BlackVue partnered up with David Champion and his team for the 2019 Banger Rally Challenge. The two-driver team will take on a trip from St. Austell in Cornwall, England, to Pompeii in Italy, documenting their entire journey thanks to their BlackVue dashcam.
What is the Banger Rally Challenge?
Banger Rally Challenge is a charity rally starting every year in the UK. It’s a non-racing event and the main rule is simple – the participating cars have to be “bangers” (meaning scrap cars in varying states of disrepair) worth less than £500. Money raised during the rally can be donated to one of the designated charities or the participants can choose a charity themselves.
This year’s rally’s finish line will be in Pompeii, hence the event’s sub-title: Pompeii or Bust. More info about the event here.
Driving over 2,000 miles for charity
David told us that this year they will be raising money for CALM (The Campaign Against Living Miserably), which is leading a movement against suicide of men under 45 in the UK. The decision to support that particular charity was prompted by Jaimie (the second member of the team), who lost his dad when he was just 18.
BlackVue is honored to support David and Jaimie by providing much needed security during the trip from the UK to Italy.
BlackVue for the road
David and Jaimie acquired a silver Volvo for just £450 and started prepping it for the rally by having it professionally wrapped – take a look at the pictures below to see the amazing transformation!
The vehicle will be also equipped with the 4K UHD BlackVue dashcam – the DR900S-2CH, paired with the Power Magic Pro. Thanks to this setup, David and Jaimie will be able to document every moment of their long and ambitious trip – and we will make sure to share it on our blog and social media!
WIRED Magazine (UK Edition) just released its 2019 dashcam test and BlackVue DR900S-2CH is on the list!
Once again, BlackVue was found to be the best dashcam on the market when it comes to image quality. It was Wired’s pick of the best 4K dashcam!
The test concluded that “the footage is undeniably the best on the market, day and night”.
Here’s a quote that proves the image quality of the BlackVue DR900S-2CH is undeniable:
“This is the only camera to feature an eight-megapixel CMOS sensor up front and a high-performance Sony STARVIS CMOS sensor in the rear camera. As a result, the footage is undeniably the best on the market, day and night. In fact, it is probably the only camera that snares footage of such high quality that it is possible to read the number plates of vehicles when said video is paused. The 162-degree field of view feels absolutely perfect for the task in hand and rids the resulting footage of that awkward fisheye look that some wider-angle cameras suffer from.”
BlackVue DR900S-2CH, our flagship 4K UHD Cloud dashcam, is available for purchase on our website here.
Introducing HDR Night Vision, a new feature for DR900S Series dashcams. The feature replaces Enhanced Night Vision and improves both day and night video quality.
You can find it under Firmware settings > Basic > Video > HDR Night Vision(On (Always) | On (Parking mode only) | Off). Don’t forget to hit “Save and close” to apply the changes.
Important: HDR Night Vision applies to 4K sensors only. For dual-channel models like DR900S-2CH, turning HDR Night Vision on will apply it to the front camera, while the rear camera will use Night Vision.
This feature was added with firmware version 1.012 for DR900S Series.
Brightness at night does not always mean clarity
Before HDR Night Vision, DR900S Series front cameras were using Enhanced Night Vision, which boosts ISO gain in dark environments, resulting in brighter images. Although a certain level of brightness is definitely required to distinguish details at night, brightness alone is not always enough.
To keep videos bright in dark scenes, dashcam image sensors increase their ISO sensitivity. This affects the whole image, not just the dark areas. This means if something was already bright—like a license plate—it can get totally blown out. In fact, with vehicle headlights on, license plates at night often appear too bright, almost pure white, therefore unreadable.
How to avoid this?
HDR to the rescue
The human eye can process highly contrasted images rather easily. A digital image sensor, however, is limited in the ratio between the darkest and the brightest point it can capture.
With most digital cameras, whether you capture a photo or a video, the camera adjusts exposure based on your point of focus. On your phone, if you focus on a bright element, the camera will adjust and make everything else in the frame appear darker. Conversely, if you focus on a dark point, highlights may appear blown out. Although sensors have become better at capturing highly contrasted scenes, they still don’t come close to the human eye. High Dynamic Range (HDR) is a way to overcome this limitation of digital sensors.
HDR Night Vision applies HDR to video capture
One of the main advantages of HDR is to preserve detail in both bright and dark areas of the image. You probably have experienced HDR capture with your mobile phone’s camera. It works by combining two or more exposures in a single image. It is like taking an overexposed image (too bright) and an underexposed image (too dark) and combining them together. Except that your camera does it all in one smooth sequence. The overexposed image will show more detail in the dark areas, while the underexposed image will preserve detail in highlights. By merging them, the resulting image is able to display a wider range of colors and detail than the camera sensor was able to capture in a single exposure.
HDR Night Vision follows the same process, applied to video recording.
Better nighttime and daytime video
The advantage of HDR Night Vision over Night Vision is that it improves not only nighttime videos but also daytime recording. At night, it brightens scenes while preserving highlights, which means you can read the license plates of cars and streetlights’ flare is reduced. On bright days, it also works wonders to minimize lens flare and reflections when facing the sun.
HDR Night Vision also produces richer and more accurate colors day and night.
What’s the catch? Should you use it?
You might ask “If it is so great, why even give the choice to deactivate HDR Night Vision?”.
For each recorded frame, HDR Night Vision combines two images in one, with various exposures. At night, it can cause a visual artifact in fast-moving bright objects which may be visible when pausing the video. However, the advantages outweigh the cons in most situations. It’s just something to keep in mind, and you are free to deactivate the feature if you prefer without. If you are interested in using HDR but think the rear camera would be too bright with Night Vision, you can adjust the brightness of the rear cam independently.
For the second successive year, Auto Express magazine’s annual dash cam group test (May 2019) has concluded that the BlackVue DR900S has the highest quality video footage amongst its peers, beating rivals from Nextbase, Garmin and Thinkware. Crucially, the publication highlighted the DR900S’s ability to handle changing light conditions and pick out pedestrians and licence plates in low-light. This latest Auto Express test reinforces BlackVue’s technological advantage over its rivals, and the 4K UHD DR900S’s reputation as the world’s most sophisticated dash cam.
See BlackVue at the Commercial Vehicle Show, Birmingham NEC from the 30th of April until the 2nd of May.
Come and browse the entire BlackVue model line-up, from the entry-level DR590 and the stunning range-topping DR900S 4K Ultra HD Cloud-connected dash cam, through to our range of specialist truck models and unique fleet tracking services.
Talk to our specialists and find out what makes BlackVue dash cams to No.1 choice for commercial vehicles and fleet operators.