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Old May 14th, 2006, 04:04 PM   #1
New Boot
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Millbrook, ON
Posts: 8
Stock Car Racing Videos?

Has any one on this forum used their video camera to record stock car racing? I would really appreciate hearing about your experience.

Did you take videos of night races? What camera do you use? What do you like about your camera's performance under these conditions.

If not entirely pleased with your results, have you thought about what camera you would consider buying to take racing videos at night?

I volunteer as webmaster for a super late model stock car series here in Ontario. Lately I have been interested in recording some video. The tracks are paved and range from 1/4 to 1/2 mile long. A lot of the races start in the afternoon but continue on into the night. Track lighting is poor to moderate; one track has exceptional lighting. I have already concluded that I need a camera with a good optical zoom lens and better than average low-light performance.

I am in the market to buy a video camera and would prefer to start with something in the $500 - $1000 US dollar range, but will look at more expensive models if necessary. All help and tips greatly appreciated!

Don McLeod is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 14th, 2006, 06:55 PM   #2
New Boot
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Metuchen, NJ
Posts: 8
Well my business is based on producing short track racing videos, although my primary raceway is a dirt track. Most weekly short tracks in the nation are old facilities that were never intended to serve for any production purposes. Audio acquisition is a nightmare and lighting is a joke.

I don't think you should be so concerned about optical zoom. Even at 10X you'll still get a good near-full frame image of a car on the backstretch on a half-mile track. And you'll probably be bouncing all over the place if you go further than that without a supersteady hand or an excellent tripod.

Picture quality at low-light to me is the most important thing I need for in a short track racing camcorder. I've been using the Sony VX2000 which is known to be excellent in low-light with 1/3" 3CCDs. It's been a great piece for me and severed me very well for shooting video in downright nasty conditions. I know several other racing videographers in my area use the same one, or the almost identical VX2100, PD150, or PD170. The VX2100 is probably about $2,300. That's out of your price range but I can't recommend anything in it.

I know one racing videographer who uses the shoulder-mounted Panasonic DVC60, which costs a few hundred less and has somewhat inferior 1/4" chips compared to the Sony 1/3" models. But I've been impressed with the footage I've seen and it gets significant airtime locally and nationally.

You will notice that even the best short track racing footage will barely meet typical broadcast standards for any other form of sport.
Gary Silverman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 15th, 2006, 06:02 AM   #3
New Boot
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Millbrook, ON
Posts: 8
Cool site & videos!

Thanks Gary - your reply helped a great deal! I checked out your website and race videos. Hard to beat the excitement of dirt track racing! You have a steady hand. Your videos show great close-ups of passing and bumping that everyone likes to see in good short track racing. Very interesting to hear from someone doing this for a business and also who takes a lot of race video.

I hear your advice about the zoom. My digital camera (Canon S2 IS) has 12X and that has been plenty for the tracks we go to. Last summer I took some good video with that digital camera but got frustrated with the 9 minute 1 Gig barrier on memory card among other things. Mind you I didn't buy the camera for taking video, just tried it out to test the driver's interest in race videos - they really liked it!

Good to hear about the low-light performance of the VX2000, as you said similar to the VX2100, PD150, or PD170. I will travelling to Toronto today and visiting Henry's Cameras to check out their inventory. However, at first glance their website didn't show any of the models you mentioned.

I did wince a bit at the price you mentioned but as with anything, hard to get decent quality without committing the $'s. I am going to give your recommendations some serious thought. Thanks again.

Don McLeod is offline   Reply

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