Choosing a Video Logger

The ability to closely analyse when and where you can improve your performance on track from data synced with video is now widely regarded as the quickest way to go faster.

If you are thinking of investing in a video data logger, this step-by-step guide takes you through some of the main points and explains how our product range will help you to get the most out of your time on track. 

Key questions:

1. How easy is it to fit? 
2. How reliable and accurate is the GPS data?
3. Do I need to go HD?
4. How is the video and data recorded?
5. Will it work in all conditions to ensure no loss of data?
6. Which is the best type of graphical overlay process?
7. Can it provide real-time predictive lap times?
8. How easy to use is the analysis software?
9. Can it record other data from your car?
10. How good is the technical support?

1. How easy is it to fit? 

When choosing a video system you need to think about how suitable it is for your intended use. If you plan to move the system between cars for instance you need a system that is easy to install and durable.

Complex setup instructions and mounting requirements can also make the system impractical to use.

Answer: Each of our units come with a simple Quick Start Guide to help you get started quickly. You can also refer to our online Support Centre – https://racelogic.support/ - or contact our dedicated Support department if you have any questions.

Watch the video below to see how easy Video VBOX Lite is to setup:

2. How reliable and accurate is the GPS data?

Satellite signal quality is the key factor in retaining accurate data. The GPS update rate is also important as this sets the resolution of the data points and the accuracy of the lap timing – a minimum for track driving should be 10 times per second (10Hz).

GPS position being used to align lapsAnswer: The ability to attach external antennas to all our systems means you can fit it in an optimal position for the best satellite reception. We use a GPS engine which updates 10 times a second to provide position accuracy to 0.5 metres lap-to-lap and speed to within 0.2km/h.

At Racelogic we also make a sophisticated GPS simulator called LabSat, which we use to test all our motorsport products to further improve the position, velocity accuracy and dynamic response achieved.

3. Do I need to go HD?

HD quality footage is nice but not always essential. If, for example, you are focussed on improving lap times, the fact the video and data is tightly synced is much more important to you than whether the footage is broadcast quality.

The playback of HD quality footage may also be an issue, with lower-spec laptops often not having the processing power to play such large files.

You have also got to budget, and for many drivers and smaller race teams the latest technology often comes with a too high a price tag.

Answer: VBOX Video HD2 – a dual camera 1080p system with real-time graphical overlay – shows we are dedicated to ensuring our customers have access to high quality HD video. From a driver tuition perspective, the clarity of the footage allows you to pin-point brake and turn-in points, whilst driver experience firms always want their clients to walk away with crisp, HD video. Break-through technology does however come at a slightly higher price than our standard system.

Watch the video below to see VBOX Video HD2 in action:

Video VBOX Lite is the established club racer’s choice. Recording standard definition video via two cameras, with real time graphical overlay and 10Hz GPS data logging, the Lite has a wealth of features at a budget price

4. How is the video and data recorded?

USB stickThe most popular flash memory devices to use when recording video are SD cards and USB sticks. The option to record to USB makes the system easier to use on track days, corporate events and driving schools, where the footage needs to be immediately available.

If you want to upload video to social media sites like YouTube, it is also important that the recorded video is in a standard file format like .mp4 or .avi.

Answer: All our in-car camera data logging systems come equipped with an SD card as standard to record video and data.

Video VBOX systems can be connected to a USB device using a simple connector (which can also be used as a remote start/stop logging switch and preview monitor connection), whilst VBOX Video HD2 has a built-in USB port making it easier to share your experience on track with others.

5. Will it work in all conditions to ensure no loss of data?

Accuracy and reliability are the most important aspects when purchasing a video data logger. It can be very frustrating to come into the pits and find out that the video didn’t record.

This is much more common than you would think, with data loss occurring due to the use of poor flash memory devices and power interruptions when starting the car.

Answer: We have developed a range of features to ensure our systems are reliable, these include:

nobatterylossBuilt-in ‘power loss’ internal battery
All our systems come fitted with a small internal battery to provide back-up power for 15 seconds if the box's input voltage has dropped below a safe threshold. If power does not return, the VBOX automatically closes the current video file to prevent data/video loss.

Variations in SD card and USB stick quality
Flash memory cards vary in write speeds. You can buy what appears to be exactly the same media, but the internal chip-set is often completely different.

To handle these differences, VBOX products continuously monitor the write speed of the card and apply a process known as ‘dynamic bit-rate throttling’ to lower the video quality when it detects data bottlenecks are occurring.

6. Which is the best type of graphical overlay process?

There are two types of graphical overlay processes: post-processed and real-time. With post-processed systems allowing the user to insert graphics after the event (an often lengthy and inaccurate process) and real-time, where the graphics are imprinted directly onto the video.

Answer: VBOX in-car camera systems write directly onto the video in real-time. To allow you to choose the best graphics for your video – or even design your own – we provide (free of charge) Setup software which can be used to create great looking scenes.

Video VBOX Setup

7. Can it provide real-time predictive lap times?

Predictive lap timing gives you a clear indication of where you are losing or gaining time by continually comparing your time at that point on the track with that of your previous fastest lap. This instant feedback is priceless in motorsport providing you with a benchmark to beat.

However, if your predictive lap timer is based on distance, the prediction displayed gets less and less accurate as you go – potentially ending up to 0.5s off the pace by the end of the lap! It is therefore essential your video logger emits predictive lap timing based on GPS position, continually updated to provide you with an accurate prediction.

Answer: Our Predictive Lap Timers connect directly to the VBOX system to provide unrivalled 0.1s accuracy to compare your previous best with your current lap time. We use GPS position not distance travelled, so it doesn’t matter if you want to try completely different lines each lap.

OLED Pair 950

8. How easy to use is the analysis software?

There is no reason why the software shouldn’t be easy to use. Most people want to find their fastest lap and compare this with other laps to see where they can gain time. You therefore shouldn’t have to spend ages configuring the start line, or manually going through the files to find your fastest lap.

Answer: Circuit Tools analysis software has been designed from the ground up by racing drivers for racing drivers. The steps needed to analyse and compare your laps have been reduced to make it quick and easy to use.

Circuit Tools is now available for Windows and OS X.

Circuit Tools Windows OSX

The software contains over 250 popular tracks from around the world and automatically detects which track (and even layout) you have been driving. It sets the start/finish line and circuit overlay automatically and will display the fastest lap in any session file you load.

When comparing two or more drivers, Circuit Tools automatically synchronises the video and data from the fastest laps of each driver. You just load the file and it does the rest, allowing you to concentrate on finding improvements in your lap times.

9. Can it record other data from your car?

Accurate GPS provides a wealth of data from which to analyse vehicle and driver performance and improve lap times, but sometimes you need more.

Whether that’s RPM, throttle angle, exhaust temperature or any number of parameters, an important feature of a good video logging system, especially for professional drivers and teams, is the ability to record vehicle data too.

Answer: We have two main options:

Mini InputModuleExternal modules
Our Micro Input Modules allow you to pick-up parameters such as RPM and throttle angle. It comes equipped with an RPM (digital) frequency input and four analogue voltage inputs. Once set-up, it synchronises automatically with the GPS data in your VBOX.

The CAN Bus carries information from a variety of sensors around the vehicle. However, each manufacturer encodes their CAN Bus information in a different way, making logging vehicle data difficult. To combat this, we have reverse-engineered a huge number of vehicles to decode the CAN information, making it possible – with the help of either an OBD plug or clip-on interface - for you to log data such as RPM, throttle angle, brake pressure and wheel speeds on your VBOX.

10. How good is the technical support?

There is nothing more frustrating after buying a technical product than finding it difficult to use, and the manufacturer unresponsive.

Answer: The VBOX range of in-car data loggers have been designed to be as easy to use as possible. You may however come across a problem with your system or want to delve further into its capabilities.

If our quick start guides or manuals don’t provide you with the answer you can refer to our online Support Centre – https://racelogic.support/ - or contact our dedicated Support department if you have any questions.

If you’d like to learn even more about your VBOX or delve further into the software, we offer free training courses for customers at the Racelogic office in Buckingham, UK and Weilburg, Germany.