Cell Phones as Dash Cams

Discussion in 'Smartphones as Dash Cams' started by dirkzelf, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. dirkzelf

    dirkzelf Well-Known Member

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    Dashcamman, thanks for your info.

    Until now I used my LG P990 mobile phone, but while in movement, its difficult to get readable license plates at daylight time, even in 1080P mode, quality in the dark is to be called poor, at best.....

    I use DailyRoads, and also came across AutoGuard for Android, but they don't exactly do the job for me, sure it's nice if you want to record and save comical, dangerous, typical and rare events while driving, but as an evidence backup it's not really usable.

    Besides the phone isn't a dedicated camera, and will fail sometimes when a call comes in, or just for the heck of it.... and I can't risk that.

    That is really a turn down, because the phone is the thing that you always carry around every day, so there could be a win for me. But not with the LG P990, not even with it's 8 MP camera no less....!

    Maybe there are other phones that do a better job as dashcam? Any idea's?

    Is there a thread on tis item (phones as dashcams and software)?
     
  2. DashCamMan

    DashCamMan Administrator

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    Hi dirkzelf,

    There wasn't a thread on using a smartphone as a dash cam, so I split your thread to create one.

    From my knowledge, the most popular Android app for use as a dash cam is DailyRoads Voyager. AutoGuard and AutoBoy BlackBox are the next most popular options.

    The iPhone apps such as DashCam, iCarBlackBox and DriveMate Rec do not get good reviews.

    What is the best smartphone to use as a dash cam is a great question. I would not consider the iPhone due to the poor apps. This leaves you with Android phones. Most of the videos I have seen are average at best. The Samsung Galaxy S III would be a consideration since it is a highly rated smartphone.

    Perhaps others can share their experience on this topic as well.

    Dash Cam Man
     
  3. DashCamMan

    DashCamMan Administrator

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    Here is a Galaxy S III using DailyRoads at 1080p. Note how the video freezes at this resolution.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 16, 2013
  4. DashCamMan

    DashCamMan Administrator

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    A night video using the Galaxy S III at 720p. When stopped it is fine but not the greatest when moving. It might be due to the mount.



    Dash Cam Man
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 16, 2013
  5. dirkzelf

    dirkzelf Well-Known Member

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    I have these 2 uploaded:



    Daytime recording wth DailyRoads, hi bit- and frame rate at 1280*720 on LG P990 (2 Speed)






    Daytime recording with DailyRoads, hi bit- and frame rate at 1920*1080 on LG P990 (2 Speed)




    I will post some night recordings as well

    [Edit: videos removed, check later post for better comparison]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 16, 2013
  6. DashCamMan

    DashCamMan Administrator

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    Hi dirkzelf,

    Those day videos aren't bad from a smart phone. The quality is better than many of the cheap dash cams out there. What kind of mount are you using? Curious about the night videos as well.

    Dash Cam Man
     
  7. dirkzelf

    dirkzelf Well-Known Member

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    Here we go, cover your eyes:

    Night recording with DailyRoads set to 1080p, hi bit- and framerate on LG P990




    Night recording with DailyRoads set to 720p, hi bit- and framerate on LG P990




    I found youtube has an enhancer built in to stabilize picture and adjust lighting for night recordings, I have tried that and it does make the night recording better to watch, but I decided to let them be there as per original recording.

    Anyone out there with tips / tricks to make it even better?

    As for the mount it is demanded to have a mount as small/short as possible, especially in big trucks, which are as you all know very much alive when running.... I can't remember the name or brand, but I bought it in a local Halfords. Its foldable, fixable with screws, and turns all directions, needs a self adhesive mounting plate on the phones back. I have no pictures of it.

    I'm thinking to buy me this one though:

    Suction Dash Windshield Mount Tripod for Digital Camera
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 16, 2013
  8. DashCamMan

    DashCamMan Administrator

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    Hi dirkzelf,

    The first video is private but the second one works. The quality is not too impressive. The Samsung Night videos seemed are a bit better. Perhaps it will take some time for cell phones to catch up to the quality of the better dash cams for night recording. The Youtube enhancements, in my experience, make dash cam videos worse so you are better off leaving them as they are. I have no experience with Tripod based mounts but given its small size, it seems like it would be stable. Thanks for sharing the videos and info.

    Dash Cam Man
     
  9. dirkzelf

    dirkzelf Well-Known Member

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    I've changed the settings, all video's should be viewable now.

    dj
     
  10. Mikk36

    Mikk36 Active Member

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    Dash Cam:
    SGZC12RC, Mobius
    The DailyRoads Voyager is kind of bad for recording video, since it enforces a maximum refresh rate of 20 fps. The result is a rather choppy video.
    As for brightness or visibility during night:
    I have 2 samples of night-time videos from my Xperia Neo, which has an Exmor-R 8MP sensor.


    These are recorded using an app written by myself for my custom needs (You'll notice though, that the second video is also a bit choppy, which is also one of the software issues of the underlying libraries of Android, that I managed to overcome in my app later on).
    It has now been superceded by F500LHD cam, which has a bit worse night-performance, but overall it's better because it doesn't have software issues unlike the Xperia Neo (not related to my app) and it's a dedicated device.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 16, 2013
  11. dirkzelf

    dirkzelf Well-Known Member

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    I have to say, if that were my recordings, I'd be long gone being ecstatic.....!

    Should the difference in quality be granted to the hardware in your phone? I use the LG Optimus P990.

    Would your app work on my phone, and would that bring any good to it?

    dj
     
  12. dirkzelf

    dirkzelf Well-Known Member

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    I found the holder info I am using, very handy, see video and manufacturers site:

    http://www.bi-automotive.de/en/handyhalterung/micro



    Very small, ultra portable and if you use this silicone pad (http://www.ebay.nl/itm/180707434078), you can mount it on your dashboard in a blink of the eye...... and remove it easily for use elsewhere!

    I made a bracket for use in the truck, since it has a very different dashboard layout, and using the pad on these particular dashboards is not very recommended, they are often dirty, so I decided to use the bracket with the pad and suction cup already mounted, so I just place the bracket, and the holder and phone slide right up. Costs me about 20 seconds a day...... :cool:



    Now be aware, there are many sticky pads on ebay, but they all DON'T have flat surfaces on both sides, you really need full flat surface on both sides!
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 17, 2013
  13. dirkzelf

    dirkzelf Well-Known Member

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    Now something very different but related, does anyone here know of a compact digital camera that has a "loop recording" function like those on dash cams? That might solve a lot of problems.......
     
  14. Mikk36

    Mikk36 Active Member

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    Dash Cam:
    SGZC12RC, Mobius
    Well, you could try.
    http://code.google.com/p/carcam/
    https://dl.dropbox.com/u/81066738/Mikk/Carcam.apk
    It's made for ICS/JB, won't start on GB.
    It records in 720p, preview is disabled to enable full recording performance on my phone (enabling display makes the video choppy and 18-20fps).
    Videos are saved in sdcard/DCIM/Carcam
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 17, 2013
  15. dirkzelf

    dirkzelf Well-Known Member

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    OHW DEAR, I'm still on 2.3.4 GB on my LG P990 (LG still no update as promised...... :x )

    But you just gave me a hint :idea: on the 1080p recording mode. If I use the background mode in DailyRoads, then maybe my recordings get better as well, sins the preview / display is turned down...... I'll try that tomorrow, and will show the results later...... fingrs xxx
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 17, 2013
  16. Mikk36

    Mikk36 Active Member

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    Dash Cam:
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    It will still be just 20fps, which the DailyRoads Voyager sets as the target for the encoder. I even talked to the developer, but he refused to give an option to enable full 30fps recording stating that it's not needed and 20fps is enough for most people.
     
  17. DashCamMan

    DashCamMan Administrator

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    Hi Mikk36,

    Those are very decent night videos. I am quite impressed. I agree that the 20 fps on the DailyRoads Voyager is kind of silly. Perhaps you should launch a competing app!

    Dash Cam Man
     
  18. DashCamMan

    DashCamMan Administrator

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    Hi dirkzelf,

    Thanks for sharing the mount. It looks like a decent and stable mount.

    Dash Cam Man
     
  19. dirkzelf

    dirkzelf Well-Known Member

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    Here's what Robert Fejer (developer of DailyRoads) tells me about that (newest message come first):


    Robert Fejer wrote:>
    > When you set the frame rate to high, then I tell the camera framework
    > to use 30 fps, using the setVideoFrameRate() method. But, look what
    > the Android doc is saying about this method:
    >
    > http://developer.android.com/reference/ ... meRate(int)
    >
    > "NOTE: On some devices that have auto-frame rate, this sets the
    > maximum frame rate, not a constant frame rate. Actual frame rate will
    > vary according to lighting conditions."
    >
    > I've seen the frame rate drop at night recording, and this is what
    > happens with other users/devices, too. Simply there is no solution for
    > 3rd party apps, and even the pre-installed camera app is limited by
    > the camera hardware/firmware.
    >
    >
    > Regards,
    > Robert
    >
    >
    > Thursday, November 22, 2012, 11:35:14 AM, you wrote:
    >
    >
    >> It seems the phone records fluently with it's own application in
    >> 1920*1080 but DailyRoads only records fluently in 720p.
    >
    >> When I choose HQ setting in setup of DR, then the app actually sets all
    >> to 720p, with High bit and framerate, then daytime is pretty good,
    >> however licenseplates are still difficult to read when in motion. Night
    >> recording is only vaguely acceptable with decent road lighting. Forget
    >> recording on freeway or out of town with no road lights....!
    >
    >> Do you have good feedback from users with other phones regarding night
    >> recording?
    >
    >> DJ
    >
    >
    >
    >> Robert Fejer wrote:
    >>>
    >>> It seems the mobile camera technology is not there yet to record good
    >>> quality videos at night, too. But, it's definitely going in the right
    >>> direction...
    >>>
    >>> Usually the pre-installed camera app is optimized for the device, and
    >>> sometimes it has special features, not normally available for 3rd
    >>> party app developers. The most notorious case was for the Samsung
    >>> Galaxy S2, which could record HD videos with the stock camera app,
    >>> while other apps were limited to a resolution of 800x480.
    >>>
    >>>
    >>> Thanks,
    >>> Robert
    >>>
    >>>
    >>>
    >>> Tuesday, November 20, 2012, 8:33:22 AM, you wrote:
    >>>
    >>>> Hi Robert,
    >>>
    >>>> thanks for your reply. I have found slightly better results at 720p for
    >>>> night recording ( settings in DailyRoads ) because of a more fluent
    >>>> recording, but the sharpness is ofcourse less good, it still is
    >>>> difficult to read license plates. And although we get lesser picture
    >>>> quality at night times, when using 720p at medium bit- and frame rates
    >>>> the phone's processor at least seems to be able to handle the process,
    >>>> and shows a more fluent recording.
    >>>
    >>>> This works to some extent in urban areas with sufficient lighting, but
    >>>> out of town or on the freeway with low- or no road lighting, you can
    >>>> almost see nothing.
    >>>
    >>>> If we use 1080p then the recording shows many lost frames, my best guess
    >>>> is that it is a phone issue. I have seen many complaints in forums about
    >>>> this phone camera being slow and not very good at night, which really is
    >>>> a pitty since it has 8MP...... and has a dual core processor..... what a
    >>>> shame ....
    >>>
    >>>> Anyway, I don't think it's to be blamed on the program, however, when
    >>>> recording with the phone's own camera application the recording seems to
    >>>> be slightly better, and more fluent. Could you explain that?
    >>>
    >>>> Cheerio,
    >>>> DJ
    >>>
    >>>
    >>>
    >>>
    >>>
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 17, 2013
  20. DashCamMan

    DashCamMan Administrator

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    Hi dirkzelf,

    Very interesting. So the lower framerate appears to be a device issue not an app issue.

    Thanks
    Dash Cam Man
     
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