46Kam Motorcycle Camera Buying and Setup Guide
Welcome to our guide to buying, installing and using a mini camera on your motorcycle or track day bike. We hope you find the guide informative. If you have any questions please Contact Us
Can you see where it is yet?
Bullet style camera systems are the most widely used and best recommended for anyone wishing to film on-bike video. They are both small and light and so offer the safest method of mounting a camera on your bike, they are also fully legal for track days.
Introduction to Motorcycle Cameras
So you want to film some on-bike footage? People have tried many ways to get video footage from a bike perspective. Attaching a full size video camera is quite cumbersome so a bullet camera is usually the chosen method. Just watch MotoGP!
What are you hoping to film on your bike?
First things first, what are you looking to film with the camera? Are you are looking capture some wild track day footage? Film your motorcycle touring holiday in the alps? Maybe you want to record a video of your daily commute from a safety point of view?
Whatever your requirements there will be a camera to suit you but how do you choose it? We have designed cameras for all of the above and every system is a little different although based on the bullet camera style.
Why a bullet camera?
Its a good question. The answer is that bullet cameras are usually the smallest and most discreet way of filming on your motorcycle. That's important for a few reasons:
- a small camera is easier to fit and safer too as it is less likely to be caught or knocked off.
- a discreet camera can be more easily hidden on the bike and hence is easier to leave fitted for longer periods of time.
left on the bike and is much easier and capture a track day then normal ride footage with the camera looking up the road then our standard 46Kam camera is ideal as the zoom level on the lens is optimised for this purpose.
What do we recommend?
Before we go any further I am going to list our recommendations for the above filming scenarios. You will need to make an informed decision as there is some cross over but from our 10 years + experience in designing and filming with bike cameras the below offers a good range of options of the best camera setup:
We offer a solution for safer riding and a better field of view from behind. Our motorcycle rearview camera offering takes the form of the BikeEye which provides a mirror image from a camera on the rear to a monitor mounted behind the screen or on the bars. We produce a wired and wireless version of this camera and while its main purpose is to enhance rear vision it is often used by riders looking to bling up their show bike and to replace conventional mirrors altoegther. We can also build a 'BikeEye' camera into a custom multi camera Bike ARP package if you desire.
Find out more about BikeEye
For a track day or weekend use camera use our X1 is a great choice as its fast to fit wherever you choose and can produce great 1080p video. As the worlds smallest HD bike cam its an ideal camera for many scenarios and is easy to use out of the box as its self contained with no cables although it can also be powered from the bike too if desired with the help of our handy Bike Power Kit.
Find out more about the X1 Bike Camera
For motorcycle touring and general riding we'd recommend one of our Bike ARP systems. These can be operated by remote control ensuring you capture the exciting parts while not filling your memory card with the boring miles! These can be supplied in a single or multi camera formation and come with a separate DVR and screen allowing you to watch your footage back wherever you are! The system can be powered from the bike too enabling you to film for days without worrying about batteries.
Find out more about our Bike ARP Systems
For motorcycle commuting we've designed a special system that works like a black box recorder on an aircraft and can be used as video evidence in the event of an incident. Our BikeAmigo system works all on its own every time to ride, starting, stop and charging automatically. It records every mile you ride and records over the oldest footage automatically.
Find out more about BikeAmigo
If you are looking to capture normal ride footage with the camera looking up the road then our standard lens are ideal as the zoom level is optimised for this purpose.
If on the other hand you wish to capture the speedo dials, an arty MotoGP camera angle (as below) or want to capture other views in close proximity such as the suspension movement then the special 46Kam WIDE camera will be the best choice. 46Kam WIDE has a special wide angle lens making it better for use in certain positions such as those just mentioned. It could be used in an 'up the road' position but the wide lens will tend to make objects appear further away than in reality. If you purchase the standalone X1 camera the 'in camera settings' will allow you to adjust the angle.
Motorcycle Camera Mounting
Where should you mount the camera? Well you could go for a helmet camera style position or mount it on the bike itself.
What is the best way to attach the camera? Well there are a wide variety of mount styles to choose from when mounting including fixed, suction and clamp, see the range here.
Motorcycle Camera Power
Now your new motorcycle camera is in position it will need some power. The X1 has its own battery built inside. The BikeAmigo will run automatically from your bikes battery. Our ARP systems however usually come supplied with a battery box to take 8 x AA batteries, this will provide a 12 volt power supply to the camera and with good batteries should run the camera for around 6 - 8 hours. If you order a single camera ARP Pro however your camera can take its feed from the DVR unit.
Direct 12v Feed
If you are looking for a more permanent solution and longer running time then you can actually power the camera (and DVR) directly from the bike itself. Using the Bike Power Kit you can tap into the 12v supply anywhere on the motorcycle and this will run the camera indefinitely.
Where should you connect into? Well that all depends what motorcycle you have got, the lighting circuit is normally the easiest to tap into or somewhere else on the wiring loom, some bikes actually have unused power feeds floating around so check with experts on your particular year and model.
If you do decide to connect directly to the battery or any other unregulated supply source then we recommend you fit a voltage regulator. An unregulated supply could cause interference with your video and in the worst case result in damage to your camera. If you are unsure check with an expert but normally tapping into a positive and negative connection on the bike is pretty simple.
If you don't fancy using the 12v supply from the motorcycle electrics but want an alternative to Duracell style batteries then a rechargeable lithium style battery may be the answer. Our XPower battery is smaller and lighter than the conventional batteries, and being rechargeable will work out cheaper over a season too. This is an ideal solution if you are wanting to mount the camera on your helmet or elsewhere on your person as a mini lithium battery will easily slip into a pocket.
Power Everything from the Bike
If you are using a mini DVR (see below) such as our DV3 or DV4 unit and want to power the whole shebang from the bike we have the parts available. You will simply need the 5v adapter for the DVR and a power splitter cable.
Motorcycle Camera Recorder
So far we have a mini bullet camera mounted and powered. The bullet camera will act as the 'eye' to your on-bike videos but cannot not actually record what it sees, it needs to be connected to another piece of equipment which will save the video footage. Any device which with an 'AV-in' socket will work as a recording device, AV-in means Analogue Video Input, many camcorders offer this as well as number of digital video recorders (DVR's).
This is quite old school now but if you think you might have a suitable camcorder check our list of camcorders with av-in. If your camcorder has an AV-in socket similar to the one shown in the photo above it will make a suitable recording device for the bullet camera. It's not the most upto date way of doing things but it can keep costs down if you are on a budget!
Solid State DVR:
Although camcorders make a suitable recording device they are often quite bulky so you may wish to consider a smaller alternative. A digital video recorder (DVR) is a popular choice for many video enthusiasts, not only are these much smaller than a camcorder but the latest versions are 'solid state' by design and have no moving parts. Because of this they are much more tolerant of shocks and vibration and therefore more suited to motorcycle sports videos. We offer range of solid state DVR devices which can be seen here.
If you plan on using your videos on a computer, whether to edit them, add music or upload them to the internet, a mini DVR is highly recommended. This is because they will record your video as computer file (eg video.avi ) to a small memory card making it easy to access the file on your computer.
What ever video recording device you choose you'll need to keep it somewhere on the bike. There are many options but the most popular are probably under the rear seat or in a tank bag (allowing easy access). If you are wanting a helmet cam perspective then always mount the recorder on your person as wiring yourself to the bike is not recommended! The small solid state DVR's are best for this as being they can easily be slipped into your pocket, much like a mobile phone.
One step further..
The information above refers to a standard 1 camera and 1 recorder configuration. For some customers that is all that will ever be needed but many customers like the ability to film from from more than one camera during a ride. As all our equipment is completely expandable and upgradable you don't need to decide on everything straight away, further parts can be added to your kit at a later date.
If you are interested in multi camera configurations then a complete 2 camera switched kit is available here. If you wish to wait and upgrade at a later date then we offer add-on packages to turn your kit into a 2, 3 or 4 camera configuration here.
We have a selection of videos on the website showing what can be achieved and the level of detail that each style can provide. The new X1 system takes the top prize but the DVD quality DV4 Evo isn't far behind. Take a look for yourself here.
EMI Noise / Interference
Depending on what bike you are using you maybe find that static builds creating interference on the picture. This is more common on race spec bikes without as much suppression fitted as you may find on a road spec bike although we've seen it on pretty much any machine. The first thing to do is see if you can route the cables in a different place but if you can't or its not practical then ferrite beads are a great way to remove or at least reduce the issue. See them here:Ferrite Ring Core Pack
We hope this guide has been informative and has helped you understand the world of bike cameras a little more.
While there is a variety of different equipment on the market these days none has the depth or versatility that 46Kam system offers. We have been providing cameras for motorcyclists for over a decade now and most equipment bought by our very first customers is still compatible with our very latest developments. Be it extra cameras, the latest model of DVR or our ever widening range of accessories, making a purchase with 46Kam means longevity and expandability of your kit making it more useable and even better value in the long term. We're also working on the best ever bike camera gyro mount which will offer perfect motogp like gyrocam movement so check back soon!
If you need further tips or have advice on how we can make this guide even better please drop us an email.
Colliers Street Works
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