The cameras themselves are easy enough to use, but refining the way you use it can result in better quality video production. Take a look at our top tips section right here for a few ideas which will keep your camera rolling and producing great results as you concentrate on driving.
1. Avoid Overly Bright Camera Recordings.
As with any camera, the car camera is affected by lighting conditions as it records the movie. Most cameras have a white balance setting which can be adjusted - this provides fine tuning for the way the camera shows bright and dark areas. During the day however, the most effective way to ensure that your video is not washed out by bright light (even in cloudy conditions) is to position the lens so that it can not see very much of the sky. Automatic sensors in the cam will adjust the brightness on the final video to ensure the best possible picture. For example, if the camera detects that the sunlight is getting brighter, then the picture will automatically be darkened so that it does not cause details to be blurred out of vision. There is only so much the camera can do within a certain range of light sensitivity, and if the light coming into the lens is too bright, then ultimately the camera will not be able to compensate. Cameras which come with a fitted LCD screen allow the user to angle the lens over the bonnet of the car and directly towards the road. Lowering the direction of the lens as much as possible whilst viewing the image on the screen allows the owner to decide exactly the best position - keeping the horizon in exactly the right place to avoid as much of the sky as required. This is logical - as the more of the sky there is showing - then probably some of the road and pavement (and things like traffic lights, road signs and signals and other car users) will be missing.
2. Look after your Car Camera.
These gadgets are not cheap and they are quite delicate. They have to sustain vibration and motion in long term usage situations unlike ordinary photographic cameras. Ensure that you do not leave your camera in the car or lorry overnight, especially when it winter and the temperature drops below freezing as this can cause condensation to build up inside the camera, fogging the lens and damaging electrical components. Removing the camera when parking by the roadside or in a vunerable car park will ensure that thieves do not break into your vehicle in an attempt to steal the very thing designed to offer you protection!
When using the 12V interal cigarette lighter socket to power the camera, always make sure that the cable is out of your way and does not impede your driving. One way of doing this we have found, is to wrap the cable around the sun visors, along the roof of the car and connect it to a spare socket in the boot. If you have this facility then it really helps to keep the cable off the windscreen. Some customers have actually bent the USB connector on the cable after snagging the wire getting in and out of the car, causing damage to the internal components and rendering the camera useless.
Be gentle when inserting the memory cards. Take time to make sure that the card is the right way round before trying to insert it. Most ports will not allow the card to be placed in the camera the wrong way - but if too much pressure is applied the the card may jam if it is not positioned correctly.
3. Charge the Battery Fully.
There may be times when you are going on a short drive or journey when connecting the charger is more hassle than it is worth. In these instances simply using the battery is handy and the camera can be installed in the
car within seconds. Always look after your battery by charging it fully so that maximum lifespan can be attained.
4. Use a High Speed Memory Card.
To produce a high quality smooth playing video, always use the best memory cards. This is the card which is recommended by the manufacturer in all cases. Never make any assumptions that you will be able to choose a cheap card at will and save money by avoiding the expensive makes of memory. Most cameras require at least Class 10 SDHC card which runs at or above 45mb/s. Some cameras will produce unreliable blurred results which seem to lack focus and jerk as they play back if the wrong card is used. Other cameras will simply not operate with a low specification card, they may hide a cameras settings for example or not switch on at all. Interference is also an issue on some models when the wrong memory is used, this manifests itself by producing a loud crackling sound on the recording which can only be heard during playback. The best tip or advice here is to stick with the recommended type of memory and not deviate in order to save on expense.