Dilemna...Using DVR (Camcorder) or Buy Helmetcam- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    New question here. Dilemna...Using DVR (Camcorder) or Buy Helmetcam

    Okay, I need some assistance. I am considering the use of a helmetcam to make some DVD quality video footage of my rides. I have two options currently and they are as follows:

    1. Buy a camcorder case from www.thinkhelmets.com for my existing video camera, offset it with a counter weight and ride around like a stormtrooper all summer...As you can see this is not my first choice.

    2. Get a new camcorder with an A/V input that is compatible with various helmetcam setups such as Viosport/Twenty20, or others.

    The issue I have is cost. I like option number two best because it is simpler to use from an ergonomic point of view. However, I have the choice between spending $165 on the case from think helmets just to get by, or replacing my camera for $4-500 with a A/V compatible camera, spending another $250-300 on the helmet cam set up. I may be able to sell the existing camcorder, but that isn't a given.

    As I said, I like option #2, but the costs concern me. Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions from personal experience using either method. I know there are similar posts on this topic, but I couldn't find any relevant to the "camera case" option. Thanks.

    Neil

  2. #2
    I already rode that
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    I recently went with option 2 since I went and got a 420 line from escience.ca and it works out ok I guess aside that my dvcamera doesnt have the LANC option. Which now I do see as being as much likable option to have vs turning on the camera and such to get it in the backpack.... My existing dvcamera (canon optura 30) has way better res then the cameras offered from viosport or such as Im not going to be using the it for just hooking up with the bullet camera.

    Look for the thread about mounting camera to the seatpost. Some talk in there about options.

    In the end I paid like just a lil over 200 for my setup sans the dvcamera which I already had gotten many months before.
    Riding F/S since oct 94'

  3. #3
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    Thanks, but a couple of questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by SuperNewb
    I recently went with option 2 since I went and got a 420 line from escience.ca and it works out ok I guess aside that my dvcamera doesnt have the LANC option. Which now I do see as being as much likable option to have vs turning on the camera and such to get it in the backpack.... My existing dvcamera (canon optura 30) has way better res then the cameras offered from viosport or such as Im not going to be using the it for just hooking up with the bullet camera.

    Look for the thread about mounting camera to the seatpost. Some talk in there about options.

    In the end I paid like just a lil over 200 for my setup sans the dvcamera which I already had gotten many months before.
    Thanks newb. Just curious though. Are you making any DVDs with your set up? My understand is you can't without the A/V input on the DV camera.

    You mentioned you are planning to use the DV not for just hooking up to the bullet. Are you doing any recording with that as your primary camera?

    N.

  4. #4
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    No brainer

    This is a no brainer. There is a reason why Pete, MTBBill and I, among others, switched from lipstick cams to directly mounting the camera. Compare our old lipstick cam videos to our more recent ones. And check out the video quality of Winston, Sir Bikes-a-lot and Biking Viking. It's not just image resolution and quality, but also the very poor way the lipstick cam handles changes in lighting. Also, as far as I know lipstick cams don't do wide screen (16:9) and they do not have image stabilization. And the lipstick cam is a pain to use compared to the direct mounting technique. You'd be surprised how many things can go wrong with it. Not everyone uses a counterweight

    Edit: and BTW there will be a big difference in the quality of your DVD's.

  5. #5
    I already rode that
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    I use it for family stuff and whatnot else I want to record as the only videos I got with the bulletcamera so far are of around the block, in the house and of the Don (taken 2 days ago).

    If I want to make a DVD out of the video recorded you need a firewire connection on the camera as the USB port just doesnt cut it for transfering video to pc. Once connected there you can use a program like Nero to transfer the video to pc and convert it to mpeg format to copy to DVD. You can also edit the video to however you like too. Thats saying if you got a camera that isnt DVD already which the DVD ones also suck for resolution.

    If you look on viosports site they have a list of cameras that do/dont have the a/v in out feature.

    For DVD's I dont see the bullet camera quality being that bad but if for the web then the quality is going to suffer alot unless you can host the files yourself and control the quality of the video.
    Riding F/S since oct 94'

  6. #6
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    Thanks...

    Quote Originally Posted by Wherewolf
    This is a no brainer. There is a reason why Pete, MTBBill and I, among others, switched from lipstick cams to directly mounting the camera. Compare our old lipstick cam videos to our more recent ones. And check out the video quality of Winston, Sir Bikes-a-lot and Biking Viking. It's not just image resolution and quality, but also the very poor way the lipstick cam handles changes in lighting. Also, as far as I know lipstick cams don't do wide screen (16:9) and they do not have image stabilization. And the lipstick cam is a pain to use compared to the direct mounting technique. You'd be surprised how many things can go wrong with it. Not everyone uses a counterweight

    Edit: and BTW there will be a big difference in the quality of your DVD's.
    Thanks. I have used Petes site as a reference for getting started and this is why I posed the question. I thought the actually DVR itself is better. Just a bit cumbersome. However, my CFO will like this better. Mimimal expenses.

    Neil

  7. #7
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    I think the quality you get is dependent on the equipment you use. There are good and bad camcorders, and "lipstick" cameras.

    I just got my first experience with a viosport adventure cam 3, today for work - Had to do some dynamic testing of vehicle suspension movement (ie: film the suspension working, while driving down the road) and needed a camera that would fit in the tight spaces. This little camera worked fantastic!

    My main cameras are panasonic AG-DVX100B camcorders, and I have used all kinds of high quality remote cameras and lenses (mostly panasonic & sony.)

    And the little viosport really surprised me - excellent video, and it's so tiny!!

    I can't wait to borrow the camera from work, and try it out on the trail

  8. #8
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    I have a lipstick cam and I think it is good but........as WW said even if you have a widescreen cam the lipstick cam will only capture 4:3 aspect ratio. Also --and I'll say it again as i have on here before---very very many dv cams do not have LANC therefore you must fish around in your camelbak everytime you wanna stop and start the cam. So I'll still use this setup for a while but I'd much rather go with a boneheads setup----if I could get someone to do the attaching to the helmet for me because that sounds like a pain too.

  9. #9
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    I have the viosport & a sony mini dv and while the lipstick cam works well I find the usefullness very limiting( how many videos have you watched where they were shot using the lipstick cam) 1 you cant change the camera angle while riding 2. it tends to flatten out the ride making it look like youre riding around the park 3. the sun issue mentioned above
    I like to stop and set up a shot using the cam corder and maybe mix in a little lipstick or bike mounted shot later in editing, if you dont have a dv camera you can buy an adapter to go from rca to firewire or usb
    all in all I would prob. not buy the lipstick cam again as I get far better results with a handheld camera

  10. #10
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    Wide Angle Lens...

    Quote Originally Posted by Wherewolf
    This is a no brainer. There is a reason why Pete, MTBBill and I, among others, switched from lipstick cams to directly mounting the camera. Compare our old lipstick cam videos to our more recent ones. And check out the video quality of Winston, Sir Bikes-a-lot and Biking Viking. It's not just image resolution and quality, but also the very poor way the lipstick cam handles changes in lighting. Also, as far as I know lipstick cams don't do wide screen (16:9) and they do not have image stabilization. And the lipstick cam is a pain to use compared to the direct mounting technique. You'd be surprised how many things can go wrong with it. Not everyone uses a counterweight

    Edit: and BTW there will be a big difference in the quality of your DVD's.
    How important is the wide angle lens? I am sure it helps a lot with light conditions and what not. What kind of dough would I be looking at for that? Just trying to figure out where my budget is at...Thanks.

  11. #11
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    Wide angle lens a must

    Quote Originally Posted by mtbmeister
    How important is the wide angle lens? I am sure it helps a lot with light conditions and what not. What kind of dough would I be looking at for that? Just trying to figure out where my budget is at...Thanks.
    You must have a wide angle lens for trail videos because the field of view on camcorders is way too narrow. The 0.6X for my Sony cost $49. I'm not going to argue with the lipstick cam proponents. Why have most of us abandoned the lipstick cam for the direct mounting method? But the proof is in the images. Just compare the video from the two systems and it is no contest. E.g. I have two videos of the same place, New Melones, one with each system and compressed exactly the same. I won't tell you which is which. Download and compare for yourself.

  12. #12
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    Good, not too expensive...

    Quote Originally Posted by Wherewolf
    You must have a wide angle lens for trail videos because the field of view on camcorders is way too narrow. The 0.6X for my Sony cost $49. I'm not going to argue with the lipstick cam proponents. Why have most of us abandoned the lipstick cam for the direct mounting method? But the proof is in the images. Just compare the video from the two systems and it is no contest. E.g. I have two videos of the same place, New Melones, one with each system and compressed exactly the same. I won't tell you which is which. Download and compare for yourself.
    Thanks. You don't have to sell me on the camcorder vs. the lipstick. I seemed to have gotten enough information back on that. I just need to find where I can get a wide angle lens for my Panasonic PC-9. I will have to get to work on that...

    N.

  13. #13
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    If your looking for something just to act as a DVR for a bullet cam; I have been thinking of getting this...
    http://www.circuitcity.com/ccd/produ...cfkmdffhdfkl.0

    Its cheep and very small. Just maybe not the quality of a $300+ dv camcorder.
    Three out of the four voices in my head say, "Go for it!"

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  14. #14
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    Not a good idea

    Not a good idea for at least two reasons: it has a hard drive which would not be a good thing to take on a bumpy dusty trail, and it compresses the video drastically. One hour of raw digital video takes up 13 GB. So how well to you think this will look?

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