular flat mount.

    I can't confirm exactly what has made the improvement - ditching the pitch mount or the new spot or both. There aren't many places where you can attach the camera to fairing and position it satisfactorily without using the pitch mount. It's a really useful tool. But I suspect that over uneven surfaces the weight of the camera causes the mount to flex a little, affecting image quality. As for mount location, motorbike fairing warps and flexes, and some spots do so more than others. My original spot was not well chosen from that perspective. That said, I could see the LCD display while riding - which I can no longer do.
  • lmelelmele Posts: 22 [Renowned Trailblazer]
    Hey M'biker that looks pretty good position to get all the action. My concern is to have a chord attached to the camera just in case the mount falls off, that way you won't loose the bandit. Happy riding
  • AndersNordhAndersNordh Posts: 257 [Sovereign Trailblazer]
    Hi again, I agree with Imele above, would secure it with a velcro strap or something similar ... ;-)

    With that camera position AND that bike some really good results are to be expected! Please share with us ...

    Have a nice one,
    Anders

  • ReviewerReviewer Posts: 48 [Outstanding Explorer]
    You can see the stability and sound quality from the Bandit compared to other actioncams here (seven cameras) and here (just Garmin Virb Ultra 30).

    All cameras was mounted with a RAM mount on the handlebars of a Yamaha XT600Z. Not the most "vibration free" MC in the world but as such a good review platform.
  • PyroUK87PyroUK87 Posts: 11 [Master Explorer]
    Hey M'biker,

    Another thing to consider with the new position for mounting other than losing it, is interference with the mudguard. I have a Daytona and mounted a drift there which is much lower profile and even with stiff sport suspension it was hitting the mudguard which caused the wheel to wear through it!

    Not to mention possible damage to the camera.

    RAM mounts definitely offer good mounting options and the rubber balls can help reduce vibration but there arent many places on the sprint you can get an unobstructed view from!
  • pjsmithpjsmith Posts: 38 [Prominent Wayfarer]
    I found mounted to hard points on the bike, the vibration is not too bad. This was with the 360 mount on the crash bars. A V-Twin, so it can be a bit buzzy.

    You do get small vibration and clicking, but this is the sloppy mounting (by design). A strong elastic band pulling the camera tight to the mount will help enormously.
  • M'bikerM'biker Posts: 47 [Sovereign Trailblazer]
    Thanks to those of you who contributed to this thread. I spent a week in Tasmania (a bikers' paradise) in early March - with the new camera setup - and returned with nearly 200 GB of raw video. I've only just got the videos edited and online. Most, but not all, are on-bike footage. I've used the TomTom speed & altitude overlays on occasion, as well as Google Earth's mapping tools.
    If anyone's interested, the playlist is here:
    I'm pretty happy with where I've mounted the camera (see my earlier post). If you ride a fully-faired bike, and want an unobstructed bike-mounted perspective, it seems like the logical place. FYI - fork compression appears to affect vibration significantly: Lay off the front brakes for a smoother picture!
    It was all a bit of a learning curve. I ended up with only half of the on-road footage I'd hoped to get - due to running out of power (despite an external battery pack), condensation behind the lens (be careful when cleaning, and use the waterproof lens cover in heavy rain), and most annoyingly - the camera putting itself to sleep. This latter issue is SD card-related and, to be fair, seems to plague other camera makes as well. Formatting the card always gets the camera working again. While infrequent, the problem appears to occur at random. If you're on the bike, it can be an hour or two before you realise your camera's not working, and then you have to reformat and lose all footage on the card. A spare card would have helped, but those large cards don't come cheap.
    I'll embed the trip highlights video (bottom left) and my favorite on-bike video from the tour. For those of you unfamiliar with Australia, Tasmania is a mountainous and underpopulated island (500k people) half the size of England, with well-maintained roads and some of the best riding to be had.
  • the-civviethe-civvie Posts: 545 [Exalted Navigator]
    M'biker just had a quick look. Needless to say, I subscribed. May learn a few ideas meself ))
  • lmelelmele Posts: 22 [Renowned Trailblazer]
    M'biker, I too have noticed your post and have become a subscriber as well. Tassie is on my to do list next year and im so looking forward to it. Love the way you have the overlays on your video and in particular the way you use google maps. Is there a youtube or a video post to learn how to do what you done with the google map overlay?.
    That camera position on the bike works perfectly. In May i will be heading to to a 5 day ride from Sydney to The Great Ocean Road. I have my bandit mounted on my helmet but i also have a GoPro Hero five mounted on the windscreen of my Honda Goldwing, which may i say the inbuilt stabilization on that camera works a treat.
    I originally had my bandit mouted on the rear of my bike on top of the rear compartment, but there was to much vibrations coming through that it made the video ugly to look at. So now i have it mounted on my helmet and both cameras operate via their remotes, which is a good thing because i can tell by the lights flashing on the remotes that both cameras are recording.
  • M'bikerM'biker Posts: 47 [Sovereign Trailblazer]
    Imele - Yes, the Google Earth features are quite nifty. You can import your camera's GPS data, record a video 'fly-over' of the route using 3-D satellite imagery and then combine this with your edited camera video. There are video tutorials out there, although none in particular that have helped me. It is reasonably straight forward, but there's lots of help online if you get stuck. One recommendation: You'll likely want to edit your GPS file before importing to Google Earth Pro - either by joining tracks or removing data points so that you start or end at a particular location. GPS Tracks Editor is easy to use for this purpose (& free).

    Have fun on your upcoming tour & stay safe.
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