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Basic helmet cam suggestions

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

I started filming my family, particulary my youngest who has gotten pretty good, using my regular camera.  However, holding my camera steady going down black moguls with no poles is MUCH harder. :).  I'm not looking for anything fancy as this is just basic stuff to share with friends and family and I'm also on a budget.  I was hoping to get suggestions on helmet cams that people have had good luck with that aren't massively expensive.

post #2 of 19

check out the GOPRO. not necesarilly the HD model. i think the price comes out around 170 dollars (amazon). there are some cheaper ones, but in my experiance they tend to break easy or not function properly. good luck!

post #3 of 19

There are some reviews of some helmet cameras at http://www.actioncameras.co.uk/reviews_of_helmet_cameras - they highlight the good and also the not-so-good features of some of the best cameras on the market for a variety of budgets.

post #4 of 19

I just got the GoPro 960p and it's great.  Mounted it on my Omen in the front.  Here are some pics:DSCN0251a.jpg

 

DSCN0250a.jpg

 

Here is a video at 720p.

 

The sound is pretty good even at speed, but because how i have the camera, it wounld make a clunking noise when i got over something big enough, hence the killer music.  There is another mount, just a single swivel which you could mount more on top, but i like tree's and I like my camera.   There is also a head band mount, like a flashlight head band.

 

I wanted to get a contour hd but this was cheaper and had better video/sound.

post #5 of 19

I plan on buying one soon, but from what I have seen, all though not the most elegant solution, the video quality is superb.  Like others suggest the GoPro HD, snoop around Youtube to see what I mean.

post #6 of 19

Just saw this looks really nice and a much more elegant solution.

 

http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/25/contourgps-helmet-cam-review/

post #7 of 19
Just got my Contour GPS in hand yesterday. Looks real solid. A few test runs around the neighborhood and the video quality looks very good.

Can't seem to get the GPS to work, but I must be missing something. The documentation sucks. One other thing that really sucks big time is the lens cap - tip the camera and it just falls off. Stupid.
However, the 1080P seems to play real well with my NLE program and I can't wait to get out there with it.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Richie-Rich View Post


Just saw this looks really nice and a much more elegant solution.



 



http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/25/contourgps-helmet-cam-review/




 

 

post #8 of 19

I've been thinking of getting cam also.  Would I see any real difference between 960p and 1080p resolution?  I'm not planning on going into the ski video business, just making some videos for myself and our son.


Edited by mtcyclist - 1/26/11 at 4:00pm
post #9 of 19

it depends on what you are going to be watching it on.

do you have a hi-def tv?

do you have a hi-def computer?

do you plan on posting on youtube?

do you have a budget?

is there any money to be made in this?

 

if yes for any of this then i would say get 1080 but tbh you won't see a huge difference.

post #10 of 19

I guess I might as well get 1080p.  I do have a HD tv and might enjoy watching some of it on that, even if it is only a 26" screen.

post #11 of 19

I own the Contour 1080p.  I would honestly probably recommend the GoPro in hindsight.  I always thought the form factor was better on the Contour (which it is), but the GoPro seems to have marginally better picture quality.  I went for form.  I noticed on my last trip, the GoPros seem to outnumber the Contours 5:1 at least, and after some time with mine, I'm starting to understand why.

 

My biggest beef with the Contour is the quirkyness of it, and honestly, I've been VERY disappointed by their (lack of) support.  I had the camera stop working due to cold (31F) while filming and the file is now corrupted.  Approached support and they basically said tough luck.  The camera is supposed to be made for cold weather and if it shuts down, it should be able to recover the files.

 

NO help from their "support" department, which is unacceptable when paying that kind of money for something.  Doesn't bode well for the continued existence of the company compared to GoPro, which is supposed to have excellent customer service and support (plus better mounting options).

 

Good luck with your search!

post #12 of 19

I use a GoPro. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to use a helmet camera.

 

You can mount it in almost any way you want on any thing you want.

Here's mine mounted on my shin.

post #13 of 19

Just read GoPro is coming out with a 3D camera, looks the same as current but has two lenses side by side.

post #14 of 19

I ordered a GoPro 1080p.  I looked at the Contour but didn't like their helmet mounting, just looks like it could contribute to shaky videos.  The other reason is that GoPro now has an LCD back so you can review what you just shot right away.  Those two things sold really tipped the scale in favor of the GoPro.  It will be delivered tomorrow.  Now I just to pray for a large fresh dump about Thursday or Friday.

post #15 of 19
Just got a Contour GPS a few weeks ago. Gave it the first go out in Montana and BC last week. It did work flawlessly except for 2 things - Battery life SUCKS badly and I don't think I ever got any GPS data, because I couldn't see any evidence it was there in their Storyteller software. Not that I care too much about the data, but they just came out with a firmware upgrade the other day for the GPS, so I'll see if that helps.

The helmet mount is secure, but it rattles. Not too hard to stick something between the cam and the mount to absorb the rattle though. I used a piece of ~12 guage wire and it was solid, but you shouldn't have to deal with issues like those anyhow. The lens cap is also a joke, but I made a bomber one out of a pvc cap.

I love the ease of using the Contour though and the lower profile non-jumbotron look vs the GoPro. Chest mount video from GoPro look like crap too, IMO. The Contour GPS record switch is the shizznitz and the loud beep leaves no question when it's on.

Overall I'm way happier with this form function and controls than I was with my VIO POV 1.5. Waaay better to handle, and the HD seems pretty good so far although I need to experiment some. I am working on a little flick made from a slew of clips I took on my trip. So far, so good, but I'm also learning the software and just playing around having some fun.

Here's a little teaser I just uploaded. More to come later:




 

post #16 of 19


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by carvemeister View Post

Just got a Contour GPS a few weeks ago. Gave it the first go out in Montana and BC last week. It did work flawlessly except for 2 things - Battery life SUCKS badly and I don't think I ever got any GPS data, because I couldn't see any evidence it was there in their Storyteller software. Not that I care too much about the data, but they just came out with a firmware upgrade the other day for the GPS, so I'll see if that helps.

The helmet mount is secure, but it rattles. Not too hard to stick something between the cam and the mount to absorb the rattle though. I used a piece of ~12 guage wire and it was solid, but you shouldn't have to deal with issues like those anyhow. The lens cap is also a joke, but I made a bomber one out of a pvc cap.

I love the ease of using the Contour though and the lower profile non-jumbotron look vs the GoPro. Chest mount video from GoPro look like crap too, IMO. The Contour GPS record switch is the shizznitz and the loud beep leaves no question when it's on.

Overall I'm way happier with this form function and controls than I was with my VIO POV 1.5. Waaay better to handle, and the HD seems pretty good so far although I need to experiment some. I am working on a little flick made from a slew of clips I took on my trip. So far, so good, but I'm also learning the software and just playing around having some fun.

Here's a little teaser I just uploaded. More to come later:




 


Nice creative editing.  It's always refreshing to see some fun POV footage.

 

Care to share the settings you're using?

post #17 of 19

If you want a budget solution, search eBay for "gumstick camera".  I got mine for $0.99 + $12 to ship it from HK.

A 2GB micro SD card will record for about half an hour.  Video quality is good.  Sound is good.  User interface is pretty bad (there's one button.  When you push it, different lights do different things.  Blinking red light means video is recording).  It always overlays the date/time in the corner of your video (I *hate* that), and the date is always 1/1/2008 since there's no way to set the date, so it's utterly pointless.  Mounting?  It comes with a shirt clip, like on a ballpoint pen.  Want more than that, use duct tape.

It's not great, but for what it cost, I'm happy enough.  Though I'd still love a GoPro.

post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by elduderino  Nice creative editing.  It's always refreshing to see some fun POV footage. Care to share the settings you're using? 

I experimented with a lot of different settings since it was my first time using the camera. My clips are a combination of several pretty standard settings. I mostly used 960p (1280 x 960) which is a 4:3 HD format, but wide angle enough to get the skis in most of the time, which I like. That has plenty of resolution for eventual HD web posting on Vimeo which has a max size of 720p anyhow (1280 x 720).

I used 1080p (1920 x 1080) a bit. It looks good, but that setting on the Contour reduces the lens view to 110 degrees as opposed to the full 135* with all the other settings. It does give you a nice enough wide view, but IMO not enough ski action. In the future, I'd probably only use that for non-skiing activities. Plus, it's only 30 fps as is the 960p.

I think what looked best in quality for action purposes was the 720p or "Action HD," which is 60 fps and makes a noticeable difference on my computer monitor when editing. It's still full wide angle too so gets in enough ski action. It just wont have as much resolution on your 1080p television screen, but who cares, it's a stinking helmet cam! In the future I'd probably use a lot more 720p at 60fps - but carry a few extra batteries because it eats up the juice real fast.

In the other camera settings I used mostly all MAX Bit Rates. I upped the brightness by one notch and left everything else pretty much at default settings. I still thought the video was a little dark at times, but it was easy to brighten up the clips later in my editing program, although tedious. I am currently using Canopus Edius 6 to edit them. I edit the mixed format clips all together on a 1920 x 1080 (Standard 1080p 16:9 format) timeline to accommodate the largest clips. Then I export the final product in widescreen 1280 x 720 HD format to the closest specs listed by Vimeo on their website to avoid further degredation from their software. Obviously, the 960p clips get letterboxed on the sides because they're 4:3 format, but not much I could do about that.

For helmet cam footage, I think it came out looking pretty good. Maybe it would have looked better if it was all in 720p @ 60fps, but overall I'm pretty happy with the quality of the Contour.
post #19 of 19

Want cheap, no frills? Google the ivew 100cm sports camera. I got one as a laugh for $20. Comes with a couple of ways to mount it and it you bust it up, it isn't a big loss.

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