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Dos Tri pod, and Uno PVC: Mounting a Camera to a Harley Sportster

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Mounting the camera to the Harley was one of my biggest challenges. Within a month I went through three mounting systems and what follows are my thoughts on each one. I begin video without an adjustable system and tried to stick a small tripod threw clutch cables and handlebars… that didn’t work for a mile. I went straight to Wal*Mart and picked up a small adjustable tripod for $20. This tripod wrapped around the handle bars and did a good job at keeping the camera in the correct position. However, the light construction of the system allowed for way to much vibration and consequently the camera shook to the point of nausea. I attempted to hang it upside down to allow gravity to help with shaking which worked but created additional problems. After using Pinnacle software to turn the video 180 degrees I noticed that the quality of film was significantly lower. Obviously this wouldn’t work.

My second method came from a suggestion from Martha Burtis my DS106 instructor. This system is created from PVC and the complete list of parts follows:

The rigid mount completely stopped vibration in the video but created another problem. My handle bars are not parallel to the ground so there was a slight angle to the video. I tried to mount it on every location I could to achieve the right angle but to no success. With another similar setup I think I could mount it to my lower tree but this one wouldn’t do the job. NOTE: for anyone with flat bars (Drag bars, Beach Bars ect. This system would work perfectly!) I remembered seeing another adjustable tripod at wal*mart so I was back to feed the beast.

I purchased a heavy duty adjustable tripod originally designed for large DSLR cameras, but its ¼-20 mounting threads worked fine with my small Cannon Elph, (turns out almost all cameras use the ¼-20 thread.) The tripods “joints” are much stronger and harder to move than the smaller but similar system which makes for a much more secure, nearly rigid mount. Additionally the “grips” are perforated rubber rather than the flat/round grips on the smaller tripod. This helped a lot with grip and reduced vibration significantly.

I noticed that the vibrations appeared to increase relative to the linear placement of the camera. A perfectly perpendicular stance allowed for the greatest amount of vibration. To reduce this I turned the rotating base 45 degrees then leveled the camera out. This setup allowed for the best angle with the greatest amount of stability. To be sure, the camera still vibrated (this is a Harley after all) but it seemed adequate. I plan to continue experimenting with homemade rigid mounts in the hopes that I will eventually find a better way to stabilize the camera.

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