Track Day Video Telemetry Data Overlay

I am obsessed with creating content to post to YouTube and what better content than Track Day Videos.

It would be easy to suction cup a GoPro on the windshield and hit the record button during each session. But the end result is just your point of view driving through a road course. That’s where Telemetry Data can make things a bit more exciting to the viewer.

TELEMETRY DATA

Telemetry Data is data recorded by a gps logger that is then interpreted by software that overlays speed, g-force, track position, and time. You can add an OBD II sensor to add vehicle data such as RPMs, Throttle, Air Intake Temp, etc. Adding an ECU reader can then collect brake pressure, current gear, etc… The options are limitless but may require more devices to record data and need special software to sync to a video.

Cars like the Corvette and Camaro have in dash PDR built into that can produce a very nice video.

APPS AND RECORDERS

Porsche has it’s own app called Porsche Track Precision that connects your smart phone to your Porsche via WIFI and with a windshield suction mount your phone can record dash video and the app will overlay data (Track Map, Speed, RPM, Throttle, Brake, Gear, Over/Understeer) as well as a Summary of your laps that can export individual laps or the full session so you can upload it to YouTube.

The negatives:

  • App tends to crash in the middle of a session
  • Only displays KPH
  • May require to resync data to video
  • Shaky video

There are plenty of devices race enthusiasts use to collect data but it can be in the thousands of dollars

But you don’t have to brake the bank to get simple track video with overlaid data (Speed, Track Map position, Lap Times, G-Force). There are plenty of Apps that can produce great quality videos

Just to name a few, you can go into your own App Store and search Lap Timers for other programs.

I love RaceChrono Pro because the overlay is clean. I don’t have much experience with Harry’s Lap Timer because I found the interface to be a little more cumbersome but the video I have seen the overlay is not as clean but they have an excellent 3-2-1 when you’re about to turn into a turn AND it names which turn you’re on with speed. I may push through and test it on my next track day.

RaceChrono Pro is the only program, I have found, that can import GoPro video with data.

UPDATE: I recently went to Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, AL where I tested out Harry’s Lap Timer. Below is my fastest lap at Barber. Here is my review: It’s a good program but RaceChrono Pro is easier to use. There are too many settings in Harry’s. I was able to pair it with my OBD II easily but I am not sure the data is correct or in sync. I was only able to figure out how to export 1 lap at a time and not the entire 13 lap session. I thought I found a setting but it ended up merging a video file without the gps log. I really like the Turn Numbering and Speed at the Straight and Turn pop up.

All you need is to mount your phone under the rear view mirror and away you go.

But! If you notice image quality is a little grainy AND shaky. More on that below

OTHER POST PRODUCTION TELEMETRY PROGRAM/SOFTWARE

There are many other programs that can take your video and GPS logged data to render a nice video.

The only ones I have experience with is Race Render and Telemetry Overlay. I did not like the interface of RaceRender and Telemetry Overlay does the trick but the overlay and delta information is not as clean.

The issues I had was data sometimes did not sync well AND the finish line was often wrong. Both of these cost money and have tons of settings that can be adjusted. It’s too much of a rabbit hole that I am not committed to do.

A SIMPLE SET UP

I use an iPhone 7 attached to a, non swiveling, horizontal phone holder with a GoPro sticky mount underneath the rear mirror for a lower profile. Suction cup mounts can be big and cumbersome and the ones with screw on attachments can be the worst because you’re pulling so many G’s that your phone can loosen and swivel away from the dash view. The other issue is glare and fuzzy image caused by the tiny rock chips and bug splats on the windshield. But Glare is the worst offender.

Using this set up you can export video that can be uploaded directly to YouTube for sharing

This has now become my redundant system

HIGHER PRODUCTION QUALITY

I’ve taken it a step further. I now use a GoPro Hero 7 Black on a GoPro suction mount either on the glass or above it aimed slightly higher than the hood. The GoPro Hero 7 Black produces outstanding quality AND it logs GPS data (you must make sure the GPS is turned on AND not in quick shot mode).

  • Another thing to keep in mind is that with the outside camera, the lens is susceptible to damage from track debris. I’ve had to replace my lens twice. The GoPro Hero 7 and 9 have replaceable lenses the 8 does not.
The Tow Hook Camera was not a pleasing angle and more prone to damage

The downside is power. There is no way to hardwire safely outside the car so I had to buy 2 additional batteries and a charger. I swap batteries between sessions. Each session is 20-40mins long and could record 2 sessions but most likely it will run out of juice in the middle of the second session.

I have also added a second GoPro (a hero session) inside the cabin to get a view of me and my instructor. I once again used a GoPro sticky mount centered on the back windshield and then feed it power with a usb cable connected to the cigarette charger. (Note that GoPro Hero 6 and above will not charge while recording)

GOPRO SMART REMOTE

I paired both GoPro’s to a Smart Remote which allows me to power on and start and stop both cameras with a touch of a button. In theory this is the best controller for 2 GoPro cameras.

But sometimes only 1 connects and sometimes neither. Or in the middle of a session they both will disconnect leaving you wondering if they’re recording at all. Sometimes you think they are recording and they’re not and sometimes you think you stopped them but they didn’t or one stops and the other doesn’t. It works 75% of the time. Just be prepared for the 25%.

Worst case scenario, you start the cameras recording manually and just have to trim them later. Make sure you have a large enough sd card so you won’t run out of space

POST PRODUCTION

At the end of my track day I go home with 4 sources.

  • iPhone 7 Dash Recorded Video with Overlay (for redundancy purposes)
  • GoPro Hero 7 Black (has GPS data logger)
  • GoPro Hero Session (in cabin forward view)
  • GoPro Hero 4 (optional outside reverse camera)

Here are the next steps:

  • Import the GoPro Hero 7 Black videos into my iPad running RaceChrono Pro. This can be tricky because GoPro splits files greater than 4gb and name them in a manner that is not sortable. You’d have to sort by date in ascending order.
  • Name the session.
  • Trim the start and end time then export (AirDrop) to my Desktop computer (27″ iMac 2019)

On my Desktop, I run Final Cut Pro. It’s overkill but it allows me to overlay video Picture in Picture style. iMovie can do the same but it can only do 1 and sometimes I have a rear view which is 2 picture in pictures

In Final Cut Pro, I create an Event that groups all the videos in one spot. Then I create a projection for each individual session. Both exported RaceChrono Pro rendered video and Pro Hero Session files are imported into the event

This is where things can get a bit tedious but the final result is excellent!!

BUT RUBEN, I HAVE A PC

Final Cut Pro is available for PC but just like for the Mac it’s $299. There are many many other alternatives but the one I have hear a lot about is Filmora. I believe it’s $70. From what I have seen, pretty much all the editors will have the same or similar layout. The bottom is the timeline where you can drag and drop clips, the upper right is the preview and the left is the file list along with a directory/transition/titles.

What you’re looking for is something that can do Picture in Picture and can scale it or “transform”. Which should be pretty standard on any Video Editor

Do a quick google search and watch YouTube Reviews on the Editor you’re considering.

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