My latest helmet camera set-up- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    My latest helmet camera set-up

    Check this out:



    Prototype 1:

    http://www.youtube.com/v/ySu4MLXku_8


    Prototype 2:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9xeDiwc0oQ


    This is my new camera set up that snaps on and off in seconds!

    I'm now using a real camera. No more crappy lipstick tube remote lens video!

    So, now I have:

    * AE that is tuneable
    * Good white balance
    * Auto focus
    * Optical Image Stabilization (Steady-shot)
    * Stereo audio (listen to me huff-n and puff-n!)

    And...

    I can snap the camera on and off in seconds. This will allow me to use the same camera
    for "off bike" footage that follows another rider cleaning a feature (or whatever).

    And...

    I can drink the counter-balance weight!

    And...

    It's not mounted on top of the helmet (where tree limbs can whack it).

    WOO HOO!
    Last edited by Evil Patrick; 04-17-2007 at 04:30 AM.
    -- Evil Patrick

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  2. #2
    Nightriding rules SuperModerator
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    looks cool!

    how much does your helmet weigh with the whole setup??

  3. #3
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    Well, it's a 16 oz water bottle that is not quite full (very close, but not quite) and that seems
    to perfectly balance that camera, so I would guess this adds 2 lbs to a helmet that weighs
    almost nothing on its own.

    Now, that might seem a bit heavy, but check the weights of typical motorcycle helmets
    on this site:

    http://www.webbikeworld.com/motorcyc...et-weights.htm


    You'll see that a 2 to 3 lb helmet is not unusual.
    -- Evil Patrick

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  4. #4
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    Interesting

    How are the mounts for the camera and water bottle cage attached to your helmet? Any drilling involved? One problem you may encounter is picking up the sloshing sound of the water in your videos. I find these cameras have very sensitive microphones. They pick up your breathing so they should also pick up the sloshing. And that continuous sloshing right next to my ear would probably bug me after a few hours on the trail.

    If you ride areas where you have to worry about low hanging branches then side mounting is certainly the best. Pete and MTBBill have been mounting their cameras on the side for years. However, I rarely have to worry about low branches so the top of the helmet method works best for me. And thinking about your height becomes second nature, just like un-clipping your pedals. If you can do it the top of the helmet method is by far the easiest, lightest and most convenient method. Yes, it looks dorky, but I already look dorky anyway.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wherewolf
    How are the mounts for the camera and water bottle cage attached to your helmet? Any drilling involved?
    Yes. One 1/4" hole for one bolt through the bottom of each quick-clamp and on through the
    helmet. My nuts are fully recessed There is also a zip tie strategically located on each
    plate to prevent any rotation whatsoever.



    Quote Originally Posted by Wherewolf
    One problem you may encounter is picking up the sloshing sound of the water in your videos. I find these cameras have very sensitive microphones. They pick up your breathing so they should also pick up the sloshing. And that continuous sloshing right next to my ear would probably bug me after a few hours on the trail.
    In the past, I always unlinked the audio and video and threw away the audio - replacing
    it with music. I might begin to use snippets of audio here and there, but I'm not too
    worried about the sloshing being louder than the cacophony of noises that come from my
    rides.


    Quote Originally Posted by Wherewolf
    If you ride areas where you have to worry about low hanging branches then side mounting is certainly the best. Pete and MTBBill have been mounting their cameras on the side for years. However, I rarely have to worry about low branches so the top of the helmet method works best for me. And thinking about your height becomes second nature, just like un-clipping your pedals. If you can do it the top of the helmet method is by far the easiest, lightest and most convenient method. Yes, it looks dorky, but I already look dorky anyway.
    Yes. Here in central TX there are low branches everywhere. They're just additional trail
    obstacles.

    During my quest to get the camera onto the helmet, I had fabricated a top mount. I tested
    it on an open section. Then, I removed the camera and rode the entire trail with just the
    mount (no camera) still affixed to the helmet. It must have hit about 20 low limbs. And it
    was fully 4 inches lower than what its height would have been with the camera mounted.
    At one point, I snagged a limb so hard that I was stopped dead as my head got jerked
    back. And that spelled the end of that prototype - not because it failed; it just failed the
    test.

    No denying that it was lighter. Obviously, half the weight. But, I had to go to side mount to
    save the camera. In addition, I believe that having the lens closer to eye-height does a
    better job of recording true POV.

    I'll have to do another video to show what "convenience" really is with my set-up. I can
    easily grab and unclip the camera and use it to film someone else - complete with zoom
    control and good framing and then pop it right back into my rig and keep on riding.



    Oh...I think my set-up looks every bit as dorky, if not more so!
    -- Evil Patrick

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  6. #6
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    EP, what are the mount pieces on the helmet and the snap in component?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsellis
    EP, what are the mount pieces on the helmet and the snap in component?
    I bought two of these and canabilized the shoe and clip.

    http://www.ritzcamera.com/product/291660595.htm

    The mount for the counter-balance is from an older tripod. I don't know the brand/model.

    I'm going to buy another one of the Quantaray units and put an additional clip on the top of
    the helmet for filming trail sections that have no low hanging obstacles.

    The aluminum is just a piece of stock from Lowes Depot. It's about 1/8th of an inch thick.

    I'll do a write-up of the assy and post it on my web page in the near future.
    -- Evil Patrick

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  8. #8
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    B & H sells the parts. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...rch&Q=&ci=3968

    Although... your canibalized pieces are cheaper.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsellis
    B & H sells the parts. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...rch&Q=&ci=3968

    Although... your canibalized pieces are cheaper.
    Yeah. I have a link to the Bogen / Manfrotto equipment and I looked out there, but as you
    can see, quite a bit more expensive. And since I was "winging" it, it would be easier to
    return unused, unmolested parts for a refund to the local Ritz (named Wolfe here in central
    TX).
    -- Evil Patrick

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  10. #10
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    I just ordered an Archos 404 (which has a 30gb hd) and the Archos helmet camera (VGA). The recorder is on sale at Circuit City for $199 and the camera I got at Buy.com for $117. The 30gb hd should be good for about 30 hours of video. They claim the battery lasts about 4 hours. I may pick up a spare just in case. I’ve been eyeing this setup for a while now. I like the idea of a small “pen” camera and the small digital recorder but didn’t like how all the other helmet cameras needed their own battery and adaptor cables. This setup seems perfect. I’m really excited to try it out! Keep an eye out for an extensive review sometime this summer.

    Kevin

  11. #11
    tep
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    I guess my biggest curiosity is how much dirt can the camera take over time?

    For the handful of riders that mount your camera to your helmet, have any of you taken any kind of fall that damaged your handheld? How often? and how badly damaged did the camera become?

    just being curious,
    -tep

  12. #12
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    I fall a lot!

    Quote Originally Posted by tep
    For the handful of riders that mount your camera to your helmet, have any of you taken any kind of fall that damaged your handheld? How often? and how badly damaged did the camera become?
    I fall a lot! I am the least skilled rider that is doing videos, and nobody falls more than me. But I've never had a problem with either the helmet mounted camcorder, or the lipstick cam with the camera in my pack. I've rolled over the camera in the pack scores of times. One advantage for me of mounting the camera on the top of the helmet is that I have never hit the top of my helmet in a fall, whereas I've hit the side of the helmet many, many times.

  13. #13
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    Take two...

    Quote Originally Posted by felonious cog
    I'm confused. Steady Shot or Super Steady Shot is a Sony trademark for their digital image stabilization.
    Actually, the HC1 (one of the cameras I own) has and uses optical image stabilization.

    Google this:

    "Sony Steady Shot optical image"

    then this:

    "Sony HC1 Steady Shot optical image"

    Read it and be amazed.



    Quote Originally Posted by felonious cog
    Commercially available helmet enclosures offer the same feature (actually from the video it looks a bit slower than removing a camera from an enclosure).
    A remote lens with image stabilization? Please do site the source.

    BTW - optical is better than digital.

    Quote Originally Posted by felonious cog
    That's a good McGuyver. My concern would be the width of that setup for clearance issues, not the negligible extra torque that will be applied to the neck.
    All fixed.

    Prototype 2.

    I just finished the second prototype. The weight of the set-up shown in my demo was
    too far up and out. For prototype 2, I moved the camera lower and tighter in. The lens is
    now really at eye-level. The camera is now right next to my right ear.

    I also replaced the water bottle with a counter-balance that is tighter in, the same mass,
    yet physically much smaller. Right now, it's a (get this) padlock! Yep. A freekin'
    lock. But it's a perfect balance and way smaller, while being tight in.

    The lower center of gravity and moment of inertia feels like there's nothing there. (For
    anyone that needs a quick refresher, the moment of inertia of an object about a given axis
    is defined as the level of difficulty required to change its angular motion about that axis.)


    I'll post a new video showing the next gen soon. Probably Monday or Tues of next week.
    -- Evil Patrick

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by felonious cog
    Still not amazed

    Can't please everyone.
    -- Evil Patrick

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  15. #15
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    ahh...charity work

    Sorry, when I saw that you were still confused, I was on my way out the door for a
    spectacular ride. Now that I'm back, I have time to help you out.

    Right from the "horses mouth":

    "Super SteadyShot® Picture Stabilization minimizes camcorder "jitter" and "shake" without any change to the quality of the image

    Super SteadyShot® Picture Stabilization uses horizontal and vertical motion sensors located inside the lens assembly area. These sensors detect high frequency camcorder motion, like you might experience in a moving car, and an oversized CCD chip compensates for the movement.

    The Super SteadyShot® system utilizes a Hyper Precision CCD chip with up to 3,300K pixels. Only 330K pixels are required to deliver an excellent picture, though Sony uses up to 690K. The extra pixels on the chip compensate for horizontal and vertical motion, minimizing camcorder shake without degrading the picture quality.

    Different than most other digital image stabilization systems, Super SteadyShot® produces clear images even while zooming, shooting moving objects, or shooting in low light."


    OK - so here's why it is "optical" image stabilization.

    In the first "bold" section that I highlighted, you need to realize that this is a "mixed signal"
    system - part analog, part digital. Certainly it can be argued that this is a digital image
    stabilization system, but not in the same sense as the original/legacy, yet still employed
    digital image stabilization systems. I'll explain that system in a moment. Focusing on the
    Sony system, there are analog horizontal and vertical motion sensors that react to the
    camera as it shakes. This signal is fed into a chip (a PIC - Programmable Integrated
    Circuit). From [b]that[b] point on it is a digital signal that processes the information
    available on the CCD (a Charged-Coupled Device; the image sensor chip). Now this too,
    is digital information, but here's why it's better than the original/legacy, yet still employed
    digital image stabilization systems. The information on the Sony CCD is there. Remember, as
    Sony stated above, they have captured more than enough information by using a chip
    that is physically larger (the second section that I highlighted). You can think of it this
    way; there is a template that represents a "window" that is smaller than the CCD. This
    window is the correct height and width (4:3 or 16:9, depending on user preference settings
    ) to capture images to the media This window is free to move around, to some extent, as
    needed to correct shake and jitter. The movement of the window is indeed digital in nature,
    but the information it "grabs" from the CCD is real. It was the actual image in the camera's
    lens. Why does this make it better? Time for the primer on how the original/legacy, yet
    still employed digital image stabilization systems.

    Original/legacy, yet still employed digital image stabilization systems process in a completely
    different way. The image is a fixed size and there is no other info available. From one
    frame to the next, each pixel is analyzed. Each pixel contains the information that digitally
    represents how the CCD was "excited" - there is information about the color, the brightness,
    the white balance, the exposure, etc. So, as jitter is detected, each pixel of each frame is
    compared to the information of the next frame that represents that same vector. Then,
    digitally, a new, artificial pixel is created that is an average of these. Fake information.

    I'm certain that you read the Sony page, so it must be that you didn't know how original/legacy,
    yet still employed digital image stabilization systems operated.
    -- Evil Patrick

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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by felonious cog
    Sorry, you're mistaken again. I'm far from being confused about the subject at question.

    ROFL!

    Well, I suppose one doesn't have to have a degree in computer science (like I do) or a
    degree in electrical engineering (like I do) or work at a company that builds hardware and
    software systems that analyze video (like I do) to get called out for symantic gymnastics.
    I believe that "symantic gymnastics" translates to "logic".

    Yes, let's dumb it down a bit to get on the same page.

    -- Evil Patrick

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  17. #17
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    What's the difference between the lens moving to steady the jitter and project the image onto
    the CCD vs the lens that doesn't move, has already projected the image onto the CCD,
    but now the template for where to pick up the info has moved to grab from the area that
    reduces jitter?
    -- Evil Patrick

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  18. #18
    Nightriding rules SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evil Patrick
    What's the difference between the lens moving to steady the jitter and project the image onto
    the CCD vs the lens that doesn't move, has already projected the image onto the CCD,
    but now the template for where to pick up the info has moved to grab from the area that
    reduces jitter?
    1st thing I would say is optical quality, but for a video camera I wouldn't see it as such as a big thing as on a still cam.

  19. #19
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    Oh...let me answer for you. "The first system is optical and the second system is digital".

    ROFL!

    But wait, the image was optically placed on the sensor in the second system.



    "Damn logic!"
    -- Evil Patrick

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  20. #20
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    EP, the HC1 is electronic IS. As you highlighted, it uses part of the chips field to stabilize the image. The HC7 is the first consumer Sony HD with OIS.

    fc - Super SteadyShot is used for OIS too, but usually followed by "OIS" or proceeded by Optical. See the HC7 and VX2100 info.

    But, EIS is vastly improved today and it is false to assume that EIS losses quality or is inferior to OIS. Sony uses Super SteadyShot in reference to lossless IS. Also, OIS can be done with the sensor and there are some new cameras (stills currently) that shift the sensor instead of a lense. OIS can also introduce issues of its own including "fireflies" during night shots and "sticky" images when used on a steady platform such as a good tripod. Also, OIS systems can be scrambled as my VX2100 is when it is near a Nextel DirectConnect signal. The OIS on the Canon HV10 is the most likely culprit for the unusable picture it creates when used in extreme sports POV such as a helmet cam application.

  21. #21
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    I've been eyeballing the HC7.

    Nice thing is, with my latest helmet camera mount, I can snap one on and off in a
    second!

    -- Evil Patrick

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    The trail...shall set you free.

  22. #22
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    Also, an obvious point to make here is that any image stabilization whatsoever, is what it
    is - meaning, it's only good for what the algorithms are programmed to correct. And there's
    a margin of error. And none of these algorithms are programmed to correct the shake of my
    helmet as I bounce through the typical boulder fields that I like to ride. Nonetheless, it's one
    of the additional features that's bound to produce better footage than a "dumb" remote lens.
    -- Evil Patrick

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    The trail...shall set you free.

  23. #23
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    OK - here's the second version:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9xeDiwc0oQ

    Lower and tighter.

    At the end of the video, check out how quickly this goofball can get the camera off
    and back on.

    -- Evil Patrick

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    The trail...shall set you free.

  24. #24
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    Beautiful!

    I did a lap last night at my place.

    As expected, the video is fantastic!

    I know, I know. You want to see some. First, I need to find time to fire up Premiere and
    produce a "short". Then, I need to find a place to share the AVI.

    It'll be next week. I'm riding the MS150 this weekend, so...I'll be a little busy (180 miles of
    [email protected] - 100 the first day and 80 the second)
    -- Evil Patrick

    Some of my Music

    My Videos

    The trail...shall set you free.

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