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|T O P I C R E V I E W
||Posted - 02/21/2012 : 10:53:59 PM
Second post here, and this particular forum seemed the best fit for this post.
I'm an iPhone owner and have discovered yet another use for the device - on car videos using the "iCar" from Minuteman Scale Models (http://www.minutemanscalemodels.com/product_p/87-10.htm.) This is pretty cool.
I found out about this car on the Model Rail Radio mailing list and podcast last year. Jason Reis from Des Moines, Iowa gave a sneak peak last autumn and I pestered him about it's release design late last year. I went up to Trainfest in Milwaukee WI in November, Motrak models had a sample on display and was taking orders - so I ordered ($27.95). Thanks Jeff! It finally arrived at the beginning of January. It's a clever design that holds the iPhone (iPhone 4 or 4S will fit) on it's edge at an angle relative to the centerline of the car - an adjustable mirror then reflects down-track views into the camera on the back of the phone.
The kit is laser cut and was pretty straight-forward to assemble, though I had to study the drawings a bit more than expected due to some unusual shapes related to the angle of the phone cradle. It came with trucks, wheels and couplers - a nice addition.
The car rides very well - I've been impressed with the stability of the video. There are a few jiggles that occur on occasion that I think I have addressed with some thin shims between the cradle and phone. More info in the "Walkaround" video link below.
Because the iCar uses a mirror to reflect the down-track view into the iPhone camera lens, all video is reversed on playback - my first video of the shelf layout shows this. This is easily corrected on your computer using the "Mirror Image" function in Windows Movie Maker or "Flipped" feature in iMovie.
A phone call will stop any ongoing video recording, so it is a good idea to place the phone in "Airplane Mode" prior to starting a layout recording - especially if you're a popular sort of person. :)
On a related note, it should be possible to see real time (or remote) video via FaceTime (Apple's video calling feature) or possibly Skype by video calling the phone from a computer. This requires that you have a wireless connection. More experimentation is in order here.
The car will will also replace my homemade iPhone carrier that I'd made to measure grades with a level app (called Clinometer - thread on that is here: http://www.the-gauge.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=541).
Along with a iPhone camera focus test (video link below), I also did some data rate tests with the phone so that I could have a rule of thumb for how many minutes of video I could expect for a given amount of memory.
- The iPhone records about 2.9mb of video *every second* (this is high definition)
- This works out to just less than 6 minutes of video for every GB of free space (i.e. 58 minutes for 10 GB of free space)
In conclusion, this is the perfect car to take to all your buddies houses since the recording device (iPhone, iPod Touch, etc.) are already in more and more pockets nowadays and they are not beholden to a proprietary recording system that some cameras are AND it has excellent video quality. It's also the perfect device to get a look at those hard to see places without trying to wedge your 1:1 head into a scene in which it doesn't fit!
Enjoy and let me know your thoughts!
Assembly Photo Gallery:
First Video (still in reversed format)
Last video - external "walkaround" review of the car with comments and ideas I've come up since the time I've had the car:
On track Videos:
Columbus HO Model Railroad Club (first from the rear of the train, the second from the front - both about 20 minutes)
And, because I had to throw away a couple of scenes at a second layout I recorded (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMUCKyocX-4) by setting the iPhone's focus WAY too close, I felt a need to set up a focusing test:
|3 L A T E S T R E P L I E S (Newest First)
||Posted - 02/23/2012 : 1:15:11 PM
i'll have to take a picture of it tonight and then post.. the car is at home.....
i have given up on the icar, cool idea, but not for my trackwork i suppose...
||Posted - 02/23/2012 : 07:36:12 AM
Originally posted by Dodgezilla04
because the car rides so low, it doesnt like the transitions to my 4% grades.
Thanks for the feedback Dodge. I was worried about high spots and such in the track (which so far hasn't turned out to be an issue), but hadn't thought about vertical curves.
If you're not ready to give up on it and your overhead clearances will allow, try adding another washer to the bolster and shim the couplers down an equivalent amount. Preserving as low a ride as possible is great for stability, given the high and heavy load that the iPhone is. I've actually lowered mine a tad with the idea that any additional clearance will be handy somewhere down the road (and plan a little more clearance by replacing the upper mirror screws with something a bit more low profile).
Do you have any photos of either the obstruction or your new approach? I'd be interested in seeing either.
||Posted - 02/21/2012 : 11:15:15 PM
I bought one. Built the kit. And because the car rides so low, it doesnt like the transitions to my 4% grades. So it's parked and I made a similar style in a bachmann gon
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