Very last minute, I submitted an entry for the BikeFest calendar on equipping your ride with video equipment. I do not yet have a specific date -- hoping for the third Thursday in August, with a Tuesday as a second choice. I selected 6:30 p.m., figuring it won't exceed an hour.
I do not yet have a location for this event. Libraries I've checked that are open evenings, their meeting room is already booked. Suggestions welcome.
This isn't going to be very long or involved. My current plan is to bring my own bike and cameras, and my laptop. I will explain the benefits of rolling video, compare and contrast front and rear, and discuss mounting techniques. I will then shoot a few seconds with one camera, then move the data to the laptop, review it onscreen, and upload it to YouTube.
So I need a 120 outlet and Internet access I can use, in addition to a meeting room and seating for maybe 15-20. Closer-in to the more bikeable parts of town desirable.
Anyone else already equipped who would like to assist, please get in touch.
It would also be great if someone could video the whole thing for playback later, but that's icing on the cake.
The main thing: Can anyone help me find a location? Or know who to ask?
i wonder about REI, they have a briefing room.
^REI is great idea Van. They could use it as a demo of some of the cameras they carry too.
Stu, you could check with Pitt about using one of the nationality rooms in the cathedral, although they would need to give you permission for the Wifi too.
Some ideas to try--
- Coffee shops. Most Paneras have a meeting room, including at least the ones at Forbes & Oakland (Sennott Square) and Allies & Halket (near Magee Hosp.). Some Crazy Mochas do as well, including at least the ones at Baum & Fairmount in Friendship and at Liberty & Eighth in the Cultural District.
- Co-working spaces. Alloy26, inside the old Allegheny Center Mall, is very interested both in becoming a space for events as well as meetings, and in being part of the bike community. Try also Catapult (Lawrenceville), Beauty Shop (East Liberty)....there are many others.
- Bookstores. Not so much on the meeting rooms, necessarily, but White Whale in Bloomfield has been the meeting spot for Bloomfield Livable Streets since the beginning; Nine Stories has hosted Better Streets Lawrenceville on occasion; and City of Asylum on the North Side has a stage and performance space as well.
This is on!
Thursday, August 17, 6:30 p.m., Bear Dog Bikes, 901 Western Ave (Northside), Pgh 15233.
Figure on an hour: Demo, explanation of what works and what doesn't, front vs rear cameras, how to process video, upload to YouTube. I don't have a product to sell, so there won't be a sales presentation. Hope to see you there!
I'll try my best to attend. I've been running bicycle dash cams for two years now, and I made a few videos on dangerous motorists: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnB9nNBi8UNAdce-ZFajrn-zSfX6nZtg9
It will be fun to share what we've learned.
That would be great! I don't know how much space we have, or how many people will attend, but if you want to bring your rig down, it would be good for attendees to have more than my setup to view.
There's a Autonomous Car Tech Talk at the same time as Stu's seminar. I think it would be nice if they can be combined next year. The topic can be: "How Bicycle Dashcam can Make Streets Safer and Replace City Revenues from Parking in the Age of Autonomous Vehicles". In the near future, more and more people will use autonomous vehicles to get to downtown, which may cause a significant loss of revenues for the city from parking fees. I propose that city use videos captured from bicycle dashcam to fine traffic law violators to replace the loss revenues and further discourage use of human-operated motor vehicles.
Event: ATG Tech Talk
Date: Thursday, August 17th
Location: ATG, 50 33rd Street, Pittsburgh PA 15201
Pittsburgh is home to the self-driving Uber, and has received immense support from the Bike Pittsburgh community. We’d like to open our doors to participants to learn more about SDUs and how we are building software (and hardware) with bicyclists and pedestrians in mind.
Type of Ride: Tech Talk, social
Duration: 2-3 hours
Level: n/a, social
Ride Host & Contact: Uber Advanced Technologies Group, Sarah Abboud, firstname.lastname@example.org
That might be a different seminar? It doesn't mention me.
Gaah, I just went to some trouble to get the word out about my night.
Thanks for pointing out the discrepancy. More stuff I gotta take care of instead of looking for employment.
No, they just plain old have the date wrong. When I first contacted them, I said it would be a Thu or Tue night, but did not have a verified date, time or location yet.
Thu 8/17, 6:30. Bear Dog Cycles, 901 Western Ave, Northside. I can't repeat that enough times or places: here, Reddit, a comment on their blog post, a comment on their calendar, an email, Facebook post, and if I haven't tweeted about it yet, I will soon.
What did I miss?
Respectfully, you must have missed the fact that Bike PGH only has a very small number of people organizing and promoting three major events this month, and paying attention to your comments on twitter, facebook, reddit, etc. is about the last thing that will make these major events a continued success. You might be a little more understanding of a typo or oversight by a busy intern since it has literally taken you years of talking about your event on the message board to bring it to fruition, and even then you only managed to submit a grossly incomplete application, lacking the fundamentals of time and place, at the eleventh hour. Further, recall that two of the goals of the Bike Fest Advisory Committee were (1) to relieve the Bike PGH event staff of the time-sucking burden of dealing with this sort of half-baked event planning, and (2) to ensure that if Bike PGH would allocate staff time to the promotion of these events (and away from Open Streets, Pedal PGH, etc.), the events would actually be well-organized. So, in summary, I think you are missing the reality of what it takes to put on all of these events at the same time, and not seeing how your own deficient, incomplete submission has created more work and more opportunities for error by someone who assuredly has a ton of things to get done to make these events successful.
Where exactly is the schedule of events? I've been looking at the bikepgh website and using the Google and I can't find it. I'm feeling like I'm missing something obvious...
Edit:. I'm a dumbass. I was searching under Pedal pgh instead of bike fest. Here it is.
It's fixed. Thank you, Jane.
Yes, I know it was last minute. Not for lack of trying. And I did send in the correct info before it was published.
Too bad I'll be out of town for this as it's something I'm interested in. I 3d printed a fork crown GoPro mount that I used to shoot the video below. Unfortunately due to vibration issues I wouldn't be able to pull license plate information if needed. I'd sure be interested in being able to get clearer video...
I tried to upload an image of the fork crown mount but the upload errors out on me.
One of the techniques I plan to talk about is developing the habit of yelling out license plate numbers. Your eyes will always have a better view of the plate than a camera, and if your audio is on, it will unquestionably pick up your voice calling out the plate. Example: My Darlene Harris encounter. I call out "GPJ-8259" and then repeat for clarity, "George Paul John eight two five nine." Incontrovertible evidence.
So this isn't just about hooking up cameras, it's about making effective use of the evidence captured.
@sped - Your setup is pretty good, IMHO. As to the damned fool passing you on the WEC->WCarson ramp, yeah, that's pretty lame. But AFAICT didn't directly threaten you, and did give you a good bit of space. Using that as an example of grabbing a plate, though, yeah, that's going to be tough at that speed. Props to you, though, for handling a difficult piece of roadway.
As to the damned fool passing you on the WEC->WCarson ramp, yeah, that’s pretty lame. But AFAICT didn’t directly threaten you, and did give you a good bit of space. Using that as an example of grabbing a plate, though, yeah, that’s going to be tough at that speed. Props to you, though, for handling a difficult piece of roadway.
My intent was only to show video quality, or lack thereof, using the mount I printed not to call any vehicular actions into question. If all of my street riding was as "bad" as that I'd feel no need for a camera. My lack of happiness with the footage led me to repurpose the mount as a light mount until I can come up with a way to shoot more stable video. I've read body mounts are more stable but I haven't explored that method yet.
Many thanks for Stu for taking the time to hold this seminar and Bear Dog Bicycle for providing the space.
Figure 1: Stu showing the chest rig for the front-facing camera
Figure 2: Stu, Bear Dog Bicycle staff, Paul, and Gordon
I will post that one-minute video of the rear camera, showing the dog, sometime today. Paul or Gordon, feel free to post any other pics you might have, especially my MacGyvered together rear camera mount.
My main point in all of this is that persistence matters more than money in getting this done, though having the money makes it go easier.
And again, thanks to Bear Dog Cycles for hosting the event!
A minute or so of video
from the rear camera, featuring the bear dog from Bear Dog Bicycles.
Stu Strickland's Fly6 camera & light, on rear of his bike (click for uncropped)
Three pieces of junk: A sawed off broomstick, a piece of 12-gauge wire, and a thin cord used as a tether.
We talked about two main factors of capturing license plate numbers successfully with a video camera: 1) stability of the camera mount or where it is mounted, 2) ambient light. An effective bicycle video camera setup should maintain the same point of aim when going over majority of the road bumps. Stu used to mount his camera on the handlebar with a GoPro handlebar mount, but he noticed a great amount of vibration being transmitted to his videos. The way that Stu tackles this problem is to place his camera on his chest via a harness. However, as you can see below, the footage can be greatly affected by the rider's breathing:
Fortunately, this can be solved with a gimbal device, such as the Yeiyu Tech WG2. As you can see, with the gimbal device, the footage is a lot more stable even on single track:
Even so, my handlebar-mounted Mobius Action Cam seems to work relatively well. This may be because of its compact size and light weight, which make it wobble less from road bumps.
As mentioned above, ambient light plays a pivotal role in the video quality. But I am not aware of a product that can help improve video quality in low light conditions. The only method I could think of is to mount a very powerful headlight.
This is excellent, gathering our collective wisdom and experience to make it possible for others to do likewise.
One thing I wanted to do was put together a handout summarizing the high points of the discussion. I think we can accomplish something similar on this thread. The next time we decide to conduct such a seminar, we can take a quick look here for a refresher.
To that end, here is a quick rundown of the equip,ent I obtained, and roughly what it costs.
1) Front camera. I paid a bit over $100 for my low-end camera over five years ago. $100 will get you quite a bit more today than in 2012. You can spend a whole lot more, but as my little box has proven, you don't need top-shelf equipment to get in the game.
2) Rear camera. This is where the action is. This shows intent, the moments leading up to an encounter. PA might not have front license plates, but there is enough identifying info on the front of any car to make it easily identifiable.
3) Some method of processing video, i.e., a laptop computer. Assumed that if you don't already have one, get one. Not an iPad, not a phone. Real hardware that you can edit big computer files with.
4) A big storage disk. Mine is 5 TB. The average laptop has 250-500GB, which seems like a lot, but when you dump multiples of 20 GB for a few days' work, that goes away fast.
5) Editing software. The Win7 Movie Maker was pretty good. The Win10 equivalent is horrible. Both are free. I don't know what else is out there, but I'm either too cheap or too broke to buy anything better.
6) An external battery. I use this to recharge my rear camera, which because of its mounting technique, cannot be taken off the bike.
I would get those items in that order. That's roughly $500 total, but you don't have to get it all at once.
Gordon: wouldn't the video stabilization option built into youtube's uploading system allow you to remove the rolling shutter effects and also remove a lot of the camera shake in the Bumpy South Millvale video (at the expense of some field of view)?
YouTube helps; the Darlene Harris video is stabilized, as you can see from the timestamp jumping around. Longer period regular movements like breathing are more difficult to compensate for.
In any event, while it's useful to know such equipment exists, it's far less important than having documentation at all. In short, evidence, not art.
This bloke recommends chest mount if shooting real time and clamping to top tube if shooting time lapse. His video shows several experiments.
I came up with this meme after seeing this article titled: "Improving traffic safety with a crowdsourced traffic violation reporting app" (https://phys.org/print411121312.htm
).The Mobile Roadwatch app mentioned in the article is described in details in this journal article as well: http://ic.kaist.ac.kr/wikipages/files/chi17_roadwatch.pdf
I believe this anonymous, crowdsourced, and dashcam-based system will enhance traffic safety and reduce road rage incidences. If an involved person, even as a bystander, try to dish out punishment, it will often escalate to personal feud/road rage, and any good intentions will fall on deaf ears at this point. I don't even encourage verbal interactions with the offenders. It is best to leave punishment to the third party - police.
Image not appearing.
Very strange - I used Google Photo to store my pictures. I could see it on my browser, and I'm pretty sure I had turned the privacy button off. If the one below doesn't work, I'll try the link from my Facebook album instead.
Excellent! Posted to my Fb. Thank you!
I stopped in Target today to get a broom so I can sweep shrapnel away from my path of travel. While I was there, I looked in the eletronice department and saw a GoPro branded Chest harness. The man at the register said that it most likely does not have a standard tripod screw to mount the camera. What kind of harness would I need? He recommended Best Buy, but that is out of reach.
The GoPro chest harness I own does have a standard camera mount.
Did you get it at Target? If not, where did you get it?
REI, South Side. About $30 + tax.
A friend saw this T-shirt at Commonwealth Press:
which inspired me to design this T-shirt:
The current laws do not allow use of videos to prosecute dangerous motorists except in a few cases, though.
Laws can be changed. I'd like to see a bounty system set up such that we camera-equipped cyclists could pocket a crisp $10 bill each time we record a motorist giving us trouble.
Somewhat relevant to this thread. There's a combination light + camera
on the market.
I own a Fly6. So does@rustyred (Colleen). Looks like they've come down a couple bucks, too. Mine was $172 with tax and shipping. They do a nice job, but you may need to get inventive with mounting techniques. The under-seat method won't do if you have stuff on the rear rack, or if a coat or other clothing obscures the rear view.
^ I attached a four inch piece of metal tubing to the hole where you would normally attach a reflector on the back of Rusty's rear bike rack. She then mounts the camera onto the tubing. It's not elegant, but it works well and camera-shake doesn't seem to be an issue. I'll ask her to post a picture later.
Thank you for the useful pics.
Somehow it's reminiscent of Steampunk... (in a good way)
I am going to download all videos I made using a GoPRO camera and process them to remove the fisheye distortion. Once done, I will re-upload the videos.