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  1. #1
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    Helmet Cam Question

    I am in the market for a helmet cam. I haven't decided whether or not to purchase a new recorder as well. It is the only camcorder we have and I would be in serious trouble if I busted that up. What is out there for recording while riding? Any thoughts would be appreciated.

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  3. #3
    FM
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    I have the samsung SC-105xl and I love it.

    http://product.samsung.com/cgi-bin/n...SC-X105L%2fXAA

    I've had it since April and I take it on pretty much every ride. I've made about 15 movies already, using iMovie. I picked up an additional 1gb card for it, so at the highest quality setting I can get about 40 minutes of video. Since the helmet cam has a remote thats easy to use while I am riding, I don't record any climbing or boring stretches of trail, so 40 minutes is plenty.

    It is true that a viosport helmet cam combined with a DVD recorder can get you higher quality. However you're also talking about 2x as much money, and also the risk of damaging the camera. I love that the samsung has no moving parts and is water resistant. Another thing to consider, the samsung batteries are $10, charge super fast, and weigh 2oz. each.

    don't forget that you also need a pretty fast computer, 1gb+ of ram, and a TON of HD space...you're not going to get far with any camera if your computer ain't up to it.

    Here's some videos I made- most have been compressed from ~2gb down to ~70mb for the web, which makes them kind of jumpy / not as smooth, and also cuts the picture quality. The uncompressed files look great on DVD, through my TV... especially with a cold beer. The CBC one was shot at medium quality, the others look better.

    http://homepage.mac.com/flashmofo/FileSharing2.html

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    I use my Vio sport cam w/ a trv18. To protect the camcorder I use a bigger pack and an old helmet as a form of protection. Not that you want test it, but the Sony camera's are pretty tough. I dropped mine down the stairs once and it still works great. I mountain bike and backcountry ski with mine and never have any real problems. A lanc remote is a must for these- easy to use and saves tape/card space for the good stuff.

    Archie

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    I also just picked up the Samsung X105. Overall, I really like it. A 1gb memory stick works great and like mentioned above, I don't really film the slow climbing sections of my rides. It wasn't cheap, but works really well, plays MP3's and is really compact. Since it is about the size of a cell phone, I can carry it with me on other adventures and keep it in my pocket.
    Whatever you end up with, I'm sure you'll have fun with it...

  6. #6
    FM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Socal-Stumpjumper
    I also just picked up the Samsung X105. Overall, I really like it.
    Hey SoCal, nice on the samsung! have you played with the different video settings much? They make a pretty big difference with the video quality but I don't totally understand them all yet. I am filming at highest resolution, largest size, outdoor, and auto white balance. Then I have tried auto, sports, and high-speed shutter for shutter settings. So far I liked "high-speed shutter" the best- even though the manual makes it sound identical to sports? But it seems to focus better.

    Where do you keep your camer when you are riding? Do you turn it on/off much?

    I don't think there's any way to make it default to "external camera", so I keep the camera pouch attached to my camelback strap in front, so I can quickly reset it to "external" after turning it on. Any way around this that you've found? I would prefer to keep the camer inside my camelback....

    videos below... have you made any on the web?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnandjerri
    I am in the market for a helmet cam. I haven't decided whether or not to purchase a new recorder as well. It is the only camcorder we have and I would be in serious trouble if I busted that up. What is out there for recording while riding? Any thoughts would be appreciated.
    To me there is just no comparison between the footage shot from a full-blown helmet cam and a lipstick cam. The lipstick cam doesn't offer any image stabilization and is generally lower quality. A wide angle lens coupled with a good built-in image stabilizer is enough to remove a lot of the jerky motion.

    The obvious downside to this is size. A lipstick cam is small, light and mounts easily on top of your helmet. The alternative requires you to either rig up a homemade mounting solution or pay for an expensive box like Fagerlin and some of the others use. I made my own mounting for about $12. The next issue with the full helmet cam is placement. You either have to place it directly on top of your helmet, which I don't like becasue of clearance issues, or you have to place it on the side and then counter-weight it. This gets to be pretty heavy but given the alternatives is still my preference. I can easily ride for 1 1/2 to 2 hours with mine before my neck start to explode.

    With all that said, I use the Sony PC-109. I'm sure there are better one's out there but for the amount of money I wanted to spend, it gets the job done pretty darn well.

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    FM,
    Nice clips you have posted. Well, I'm just getting started and my first few takes were mostly adjusting camera position, etc. I was also playing with editing software and figuring out the final product. I've been using sports mode but think I'll try high-speed shutter mode next. I use the highest res. and super fine quality. I have been trying to adjust the white balance because the sun is so bright here, things tend to get washed out a little.
    Are you mounting it on the top or side of your helmet? I've got it mounted on top, but you have to rotate the camera to keep things right side up....
    I keep my camera clipped and strapped to my camelback shoulder strap on my left side. I then route the remote cam cable through the vents in my helmet and clip the lanc button to my chin strap. So far, that seems to work great and it doesn't get in the way at all.

  9. #9
    FM
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    Socal, glad you liked 'em! They're improving and I am having fun making them.

    I have a problem with bright sun washing out too, especially with transitions from deep woods shadows to bright exposed sections. But once the camera adjusts, everything looks great. I would be concerned that adjusting the white balance to compensate might make the shadowy parts too dark? Anyways, let me know what you discover! I did find that using "outdoor" helps a lot...

    As for mounting, I did some experimenting and I'm very happy with what I came up with. I went and bought some 2x3" adhesive velcro patches, placed the fuzzy side on the back of the helmet-cam holster, and trimmed it around the edges. Then I temporarily duct-taped the other velcro part to the left side of my helmet and did some urban assault to get the aim dialled. Once I got the aim perfect, I removed the duct tape and sticky-backing, adhering the velcro directly to the helmet. Now when I want to put the camera on, all I need to do is line the holster up with the velcro edge on teh helmet and the aim is perfect. I usually aim the camera down 1-2 degrees for FR trails, and up 1-2d for XC riding- again, having that velcro lined up perfectly gives me a perfect reference point so I know the aim will be good. There's other reasons going through all this work was worth it- I can switch from my XC helmet to full-face, or remove the helmet-cam for portions of the ride, and the aim is always dead-on. Also I can rotate the camer 180d so it faces backwards to film the rider behind me, and again the aim is spot-on. On my XC lid, I also run a velcro-strap through the vents and around the camera, this reduces camera-shake.

    I keep the remote button lower on my strap so I can see the red light, that way I know everything's working... otherwise it sounds like we are mounting them the same....

    I can take some pictures if you like....



    Quote Originally Posted by Socal-Stumpjumper
    FM,
    Nice clips you have posted. Well, I'm just getting started and my first few takes were mostly adjusting camera position, etc. I was also playing with editing software and figuring out the final product. I've been using sports mode but think I'll try high-speed shutter mode next. I use the highest res. and super fine quality. I have been trying to adjust the white balance because the sun is so bright here, things tend to get washed out a little.
    Are you mounting it on the top or side of your helmet? I've got it mounted on top, but you have to rotate the camera to keep things right side up....
    I keep my camera clipped and strapped to my camelback shoulder strap on my left side. I then route the remote cam cable through the vents in my helmet and clip the lanc button to my chin strap. So far, that seems to work great and it doesn't get in the way at all.
    Last edited by FM; 08-23-2005 at 10:26 AM.

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    New question here. International charger

    I also would like to purchase the Samsung X105, but unfortunatly I can not find it here for sale. Does anyone know if I purchased it in the USA that I could charge the batteries overseas?
    Strap in, it's about to get bumpy

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    New question here. International charger

    I also would like to purchase the Samsung X105, but unfortunatly I can not find it here for sale. Does anyone know if I purchased it in the USA that I could charge the batteries overseas?
    Strap in, it's about to get bumpy

  12. #12
    FM
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    I bought mine off ebay.... bought an extra battery for it as well, which was about $15 usd.

    I'm not sure about the power supply... I know that you can get adapters, but I don't know if they would work well?

    Love your avitar by the way, HOT!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ingrid
    I also would like to purchase the Samsung X105, but unfortunatly I can not find it here for sale. Does anyone know if I purchased it in the USA that I could charge the batteries overseas?

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    FM,
    I was going to mount mine on the side but my previous helmet vent layout provided a great method to mount it dead center on the top. I say previous because on Saturday, I had a nice little mishap and went over the bars at about 31mph coming down a local mountain trail. I cracked my helmet in 3 places, all on the same side. I wasn't filming and didn't have the camera with me ( ). When shopping for a new helmet, I've found myself more concerned with how I'm going to mount a camera than anything else .

    As soon as the bruises feel better and the missing skin re-appears, I can get back out and get some more footage

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    Hey FM

    Thanks for sharing those videos. They are really cool.

    I was wondering if you are using the "Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS)" on the camera? Have you noticed much difference if you shoot with it on or off?

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    Eis

    yeah... I've been using it. In fact I haven't actually tried not using it! A few things though-

    The movies I have on the web are compressed using quicktime. The default
    "for download" settings I had been using seem to drop frames and add some jumpiness to the video- kind of like stop-animation. "Sirebikesalot" suggested using quicktime pros' new H264 codec & expert settings when exporting/compressing, and that seems to make a big difference with the overall smoothness of the video. This is an area where I am still learning, I think there will be big improvement in video quality as I figure out the best settings for the web.

    Also with the EIS- maybe it's just me, but it seems like the video records smoother when I have the camera inside my camelback. But then I can't access it easily to turn it on/off etc... so I have been keeping the camera on my chest strap instead. It gets shaken around more here, and that seems to affect the EIS, but then I can access the camera easily to record jumping, turn it on/off, etc....

    SoCal, get better soon! I have to say, I've had quite a few crashes already with my samsung- I like having the helmet-cam on the side of my helmet, it seems a bit safter there...



    Quote Originally Posted by Wish I Were Riding
    Thanks for sharing those videos. They are really cool.

    I was wondering if you are using the "Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS)" on the camera? Have you noticed much difference if you shoot with it on or off?

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    Quote Originally Posted by FM

    Also with the EIS- maybe it's just me, but it seems like the video records smoother when I have the camera inside my camelback. But then I can't access it easily to turn it on/off etc... so I have been keeping the camera on my chest strap instead. It gets shaken around more here, and that seems to affect the EIS, but then I can access the camera easily to record jumping, turn it on/off, etc....
    Looked like the smoothest shots were the ones when you shot behind you. Did you have it in the Camelback for these?

    Thanks again for sharing, and let us know when you got more good stuff to show.
    (and how you got it, and how you processed it, etc, etc...)

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    FM
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    Wow, funny timing! Well here's an update....

    I've spent a few days exporting little chunks of video, experimenting with the options available from iMovie/quicktime pro. Looks like the H264/mp4 option at higher quality settings is the ticket- much smoother and better image quality too, for the same file sizes.. I've saved a new .mp4 version of the galbraith video on to my site (link below).

    There's still nothing like the uncompressed versions though.... but they are huge!

    The backwards shots were shot with the same mounting system.. just smoother trail i think. really we just have pretty rooty trails here- maybe I need more suspension! lol.

    oh yeah, as for editing, this is kind of my routine- when I get home from a ride, I plug the camera in and set it up to DL the video while I take a shower. Then I set up iMovie to import the files from my hard drive while I eat dinner. After that I just trim down the footage, add transitions, and music. the music is the hardest part. Anyways my little routine means editing goes pretty quick, so I can crank out a video after every ride, takes me about :30 or so per film.

    Glad you like 'em!






    Quote Originally Posted by Wish I Were Riding
    Looked like the smoothest shots were the ones when you shot behind you. Did you have it in the Camelback for these?

    Thanks again for sharing, and let us know when you got more good stuff to show.
    (and how you got it, and how you processed it, etc, etc...)

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    The new one didn't download. Seems broken?

    Fix, and I'll try again...

  19. #19
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    The link's good... just downloaded it to check.

    You may need to update your quicktime player though, since this H264 thing is new to quicktime 7.0.
    http://www.apple.com/quicktime/

    let me know if you have any problems- the higher quality is no good if people can't view it!
    Quote Originally Posted by Wish I Were Riding
    The new one didn't download. Seems broken?

    Fix, and I'll try again...

  20. #20
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    *****

    I don't remember signing a release form......

    Quote Originally Posted by FM
    The link's good... just downloaded it to check.

    You may need to update your quicktime player though, since this H264 thing is new to quicktime 7.0.
    http://www.apple.com/quicktime/

    let me know if you have any problems- the higher quality is no good if people can't view it!
    Official Chocolate Fountain Spokesman

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by RuLz
    I don't remember signing a release form......
    no worries, I won't use any of the nude footage.

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