Helmet Camera

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Merry_Wanderer
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Helmet Camera

Postby Merry_Wanderer » 23 May 2013, 12:46pm

Can people please recommend a H*l*et Camera (for a technophobe like me)?

I was out on a pleasant Sunday afternoon ride with Mrs M_W and we were forced into the verge by a near miss as Mr Fat Cretin in his Vauxhall Insignia overtook us on the brow of a hill just before a canal bridge....As I shook my fist at him and swore he then decided to stop and give us the benefit of his lack of knowledge of the Highway Code and how cyclists should ride in single file etc. It was whilst he was being aggressive to Mrs M_W that I thought, "I wish I had a helmet camera".

Going back to the thread, what I'd like is something reliable, not that heavy, not too expensive (don't know how much they cost but guess around £100?), and with a good few hours recording capacity. Oh, and easy to use!

It might be nice to record the nice bits of a ride too :-)

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horizon
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Re: Helmet Camera

Postby horizon » 23 May 2013, 1:08pm

I too will be reading the replies with interest!
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Vantage
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Re: Helmet Camera

Postby Vantage » 23 May 2013, 2:14pm

I've had a Chilli Tech VGA Action Cam 3 for a little over a month now and whilst it's no GoPro cam, it does the job.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B005 ... UTF8&psc=1
The cam will set you back around £35 at present but doesn't come supplied with a memory card. More on this later.
Of the mounts supplied, theres a handlebar mount and some velcro attached sticky thingy bobbies for planting onto your helmet and another elasticated strap for your bare head if you plan on looking like a borg extra from star trek. The handlebar mount is somewhat troublesome. It's just too big to hold the actual cam securely. This can be fixed by either wrapping the barrel of the cam with electrical insulation tape or sticking said tape to the inside of the clamp, leaving the cam looking nice and pretty.
The makers claim a battery life of 3.5 hours between charges and I myself had nearly 4 hours from mine. Not bad considering other similar priced cams give you maybe an hour and a half.
The controls are easy peasy. Theres one button. Press and hold for power then press again to start recording. Press again to stop recording and then press and hold to turn off. It couldn't be simpler.
Video quality is I think, quite good but not widescreen, if you care about such stuff. Although this depends on the memory card you use. The date and time can be set to either display or not.
Sound quality is where this cam fails. Miserably. The microphone pics up and enhances wind noise and if mounted on the bike, pics up every little gear change, creak and squeak your bike makes. Catching all other ambient sound isn't gonna happen. If you're hoping to catch yourself shouting endless expletives at the eejit who just cut you up and the following argument between yourself and said eejit, you'll be disappointed.
Your choice of memory card affects the quality of the video captured and how much you save of it. A class 6 8GB card will suffice for most stuff if you don't mind slightly jerky video and don't plan on recording for more than about 3.5 hours. If you want smooth video and 4 and bit hours, get a class 10 16GB micro sd card. About a tenner. I personally use this one, http://www.amazon.co.uk/Verbatim-44010- ... d_sim_sg_3
Getting it out of its packaging is a nightmare. Use a VERY sharp knife and be careful as you can getting it out or it'll snap. Like my first one did.Grr.
The videos are recorded in half hour sections and each section automatically starts when the last section ends, unlike its competition, the Veho Muvi, which I also had and thought was absolute ***p.
My little preview is a bit darker than what the cam recorded and can be blamed on Windows Movie Maker messing it up. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJpf8W4l ... e=youtu.be Youtube also 'smoothed' the video so it's lost some detail. Typical.
Hope this helps.
Bill


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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Helmet Camera

Postby [XAP]Bob » 23 May 2013, 2:37pm

I have gone through a number of cheaper ones (like MD80 clones) and now use a dual camera: like this one but with a different rear camera
It's designed for in car use, has an HD "forward" and an SD "rear" camera (which I use the other way round) and they record onto a single class6+ micro SD card.

To me there were a few important features, and a couple I now like:
- Wide angle (I've had video of a brick being thrown at me ignored because it wasn't wide enough angle to see the brick)
- Loop recording (i.e. don't stop when the card is full, but overwrite the oldest video - mine records in 1/3/5 minute chunks)
- Dual camera ('cos I wanted to record all stupidity around me)
- Decent power (Mine takes an external power input as well as running on it's own)
- Decent format (h264 is my preferred recording format)

I like:
The external power operates an autostart function - as I have a dynamo power pack that means I can set it going with a button which is easily to hand.
Combined with the loop recording and external power that means I never remove it from the trike...
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maxglide
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Re: Helmet Camera

Postby maxglide » 23 May 2013, 7:17pm

It was whilst he was being aggressive to Mrs M_W that I thought, "I wish I had a helmet camera".



If some bullying oaf is being aggressive to one's Mrs one shouldn't be thinking about videography. One should focus on the subjects of anatomy and kinetic energy.

Merry_Wanderer
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Re: Helmet Camera

Postby Merry_Wanderer » 24 May 2013, 9:02am

maxglide wrote:
It was whilst he was being aggressive to Mrs M_W that I thought, "I wish I had a helmet camera".



If some bullying oaf is being aggressive to one's Mrs one shouldn't be thinking about videography. One should focus on the subjects of anatomy and kinetic energy.


I did ask the fat ******* to get out of his car so that I could punch him in the face. It was then that he drove off....

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gentlegreen
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Re: Helmet Camera

Postby gentlegreen » 24 May 2013, 9:29am

I've been using a £15 plus card 7DayShop camera for the past couple of years.
Not very good quality and somewhat unreliable - annoyingly sometimes when something interesting has happened. But given the punishment it takes, it's performed remarkably well.

Personally I prefer to keep it on the handlebar and anonymous (in any case, I don't always wear a helmet to attach it to.)

Aside from YouTubing others' bad behaviour, it's made me notice my own. It's a bit surreal getting home and then re-watching the ride. :)

And I capture the odd bit of wildlife :-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeXtMl03ySw

Unusually there's no swearing in this one !

(But I sometimes over-use the expletives and I don't use a sophisticated editing program, and annoyingly YouTube haven't supplied a bleeping facility either.)

Merry_Wanderer
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Re: Helmet Camera

Postby Merry_Wanderer » 24 May 2013, 2:38pm

Thanks very much Bill, Bob and gentlegreen for your experiences and help. Much appreciated :-)

groberts
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Re: Helmet Camera

Postby groberts » 26 May 2013, 5:05pm

My wife uses a RoadHawk Ride, which she is very pleased with. It is not cheap but provides excellent quality pictures and, if required, sound and seems to work without fault. It is small & very neat, as you can see below, takes a micro SD card and (I believe) works on a 2 hr cycle (no pun intended!). These guys are based in Cornwall and appear to know there stuff, give them a call for advice:

http://www.dogcamsport.co.uk/roadhawk-ride.html
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fullupandslowingdown
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Re: Helmet Camera

Postby fullupandslowingdown » 2 Jun 2013, 2:23am

looking at the last post with the picture showing the camera mounted on the helmet, I am wondering about how the protective qualities of the helmet might end up been affected. The shell of a helmet is designed to spread out the loading from an impact across the helemt so that the internal foam can do it's shock absorbing. Isn't there a danger if the camera (or light) is made from too tough a material that the impact force becomes concentrated at that point? Perhaps CTC boffins could enlighten us on what is safe.

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BeeKeeper
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Re: Helmet Camera

Postby BeeKeeper » 2 Jun 2013, 7:35am

Oh dear...

GregLR
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Re: Helmet Camera

Postby GregLR » 2 Jun 2013, 9:45am

groberts wrote:My wife uses a RoadHawk Ride, which she is very pleased with. It is not cheap but provides excellent quality pictures and, if required, sound and seems to work without fault.

I've been tempted to buy one of those but I was put off by the review in the April/May issue of CTC's "Cycle" magazine (the full version of the review is here: http://www.ctc.org.uk/article/technical ... era-review ) It was this passage in the review that put me off:

"The camera is meant to be used much like a USB stick in that no software needs to be downloaded to use it. Unfortunately, it did not seem to load up at all on my work computer and Media Player (the recommended video playback software) on my home computer only played sound and no video. I then downloaded VCL for free from the Internet, which gave me video, but no sound. It could be that my computers are a little archaic, but nonetheless I was a little disappointed. On the plus side, they do offer free video editing software if you fancied making a little montage of your clips."

The review also makes these comments about mounting the camera:

"As a cyclist, I was initially puzzled about which mount was meant to be for me. There were no instructions pertaining to this particular part of the gadget, so I tried them all. None fitted my helmet or my bike...I then tried all manner of positions on my handlebars with Velcro, but the angles of the camera were all wrong."

It would be interesting to hear about your wife's experience re downloading the videos (my PC has Windows 7, with windows media player though of course I could download/buy another program if I could be sure that I'd be able to play the videos with sound and vision simultaneously). A zip tie was obviously your wife's solution to the helmet mounting issue, but has she also been able to mount it effectively on her handlebars ?

Greg

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Cunobelin
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Re: Helmet Camera

Postby Cunobelin » 2 Jun 2013, 10:02am

The gold standard remains the GoPro

boris
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Re: Helmet Camera

Postby boris » 2 Jun 2013, 4:28pm

the trouble with go-pro is that it looks like such a great lump on your helmet.
Things like the roadhawk are at least less obvious.
I am surprised it is not more common to have a little web-cam on a long lead connected to a little computer in a back-pack. I did set that up once, but once I had a few films I could not get anyone to watch them ; and I could see their point.who wants to watch a blurred shaky pov film like that?
haaving a cam on the side can make the helmet droop to that side which is irritating.

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Redvee
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Re: Helmet Camera

Postby Redvee » 2 Jun 2013, 7:23pm

Sports Pursuit recently had ContourRoam with watersports kit for £130. Two things I don't like about the Go-Pro range is the form factor and the background noise you get on footage, Contour cameras are more bullet shaped and less prone to the background noise you get on Go-Pros. A helmet mount gives a better POV