Product Review: RallyCam 3000
When my esteemed editor suggested I review the RallyCam, I envisioned a simple one camera with a small recording device. Instead. the edgecameras.com people sent me their RallyCam 3000, a three-camera system with a sophisticated control unit integrated with a multi-use video recording device. The devices came packed tightly in their container. I was quickly overwhelmed by cables, clamps, remotes and plastic bags. The numerous instruction sheets were not very helpful. But TTAC’s Best and Brightest are persistent bastards, as are their legally-trained representatives. So away we go…
Eventually I figured out how to connect the three tube-style cameras to the control box along with the microphone. I then charged-up the small personal video recorder which integrates into the custom control box. This device uses sd memory cards (a 2 gig card was included). Since it’s a generic device, it has many features unrelated to recording racing video.
The recorder connects to the control box via a USB cable and a 3.5mm audio jack. Power for the control box comes via a 12-volt power source from the applicable vehicle. The cameras connect via four-prong connectors held in place by screw-down connectors with over seven-foot leads, allowing for extensive placement options.
You mount the cameras via a ball and clamp system that holds the camera in place but allows for easy rotating and adjustment. The various instruction manuals were silent on the subject of camera placement; I presume most end users would know enough to place the cameras on a roll bar for interior mounts, and avoid places where they could be smashed to smithereens, ripped-off by the wind and/or generally kill the driver.
I latched two cameras to my roadster’s roll bars and the third camera to the front wiper (due to a lack of other mounting points). This gave me three different views as I drove. With my son controlling the RallyCam controller, we sought a simulated rally type road to record my driving. The control unit supports up to four cameras and allows for substantial control over the cameras. Using the controls intuitively, my son was able to switch easily between the cameras, as well as enable split and quad view screens. We were less successful recording audio. Mounted inside the car, it did not adequately capture either our comments or the engine noise.
We initially recorded two interior views aiming left and right from the mounts. We also experimented with aiming one camera rearward which would be useful to see the faces of the people you just past if you are a successful driver.
Once we completed several runs we returned home to view the videos. You can also view the recordings on the device but the screen was washed out by the sun in our open top vehicle.
Videos are recorded in the ‘.asf’ format at a 720 by 480 resolution and at 30 frames per second which is essentially dvd quality recording. This system requires approximately thirty-three megabytes of space for each minute of recorded video. A long rally will clearly need multi-gigabytes of storage since the included two gig card will only hold about one hour of video.
The RallyCam comes with software to view and convert the videos, but these are third rate products. Instead, anyone who is spending the kind of money that the RallyCam 3000 costs should use professional level video tools such as Adobe Premier.
[Since I’m not a pro, I used the included software to convert the file to the mpeg format which then allowed me to upload the file to, where else, youtube. For additional examples of 3000-hood click here.]
The RallyCam is sold in multiple configurations based on the number of cameras. You can add a maximum of four cameras to the system. The system we tested sells for $1,399; a two-camera system costs $1,199 and a four camera system $1,599. A one-camera system– which can not be upgraded to multiple cameras– sells for $669.99. All systems and support are available on Edge Cameras’ website.
Users who need this type of recording will be impressed with this bespoke kit. The RallyCam is a quality unit with screw type connecters and a professional quality setup. The main control box is cleverly put together to incorporate the third part video recorder with a custom control board and control buttons. Two remotes are included, which we did not test but which would allow a solo driver to at least attempt to control the RallyCam during a solo drive (safety first!).
This is clearly a specialized product with a limited audience. However, if you’re interested in recording high quality video with multiple vehicle angles, the RallyCam 3000 certainly fits the bill and will provide decent quality videos of your rallying and racing.
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Stephan Wilkinson - I think that camera placement has a lot to do with it. If it is mounted between the front headrests, the camera is basically at the axis of rotation so the motion doesn't feel that abrupt. If your brother were to mount it on his front bumper or fender, I'm sure it would seem more exciting.
# cretinx : November 3rd, 2008 at 5:15 pm what kind of car is that? Not a Z3 per se, an M Roadster