Thursday, August 27, 2020

Making Your Hot Wheels Racing Videos Look Amazing

Shooting great race video is half the battle when it comes to hosting races. Usually people have worked very hard on their cars and they want to see them race. There are a few things that will help make your video enjoyable for your racers. 

 The first thing I would suggest is to follow the cars with the camera. Many times these cars are traveling so fast that if the camera is just set up on a tripod somewhere along the track or at the end the cars are going to look blurry. Also, depending on how long the track is, at some point in the video the cars may be pretty small. If you can follow the cars with the camera, the video will be a lot more enjoyable for your racers. 

Slowing the video down a bit will also make the video more enjoyable. It will give your racers a little more time to cheer and root for their cars in the race. However if all you do is use video editing software to slow the video down it will not look as good or smooth. It will be much better if you can shoot more frames per second. To do that you need a camera that can do that. Most phones these days have the ability to change the frame rate. Action cameras also generally have higher frame rate capability. 

 Go-Pros are a great action camera, but can be a bit pricey. They are however, the Cadillac of action cameras so if you have the money to spend, they are a great option. 

 If you want an action camera at a lower price point, I really like the EKEN action camera. I’ve been using one for a while now since my Go-Pro died and have felt like it is a really good affordable option.


If you are going to shoot your video at a higher frame rate you are going to need some extra lighting. Your regular room lighting is not going to cut it. To get started I would suggest a couple of work lights.

These lights are super bright. The way I use them is to point them at the ceiling and use the reflected light. They will definitely brighten up the room and help your slow motion videos look much better and clearer. However, if you try to point them right at the track, you’re going to get a lot of shadows as well as probably some “hot” spots on camera…places that look really bright compared to others. 

For some lighting that that is a little better to directly light up the track you should check out this softbox photography lighting kit

 It will help light up your track with much softer light and will reduce the hard shadows and bright spots that you get with the work lights. 

 A combination of the work lights reflected off the ceiling and the softbox photography lights lighting up the track will really help your slow motion video look great. 

 Another fun little tool for helping with your filming is this versatile camera rig

 There are several different places where you can mount cameras, lights, microphones, or whatever, as well as your phone. You can simultaneously shoot video on your phone and action camera, plus mount an extra light as well, all at the same time. It can definitely boost your creativity having so many options! 

 Hopefully some of these tips will help your race videos turn out great and keep racers coming back to your track for many more races to come.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Making Hot Wheels Cars Fast - What You'll Need

So you're ready to start modifying Hot Wheels cars to make them faster.  What you need is an out of this world modifying kit.  I've put together a list of things that will really come in handy as you begin modifying Hot Wheels cars.

JB Kwik Weld is my go to for "gluing" stuff together.  I'll use it to glue axles down, glue weight in, glue the car back together.  Pretty much anything that needs to be stuck together JB Kwik will do the job.  If you are modding cars I would say it is pretty much essential.  Click HERE to get JB Kwik Weld

When working with cars you want a good pair of safety glasses. I usually try to wear mine the whole time I'm working on cars, but for sure I always use mine while I'm drilling or cutting.  Also always while I'm polishing axles.  I don't want any metal polish flipping up in my eyes.  A pair with lights on them can really come in handy depending on what your working conditions are and how much light you have in your work station. Click HERE for Safety Glasses

This is the size of drill bit that you are going to use to drill out the rivet on your car so that you can get it apart.  I do like to use a smaller bit, say 1/16 or so as a pilot hole.  It keeps the 3/16 bit straight and centered as you drill and makes drilling out the rivet a bit easier. For 3/16" drill bits click HERE.

This mini vice is super handy for holding on to the body of the car as you drill or cut.  Especially to help protect your hands from getting hurt by stray saw blades, Dremel bits, or drill bits. For this cool mini vice clamp click HERE.

A set of jewelers files come in handy, especially to clean up any edges from where you've cut the metal.  I find myself hogging out wheel wells periodically so bigger wheels will fit and the files also help clean that up. For get jewelers files click HERE.

I don't find myself using  the hacksaw all the time, but periodically I'll use it to do some heavy modifying.  Especially when I'm extending a chassis. For Hacksaws click HERE.

I use clay for a few different things, but mostly as a way to add a little extra weight. I'll also use it to hold lead weights in my cars.  For clay click HERE.

I will use this the same way as clay.  I will also use Blue Tack when testing cars.  Initially I might use it to just stick some weight on the top of a car and test it to see if it's got potential to be fast in a certain weight class.  Then after working on a car I will use it to hold a car together for some testing. To get some Blue Tack click HERE.

I Dremel comes in handy for all sorts of things.  You could probably get away with just using a drill, but the Dremel is just so much easier to work with.  Definitely where I use it the most is for polishing axles using a polishing pad.  But I also use it quite a bit for cutting, sanding, and grinding. For a Dremel click HERE

I use these side cutters to cut the tabs to get axles out.  I have a thicker and thinner set, but I love my thin ones, they seem to be especially helpful for cars with metal bases. For side cutters click HERE.
I use Q-Tips to apply polishes and for clean-up.  If you cut one in half you can use the stick side to mix and apply JB Kwik and then use the Q-Tip side to clean up any mess. To get Q-Tips click HERE.

Round pointy toothpicks are my go-to for mixing and applying JB Kwik Weld. For Toothpicks click HERE.

Polishing compound is a must if you are planning to make your cars fast.  Polishing axles with a good polishing compound is essential to reducing friction between your axles and wheels and producing the kind of speed you need to be competitive. For polishing compound click HERE.

These are the polishing pads I use to polish axles.  I actually cut them in half both because I think they are easier to work with when polishing and then a package lasts twice as long. To  get some polishing pads click HERE.

Axle Jig
Another tool that I use is an axle jig.  Whenever swapping axles and gluing them down I put the car in an axle jig to keep everything straight. The key is to make sure that the front axles are parallel with the rear axles.  There are several different ways you can make an axle jig, but the easiest is to glue some grooved dowel pins down to a base.  Even if the wheels don't fit perfectly in between the pins, the grooves grab the wheels wherever they touch and still keep things straight.
For Grooved Dowel Pins click HERE.

I use a few different things for weight that I always like to  have on hand.  Wheel weights are handy. They usually have an adhesive back which is nice for sticking the weight down without having to use JB Kwik Weld.  The draw back is that they only come in a few pre-determined weights.  Still, I will use them to get close to the weight I want and then finish things off with some clay or fishing weights.  I like fishing weights because they come in  a lot of different sizes/weights so you can mix and match to get right on the weight limit.  If you really need to pack a lot of weight into a small space then tungsten weights can come in pretty handy.  Tungsten is a bit more expensive though, so I try to use tungsten weights in a way that I will be able to re-use them.
For lead fishing weights click HERE
For wheels weights click HERE
For tungsten weights click HERE

Graphite is a must when it comes to making fast Hot Wheels cars.  Most that have been racing for a while have a brand that they swear by, and some even have their own secret recipes of mixed brands of graphite.  Definitely try a few and see what you think,  but a good place to start is with xlr8 graphite.  For graphite click HERE.

I love these little plastic clips. I use them most for holding cars together while the JB Kwik weld dries after I have finished working on a car.  But they come in handy for all sorts of things. For plastic clips click HERE.

Wheel Spacers
Another thing that I try to always have on hand are some wheel spacers. I just use the cards that the Hot Wheels come on. They help me space the wheels evenly from the chassis when  I glue down axles.

What else do you have in your modifying tool kit?

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