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LogScanner RaceCam

Hero4So far, we have been paying attention to the instruments because that’s how you find out how good your performance is. However, there is another area that also delivers lots of information; videos. We have decided to call this RaceCam.

What is RaceCam? (See the video…)

RaceCam is a video camera and processing application that records and analyzes a video of your race. There are many ways to record the video for processing, such as a GoPro or “IP” Surveillance camera.

Why bother?

  • Having a video of your race aids in finding out why what happened happened. For example, in the Race Analysis post, we observed an issue where the boat did much worse on starboard than on port. It became obvious when we took a look at a RaceCam video. The crew was trimming the main tighter on starboard than port. And they didn’t seem to notice. Here is what we saw on the RaceCam video;
StbdTrim3 PortTrim3
  • In addition to finding out what happened, having a video of your race can be useful in a protest.

How to

There are two big issues that need to be addressed when installing a RaceCam; power and video size. For example, the most popular way is to use a GoPro Hero camera. They are waterproof, wide angle and remote controllable. However, they can only take about an hour of video before the battery runs out, and there is no way to attach a power cable without hacking. And the produced video size is about 6 Gigabytes per hour. This size prevents easy transfer.

One way around the power issue is to use a so-called IP camera which is connected to your PC via Ethernet which also supplies power to the IP camera.

As for the video size issue, things don’t happen fast enough to require 30 frames/second video rate. A 20 Gigabyte video (4 hour race) is way too big and slow to allow review to find out what happened. Instead, a “time lapse” video is more useful; say 1 frame/second. This reduces the video size by 30 times, and speeds up the review by 30 times.

We have discovered another good camera for doing RaceCam – the Brinno TLC200 f1.2. It makes time-lapse videos and can record for several days on its internal battery.

Of course, making a video is only the first step. Groking what happened and extracting snapshots and snippets from the video during post-race analysis is the next item.

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