Eyes on the Road

I was wondering the other day about the best place to mount a camera on a motorcycle to get the best footage. I’ve made some previous videos by just attaching my GoPro camera to the front fairing of the bike but it tends to show quite a bit of vibration and road bump.

I added a couple of GoPro mounts in different positions on the bike, and some are better than others but none are as good as I’d like. It’s possible to remove some of the shakiness in post production by using the Warp Stabiliser tool in Premiere Pro, which does a pretty reasonable job of removing the vibrations by doing a frame by frame analysis of the footage, and realigning everything. It works ok but is very computationally intensive even on my MacBook Pro and it still creates some seriously wavy artefacts in the footage on the really shaky bits.

Anyway, I decided to try a few experiments with five different camera mount positions. On the front fairing, on the front mudguard, on my helmet, using a chest mount, and using a chest mount with an extender. There are pros and cons of each, but I think some are definitely better in terms of actual watchable footage.

Here is the resulting footage so you can make up your own mind. You know, just in case you ever want to do something similar.

Break the Cycle

During the month of October I’ll be riding my bike to help raise money to support childrens’ cancer research. It’s all part of the Great Cycle Challenge, raising funds for the Children’s Medical Research Institute, one of the major research bodies aimed at finding a cure for cancer. I think it’s a worthy cause.

So many people I know have been affected by cancer. We desperately need to find the solution to this awful disease and it can only be done with research, and research costs money.

I’ve committed to ride 250km this month to raise $1000 for CMRI. So far people have been very generous and the fundraising has gone pretty well so I might revise that goal. I think the 250km will be enough of a challenge, but it would be nice to raise more money.

If you’d like to support this great cause, you can head over to my fundraising page at https://greatcyclechallenge.com.au/Riders/ChrisBetcher and donate whatever you feel works for you.

GCC-FB-cover-2014-im-riding

And on behalf of the kids, thank you!

Watch Me Drive

There is an advertisement on TV at the moment for an Australian car insurance company that encourages drivers to download an app to their phone to find out who is “Australia’s Best Driver“.  Here’s the ad…

When you download and install the app it starts by asking you a few questions…  your name, gender, email address, home address, etc. Then it keeps track of your driving using GPS location, timestamps, speed tracking, etc for at least the next 300km. In fact, it even defaults to an autostart mode so that you don’t have to remember to turn it on. Every so often it will check in with you to make sure that you are in fact the driver of the trips it’s been tracking. Then it scores your driving style in an attempt to find out who is the best driver in Australia.

Think about it. As well as knowing exactly who you are, it knows how fast you’re driving, when you’re driving, where you’ve been, who was driving and how long for, and even what your phone was doing as you drove. And remember, it just starts tracking automatically every time you drive. Without you even needing to turn it on.

Over time, the data will show whether you speed or not, whether you drive long distances without taking a break, whether you accelerate and brake erratically, what times of day you drive, and of course whether you’re using your phone as you drive. This is not just Big Data.  This is highly personalised data about you as an individual.

But it’s just a game right? You’re encouraged to compete with your friends via social media, so that lots of people are playing the game with you, all submitting the intimate details of their driving history as well. Let’s see who’s the best driver. Plus you can earn badges. Yay! Badges! That’s what it’s about right?

I can’t believe anyone would voluntarily give all this data to an insurance company. I mean they say it’s to make you a safer driver. Yeah, sure, that’s totally the reason. Until you apply for insurance one day and you find they know a little bit more about your driving habits than you might’ve thought and your insurance premium reflects that knowledge. If you’re a good driver, maybe you’ll pay less for you insurance. And maybe you won’t. I know which one I’m betting on.

I like to think that I’m a pretty good driver, but even with the promise of a big cash prize, to voluntarily hand over that much personal driving history data to an insurance company seems absolutely crazy to me.

Thanks AAMI, but I’ll leave this little adventure to Neil, Gaz and Loretta Jones.

Featured CC BY-NC Image “The Sunset Storm, Brisbane Australia“, by Ben Ashmole on Flickr