Reader Question: GoPro at 90?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Martin asks: If you were to drive a Cadillac Escalade over a GoPro/or other small video camera at 90 mph, would the camera get moved by the draft/breeze created? BTW, when’s the last time you drove a big S class or an Escalade?

My reply: I’m assuming you meant with – rather than over!

Assuming with, it would depend on how you mounted the unit. Certainly it can be mounted to stay on the vehicle at 90 (it’s not uncommon to take videos at such speeds). I haven’t done this myself because I haven’t got a GoPro. However, I have friends who have them – and they mount them on their helmets/bikes – and go a lot faster than 90. No issues with the camera flying off at speed.

Assuming over, I doubt the GoPro would survive!

On the rest: I had an S-Class last fall and currently have an E53 AMG; my review of this one will be up shortly! I haven’t had an Escalade in about two years because of my contretemps with GM. But I still have some connections that get me access to vehicles ex officio.

I should be getting some seat time in one later this summer – assuming Corona Fever hasn’t completely laid low the country.

. . .

Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. Assuming you’re looking for that “ant’s eye view” perspective and you want to drive over with the GoPro in-between the tires you’ll probably be fine, but it depends on how you place it on the ground. A GoPro is about the same weight as a small stone and it’s pretty rare if not impossible that wind drag will kick up stones, but they have the advantage of being aerodynamically inert. A GoPro on a lightweight flat mount with a lot of surface area might get picked up by the wind, but probably not unless wind gets underneath. The main source of potential wind from the vehicle would be wake turbulence and even that’s probably not going to amount to much.

    But the bigger issue will be frame rate and actually capturing much of anything. At 90 MPH the vehicle will be moving at 132 ft/second. At the default 30 FPS you might get lucky and capture a frame of the undercarriage, but probably not. The vehicle wouldn’t really have any detail until about 1/2 a second before it passes, even at 4K. You’ll pick up more at 120 FPS, but then you might as well just drive slower and reduce your risk. You can always speed it up in post. Before you stage this shot you might set up next to a highway and see just how few frames a vehicle moving at 70 MPH actually appear in, especially when perpendicular to the road. Also take a look at the trackside cameras on a NASCAR race.


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