The Perfect GoPro Car Setup for Cars – Part 2

Camera Mounts (cont’d from the previous article)

Outside the car mounts

1. The Super Knuckle Mount

What’s a Super Knuckle you ask? It’s a professional-grade mounting system with incredible flexibility. Designed by a company called Kupo, based in Elmsford, NY, the Super Knuckle system uses a ball and socket approach. They offer a wide variety of interchangeable parts that allow for 360-degree movement on both the x- and y-axis. In other words, there is no camera angle you can’t get.

For my needs, I selected 2 bases. For videos that require the camera to be mounted on the hood, a window, a door, the rear deck, or any other flat non-porous surface, I chose the Super Knuckle Suction cup base. I can also use this to shoot videos of myself while I’m driving, but the camera is positioned at eye level. Occasionally I want an “up” angle, and for those videos, I got a Super Knuckle Cup Holder mount.

Now you have to connect the camera housing to the mounts, and for that, you need a Super Knuckle GoPro mount.

The magic – what ties the system together – is the Super Knuckle joint itself. Insert the ball on either base into one end, and the ball on the GoPro into the other. Then you lightly tighten the screw. This allows you to bend the whole thing into the position you want. Tighten the screw all the way and you’re done.

One thing to note. Most racetracks won’t allow you on the track unless the camera is inside the vehicle. Cameras mounted outside the car with any kind of suction cup mount usually require a tether that prevents them from flying off and creating a debris problem on the track. Even then, they may say no. The only sure way to make sure your camera isn’t going anywhere is to attach it to the tow hook.

2. The Tow Hook Mount (hands-down best for outside the car)

Most people don’t realize it, but just about every modern car on the road (the ones with plastic bumpers) has a hole in the front or rear bumper where you can screw in a tow hook. Have a look at yours – I’ll bet there’s one there. You’re looking for a small, round, plastic cover (about the size of a 50-cent coin) that you can pop out with a screwdriver. Once it’s out, look inside and you’ll see a place to screw in a tow hook.

My current fun car is a 2006 Mazda Miata GT, and I found a tow hook mount that fits my car at Goodwin Racing. (My last car was a Porsche Boxster, and I got that one from Rennline.) You have to do a little digging on Google for yours. Just go online and do a search for “tow hook GoPro mount” and you’ll find what you need. Make sure you put in the make, model, and year of your car because the thread patterns and shaft lengths differ from vehicle to vehicle.

Fourth step: Supercharge the audio

The first thing you’re going to notice when you watch your video is the wind noise. If the camera is inside the car, it’s not too bad. But if the camera is outside the car, especially on the hood or the doors, it’s loud. And right after you notice the wind, you’re going to notice a lack of exhaust sounds on your video. That’s because the built-in GoGpro microphone is OK if you’re on your bike, hiking through the woods, or is strapped to your dog’s back, but it is useless when it comes to hearing you blip the throttle while running through the gears on a twisty road.

If you want to get really serious about your audio, then you’re going to want to hear some exhaust noise. That’s going to take an external microphone with a windscreen. If you’re using a GoPro 5/6/7/8 you’re also going to need an adapter and a long cable to do it. The GoPro 9/10 just needs the media mod. I picked a small Olympus stereo microphone. It tucks nicely into the small space between the license plate and the bumper directly above the exhaust.

Don’t forget to change your audio settings

You’re going to want to fine-tune the settings on the GoPro so that it separates the audio from the video tracks – something it doesn’t do by default.

This is one of the new settings that was introduced with the HERO5 Black. It allows you to create a separate audio track at a higher quality than the one embedded into the mp4 video file. In other words, it’s a standalone detached audio file. (Cool, right?)

The default is Off. There’s no separate audio file created, so you use the one embedded in the mp4 video file.

Low creates a separate WAV file and applies minimal processing and will often sound the worst straight out of the camera. It’s the closest to a true raw audio feed, so it’s a good option if you’re planning to work on the audio track in audio software or video editing software.

The Medium creates a separate WAV file. This setting’s behavior varies based on whether you have the Manual Audio Control setting on or off. If you have it set to either wind or stereo, it will respect that. If you have Manual Audio Control switched off, the Medium setting here will switch automatically between wind and stereo depending on which it calculates to give better results.

The High setting creates a separate WAV file and applies the maximum amount of in-camera processing on the audio, including automatic gain and AAC encoding.

Nice-to-have extras

You’re also going to want to download the GoPro app onto your phone. It works really well, allowing you to see the shot before you start recording, and to start/stop your camera remotely. That’s a really nice feature to have when you’re on pit lane and don’t want to have 5 minutes of waiting time on your video before you’re waved onto the track.

Get a fixed mount for your cellphone. There are a number of cellphone holders out there but if you’re going to use it during spirited driving, you want one that the cellphone won’t fall off of. For the Miata, I bought one from ILS in Germany. I didn’t like the mounts that stick on the dash or clip to the vents, and theirs was the best solution. For the Boxster, the best one I could find was from Rennline. Regardless, the viewing angles are infinitely adjustable and it holds the phone firmly in place. Your car will likely require a different mount but try and stay away from the vent clip-on styles. They just don’t do a great job of holding the phone in place.

Not many of us – myself included – are ever going to be world-class movie directors. Cecil B. DeMille, Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, and Spike Lee ain’t got nothin’ to worry about. But if you’re going to try, this equipment list will set you up to succeed.

My Perfect GoPro Car Setup Equipment List:

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