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  1. #1
    Senior Member degnaw's Avatar
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    Camcorder as helmet camera?

    I've been looking for a helmet camera (for safety/insurance reasons) and have seen the atc2k, atc3k, tachyon xc, and vholdr. Can any of these compare video quality-wise to a normal camcorder (For example, this one, which happens to be "shockproof")? The resolution on all of the models are the same (640x480), so how much variance is there in video clarity between the low end (atc2k), the high end (vholdr), and the camcorder?

    One possible hinderance would be the battery life (40min with that particular camera), but keeping the lcd closed and buying extra batteries for $6 each on ebay could probably fix that. Another issue is water resistance - I'd rather not have full on waterproofing because it wrecks the sound, but is there any way to make a camcorder at least water resistant? As for size and weight, the camcorder in question is relatively low profile at .36lbs and 1.6" wide.

  2. #2
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    It's hard to say without seeing the video from the camcorder you mention but looking at the specs I'd guess that the video from the atc2k or vholdr would be comparable. I run the atc2k and atc3k at the 320x240 resolution and I've had some of that video used on TV in news stories. It doesn't look great but it is usable. In 640x480 it's pretty good, not great.
    I like the atc2k better than the 3k since the low light performance of the 3k is subpar compared to the 2k which doesn't make sense to me but I do ride at night so I use the 2k.

  3. #3
    Senior Member degnaw's Avatar
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    Have you ever run the atc2k on full resolution? If so, can license plates be easily made out? I've heard you read the license plate into the mic in your videos, but sometimes that's not a viable option and I've heard the (waterproofed) mic has pretty bad quality.

    Below are two frames from the raw footage of the video in my signature (Taken with a Canon digital camera at 640x480); as can be seen, the license plate is clear when the camera is pointed towards the car, but is unreadable when pointed straight ahead. How does the atc2k at 640x480 compare to these?
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Quote Originally Posted by degnaw View Post
    How does the atc2k at 640x480 compare to these?
    Not too well.

    I bought one and all I can say is avoid.

    Contrast and brightness is poor, the camera reacts very slowly to changes of light level and although the frame rate should be adequate it isn't.

    My guess is that it takes so long to create each frame that objects have time to move - you end up with a strange rolling effect going down the screen.

    It's a toy and one that would probably disappoint most 10 yr olds.

    Avoid.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member degnaw's Avatar
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    Would anyone expect a non shockproof camcorder to survive if it was attached to the side of my helmet and I hit my head? And if it doesn't, would the footage be lost (on flash memory or hard disk)?

    http://digave.com/videos/how.htm shows the guy using a $900 (regular) camcorder on his helmet, alongside another one worth several hundred dollars which he says he's "water logged, frosted, and crashed". If regular camcorders are (supposedly) so durable, what's the point of dedicated shockproof cameras?

    edit: specifically i was thinking of this one, which is waterproof, has double the battery life and is only 1.6" wide, although its not "shockproof".
    Last edited by degnaw; 03-05-09 at 07:44 PM.

  6. #6
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    Avoid anything hard drive or mini dvd based, I've tried both.

    The xacti is a very nice camera, though I haven't tried one myself yet.

    However it has been out for a long time and unless it's discounted there might be better bargains out there, having said that isn't there an option to buy it with an external bulletcam ?

    I wouldn't strap anything that heavy/bulky to a helmet though.

    Might be worth considering a Flycam One 2 for a helmet mounted camera.

    EDIT: just a thought - the flycamone2 has an 'endless' mode where once the card is full it overwrites the first footage - might be ideal for what you want

    Otherwise it's worth considering a CVS disposable camcorder, the (footage) quality is impossible to beat at the price and you can buy a pc lead which makes it re-usable.

    For top quality footage nothing can beat a digital camcorder or a digital camera with a quality bulletcam attached.

    Sony HAD CCD Bulletcams - click on bulletcams.

    A top quality bulletcam does capture more detail than a good hd based recorder.

    I've got/had all of these options and had the ATC1000 and ATC 2K avoid these at all costs.

    Hope this is of some help.

    Last edited by Unknown Cyclist; 03-06-09 at 01:43 AM.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member degnaw's Avatar
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    I was reading on RC plane forums about the flycamone2 (which apparently is extremely unreliable) and found people talking about this - at $109, it (Aiptek A-HD) is cheaper than an atc3k. That said, with an off-brand camera with a plastic body, I'm worried about losing possibly crucial footage in a crash.

    About bulletcams, do they connect through the [typically used for output] yellow plug in the red/white/yellow A/V cable? Where do they get power?

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    Quote Originally Posted by degnaw View Post
    About bulletcams, do they connect through the [typically used for output] yellow plug in the red/white/yellow A/V cable? Where do they get power?
    You have to have a camcorder (or HD recorder) with video in.

    Power is nearly always 12V from 8 x AA or the vehicle battery.

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  9. #9
    Hrumph! El Duderino X's Avatar
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    Try an Archos personal media player with their "helmet cam" add-on. Older gen. models should be cheaper now.
    http://helmetcameracentral.com/2006/...et-cam-system/
    http://www.archos.com/products/imt/a...ng=en&p=helmet
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  10. #10
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    The Archos recorders are designer to be used to record via a docking bay, so to use with a bulletcam you need a special lead and an adaptor, which isn't very tidy.

    Also, I had lots of problems with the hard drive skipping resulting in 'broken' files.

    I tried different locations for the archos including two different types of padded bag, one custom made.

    Maybe the latest ones have some anti-shock built in ?
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  11. #11
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    you need a tachyon for what you are wanting to do, bottom line. video quality isnt as good but the waterproofing and shock proof batter casing makes up for it. Still a good picture.

  12. #12
    Lone-Star-Fred Tobias Greenich's Avatar
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    I believe this page has most of the info you're looking for.

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

  13. #13
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    Camera and 2.5 pound counterweights strapped right onto the helmet ?

    You need to drill a few holes in your helmet to mount it
    Erm...I'm not sure this is good advice for anyone...

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  14. #14
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    why not go for the contourHD?

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