What equipment is needed for GOOD helmet cam footage?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    AW_
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    What equipment is needed for GOOD helmet cam footage?

    Ok, help a brother out. Does anyone know what it takes to get good / decent quality helmet cam footage? Most of the stuff I see posted on the interweb looks like crap (sorry). Now, I would say the same thing applies to a lot of bike photos I see on teh intranets too (but not all). That is easy to fix with a cheap, used DSLR and spending a bit of time figuring out how to use it.

    Wondering if it is the same general problem for video too? Is it possible to make decent video without spending tons of cash of equipment? I'm not interested in making HD TV quality stuff, just something worthwhile, something that looks smooth. I have no experience with video, where do I get started?

  2. #2
    Living the High Life
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    I have a helmet cam and it bounced quite a bit. I even zip tied it down, my next step is get an older helmet and attach some kind of stiff mounting plate.

    Otherwise the only thing I can think of is image stabilization, which would make for a much more expensive helmet cam.

  3. #3
    FM
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    Quote Originally Posted by AW_
    Most of the stuff I see posted on the interweb looks like crap (sorry).
    Most of the stuff on the web looks like crap because it's been compressed down to like %2 of it's original file size.

    highest quality: mini-DV camera attached directky to helmet (#1)

    high quality: mini-DV in pack with viosport 1 remote cam and lanc control (#2)

    good quality: remote cam with flash card or hard disc recording (i.e. viosport POV)

    check out my site, the four videos at the top were filmed with set-up #2. The older ones below were filmed with a samsung sc-105x. ALl videos were compressed down from 2-3gb down to 40-70mb. Still way to big for youtube.

    the "bouncing" has a lot to do with lens perspective. The more "zoomed out" the lens is, the less bounce and shake you will notice, but drops look smaller and terrain looks less steep. Helmet cams that are "zoomed in" make the shake & bounce seem a lot worse. This is no different then being on a boat on rough sees, if you focus on the horizon it's not so bad. Look 10' out and you're gonne puke.

  4. #4
    sixsixtysix
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    Quote Originally Posted by AW_
    Ok, help a brother out. Does anyone know what it takes to get good / decent quality helmet cam footage? Most of the stuff I see posted on the interweb looks like crap (sorry). Now, I would say the same thing applies to a lot of bike photos I see on teh intranets too (but not all). That is easy to fix with a cheap, used DSLR and spending a bit of time figuring out how to use it.

    Wondering if it is the same general problem for video too? Is it possible to make decent video without spending tons of cash of equipment? I'm not interested in making HD TV quality stuff, just something worthwhile, something that looks smooth. I have no experience with video, where do I get started?
    A QUALITY helmet cam setup is going to run you between $700-$1200.

    The problem with most hemet cam's is that they require them to be hooked up to a traditional camcorder as a recorder. The other option is to hook them up to a hard disk based recorder, but then you get into issues with compression codec's and a bunch of un-necessary crap to deal with when on the trail.

    The new generation of hemet cam's are self contained units that still can deliver broadcast quality video without alot of extra worry of carrying your expensive camcorder in your pack.

    The first one is the VholdR from Twenty20. Quality is decent, at 480 lines (640x480), colors look a little washed out, but not bad for $349

    The one I would buy would be the POV1. http://www.vio-pov.com/

    It has a slick system of continuous recording and when you want to keep something you just mark it by pressing the button on the wireless remote on your handlebars.

    Its full Standard Def resolution of 720x480 and has a ton of cool features, not to mention it looks good.

    http://www.vio-pov.com/gallery.php

    Price is a little high at $700, but its worth it to have usable and watchable footage.

  5. #5
    jones'in
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    This site has helped me quite a bit:
    http://www.helmetcamreview.com/

    In fact I think the maintainer of that site is a MTBR forum member, but I can't remember his/her username.

    --Ben
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  6. #6
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    Another option would be helmetcamera.com

    You can check out the complete kits here HC-1 and HC-2 Kits

    From there you can check out the rest of their site. I have had the helmetcamera.com set up for 6 years now and the only part that has needed replacing was the battery.

  7. #7
    AW_
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    Thanks for the input so far!

  8. #8
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    I run the Hoyttech HC-Pro and Sony DCS-HC40 Combination. When its all said and done, the final cost will be roughly $800 dollars or more. I'll try to help you out in depth here.

    Here is compressed quality of my setup. Its a 1mbp/s playback rate. Its pretty good quality, and I'm very impressed with it, the only thing I don't like is that the lens can be exposed to solar flare easily.

    Examples:
    http://www.rfs.thrillnetwork.net/NBDH1.mov
    http://www.rfs.thrillnetwork.net/NBDH2.mov

    Here's the basic setup/cost list of what I have...
    Sony DCS-HC40 Camcorder: $580 (With Larger Battery)
    Hoyttech HC-Pro Helmet Camera Kit: $280 (http://www.hoyttech.com/index.cfm?fu...Product_ID=279)
    LANC Remote: $60
    Steel Case: $20
    Tapes: +/- $10
    Costco Pack of AA Batteries: $10
    Firewire Cable: $10

    Total: $970 (Plus Tax and Shipping)

    So, just to be able to view and upload footage, you're going to need about $970 plus tax and shipping. Bear in mind, this is just to upload and view footage. If you have a Mac with iLife 06 or 08, you're in luck, cause you can use iMovie to do basic editing. Should you want to get more serious into video editing, I can point you to some good software. Windows Movie Maker is junk, don't use it. Let alone, when you transfer the footage to a computer, you need a large storage device. If your computer is pretty new you shouldn't have to worry.

    I know a whole lot about Helmet Cameras, so you can ask away.
    Northstar 2008 Riding Crew

  9. #9
    should know better.....
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    watch some of the vids on his site, then check out the set ups he uses.


    http://www.petefagerlin.com/helmetcam_video_how_to.htm

  10. #10
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    Duct tape a cheap, small minidv camera to your helmet. And by cheap, I mean a camera that you got off ebay for under 100 dollars. It will produce clean, crisp footage especially when compared to helmet cams that you buy. Make sure to pull your helmet's strap really tight so your helmet is bouncing around with the added weight.

    This <$100 set up will give you superior quality over what you see in raptordude's example videos.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jawdrop on hardtail
    This <$100 set up will give you superior quality over what you see in raptordude's example videos.
    Actually it wont. Not only will the camera bounce around, feel unbalanced on your head, be at risk for ruining the camera, and make you look like a tard while riding it, it STILL doesn't match the Resolution (TV Lines) of my setup.

    A $500 dollar range DV Camera will give you about 520 or more TV Lines. 480 is the bare minimum for what you see on actual TV. The Hoyttech provides 580 TV Lines, and my camcorder allows for around 580 TV lines as well.

    The cheaper DV Cameras you recommended to "duct tape" to your helmet probably have TV lines of about 300 or less.

    Cheaper solution? Yeah. Stupider solution? Yeah.
    Northstar 2008 Riding Crew

  12. #12

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    VholdR. i just got one its GREAT quiality compared to what i see on the web mainly. and best of all, you dont need a whole other camera for recording. it just records onto a microSD card in the cam. i love it

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ich_dh
    VholdR. i just got one its GREAT quiality compared to what i see on the web mainly. and best of all, you dont need a whole other camera for recording. it just records onto a microSD card in the cam. i love it
    where did you get it from? I have been trying to buy one for a while now but I no one has them in stock.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raptordude
    Actually it wont. Not only will the camera bounce around, feel unbalanced on your head, be at risk for ruining the camera, and make you look like a tard while riding it, it STILL doesn't match the Resolution (TV Lines) of my setup.

    A $500 dollar range DV Camera will give you about 520 or more TV Lines. 480 is the bare minimum for what you see on actual TV. The Hoyttech provides 580 TV Lines, and my camcorder allows for around 580 TV lines as well.

    The cheaper DV Cameras you recommended to "duct tape" to your helmet probably have TV lines of about 300 or less.

    Cheaper solution? Yeah. Stupider solution? Yeah.
    The helmet doesn't bounce around, and in general isn't that bad to ride around with, seeing how it only weighs 2 pounds. But I will agree with the 'tard statement and the balance issue.

    Yes, I have a nice camera too for actual filming, and both that and the junker can produce quality video when played on a TV, the only difference I notice when playing footage on my 42" HDTV is the colors (when comparing a 3CCD and a 1chip, what do you expect?)

    Wrong, my junker clocks in at 520 lines of horizontal resolution.

    While I agree it is both cheaper and stupider, it gets the job done and does a pretty damn good job of doing it.

    The helmet cam parts start at 0:50, the blur at the 1:30 trail gap was post production, and keep in mind this is super compressed 320x240 footage, it would normally be crisp on a TV.

  15. #15

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    i pre-ordered it around christmas

  16. #16
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    Thanks for backing me up peteguy, but I think you took it too far with the insults .

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by somepeteguy
    You don't know what the hell you are typing about and should stop now for your sake.

    You've bought into a whole bunch of marketing hype if you think that your camcorder/helmetcam can deliver 580 lines of horizontal resolution (NTSC maxes at 520 lines of vertical resolution BTW).

    Regardless of your cluelessness about resolution, lines of resolution are the last thing you should be worrying about if you're looking for the best quality video.

    Lens quality, exposure compensation, white balance, chip size (and number) are all much more important.



    Again, you don't know what the hell you are typing about.

    There is no camera that is MiniDV standard with that kind of horizontal resolution. You can buy a Samsung SC-D372 for $179, brand new. Since you're so wound up about horizontal resolution, it has 525 lines!

    Footage from that kind of camera blows away the examples that you have provided (even discounting the fact that you're poaching Solstice and label the video with the trail name (what were you thinking?)and the fact that your "bro" is a skidiot extraordinaire)




    Sorry, you've proven that you don't know a very much at all about helmet cameras.
    I've been about 3 years out of the loop. According to the site I bought my helmet camera from: www.hoyttech.com they advertise it as 580 TV Lines in the NTSC format, and 520 for Pal.

    Like I mentioned before, I am out of the loop, and I know that the prices of DV Camcorders have come down in price. Maybe before proving someone wrong I should do a little homework. I threw in my advice, and while correcting me is fine, using harsh comments and stuff is just unnecessary. Not that I'm pissed or anything, just no need to sass back.
    Northstar 2008 Riding Crew

  18. #18
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    wich is the best helm cam for downhill?
    Last edited by 8664; 03-01-2008 at 11:00 AM.
    :thumbsup:
    ride.

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