Build A Caterham 420R in 30 Minutes – YouTube Video



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On July 11th 2020, I uploaded a bit of a longer video to YouTube documenting the build of my 420R from nearly 3 years previously.

I’d always planned to do this video, but for the usual many reasons it only got a few hours here and a few hours there since finishing the build in December 2017. But I had a week off work and with the weather being a bit crap I decided to give it a final push over the line. I have no idea how many hours it took to edit the video but its probably well over 50 and might be closer to 100… bonkers, I know! And that’s obviously ignoring the 160 hours of time spent building the car to create the time-lapse itself. It too me two days just to add captions to it!

The video is a bit rough in places, but I wanted to get something out as I hope its a useful addition to my (and others) blog. My problem with the video over the past 2 years has been that I really wanted/needed to make it twice as long as it currently is, to be able to say all I wanted to about the build. But even now at 33minutes there will be very few people that watch it, and at over an hour I could pretty much guarantee that nobody would.

Note from future self: The video went a bit viral in the end. As of Feb 2021 it’s had over 160k views. That’s 160k more views than I thought it would have when I uploaded it!

So, the video is what it is. If I was doing this video again then I’d make a better job of the audio. Both the pieces to camera and the voice over of the build itself could really do with less noise on the audio and a compressor applied to lift some of the quiet phrases. The voice over for sessions 1 to 15 had the microphone gain set too high and was hitting the limiter and I should really have re-recorded it again once I’d got to the final wording I wanted to use – the result that ended up in the video was something like 600 sections of audio cut and spliced together and took me weeks to edit down to something that sounds vaguely ok to listen to. There’s nearly 8000 words spoken in the video – no small undertaking!

And if I was setting up the GoPros at the start of the build again, then I’d make sure I took a bit more time to get a good close-up of what I was doing at each stage of the build. Certainly 3 GoPros made for a better video I think. One would not have worked for me, two would have been a minimum and four would have taken forever to edit.

I don’t quite remember now, but I think I set the GoPros to record the time-lapse with 30s intervals. I used 3 GoPro Hero 6 Blacks for the main time-lapse. They’re the first GoPros (I think) to have in-built support for time-lapse. Prior to the Hero 6 Black you had to get the cameras to save stills and then stitch them back together to make a movie afterwards.

The Video and Audio Gear

In the garage I had 3 GoPro Hero Black 6’s. They were set to time-lapse at 30s intervals. Each was set to run at the start of a session and stopped at the end. I used GoPro flexible gooseneck mounts to attach them around the garage and plugged them into mains power via USB to keep them going for up to a whole day. Each had a 64GB Sandisk memory card in them.

I also used my iPhone to take over 800 photos that became the blog, but also used it to take some video at times – the side on shot of the engine starting up is shot on iPhone for instance.

For the “to camera” section I used a Canon EOS RP and 15-28mm F2.8 lens to get the blurred background.

When recording audio I use a Zoom F6 in 32 bit mode and then either a Rode Wireless Go and lavalier microphone or a Rode NTG, also into the Zoom F6.


The video was edited in Final Cut Pro X on a selection of Macs and the whole project was about 2TB of footage and proxy media… the proxies were needed because I had to speed the video up in two stages – since FCP can’t do more than a 20x speed up in one go. So one stage was 20x and the next was 12.5x, giving a total of around 250x. With hind-sight I would have created sped up versions of the GoPro footage, exported it and re-imported it again to save the proxy space at 4k. All the video was shot in 4k to give me room to crop and zoom if I needed it. I also created multi-cam clips in FCP to be able to cut from one camera to another more easily. However, that didn’t always work and there are a couple of sections of the video that repeat but from different camera angles. If I were doing it again, then I’d pay a lot more attention to the time/date settings on the cameras to help get the clips synchronised – and probably used time-code generators… that sounds overkill but it would have saved so much time in the edit.

Like many YouTube videos, the edit got pretty complicated with all the graphics, overlays and animations. Here’s just the first 2 minutes of the edit timeline for the intro…

View of Intro section of the video in Final Cut Pro X

Anyway, as I say… it is what it is. It won’t be winning any awards, that’s for sure.

Below is the text from the YouTube description… note: when you’re in YouTube now, you can click on chapter markers to jump you to wherever you want to go in the video… my favorite bit is the trip to the IVA at the end of the video when I’m leaning out of the car to see through the rain after the wiper fuse blew as I left the house! 🙂

I hope its a useful resource and of course I’d appreciate feedback, especially if I’ve made any glaring mistakes.

And here’s the text from the YouTube description that includes the chapter minute:second timings,, but you can find that on YouTube too!

YouTube Description Text…

Almost 3 years after turning on the first GoPro to film our Caterham 420R Kit Car build, I finally got around to creating this video…

This video is a recap of the major points of our build and is in no way representative of everyone’s experience – every Caterham and every build is different!

It has taken many many hours of editing to get this video into the shape you see here. The audio is a bit janky in places and there are too many jump cuts in the pieces of me to camera… but after 3 years I decided I just had to get something published.

Hopefully it’s of some use to anyone building, or looking to build, a Caterham. 

[ Bonus points for anyone who can count the number of “in the ends”, “at the end of the days” and “measure twice, cut onces” 🙂 ]

Finally, yes.. I know sessions 24 and 32 a missing – I forgot to roll the cameras for some reason. Here’s the break down minutes:seconds of each section of the video…

00:00 Intro

03:20 Arrival

04:20 Session 1: IVA Trim and Steering Rack

04:57 Session 2: Body Protection & Gearbox, Bellhousing, Engine

05:31 Session 3: Harness Tapping *

05:41 Session 4: Front Suspension 

05:59 Session 5: Front Suspension & Headlights

06:35 Session 6: Headlights & Front Suspension

07:44 Session 7: Uprights

08:13 Session 8: Brake Pipes, Front ARB & Dinitrol

08:33 Session 9: Horns and Final Front ARB Fit

08:57 Session 10: Engine Mounts, L-Hose & Hoist Extensions

09:35 Session 11: Engine In

10:53 Session 12: Attempted Gearbox Shift & Electrics

11:59 Session 13: Exhaust Headers, Cat & Lambda Probe

12:49 Session 14: Steering Column & Oil Tank

13:43 Session 15: Odds & Ends, Radiator & Heater Unit

14:17 Session 16: Roll Over Bar, Engine Plumbing & Bonnet Test

14:48 Session 17: Engine Plumbing

15:43 Session 18: Prop Shaft & Differential

16:22 Session 19: Handbrake Cable, Diff Oil & De-dion Tube

17:16 Session 20: Handbrake, De-dion, Rear ARB & Radius Arms

18:03 Session 21: A-Frame, Rear Hubs, Brake Pipes & Wheels

18:55 Session 22: Knee Trim & Carpets

20:13 Session 23: Carpets & Seats

20:43 Session 25: Engine Stqrt

22:01 Session 26: Water Bleeding

22:11 Session 27:  More Water Bleeding

22:39 Session 28: Boot Floor, Fuel Filler & Carpets

23:39 Session 29: Fuel Filler, Torque Rear & Rear Wings

25:11 Session 30: Washer Bottle

25:42 Session 31: Rear Brake Hose, Rear Lights & Indicators

25:58 Session 33: Front Wings, Lights, Handbrake

26:59 Session 34: Brake and Clutch Fill & Front Wings

27:54 Session 35: Front Wings, Handbrake Cable & Tidy-ups

28:26 Session 36: Repeaters, IVA Mirrors, Wipers and Rear Hubs

29:38 Session 37: Getting Ready for PBC

30:44 Post Build Check

31:25 Individual Vehicle Approval

32:41 Conclusion


4 responses to “Build A Caterham 420R in 30 Minutes – YouTube Video”

  1. […] the unexpected success of the build video I was looking for a video to finish off and this one seemed to be the one to go […]

  2. […] journalist, Luke Chillingsworth, had spotted my build video on YouTube and contacted me for a few comments. The conversation resulted in the […]

  3. Alun Price Avatar
    Alun Price

    very good video I take my hat off to you

    1. John Martin Avatar
      John Martin

      Thanks Alun.

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