Hangar works #14 – The video camera

A few weeks after buying the Morgan 3-Wheeler, we just had our first action camera: a really nice and compact GoPro Hero 7 Black.

Our GoPro Hero 7 Black

We bought it because we thought it was a nice idea to finally have one, so we can take videos on our mountain bikes, while diving, and of course while driving the new 3-Wheeler.

We premiered it for the first time on our Christmas holidays diving in Roatan – Honduras, and we were surprised by the quality that such small cameras have today.

Diving in Roatan – Honduras

The first thing we noticed is that the GoPro is way better doing videos than just taking pictures. I guess they’re designed that way and we’re ok with it.

Video taken diving with our GoPro – Roatan – Honduras

Once back home in Madrid, and with the Morgan finally delivered and safely parked in our garage, the first idea was to use the GoPro with a stick and be used by the co-pilot to take video during our drives together.

Having it fixed to the 3-Wheeler was not the original idea then, but looking at many videos on the Internet, taken with the camera fixed to the roll hoop or with a suction cup, showed that the GoPro could be of better use if fixed. And also, it could be used by the pilot during a solitaire drive.

Our only doubt was about the result of our GoPro Hero 7 Black recording with the tremendous vibrations provoked by the massive X-Wedge S&S V-Twin engine. Would the stabilization software of the GoPro counterbalance it properly? According to what we could see from other users in the Internet, it should! So, we gave it a chance and ordered the GoPro suction cup.

The GoPro suction cup set and its bag

The GoPro suction cup comes in a very nice bag, with plenty of accessories that allow you to fix the GoPro almost anywhere around the car. And the characteristics announced by GoPro declare that it can be used up to speeds of 150mph / 240 km/h, well above what the 3-Wheeler is capable of.

The position we like the most for the camera is just over the dashboard, between the two small windshields.

We choose to locate the camera between the two small windshields

This position gives you a nice sensation in the video like being just at driver’s position with a nice look at the bonnet and the two tires under the fenders, which we really like. The frame is, in our honest opinion, the very best.

Nice panoramic camera vision from this position

Some other 3-Wheler drivers prefer to fix the video camera to the roll hoop, in a center position. It’s a nice option too, giving you an upper vision of the road and the front of the car, including the dashboard and part of the steering wheel. And I say part, because depending on your size, this camera position between the roll hoops implies that part of the vision is hidden by the driver’s and copilot’s shoulders and heads, and in some cases a lot.

Fixing the camera to a roll hoop is another common position, but not our choice

Being as I am a relatively tall man (I’m 1,82 m / 5ft11in), and with wide shoulders, and also considering that we chose to use helmets while we drive on open roads and motorways, a roll hoop camera stand is definitely not the best option for us.

So, we keep the chosen camera’s position between the windshields as the best for now.

The camera positioned there is at hand for both the driver and the copilot

Another advantage of having the camera there, is that both the driver and the copilot can manage the device. Pushing the record button is really easy, and at the same time you’re looking at it, so you know it’s there and it can’t fall off the car without noticing it.

The camera is always at sight of the passengers

But still, despite the GoPro declares its suction cup is good for speeds up to 150 mph / 240 km/h, the 3-Wheeler is no ordinary car, and its vibrations are a concern. Not only because the stabilized video image, but more because of the reliability of the suction cup when subjected to so much vibration.

For this reason, we looked for a safety solution, just in case the suction cup fails. Again, there are different solutions taken by other drivers, most of them consisting of a rope attached to the camera and knotted somewhere to the car. And ours is not much different, but we looked for something as simple as the rope concept, but without having a rope or long lanyard hanging around in front of the dashboard and flapping with the wind.

Thinking about the possible solutions, I realized that the male Lift-The-Dot fastener just between the two windshields was there, asking to be used for more than just attaching the tonneau cover when the car is parked. It’s clearly the best possible anchor point for this purpose.

This male Lift-The-Dot fastener between the windshields will be useful!

So, we came up with a simple solution.

We first attached a classic nylon cord lanyard with a female small plastic side-release buckle to the GoPro frame.

The GoPro Frame with its Nylon cord and the female side-release plastic buckle part

And then me made a short lanyard with a Lift-The-Dot fastener at one end, and the male small plastic side-release buckle for the Nylon cord of the GoPro frame on the other one.

Here’s a view of the short lanyard set

We made this short lanyard using the scraps of the dark brown leather that our upholsterer used to handcraft our luggage set, the back cushion for AM and the steering wheel bag.

For the link between the Nylon cord and the lanyard, we chose to use a side-release small plastic buckle. We believe it’s a better choice than a metallic carabiner or something similar, as it’s lighter, safe enough, and will not cause any metallic clinking.

Classic side-release small plastic buckle

So, the lanyard is made out of the same leather we have in the 3-Wheeler trim and upholstery. A perfect match. And it elegantly clips on the Lift-The-Dot fastener between the two windshields, securing the camera in case the suction cup fails.

Image of the camera in position with the lanyard anchored to the Lift-The-Dot fastener

Regarding the suction cup, we use the base – logically – and the shortest device allowing the camera to look upfront. The result is quite a compact set, and not too high that does not disturb our road visibility.

The GoPro suction cup with its shortest and simplest device

As you can see in the above pictures, we put on our GoPro a foam windslayer. A very simple accessorize that can be bought in Amazon for very little money, being the best quality (high foam density and good cut) less than 15 €.

The windslayer for the GoPro

It is amazing what such a simple accessorize can make to cancel the wind noise! Check out the wind noise difference between these two next videos!

Video without the windslayer
Video with the windslayer

The only negative point of the foam windslayer is that you need to remove it every time you have to replace the GoPro battery. And you need to do it with love to avoid tearing the foam.

Regarding the settings we use for the GoPro video, we set it to 4K / 60 fps resolution, wide view and of course the stabilization ON, as main parameters. It’s a personal choice and some others may use different settings. But those work perfect for us and they give us pretty nice stable videos, as long as there is enough light, because the stabilization software of the GoPro is quite terrible with low light and at night. Which seems logical, as the camera is a very compact one with a small lens and sensor.

Hope you enjoyed this post!

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