Topic: Hints on streaming our dashcam / race video live

We were quite excited recently to try connecting a GoPro 8 with twitch streaming through our phone to watch the mayhem live from the pits. However it appears the connection is somewhat spotty, and if there does not appear to be a retry for the stream, thus we lose connection (and local logging to SD).

Does anyone have some tips / tricks for setting up a network connection from the car to the pit, or directly to the internet?

We were hoping for some kind of hotspot relay type gadget which may go over a race radio, perhaps a wifi or some other transmitter from the car to the pit, or maybe some magical device which acts like a wifi router / proxy in the car and buffers / keeps alive the connections while retrying the network connections.

Would love to hear what others have has setups for live streaming from the car and sending telemetry. I've noticed some of you have this going in the pits :-)

Thanks!

2 (edited by Guildenstern 2021-02-20 02:14 PM)

Re: Hints on streaming our dashcam / race video live

There are Streaming encoder boxes you can hook to a Cell hotspot (or Starlink if you can get your mitts on it)
Stuff like this: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/buy/wir … s/ci/38525

There's cheaper, and ones you can use a cell phone or hotspot separate. But that's the kinda stuff that would give you easy operation.
HDMI goes in, Stream comes out.

As always your biggest hurdle is going to be getting solid reliable Internet that isn't at Satellite data rates. Some track have cuh-hrappy cell service.

As for video to the pit, you're looking at high frequency, high bandwidth line of sight. If tracks could be convinced to put up a bounce either tethered balloon or tower in the middle of the track. You might have a chance, but most tracks can't even keep a bathroom running all weekend so......yea. There's a reason why there's Blimps at big race events. They're signal platforms.

Mistake By The Lake Racing (MBTL)
88 Thunderbird "THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO!", Ex Astris, Rubigo / Semper Fracti
A&D: 2014 Sebrings at Sebring (NSF), 2014 NJMP2 Jurassic Park (SpeedyCop), 2012 Summit Point J30 (PiNuts)
2018 Route Sucky-Suck Rally Miata, 2019 World Tour Of Texas 64 Newport

Re: Hints on streaming our dashcam / race video live

Thanks!

I actually just got a starlink invitation yesterday - does anyone have experience using this from a racecar? They seem to indicate it would. Maybe that's the thing to try out.

I was also wondering if a cell signal booster is helpful. I know at Sonoma and The Ridge coverage was very crraaaappy.

Cheers!

Re: Hints on streaming our dashcam / race video live

You definitely want to NOT flip over on the antenna. That ain't a Radioshack standard inventory part.

A signal booster could help some, but even then, you still are fighting for limited bandwidth access. Everyone's running a lap timer, Everyones on the phone, and everyones bored kids/spouses are trying to watch Netflix the whole weekend.

Mistake By The Lake Racing (MBTL)
88 Thunderbird "THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO!", Ex Astris, Rubigo / Semper Fracti
A&D: 2014 Sebrings at Sebring (NSF), 2014 NJMP2 Jurassic Park (SpeedyCop), 2012 Summit Point J30 (PiNuts)
2018 Route Sucky-Suck Rally Miata, 2019 World Tour Of Texas 64 Newport

Re: Hints on streaming our dashcam / race video live

Starlink doesn’t work on a moving vehicle. You’ll need to setup a link from the car to a base station that has the Starlink uplink.

A cell link in the car is the simplest setup.

Re: Hints on streaming our dashcam / race video live

Too bad about starlink.

Any ideas on how to get the cell signal to be reliable, for example are these weboost amplifiers good enough?

weBoost Drive Reach (470154) Vehicle Cell Phone Signal Booster | Car, Truck, Van, or SUV | U.S. Company | All U.S. Networks & Carriers -Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint & More | FCC Approved https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PDVTMM6/re … NNA9KHSAV5

7 (edited by Guildenstern 2021-02-21 10:40 AM)

Re: Hints on streaming our dashcam / race video live

TrackGeeks_Chris wrote:

Starlink doesn’t work on a moving vehicle. You’ll need to setup a link from the car to a base station that has the Starlink uplink.

A cell link in the car is the simplest setup.

Is it being software limited? Because part of its point is to feed the stupid Tesla onboard toy-puter.
https://www.pcmag.com/news/musk-spacexs … g-vehicles

Mistake By The Lake Racing (MBTL)
88 Thunderbird "THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO!", Ex Astris, Rubigo / Semper Fracti
A&D: 2014 Sebrings at Sebring (NSF), 2014 NJMP2 Jurassic Park (SpeedyCop), 2012 Summit Point J30 (PiNuts)
2018 Route Sucky-Suck Rally Miata, 2019 World Tour Of Texas 64 Newport

Re: Hints on streaming our dashcam / race video live

The current hardware isn't designed for a moving platform. It is a phased array dish but it isn't in any kind of a aerodynamic dome that can handle hurricane force winds.

Re: Hints on streaming our dashcam / race video live

That's really more an installation issue not a hardware limitation.

Mistake By The Lake Racing (MBTL)
88 Thunderbird "THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO!", Ex Astris, Rubigo / Semper Fracti
A&D: 2014 Sebrings at Sebring (NSF), 2014 NJMP2 Jurassic Park (SpeedyCop), 2012 Summit Point J30 (PiNuts)
2018 Route Sucky-Suck Rally Miata, 2019 World Tour Of Texas 64 Newport

Re: Hints on streaming our dashcam / race video live

Amateur Radio Television? Broadcasting a TV signal over HAM radio bands?

Team whatever_racecar #745 Volvo wagon

Re: Hints on streaming our dashcam / race video live

Guildenstern wrote:

That's really more an installation issue not a hardware limitation.

The dish is pretty slow acquiring the signal so I expect if you move it around much it won't be able to keep a lock on the satellite.

I have one on order. I'll be able to tell you more when it arrives and I have first hand experience.

12 (edited by alloriginaltone 2021-02-22 01:38 PM)

Re: Hints on streaming our dashcam / race video live

Let's say you can get a stable connection and it doesn't drop a bunch of frames.   That's a huge accomplishment and would require some luck (as in great tower signal strength throughout the track) without a big budget.  BUT....if you could....what do you want to do next?

The reason I ask is because the latency on most streaming platforms is 20-30 seconds.  Amazon AWS is probably the best around 5 seconds...but you have to know how to code.

So, streaming over any of the typical solutions, the driver will be 1/4 to 1/3 the way around most tracks by the time you see the footage.

If you are sharing it with friends and family at home this would be great.  If you want to provide guidance and coaching on driving lines, shifting points etc, after the fact but maybe before they get around again, also could be possible....it's a lot to think about though.  But useless for anything real-time.

To have anything real-time you would need a wireless transmitter in the car and receiver at the track.  You're in the $2k - $5k range for that tech given track sizes.  It exists...but only for deep enough pockets.  You can look at the TereDek gear.  I think that's the only stuff that will transmit reliably far enough.

Re: Hints on streaming our dashcam / race video live

This is just for family and friends to gawk at our poor driving, and for some extra excitements while waiting in the pits.

Not something we want to sink $1000's into, though it seems others are able to stream reliably so there must be a way.

I guess we'll keep trying with the hotspot / cell thing, and maybe a booster is the next step. Does anyone know if these weboost drive reach are helpful at tracks? https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07PD … &psc=1

I looked more into starlink. Apparently the receiver is locked to your satellite 'cell'. Not sure what the boundaries of that are, but currently they don't enable cell hoping in the beta trials. I assume WA to CA is likely larger than a cell, so this won't work for many tracks.

Happy to learn or hear more what others think.

Thanks!

Re: Hints on streaming our dashcam / race video live

Late reply, but I've been doing live streaming out of our car for a long time with mixed success.

I chased the idea of just sending a signal from car to pits. I think it's possible over radio channels, My dad's co-worker is a massive radio nerd (I mean that positively) and claimed he could get it working, but we never circled back to it, I'll have to poke him again once COVID is less of a thing. Before I met him I was down rabbit holes trying to figure out how much power I could throw through 2.4gHz wifi signals trying to create a car-to-pits link. But I think I would have wound up chatting with the FCC if I kept after that, mostly because I'm sure I would have done it wrong a few times trying to figure it out.


The easiest method for most teams is to just throw it to the internet through a phone or hot spot. Your limiting factor here is cell bandwidth, a booster can't really get you around that. Some tracks just have crap service, and when you put several hundred people in the area all on phones, you are limited on what you can punch through. Here on the east coast I know streaming works amazing at NH, because they're setup to handle NASCAR crowds. PittRace is so-so, there is a signal dropout area from turns 5-8. NJ is ok, and CT is ok.

The best success I ever had was sticking a phone in the car and just using the ustream app. Worked flawlessly everywhere I tried it. Then they nerfed the platform and I had to start over.

I know people who are having success with Yi cameras connected to a phone/hotspot. You can chase that route, it's cheapish and works.


My setup uses some more expensive equipment, but it has advantages. My hardware list is as follows:
1. GoPro (doesn't matter what one, just needs HDMI out)
2. Cervo Live Shell 2
3. Prepaid hotspot

The liveshell is a middle man of sorts who's job is to take a raw video stream and compress it to meet the available bandwidth. This functionality seems to be baked into the newer Yi cameras and probably the latest gopros too, but the difference is that the live shell can be accessed remotely allowing you to make changes to the stream from the pits.

From my garage I can tweak bandwidth settings, add text overlays to say who's driving, stop and restart the stream, stop it from streaming to youtube and move it to another video service if I really wanted to. It's really handy. And because it is handling all the live stream stuff, the gopro can just sit there and record and not care what else is happening. That way after the race we have full res video on the camera, we don't lose recording if the live stream drops out.

These days the only reason we'll loose a live stream is if one device looses power. I have dedicated 5V power sources for each device in the car, and I use hotmelt glue to secure the USB connectors into each device so they can't shake loose, but sometimes things still go wrong and something turns off halfway through the day. Not a ton you can do to combat that. If we can keep all the devices on and powered the stream works well however.
If you want an idea of what ours looks like at a track with good signal, this was NH last year https://youtu.be/KZZ3UUizx9w?t=2991
This was NJ 2018 where the service is worse and forces more compression to stream. https://youtu.be/k15_NMp3kkA?t=2597

20+ Time Loser FutilityMotorsport
Turbo Dodge Powered E36 Build
2008 Saab 9-5Aero Wagon
Retired - 1989 Dodge Daytona Shelby 2011-2015 "Lifetime Award for Lack of Achievement" IOE, 3X I got screwed, Organizer's Choice

Re: Hints on streaming our dashcam / race video live

Quite a few hotspots have external antenna ports on them. We use a Verizon 8100 hotspot in our car that's connected to a roof-mounted antenna that's specifically for 4Glte bands and then an adapter cable to go from SMA to TS9, which I guess is the antenna connection on the hotspots.

16

Re: Hints on streaming our dashcam / race video live

I haven't seen it mentioned much here, but you need *a lot* of data to stream for 8+8 hours, about 35GB for a weekend on the upload side and about 20GB on the download side for the pits. This is with a GoPro HERO 7 streaming live to FB.

The only workable solution I have found that isn't crazy expensive is: https://daypasswireless.com/

For about $80 you get two hotspots (one for car and one for pits) with unlimited data for 4 days (noon Thursday to noon Monday).
We did have one stream stop at 29.95GB last race, so there may be some hidden limits even though they say explicitly that there are no hidden limits, but even if there is you can just swap car/pit hotspots on Sunday.,

Re: Hints on streaming our dashcam / race video live

You can control data usage if you have the ability to limit the bitrate of the stream. Again, another strength of the live shell. I don't exceed 20gig upload from the car for a race weekend.

Though most tracks just flat out don't have the cell service needed to let you use a bitrate that will exceed 30gigs before the weekend is done.

20+ Time Loser FutilityMotorsport
Turbo Dodge Powered E36 Build
2008 Saab 9-5Aero Wagon
Retired - 1989 Dodge Daytona Shelby 2011-2015 "Lifetime Award for Lack of Achievement" IOE, 3X I got screwed, Organizer's Choice

Re: Hints on streaming our dashcam / race video live

TheEngineer wrote:

If you want an idea of what ours looks like at a track with good signal, this was NH last year https://youtu.be/KZZ3UUizx9w?t=2991
This was NJ 2018 where the service is worse and forces more compression to stream. https://youtu.be/k15_NMp3kkA?t=2597

First video has very good live quality resolution. I like the rear and side view cameras too.

Troy

#35 LRE
1973 Datsun 240Z