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  1. #1
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    Helmet/bike-cam advice?

    I live in OR and we have this quirky set of laws that I am seriously thinking of taking advantage of. On roads with speed limits in excess of 35 mph and no formal bike lane, a motor vehicle must give a bicyclist "room to fall" when passing. Naturally, this law is unenforced. In fact, even when unsafe passing results in death our local sheriff will not even cite the motorist. However, our vehicle code also allows bicyclists, with the obligatory assistance of law enforcement, to have a citation issued and act as the "prosecutor" in traffic court.

    Obviously, it would help to have a bit of evidence. I am thinking of mounting a helmet cam (probably not on the helmet, though) to document the illegal passing. Does anyone have any experience with this? I looked at the GoPro HD Hero online and it looks like it might work. However, I couldn't tell if it would be able to pick up the needed details, which are a view that would be convincing that the motorist was within 7 feet, license plate and some look at the driver.

    If I am going to tilt at windmills I would like at least even odds at winning.

  2. #2
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Gopro HD Hero IS the way to go. Absolutely.

    Discovery has even started using them for production video - on last week's Mythbusters used them on their helmets when walking across the duct tape bridge. Apparently they're good enough for production high-def for helmet cams.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  3. #3
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    Oregon Scientific ATC2K or ATC3K are cheaper alternatives and they mount easily on the helmet and handlebars. They are not high def but they can be had for as little as 80 bucks or less and run on easily available aa batteries and last for up to 2 hours on one 2 gig card at med resolution. At the med res you can usually but not always get plate numbers off cars. You could run higher res but then you'd only get a little more than an hour per 2 gig card.
    http://bikesafer.blogspot.com/2008/0...l-receive.html
    Enjoy

  4. #4
    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikesafer View Post
    Oregon Scientific ATC2K or ATC3K
    I've got a ATC2K. It sucks. The video is of relatively low quality, it's large, really bad sound (due to it being waterproof -- it can be improved with a mod, however), etc. It's big enough that it makes your helmet feel weird.

    Better is this -- http://www.amazon.com/Veho-VCC003MUV.../dp/B0029631VI .

    It's much smaller and easier to mount on your helmet and takes video of slightly better quality than the ATC2K (I haven't tried the ATC3K.) It also has much better sound. Being so small, you don't even notice it on your helmet. (They sell an "extreme sports" kit that includes various mounts for about $15, including a mount that's good for helmets.)

    I should also mention that Veho has different versions of that camera that might be better -- but I've not tried them. There's also some knockoffs available for a lot less money, but again, I've not tried them.

    I've also been playing with the "808" cameras described here -- http://chucklohr.com/808/ , or to be more specific -- I bought this one. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=370378638708 . I liked it so much I bought five of them. You just need to add your own micro SD card -- an 8 GB one is available for about $15.

    At about $13 total, you can't beat the price, and you can have several pointing in several directions if you like. The quality (both sound and audio) is about the same as the Muvi mentioned above, but there is an annoying timestamp that you can't disable. Being so small, you can just tape it anywhere you want.

    Again, I own all these cameras and have mounted all of them on a bike or helmet.

  5. #5
    yak
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    I love my ContourHD

  6. #6
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    The Oregon Scientific cameras are basically toys. The resolution is horrible and they have rolling shutters. The Gopro is in an entirely different league. The Contour is also a high quality cam.

    Honestly, if you're going to even look at Oregon Scientific cameras, just go to Deal Extreme. I picked up an incredibly tiny camera there for $20 shipped that actually produces video as good as the OS cameras. Also 2 hours on a 2GB card, and it has a rechargable built-in 2 hour battery. Comes with a helmet mount but is not waterproof (you'll have to add your own 2 cent plastic bag).
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  7. #7
    Senior Member wheel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yak View Post
    I love my ContourHD
    I am bit picky, but mounting it on the camera is really frikin hard. I do like the rotating lens.
    My Youtube Cycling Videos Here

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    Thanks for the input, folks. I really appreciate your filling in some of my ignorance hole (bigger shovels are clearly called for). After I hem and haw and stall and then finally take the plunge and buy one, I'll post something up. Maybe it will include footage of my first scofflaw who gets duly convicted. Then again, maybe it will just show a ditch from an upside-down perspective.

  9. #9
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    If this is really for evidence, you do want one of the better cams. I've ridden with OS and other 720x480 rolling shutter cams, and you just can't reliably read license plates. I'd go so far as to say I could NEVER read them on a car that was passing me at speed, the only time I could read them at all is if I caught up with them at a light.

    As a bonus, think about this; a friend recently made many times the price of the camera selling footage of a bizarre accident in front of his house to news stations. He bought a GoPro HD Hero, from the proceeds, and he says the next sale will be from it, its video is plenty good for the purpose. So you might get lucky and have something you can sell from the camera.

    Actually, if you REALLY want full coverage, I'd also have a rear pointing camera. I'd say that one could be lesser quality; on that one you're just looking for behavior, not plates. A $20 DealExtreme camera would probably be fine though not waterproof.
    Last edited by ItsJustMe; 05-19-10 at 07:03 PM.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    If this is really for evidence, you do want one of the better cams. I've ridden with OS and other 720x480 rolling shutter cams, and you just can't reliably read license plates. I'd go so far as to say I could NEVER read them on a car that was passing me at speed, the only time I could read them at all is if I caught up with them at a light.

    As a bonus, think about this; a friend recently made many times the price of the camera selling footage of a bizarre accident in front of his house to news stations. He bought a GoPro HD Hero, from the proceeds, and he says the next sale will be from it, its video is plenty good for the purpose. So you might get lucky and have something you can sell from the camera.

    Actually, if you REALLY want full coverage, I'd also have a rear pointing camera. I'd say that one could be lesser quality; on that one you're just looking for behavior, not plates. A $20 DealExtreme camera would probably be fine though not waterproof.
    I was kind of leaning that way. Fortunately, the captain says it is within budget (yeah, we're one of the rare XX captain XY stoker tandems; rarer still the stoker is 50% bigger and 8 inches taller than the captain).

  11. #11
    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    So, I like what I've got, but I have been considering something better.

    I've seen the ContourHD before -- friends have them. Hadn't seen the Gopro HD Hero. The latter looks a bit better, though the former is cheaper.

    The Gopro seems to be lighter (3.2 oz vs. 4.3 oz) -- not that that really matters while riding, but I also want to strap them to R/C planes and take pictures that way. Actually, considering that the Gopro will also take 5 MP shots every two seconds, I think that would be the tipping point in it's favor.

    I need to stop buying stuff! But it looks so neat!

  12. #12
    Gimme back my gears!
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    Not reposting this to promote my idiocy, but to show you what a dual GoPro setup can look like. I have a GoPro HD Hero mounted on the bike in front and a GoPro Hereo Wide on the rear.
    HD - 240 dollars
    Wide - 100 dollars @ Costco


  13. #13
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    I'm not sure what version of the ATC2K and ATC3K cameras you guys are using but I've never had trouble with the rolling shutter effect, and I can read license plates about half the time. It's not the best quality camera to be sure, but it mounts incredibly easy and it is relatively low profile on the helmet, at least compared to the gopro. The countour hd is a great camera from everything I've seen and heard but for the money I don't think you can beat the reliability and ease of use of the OS cameras, but hey to each his own and the more cameras on the roads capturing idiot drivers the better we all are.
    Good Luck
    Jeff

  14. #14
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyciumX View Post
    Not reposting this to promote my idiocy, but to show you what a dual GoPro setup can look like. I have a GoPro HD Hero mounted on the bike in front and a GoPro Hereo Wide on the rear.
    HD - 240 dollars
    Wide - 100 dollars @ Costco

    Welcome to the world of cross country tours... sometimes a country highway does just what that one does... put you on a bridge or section of road with no shoulder and 50+ MPH traffic... Highway 1 down the CA coast does that a lot.

    Quick comment... I would have held my position in the travel lane rather than going into that skinny area with the drainage grates... Motorists were going around you.

    OK enough "preaching."

    Good video... on the picture in picture stuff, can you position the back smaller picture anywhere in the larger pic? If so, put it on the upper right... the area of least importance to you. Did you need special software for this PinP view or do the cams some how link together? Very cool.

    Your whole setup is what I paid for good riding lights years ago... Who knows, in a few years your cam setup will be "dirt cheap."

  15. #15
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Yeah, that bridge section was terrifying to watch. I'd definitely have taken the lane there and let them blare their horns. One touch of the bar on that concrete and you'd have been thrown violently into traffic.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  16. #16
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Nice video...
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  17. #17
    Gimme back my gears!
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    I wasn't prepared for the shoulder to dissipate and didn't have complete control of my bike since the cycle-computer was in my right hand the entire time!

    I told myself when it was over that, had I known the lane was going bye-bye, I would have just burned it from the start and drafted someone going 50, but once I got caught and was being passed I was too concentrated on not hitting the side wall then to look back an see if I had enough room to get in the lane without being hit. Point taken... though I don't plan on doing that ever again.

  18. #18
    Gimme back my gears!
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    ...on that note:
    I used cheap software. Magix Movie Edit. 20 bucks on sale. I can put the video on any corner and resize the inner one from 1/4-3/4 of the total screen. But thats with the current video @ 720p and 480P. The Front HD hero can go to 1080p which shows A TON more detail. I just don't use it because the memory card I use isn't fast enough to write the data in that mode. Cameras aren't linked and its a learned skill to quickly position them in a timeline so they play in-sync, but not hard by any means. I plan on getting another HD Hero by The en of summer and want to experiment on 3D. I have a 3D setup already for my PC with shutter glasses so its full 1080p 3d and not the traditional bi-color kind.

  19. #19
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyciumX View Post
    ...on that note:
    I used cheap software. Magix Movie Edit. 20 bucks on sale. I can put the video on any corner and resize the inner one from 1/4-3/4 of the total screen. But thats with the current video @ 720p and 480P. The Front HD hero can go to 1080p which shows A TON more detail. I just don't use it because the memory card I use isn't fast enough to write the data in that mode. Cameras aren't linked and its a learned skill to quickly position them in a timeline so they play in-sync, but not hard by any means. I plan on getting another HD Hero by The en of summer and want to experiment on 3D. I have a 3D setup already for my PC with shutter glasses so its full 1080p 3d and not the traditional bi-color kind.
    Wow, great syncing... it looked pretty good.

    So what is the capacity for video vrs time vrs disc space... in other words... if you had an hour long commute, what size disc would you need in 720p mode (which actually looked pretty good). What about battery capacity?

  20. #20
    Gimme back my gears!
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    The HD Heros battery lasts about 2 and a half hours+/-. There are four HD modes; 720p @ 30fps, 720p @ 60fps (my mode), 960p @ 30fps (huge vertical viewing area) and 1080p @ 30fps.
    @ 9.5 minutes, 1GB of data is used for the 720p @ 60fps mode. I have an 8GB card, but you can use up to 32GB. The 1080p @ 30fps mode uses just a tad more data per minute than the 720p @ 60fps, but its just enough to overlap my cards write speed.
    16GB card would hold enough for almost 2 hours of video which is just about when the battery would keel over. Good news is that a spare lithium battery only costs 20 bucks!

    Now, the Hero Wide camera.... thats operated by two, AAAs. Lithium AAA will last three hours. Alkaline will last 60 minutes.
    @ 9.5 minutes, 333MB of data is used. Thats one hour of video before the 2GB card is full. Older versions have a 2GB MAX capacity, but can be flashed to new software and recognize 4GB cards. Plan on one set of regular batteries for every hour of video since lithiums are completely useless unless you need to shoot for over an hour uninterrupted.

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