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Improved Timelapse BumperCam Proves Reliable, Still Getting Good Race Photos

Illustration for article titled Improved Timelapse BumperCam Proves Reliable, Still Getting Good Race Photos

The first BumperCam, an ancient Kodak bolted to the rear bumper of a LeMons Volvo, took good photos but its large size made it vulnerable to crash damage. Not so with BumperCam II, survivor of three punishing races!

Improved Timelapse BumperCam Proves Reliable, Still Getting Good Race Photos

After BumperCam I got knocked into the weeds at Buttonwillow, I started researching other means of getting a timelapse still camera on a race car without spending big bucks. When I discovered the magic of CHDK, I knew I had the solution. CHDK, also known as the Canon Hack Development Kit, temporarily replaces the firmware on many Canon digital cameras and allows the user to do damn near anything with the camera. I picked up a remanufactured Canon A460, loaded CHDK on the memory card, spent about 7 minutes turning a hardware-store L-bracket into a camera mount (using triple-redundant mounting for the camera: Velcro, screw into the tripod hole, and a zip-tie), and BumperCam II was born. In the photo above, we see BumperCam II mounted on the Tunachuckers Volvo Amazon at LeMons South Fall '09; technically, it's a PillarCam with this mounting location, but the BumperCam name has stuck.

Improved Timelapse BumperCam Proves Reliable, Still Getting Good Race Photos

For the LeMons Phoenix race last weekend, the Eyesore Racing crew volunteered to mount BumperCam II on the trunklid of their Miata, modifying the bracket as needed; on the second day, the E30-driving B-Team bolted the BumperCam to their car's trunk. TrunkLidCam!

Improved Timelapse BumperCam Proves Reliable, Still Getting Good Race Photos

The BumperCam always gets quite a few shots during pit stops, including this image of B-Team member (get it?) Steve showing off his British junk for the camera. God save the Queen, and our traumatized retinas! Hmmm… maybe we can get Steve's visa revoked.



We also got quite a few quality non-schvantz-enhanced racing photos from the B-Team's day of racing, but the tablecloth on the Eyesore Miata's Alice In Wonderland tea set fluttered too much at high speed to capture much in the way of other cars. However, the TeaSetCam shots do look pretty entertaining in timelapse video. That's the Casio SK1-based Murilee Arraiac song "Pillbug Popcorn" in the background, music fans (note: audio may be NSFW).

After discarding the 98% of photos that showed empty track and/or horizon, I was left with some decent action shots of the race:
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DISCUSSION

Mecanicien
_Mécanicien

I don't to advertise anything but I just saw today videos made with GoPro HD cams and they seem really cool. They sell a kit to use especially for cars and it's only half the price of any Lemons car!