BMW M3 Forum (E90 E92)

BMW Garage BMW Meets Register Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Go Back   M3Post - BMW M3 Forum > M3 (E90 / E92 / E93) > M3 Photos/Video/Media Gallery
 
Post Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
      04-23-2014, 12:38 AM   #1
regular guy
Banned
22
Rep
1,375
Posts

 
Drives: Sprint car
Join Date: May 2013
Location: California

iTrader: (0)

Designing A Next Generation Track Camera Setup

I wanted to share something I've been working on the the past month. This is only a prototype, but it's good enough to share. Many people have seen remote controlled airplane and helicopter rigs. But have you ever seen something like that in a car at a track event?

Most of these set up are gimbal controlled camera's. A gimbal is a gyro sensing, auto leveling camera mount. As you go around corners, over bumps, the gimbal will auto level and always keep the horizon level. I wondered if RC planes and helicopters can deploy a gimbal, then why not use one in an HPDE or Roll Race events? Why not take it one step further and make the whole thing remote controlled while sitting on the sidelines watching streaming video and controlling the cameras as they race? Why not?

The goal was to create a fully remote controlled race car camera system that could stream video to us in the stands or sidelines. From there we could control the camera's to pan the camera as cars were passing each other. If it works, it should make some great racing video.

So I thought I'd give it a try to see if I could make it work. There's lots materials to buy and lots of prep work.

Gimbals:
There are plenty of gimbals that are purpose built for the GoPro camera's. They are easy to find on the internet.
1. The Tarot T2D is probably the most popular. I used this for a two-axis gimbal pointing straight out the front of the car.
2. A three axis gimbal "Arris CM-3000" available in China. Also specially made for the GoPro Hero 3. This is the unit I used to control and pan the camera.



Cameras:
Two GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition. The Black Edition has better resolution and more features. It's not easy to make these camera's turn on/off, start/stop recording via remote control. You must take them apart and modify them to do this. I made a "HowTo" video that will be soon posted on YouTube. Contact me for details if interested.



Remote control:
The FrSky Taranis X9D seems most popular, so this is what I bought.



Lost of electronics:
I also wanted to power the GoPro's while using them so I wouldn't depend on the GoPro batteries. To do this, you need 5V/1A voltage regulators. PWM controlled relay switches are required to operate the modified GoPro's. Everything else is off the shelf Turnigy components. There was at least 60-80 hours of custom wiring because I was constantly finding some limitations to wire thickness, flexibility (rigidity) that affect camera rotation. I redesigned the unit two times before this final creation.



Video transmitter/receiver:
Using 1.2 GHz transmitter/receiver. I'm still experimenting with this area, so it's not yet settled. I might switch to a digital system.






Cost:
~ $1500 for everything (assuming my time is free)
~ $3500 for everything (if you don't think my time is free)

The Limitations:
I worked on this for weeks before the Shift-S3ctor event. I worked on it literally until I went to bed the night before. I had no time to test it or discover the limitations. Even if I found limitations, time was out and I couldn't fix it. As I found out, there are some limitations.

1. The range of the RC controller wasn't good enough.
Even though the RC controller is supposed to be good for a mile or more, that's not what I got at the event. I'd say it was good for 500 yards, and nothing more. To fix this, I'll switch the controller to a UHF setup called DragonLink. The DragonLink plugs right into the RC controller and is seamless integration. This unit is good for 25-40 miles. DragonLink should arrive next week. Cost: $270.

2. The video transmitter couldn't transmit far enough.
Even though I had a 1W transmitter and 10db gain antenna, it still wasn't strong enough to get past 300-400 yards. Because of this limitation, we had to come up with a creative solution. To solve this problem, I placed my son with the RC controller and streaming video receiver in the car racing Drew (DLSJ5). Placing my son in the car would guarantee real-time control of the cameras without any drop outs while operating. I investigated this video limitation and discovered that professional systems are cost prohibitive (starting at $6k, and up to $100k). But there may be a middle ground. An entry level professional digital video transmitter/receiver cost about $1500. This system is designed specifically for race cars. But it's only guaranteed to transmit a little over 1/2 mile (1000 yards). This spawned a hybrid idea of using the digital system and strategically place the digital receiver 800-1000 years down the track. The digital receiver would feed my 1.2 GHz analog transmitter. I could then use a high gain directional antenna pointed directly at the 1.2 GHz analog transmitter. This hybrid approach should guarantee 1-2 miles of range out of this design. But before I consider more expenses like the digital video system, I need to exhaust all other possibilities and debug the system I have.

3. Some glitches during power up/down cause the relays to trigger, which causes the camera's to turn on and record without my permission! This is more annoyance than real problem. But I have some ideas to fix it. I actually think the DragonLink UHF RC adapter might fix it because I suspect the bug is in the Taranis receiver.

4. The Tarot T2D gimbal didn't work as well as I had hoped. It may be great for quad copters and airplanes, but in a car I found that it couldn't recover fast enough to g-force changes going around corners. The Arris CM-3000 3-axis gimbal seemed to work much better than the Tarot T2D. Arris also makes a 2-axis version: CM-2000. I already ordered one, and it arrives tomorrow.

The Results:













The Race:



Observations:
The results far exceeded expectations even with the design limitations we discovered. The video speaks for itself. The video is perfectly smooth, the gimbals are doing their job of auto-leveling, and it's real fun to watch the camera panning perfectly smooth as the cars pass one another. This is definitely a technology worth perfecting. Hopefully it can be low cost enough that hard core track rats can afford it for themselves.
Appreciate 0
      04-23-2014, 02:14 AM   #2
Soorena
Captain
No_Country
17
Rep
844
Posts

 
Drives: M3 6MT
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Paris

iTrader: (0)

Garage List
Radical!
Appreciate 0
      04-23-2014, 09:25 AM   #3
e92livin
Captain
e92livin's Avatar
Canada
10
Rep
932
Posts

 
Drives: M3
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Toronto/Orlando

iTrader: (5)

You are a genius.
__________________
2008 E92 BMW M3 MR/BB 6MT
|Gintani Supercharged|Gintani X-Pipe|Stack Gauges|Volk TE37SL|BC Racing Coilovers|Hankook RS-3 |BMW Performance Spoiler|BMW Performance Steering Wheel|BMW Performance Side Gills + Grilles|Mode Carbon Variant 2 Splitter|IND Tri- Stitched Shift + Brake Boot|
Appreciate 0
      04-23-2014, 09:34 AM   #4
Sebringjetta
Brigadier General
Sebringjetta's Avatar
United_States
49
Rep
3,123
Posts

 
Drives: E46m3
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Sacramento

iTrader: (30)

Quote:
Originally Posted by e92livin View Post
You are a genius.
agree!!!!!!!!!! and have alot of free time
__________________
Appreciate 0
      04-23-2014, 09:54 AM   #5
W///
Major General
W///'s Avatar
82
Rep
5,394
Posts

 
Drives: 2008 E92 M3/1999 E36 M3 Coupe
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: SC

iTrader: (12)

Mighty impressive!

Oh and that wail coming from the S65... after 7 years, still never gets old
__________________
2008 E92 M3: Sparkling Graphite | Bamboo Beige | 6MT | CF Roof | HRE | Catless Eisenmann Race | BPM Sport | Swift | Arkym | Mode Carbon | M.Perf
Appreciate 0
      04-23-2014, 10:07 AM   #6
s85e90
Colonel
27
Rep
2,375
Posts

 
Drives: black e90
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: everywhere

iTrader: (0)

Don't you work?? I kid.. Very cool..


edit: watched vid, works amazingly well !

Last edited by s85e90; 04-23-2014 at 01:40 PM.
Appreciate 0
      04-23-2014, 10:18 AM   #7
1MOREMOD
2014 Track Days - 11|Ridge 1:52:24|Pacific 1:35:72
1MOREMOD's Avatar
United_States
172
Rep
12,901
Posts

 
Drives: Race car->
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: check your mirrors

iTrader: (5)

Very cool. Like the idea, keep at it.
Appreciate 0
      04-23-2014, 10:34 AM   #8
Sebringjetta
Brigadier General
Sebringjetta's Avatar
United_States
49
Rep
3,123
Posts

 
Drives: E46m3
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Sacramento

iTrader: (30)

Quote:
Originally Posted by s85e90 View Post
Don't you work?? I kid.. Very cool.. But isn't it easier to still just use a number of different Go Pros and do the editing later on.


This seems like a lot of work for real time camera ops (understanding that this is prototype piece)
well if no one decided to take the next step we wouldnt have half the tech we have now....
__________________
Appreciate 0
      04-23-2014, 10:37 AM   #9
BMW Fanatik
Banned
BMW Fanatik's Avatar
1
Rep
184
Posts

 
Drives: slow
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: North Pole

iTrader: (0)

So sick! Keep it up man. You never know what you have in your hands unless you go all the way...and by all the way I mean never stop because success doesn't have a destination, it is a journey.

I would buy this without a doubt.
Appreciate 0
      04-23-2014, 10:40 AM   #10
Powerbeast
Major General
Powerbeast's Avatar
United_States
142
Rep
7,216
Posts

 
Drives: E90 M3 Dakar Yellow
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: SoCal

iTrader: (4)

Too high tech for me!
Appreciate 0
      04-23-2014, 10:46 AM   #11
Merlin_83
Merlin
Merlin_83's Avatar
United_States
4
Rep
133
Posts

 
Drives: 2012 BMW M3 w/ZCP 6MT
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: United States

iTrader: (0)

Smile Well done !

Very nice set-up ! I think you may have a business op there..the remote control ability is fantastic..

I know you kind of listed items used, but any chance you can create a BOM for all that is needed ?

ps - what is the screaming eagle avatar all about ? Are you avid SE drinker ?

And by chance are you in Marin County ?

Cheers,
Merlin
__________________




2012 BMW M3|ZCP|6MT|Navi|Cold Weather Package|Premium Package|
Appreciate 0
      04-23-2014, 10:47 AM   #12
s85e90
Colonel
27
Rep
2,375
Posts

 
Drives: black e90
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: everywhere

iTrader: (0)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Powerbeast View Post
Too high tech for me!
+1
Appreciate 0
      04-23-2014, 11:00 AM   #13
tom @ eas
BimmerPost Supporting Vendor
tom @ eas's Avatar
United_States
324
Rep
10,611
Posts


 
Drives: BMW
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Anaheim, CA

iTrader: (13)

Garage List
Got to see this in action over the weekend.

How did range end up working out?
__________________
Appreciate 0
      04-23-2014, 11:11 AM   #14
mkPOTO
Mr. Nice Says Hello
mkPOTO's Avatar
200
Rep
15,635
Posts

 
Drives: 1999 528I
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: USA

iTrader: (23)

Garage List
wow, very impressive!
__________________

EVOLVE E600 BMW E92 M3
Appreciate 0
      04-23-2014, 11:18 AM   #15
Sam@ModeCarbon
BimmerPost Supporting Vendor
Sam@ModeCarbon's Avatar
100
Rep
4,083
Posts


 
Drives: using 3 pedals
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: NY l LA

iTrader: (2)

Incredible
__________________
Appreciate 0
      04-23-2014, 11:40 AM   #16
regular guy
Banned
22
Rep
1,375
Posts

 
Drives: Sprint car
Join Date: May 2013
Location: California

iTrader: (0)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sebringjetta View Post
agree!!!!!!!!!! and have alot of free time
Quote:
Originally Posted by s85e90 View Post
Don't you work?? I kid..
While it's true that my kids are all grown up and one would think I have more spare time...it's really the opposite because I've filled every hour of every day with something (work, hobbies, etc.). Oh, and the wife was never letting me hear the end of it. Not only was I consumed working on the project, but my entire kitchen and dining room was laid out with electronics gear, soldering iron, wiring, etc. By the time the event came around, I was in pretty deep in the dog house. I'm sure nobody else can relate.

Quote:
Very cool.. But isn't it easier to still just use a number of different Go Pros and do the editing later on.

This seems like a lot of work for real time camera ops (understanding that this is prototype piece)
There are already two camera's under remote control, and I think I could actually do three with this set up. We could manually turn them all on/off and record/stop. But that's not what I wanted to do. If we go the old school approach of manually turning them all on, then yes I'd have to edit the footage. But I'd also have to bring extra SD cards to events and swap them out from time to time...not to mention battery replacement. The gimbals are real tight designs and it is possible to remove/replace the SD cards...it's not desirable during an event. But it's nearly impossible to replace batteries during an event because I'd have to disassemble the gimbals to get to the battery bays on the GoPro's. By hard wiring and using remote controls, I was trying to consume only the necessary resources without swapping SD cards during an event. And by adding streaming video, I also get access to the GoPro battery charging signals. So by doing this, I can charge the camera's while using them instead of using the batteries and replacing them during an event.

Hard wiring the camera's was another goal. Since race drivers often times have gloves and helmet's on (or just plain don't know how to use technology), I didn't want to burden the driver with operating the camera's. Drivers are so consumed with driving a race, that they might forget to switch on and record. So that's why I took the GoPro's apart and figured out how to hard wire the switches -- which could then be remote controlled.

Last edited by regular guy; 04-23-2014 at 11:55 AM.
Appreciate 0
      04-23-2014, 11:48 AM   #17
regular guy
Banned
22
Rep
1,375
Posts

 
Drives: Sprint car
Join Date: May 2013
Location: California

iTrader: (0)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Merlin_83 View Post
Very nice set-up ! I think you may have a business op there..the remote control ability is fantastic..

I know you kind of listed items used, but any chance you can create a BOM for all that is needed ?
I meant to post a BOM, and will do so later tonight/tomorrow when I get some time.

Quote:
ps - what is the screaming eagle avatar all about ? Are you avid SE drinker ?

And by chance are you in Marin County ?

Cheers,
Merlin
I bought the SE to commemorate the birth of my first grandchild. It is well taken care of, and I plan to let it age until she graduates from High School before drinking it with her mom (my daughter) and family. I live down in Morgan Hill.
Appreciate 0
      04-23-2014, 11:50 AM   #18
regular guy
Banned
22
Rep
1,375
Posts

 
Drives: Sprint car
Join Date: May 2013
Location: California

iTrader: (0)

Quote:
Originally Posted by tom @ eas View Post
Got to see this in action over the weekend.

How did range end up working out?
Range was very disappointing. All the gear works great for miles when up in the air. But on the ground, it was only 300-500 yards. By that standard, it was very disappointing. But I have a recovery plan to replace the RC xmit/rcvr with UHF models. That will definitely fix the RC control range issue (beyond any doubt). I'm still experimenting with streaming video however. That's going to be a much more difficult problem to solve. I hope to get time this weekend to test a few things on that front. I will keep everybody updated.
Appreciate 0
      04-23-2014, 01:10 PM   #19
Sal@AUTOcouture
BimmerPost Supporting Vendor
Sal@AUTOcouture's Avatar
143
Rep
9,651
Posts


 
Drives: F80 M3
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: NJ

iTrader: (29)

Send a message via AIM to Sal@AUTOcouture
Badass, Robert! Bravo
Appreciate 0
      04-23-2014, 04:17 PM   #20
Longboarder
Brigadier General
65
Rep
3,787
Posts

 
Drives: 2013 e92 M3
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Monarch Beach

iTrader: (1)

Garage List
2011 997.2 Turbo S  [4.71]
2013 e92 M3  [4.55]
2013 WRX STi  [4.00]
2013 BMW X5  [0.00]
That is one badass setup and the results truly speak for themselves. I'm sure you will get the limitations addressed and this thing will be a game changer. Glad I could help provide a good race to show what this system can do!
__________________
Daily: 2013 e92 M3 DCT / ESS VT2 650 S/C / Akrapovic Evolution / StopTech BBK
Track/Airstrip: 2011 997.2 Turbo S PDK / 725 HP / BBi suspension build
Beater: 2013 X5 3.5sport
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCT1...eoFBszPIK0gf9w
Appreciate 0
      04-23-2014, 09:00 PM   #21
KEYON
Brigadier General
KEYON's Avatar
United_States
67
Rep
3,416
Posts

 
Drives: '14 RS5
Join Date: May 2008
Location: LA x SD

iTrader: (6)

Garage List
2011 E92 M3  [4.83]
Cooool!
Appreciate 0
      04-23-2014, 09:35 PM   #22
regular guy
Banned
22
Rep
1,375
Posts

 
Drives: Sprint car
Join Date: May 2013
Location: California

iTrader: (0)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Merlin_83 View Post
Very nice set-up ! I think you may have a business op there..the remote control ability is fantastic..

I know you kind of listed items used, but any chance you can create a BOM for all that is needed ?

ps - what is the screaming eagle avatar all about ? Are you avid SE drinker ?

And by chance are you in Marin County ?

Cheers,
Merlin
As best as I can tell, here's the BOM. I'm sure I'm forgetting some things. I guess it was quite a bit more expensive than I thought.

Qty
DescriptionCommentPurchased From
Price
Total
2
GoPro Hero 3+ Black EditionAmazon.com$375.00$750.00
1
Arris CM-2000 Gimbal2-axis modelhttp://www.hobby-wing.com$259.00$259.00
1
Arris CM-3000 Gimbal3-axis modelhttp://www.hobby-wing.com$329.00$329.00
1
FrSky Taranis X9D ControllerPurchased with receiverhttp://www.gravesrc.com$225.00$225.00
1
Boscam RC800 32 channel receiver/monitorLCD monitor with DVRhttp://www.hobbyking.com$173.00$173.00
4
Turnigy relay controlled switchPRODUCT ID: 9171000272-0http://www.hobbyking.com$7.62$30.48
1
Turnigy Accucel-6 50W 6A Balancer/Charger w/ AccessoriesPRODUCT ID: ACC6http://www.hobbyking.com$22.99$22.99
1
ZIPPY Flightmax 2650mAh 3S1PPRODUCT ID: Z26503S-20http://www.hobbyking.com$14.77$14.77
4
Turnigy Receiver Controlled SwitchPRODUCT ID: 9107000266-0http://www.hobbyking.com$6.85$27.40
2
Tarot TL68A10 Gopro Hero3 AV Video CableAmazon.com$8.00$16.00
1
FrSky Servo Channel Changerhttps://www.alofthobbies.com$14.75$14.75
2
FrSky SBUS & CPPM Decoder withhttps://www.alofthobbies.com$11.00$22.00
1
SmartFPV - 3 Way RC Video Switch by Kristaps3-way video switch (3 cameras)http://www.readymaderc.com$20.00$20.00
2
Octocopter Power Distribution BoardItem # 161251202670http://ebay.com$12.00$24.00
2
Turnigy 3A UBEC w/ Noise ReductionItem # UBEC-1010http://www.sierrarc.com$8.00$16.00
1
Adjustable Step Up/Down SEPIC Voltage RegulatorItem # VREG-1010http://www.sierrarc.com$13.00$13.00
2
Fat Gecko Mini Camera and Camcorder MountAmazon.com$28.00$56.00
1
Sandisk 64GB x2 MicroSD XC Ultra UHS-1 Memory Card, Class 10 Amazon.com$85.00$85.00
1
LOT wiring harnessesToo many items to itemizeLocal RC store$300.00$300.00
Total$2,398.00
Appreciate 0
Post Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:02 PM.




m3post
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.0
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
1Addicts.com, BIMMERPOST.com, E90Post.com, F30Post.com, M3Post.com, ZPost.com, 5Post.com, 6Post.com, 7Post.com, XBimmers.com logo and trademark are properties of BIMMERPOST