Helmet Cam

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  • 02-06-2007
    lazybeaner
    Helmet Cam
    Has anybody had any experience with the Oregon scientific helmet cam? I'm not looking at recording epic rides or anything. But i thought for $120 it could be a lot of fun to get some shots of my favorite trails. Or is this thing a total POS, and not worth it?
  • 02-06-2007
    slocaus
    (link) here ya go.
  • 02-06-2007
    rideHMB
    nope, you don't want that. What you actually want is a viosport adventure cam 2 or 3. This assumes you already have a camcorder of some kind. i got one for xmas and am happy with it, also used it recently for skiing. www.viosport.com
  • 02-07-2007
    Evil Patrick
    Important things to know about helmet cams:

    1) If you care about the quality of the video, use them sparingly. At under 600 lines of resolution,
    all helmet cam segments will look suboptimal in comparison to shooting from the DV cam
    itself.

    2) Your DV camera must have an A/V in jack. You cannot use "A/V out" or "DV in"
    for a helmet cam. Fewer and fewer DV cameras offer the "AV in" option.

    3) Beware of the angle of the lens. With no feedback (like the LCD monitor on the camera),
    if you adjust the angle to properly capture the trail while you're riding, whenever you're NOT
    riding AND still filming, if you're not careful, you'll be shooting some worthless footage of
    the sky and clouds.
  • 02-07-2007
    flyxaos
    I used to shoot ton's of video for Tandem skydives.

    One trick, whatever set up you use, is tape a little laser pointer to the side of the camera lense. You can then use the screen on the camera to make sure that laser is pointed to the center of the frame. Then, when it is on your head, a quick check of the laser tells you that you are aimed good.

    I have the whole mini DV connected to my helmet. It is on a frame, so it can swivel, and get behind shots, or wherever. Old skydive set up. Heavier, but you don't lose resolution.
  • 02-07-2007
    Evil Patrick
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by flyxaos
    One trick, whatever set up you use, is tape a little laser pointer to the side of the camera lense. You can then use the screen on the camera to make sure that laser is pointed to the center of the frame. Then, when it is on your head, a quick check of the laser tells you that you are aimed good.


    Wow. That's one hell of a powerful laser. Where's the battery pack? I mean, you can jump
    out of a plane and check for a red dot on the ground thousands of feet below?

    :D

    I tried the laser thingie. Doesn't work in the TX outdoors. Sun's too bright.

    Here's what I did:

    I affixed a zip tie to the center of my visor on my helmet. The zip tie hangs vertically down,
    allowing me to use it in a similar fashion to using a site on a gun.

    Simple. Effective. Cheap. Lightweight. Expendable.

    All you need to do is adjust how long the portion of the zip tie is that is hanging down.
    Start recording. Close one eye. Line the end up with an object on the horizon. Stop
    recording. Check to see what the camera was aimed. Make any zip tie length adjustments
    necessary. Repeat until your site is accurate. My zip tie ends about 2 inches down
    from the edge of the visor.
  • 02-07-2007
    scoutdog
  • 02-07-2007
    Evil Patrick
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by scoutdog

    Ugh.

    Flash media squishes good video down to CRAP. Of no fault of yours or your equipment,
    that looks like crap. Admit it. You can't seriously be happy with that presentation.

    I'm sure it looks much better in the original mpg or avi format.

    However, it's impossible to present that as an example that truely represents the
    quality (or lack thereof) of the camera used.
  • 02-07-2007
    scoutdog
    Sorry :confused: You don't have to like it! It works for me. Ya, the footage is better than the google crap. But it works for sharing stuff with your buds post ride. I'm not sending the the stuff to ESPN. The focal lenght on the remote lens seems good for MTB. Its rather easy to point it in the right direction and generally get what you want.
  • 02-07-2007
    Ruinane
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lazybeaner
    Has anybody had any experience with the Oregon scientific helmet cam? I'm not looking at recording epic rides or anything. But i thought for $120 it could be a lot of fun to get some shots of my favorite trails. Or is this thing a total POS, and not worth it?

    I got one for xmas and was very surpised at how good the picture quality was. The down side I did notice was that it didn't have digital stabilization so whenever I went over a real bumpy section, it was difficult to watch. That's my impression with only one time using it. I hope to play with it more when it gets a little warmer.
  • 02-07-2007
    mattbikeboy
    I bought the ATK2K and have given up on it. It was fun to play with but the video quality was pretty bad compared to a VioSport. Also the video files don't work well with Adobe Premiere Pro 2 -- you have to re-encode everything with a thrird party encoder in order for Premiere to not repeat frames every 20-30 seconds.

    So yesterday I ordered the Canon Elura 100 Mini DV (with A/V ins and image stabilization) and will give it a shot. Eventually I want to get the VioSport 3 (or whatever) to plug into the Elura. But, for now, I'll run a helmet setup with the Canon.

    mbb
  • 02-07-2007
    lazybeaner
    There is no way i am strapping my new video cam to my helmet, or even bringing it in my camelbak. It cost a lot of coin, and i crash a lot. I am not looking to produce a Wherewolf or MtBill quality vid. Just something worth showing my friends and family.

    Scoutdog : That was a great Vid for google video, most are completely unviewable.

    Ruinane & Mattbikeboy : Would you say the vid quality is good enough for starting out with, and is it built strong enough to with stand a couple years of riding?
  • 02-07-2007
    mattbikeboy
    I got it because I thought it would be fun to play with -- and it was. But once the trail got rough, the video quality went to heck. I'm also a designer and have pretty good tools for video editing (Adobe Premiere and After Effects) and once the novelty wore off I was looking for video I could actually use. And the video segments don't work in Premiere AT ALL. I'm not going to throw the thing away, but it'll be delegated to playing with the kids and maybe some road riding.

    I ordered the Elura because I could get it for $350 and it'll work with one of those cool lipstick cams. I'd really like to get one of the high def video cameras -- but they are a bit too pricey for playing in the dirt with.

    mbb
  • 02-07-2007
    sandblast
    I got one for X-mass, it is a cool toy, I have fun with it. Just expect some shakiness when the trail is rough.
  • 02-07-2007
    Wherewolf
    Hey!
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lazybeaner
    There is no way i am strapping my new video cam to my helmet, or even bringing it in my camelbak. It cost a lot of coin, and i crash a lot.

    Hey, nobody crashes more than me!
  • 02-08-2007
    Evil Patrick
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mattbikeboy
    I'd really like to get one of the high def video cameras -- but they are a bit too pricey for playing in the dirt with.

    mbb


    Yeah, with anticipation, many of us are waiting on the HD bubble.

    Three problems there:

    1) Consumer-grade HD cameras are relatively pricey, I guess. I mean, to some people,
    $1K to $2K is totally disposable.

    2) No currently offered HD camera has an AV in - as is needed for a remote lens.

    3) You must have a video editing package and computer system capable of producing HD.
    The demands are an order of magnitude greater than those required for SD production. If
    you don't currently have either, the software is a minimum of ~$100 (Premiere Elements)
    and a system (dual core proc, 2Gig of DDR, mucho drive space) is a minimum of ~$500
    (depending on how computer tech savvy you are and how much you can Frankenstein out of a
    current system).


    Now, for those of you that are hesitant to put the actual camera on your helmet (not a
    remote lens, but the camera) because you're worried about damaging the camera, there
    are several very nice models that can be purchased for very little money on e-bay.
    I just bought another demo Sony DCR-HC42 for $153. Yep. Less than the cost of many of the
    remote lenses that are available. Hey, if I'm going to subject ~$150 of equipment to the
    potential of being damaged by trail blunders (low branches, crashes, etc) why not make
    it a device capable of higher quality video and advanced features, such as image
    stabilization, AE, auto-focus, 16:9 framing, etc?

    Check out this site:

    http://www.boneheadcomposites.com/cammount.htm

    And get to know this site:

    http://www.camcorderinfo.com/

    They have extensively reviewed hundreds of models. Just search for the model number
    that you're considering -- or even a camera that you already own. Learn its weaknesses
    and strengths.
  • 02-08-2007
    Wherewolf
    Waste of money
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Evil Patrick
    ...No currently offered HD camera has an AV in - as is needed for a remote lens.

    Buying an HD camcorder to hook up to a lipstick cam would be a total waste of money. Remember the weakest link of a chain? No lipstick camera approaches the quality of even a standard mini-DV camcorder. And I'm not sure that any lipstick cam shoots in widescreen. Aside from the obvious differences in image quality, directly mounting a camcorder on your helmet is no big deal, and it is a lot more convenient to use than a lipstick cam.
  • 02-08-2007
    mtbbill
    Camera Enclosure Crash Test
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lazybeaner
    There is no way i am strapping my new video cam to my helmet, or even bringing it in my camelbak. It cost a lot of coin, and i crash a lot.

    The carbon enclosures are pretty freaking tough. This is an old vid but the enclosure took a direct hit and the camera kept on rolling.

    <a href="http://www.mtbbill.com/videos/FujimiCrash-Web.mpg">Crash Test Bill in Japan</a>
  • 02-08-2007
    Evil Patrick
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Wherewolf
    Buying an HD camcorder to hook up to a lipstick cam would be a total waste of money. Remember the weakest link of a chain? No lipstick camera approaches the quality of even a standard mini-DV camcorder.

    Ah, yes. A point I wanted to make, but forgot. But actually, as you know, helmet camera
    footage should be used sparingly in final productions. Even if the HD camera could accept
    SD input (which would be a FABULOUS feature for many reasons), one would not want to
    exclusively use that footage. One obvious advantage would be the possibility of mounting
    the remote lens on, say, the lower on the fork - just for yet another angle. Or mount it under
    the seat, looking back at riders behind you.

    And...

    As technology moves along, it's inevitable that in the near future there will be an HD lipstick
    lens available.

    So, I still stick by my statement/consideration; "No currently offered HD camera has an
    AV in - as is needed for a remote lens." Ideally, that "AV in" would be switchable between
    SD and HD.