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  1. #1
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    What Do You Guys Think Of A Helmet Cam?

    On the topic of semi-useless novelties, or perhaps gimmick is a better word, I went on a nice ride today. Gorgeous weather, all scenic and close to water, and I was thinking that it would be cool to have a helmet cam to take some video footage of a nice, scenic ride, to be edited down later on and perhaps even somehow synced with MapMyRide, which I use on all my rides lately. Any of you guys use one of these? Why? Why not? Sounds like something that might be awesome on paper, but I might toss into a drawer after a week, but I'm not sure, so I wanted to get some feedback.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Papa Tom's Avatar
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    Lots of people use them. They take great footage that can be really useful to other people. I, personally, have held out for fear that after I record each of my rides once, I will have no more use for it. Plus, like fishing, the stories of your rides can be MUCH more exciting if you don't have video to reveal the way it REALLY was!
    Papa Tom

    "I just need a rest...and by 'rest' I mean a really long bicycle ride."

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
    Lots of people use them. They take great footage that can be really useful to other people.
    I could be remembering wrong but I could swear I remember reading something about some kind of ride synchronization between a helmet cam and GPS biking Apps like MapMyRide. I tried Googling it, but so far came up with nothing. Why am I wondering this? Because it seems like if you could somehow link video footage of you ride to your GPS app with the map and all, it would be a nice touch.

    Quote Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
    I, personally, have held out for fear that after I record each of my rides once, I will have no more use for it. Plus, like fishing, the stories of your rides can be MUCH more exciting if you don't have video to reveal the way it REALLY was!
    So you're not a fan of demystifying our self delusions then? Sounds like you and I should collaborate and start our own religion.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Papa Tom's Avatar
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    The first time I rode the Bronx River Bikeway, I detoured off the paved path and took the single-track dirt trail a part of the way that passed very close to the river. As I described to my wife and family later that day, at one point, I lost control of my bike and nearly lost it to the raging rapids below. From that point forward, I was a trail-tested, rugged mountain-man biker in their eyes...at least until I took my wife on the same ride and realized (for the first time) that the "river" was essentially a trickling brook, just a bit more ferocious than a stream of pee traveling down the cracks of a sidewalk.

    Don't record your rides. They will always be better in your memory than they were in reality.
    Papa Tom

    "I just need a rest...and by 'rest' I mean a really long bicycle ride."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
    The first time I rode the Bronx River Bikeway, I detoured off the paved path and took the single-track dirt trail a part of the way that passed very close to the river. As I described to my wife and family later that day, at one point, I lost control of my bike and nearly lost it to the raging rapids below. From that point forward, I was a trail-tested, rugged mountain-man biker in their eyes...at least until I took my wife on the same ride and realized (for the first time) that the "river" was essentially a trickling brook, just a bit more ferocious than a stream of pee traveling down the cracks of a sidewalk.

    Don't record your rides. They will always be better in your memory than they were in reality.
    I hear you. Honestly, I wouldn't want to have footage from an entire run. I mean, who in the name of all that is holy would give a crap enough to actually watch a two hour video of me riding 25 miles? lol Talk about self-indulgent narcissism right? No, I was thinking more in terms of doing a ride with beautiful scenery like I did today (from what I read of your posts, you know the route I went today quite well) and whittling it down to like 10 or 15 minutes of nice scenery and commentary, linked to a MapMyRide GPS map. I totally agree that the idea of capturing and posting an entire ride is ludicrous to the point of being obnoxious, but a few minutes of nice, high def footage of key scenic area? That could be nice.

  6. #6
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    they are sort of annoying (the smaller the better) and the video is wicked boring unless something happens
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

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    Senior Member Dave Cutter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiroVette View Post
    ............... I went on a nice ride today. Gorgeous weather, all scenic and close to water, and I was thinking that it would be cool to have a helmet cam to take some video footage of a nice, scenic ride, to be edited down later on ............
    I love the great cycling videos. I keep thinking I need a trainer so I could watch the videos and get in a pretend ride... during the off season.

    It you already edit videos... and enjoy doing that... cycling videos would make a great secondary hobby. If you've never put in the hours of making a decent video and producing it to DVD to share with friends... it might be fun to try.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
    they are sort of annoying (the smaller the better) and the video is wicked boring unless something happens
    Absolutely! Which is why I would want to make it much shorter than an actual ride and hopefully relevant to anyone I am targeting to watch it. Again, hopefully! lol

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
    I love the great cycling videos. I keep thinking I need a trainer so I could watch the videos and get in a pretend ride... during the off season. It you already edit videos... and enjoy doing that... cycling videos would make a great secondary hobby. If you've never put in the hours of making a decent video and producing it to DVD to share with friends... it might be fun to try.
    I hear you. Admittedly, I am far from a pro, or even a particularly good novice, but I do enjoy editing videos of stuff. I post videos of my band on Youtube all the time. I also do a lot of stuff with videogaming, and since I bought this beautiful new Scott Foil 30 racing bike, I am enjoying the hell out of it, and figured I would turn yet another hobby into a vanity exercise of Youtube self-indulgence. lol Like I said, it isn't that I am particularly good at making videos, but I enjoy it, and I would never, in a million years, post a video a three hour ride that was anything close to the three hours. I am actually working on a bike video I made yesterday and am just uploading it to Youtube now. It was a nice 32 mile ride, but I distilled it down to about 26 minutes, taking footage not with a helmet cam but with my smart phone and iPad.

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    Senior Member Dave Cutter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiroVette View Post
    ..... since I bought this beautiful new Scott Foil 30 racing bike, I am enjoying the hell out of it, and figured I would turn yet another hobby into a vanity exercise of Youtube self-indulgence.
    Yep. I've had my own channel at Youtube... since nearly the beginning.

  10. #10
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    other uses too!

    recently I taped a mount to a camera strap so I could wear the cam on my shoulder at a family party. then with each person that I met I taped a cameo of my conversation with them. it sat on my shoulder like a parrot. I was unencumbered and I could maintain eye contact, so the video taping was less obtrusive. a couple people suggested I actually disguise it as a parrot. it was a little weird but wicked fun.

    wifey is an art teacher and wants to find a way to tape her lessons in a similar fashion. an or do a time lapse POV style of lessons or solo creations making art showing the steps in the process.

    I also used it in my car facing forward and even facing myself and my Mom and sister. pretty funny stuff
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  11. #11
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    I have seen and read stories of them coming in quite handy in the case of accidents, road rage and things like that. They are thus growing in popularity with commuters. There was one incident in particular where an old coot in a pickup truck assualted some riders who were riding legally. He ended up intentionally running over one cyclist's carbon frame while they were stopped and then took off. (Of course, the frame asploded.) One of the riders had a helmet cam and captured the incident. I believe the motorists was later tracked down and arrested.

    Other than that, I personally wouldn't bother unless you can get some really amazing footage, like the footage from the downhill street race in a Chilean town. (If you haven't seen it, look for it on YouTube. It will blow your mind.) Someone in the Clyde subforum used to post videos from her hill climbs. Real snoozers (just POV footage of someone climbing a hill with a "soundtrack" of heavy breathing) except for the one time on a descent where a dog nearly took her out.

  12. #12
    One less car Jay H's Avatar
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    Pedco Ultra Clamp Assembly PD05020 B&H Photo Video

    I have one of those, you can mount any digicam with a standard tripod mount to any flat surface (like a car window) or any round bar up to XX" (I don't recall the max diameter) but it works for handlebars... (I've done it). Your videos still come out fairly shaky but it's a cheap solution for novelty uses..

    A helmet cam will be more steady...

    Jay

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    As indyfabz says, I think they would be most useful in the course of recording close calls with motorists. I don't really have an interest in wearing one, but i think if people did and paired them with a jersey that says "Recording my ride" or something short enough to fit on one, it might have a positive effect. Most of the aggression against cyclists comes about because cyclists are seen as sitting ducks with no defenses. Cameras change that.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay H View Post
    Pedco Ultra Clamp Assembly PD05020 B&H Photo Video

    I have one of those, you can mount any digicam with a standard tripod mount to any flat surface (like a car window) or any round bar up to XX" (I don't recall the max diameter) but it works for handlebars... (I've done it). Your videos still come out fairly shaky but it's a cheap solution for novelty uses..

    A helmet cam will be more steady...

    Jay
    Not so sure about that. My wife gave me a GoPro for Xmas. I eventually ordered the helmet mount and in February took it out for a short ride (4 miles) around the neighborhood. Lots of snow!

    I week ago, I played it again and pretty much got seasick. About a third of the ride was on roads with enough traffic that I was constantly looking down at my handlebar mounted mirror. When coming to an intersection I would look left right left right, etc. But with my head tilted forward, this made the horizon rotate as a looked left or right.

    It would take a lot of editing to make a smooth video out of it. Also, one needs to talk to one self to say what's going on (or I supposed you could do voice over as part of the editing).

    -Ed

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    Quote Originally Posted by groth View Post
    I week ago, I played it again and pretty much got seasick. About a third of the ride was on roads with enough traffic that I was constantly looking down at my handlebar mounted mirror. When coming to an intersection I would look left right left right, etc. But with my head tilted forward, this made the horizon rotate as a looked left or right.
    These are the concerns I have of a helmet cam summed up nicely. Honestly, when you ride, run, or do any sort of cardiovascular activity, your head is moving a lot more than you're consciously aware of. I guess one would have to hold their head completely still to make good, non-seasick videos, not to mention you might look down at the road and if the camera has moved even a small amount, like you said, you end up with a gread five minute segment of your handlebars.

    The video I made above, I did either while stopped, using an iPad I fished out of my knapsack, which was so annoying that I only used it a small amount of the video. Mostly I used my smartphone, which ended up being way easier, and had the virtue of I could consciously keep the camera centered even while riding, so long as I thought about it. I think your post just talked me out of the helmet cam. I am not a fan of the stabilizing you can do with software. Though even my camera was annoying because I had to fish that out of my little bag, but at least I could to it easily wile riding, and could hold it in one hand while still holding the handlebars.

    Not sure there is a perfect solution for doing footage on a bike, other than keeping it mercifully short and making sure you can either keep your head still for a helmet cam or are reasonably confident you can hold a cell phone while not, ya know, killing yourself.

  16. #16
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    I used a helmet cam to record my ride down Mt Haleakala in Maui from the 6000' level back to the ocean, after riding up to that point. (Didn't make it to the top.) The video actually is pretty watchable, but I was mostly looking straight ahead as I was speeding down the mountain and not looking up and down or side to side. That said, it is still pretty boring to anybody that wasn't there, and since I was by myself...

    This is the first section, my camera chopped it into 3 minute pieces and I don't have the patience to piece it back together and it isn't interesting enough anyway. You can see some shake, but as I descended it got steadier once I was off the switchbacks.


  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
    they are sort of annoying (the smaller the better) and the video is wicked boring unless something happens
    I mounted my Contour camera to my helmet and recorded a ride down the High Bridge Trail State Park. The trail is incredibly boring as it is...even moreso on video!

  18. #18
    Senior Member dendawg's Avatar
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    BIke ride videos can be pretty boring, unless you're doing some extreme riding. I prefer the handle bar mount as the view is always where you're riding. On a helmet your head smooths out the bumps, but if you're constantly looking around can get pretty dizzy. And definitely learn how to edit. Now let me bore you with one of mine.

    Beers Bikes And Beaches 1 on Vimeo

    <iframe src="//player.vimeo.com/video/100232307" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe> <p><a href="http://vimeo.com/100232307">Beers Bikes And Beaches 1</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user7449620">Dennis Wiener</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>
    Last edited by dendawg; 07-10-14 at 08:20 AM.

  19. #19
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    Hey guys, I wanted to revive this thread because I would like to make some bike videos with audio commentary, similar to the one I posted in the thread about the Greenway. I definitely don't want to have to be fishing my phone out of my bag every time I want to shoot something. Also, I go on long rides, and I seriously doubt that either the battery or whatever onboard storage I use would hold up for an entire ride. Not to mention, I wouldn't want to create a three hour video. As I said above, that would be boring as all hell.

    I would love to take, say a 40, 50, 60, or even 100 mile ride and record scattered moments of it. Great scenery, routes and bike paths found, and any other fun or special moments that would not bore even hardcore cyclists to absolute tears. Not to mention, even if I could record a whole ride and edit it later, lol who the hell wants to take the time necessary edit a four hour video down to a more interesting 20-30 minutes of interesting highlights, right?

    So obviously I would need some sort of a remote control with an LED light on it or something so I can pick and choose which moments to record to spare battery life, storage space for the ride, and editing tie later on. Not sure I want to spend $300+ on one of the higher end ones, but if that's the only option for great quality video and decent audio commentary in real time (like I did in my other video) then I am in. I suspect not, though, as I was able to make the video I am posting below this text mostly with a good smart phone.

    I am also not sure that a helmet cam is even practical for several reasons:

    1. I have a small red and white light at the top of my helmet already. And I do some night riding, so I don't necessarily want to lose the light so I can put a camera up there.

    2. If the cam is on my head, I will only be able to guesstimate what the camera is actually recording, and don't even get me started on the crappy footage I will get if, during the course of a normal ride, bumps and jolts ever so slightly change the camera angle on me and I am not aware of it, right?

    3. Any falls or spills, even mild ones, would probably destroy a helmet cam.

    Oh and here is the video I shot to give you an idea of what I want in a camera:




    In short, while I want to take videos of my rides, to add to the geeky-hobbyist value of the fun, I am not sure there even exists a practical way for me to do it. Any thoughts on how this can be accomplished? I don't think the handlebar mount would work as hadle-bars are pretty low, and I would really want to capture nice scenery, as well.

  20. #20
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    A couple of things:
    1. Don't ride the wrong way in either the traffic or a bike lane, you did both during this video.
    2. The Belt Parkway washed out about 5 years ago. If they had rebuilt it it would have washed out again during Sandy. It is no longer the city's responsibility. They are first going to build a sand break, then rebuild the highway with the bike lane. They are already rebuilding the bridge where you started.
    3. A 30 minute video will be boring to anybody that wasn't there, especially when it is narrated.
    4. You went through one of the now better known areas of Brooklyn in Red Hook. We all know where the Ikea, the Fairway, the Brooklyn Crab house, and Brooklyn Bridge park are. BB park is one of the hottest tourist destinations in the city now, with that view of Manhattan and the namesake bridge.
    5. There is no going fast through most of that route, except maybe on the Belt Parkway. Find another route to go fast.
    6. The cobblestones aren't that bad.

  21. #21
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    A few things:

    Quote Originally Posted by zacster View Post
    A couple of things:
    1. Don't ride the wrong way in either the traffic or a bike lane, you did both during this video.
    Okay, I promise not to, unless I feel like it.

    Quote Originally Posted by zacster View Post
    2. The Belt Parkway washed out about 5 years ago. If they had rebuilt it it would have washed out again during Sandy. It is no longer the city's responsibility. They are first going to build a sand break, then rebuild the highway with the bike lane. They are already rebuilding the bridge where you started.
    If enough people complain, I am sure they will. Well, unless you're on the board who makes the decision perhaps.

    Quote Originally Posted by zacster View Post
    3. A 30 minute video will be boring to anybody that wasn't there, especially when it is narrated.
    Then you're certainly welcome not to watch it. lol

    Quote Originally Posted by zacster View Post
    4. You went through one of the now better known areas of Brooklyn in Red Hook. We all know where the Ikea, the Fairway, the Brooklyn Crab house, and Brooklyn Bridge park are. BB park is one of the hottest tourist destinations in the city now, with that view of Manhattan and the namesake bridge.
    Good for you. Glad you know the local stores so well. lol Want a medal, a monument, or should I just kiss your ring, honey?

    Quote Originally Posted by zacster View Post
    5. There is no going fast through most of that route, except maybe on the Belt Parkway. Find another route to go fast.
    There would be if pedestrians would stay out of the bike lanes.

    Quote Originally Posted by zacster View Post
    6. The cobblestones aren't that bad.
    Either is root canal.

    7. I wasn't asking for your opinion of the video, nor a civics lesson. I was asking about how best to accomplish what I am setting out to do. I would like to offer you a quote from a funny movie, Billy Madison that I think is particularly appropriate for this moment. Enjoy!

    "Mr. Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul."
    Last edited by ChiroVette; 08-17-14 at 08:21 PM.

  22. #22
    BF Avatar Zombie Hunter Jseis's Avatar
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    I use a Go Pro. Gorgeous imagery. Caused me to see where I live from a completely different perspective. I could give a rat's ass what people think I look like. I've tried top, side, front helmet mount. Top gives the height advantage. Side mount is a unique perspective 'cause you can sorta see my helmet. Front is where I normally wear it.

    I need some editing software.
    Amerika, Land of the Very Brief.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jseis View Post
    I use a Go Pro. Gorgeous imagery. Caused me to see where I live from a completely different perspective. I could give a rat's ass what people think I look like. I've tried top, side, front helmet mount. Top gives the height advantage. Side mount is a unique perspective 'cause you can sorta see my helmet. Front is where I normally wear it.
    I have heard great things about the Go Pro. And after reading your post, I think I concur about not giving a rat's ass about what it looks like. Front mount might be good for me since it won't interfere with the lights I have at the top of my helmet if I get caught out late in the dark.

    Thank you very much for the info!

  24. #24
    LET'S ROLL 1nterceptor's Avatar
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    I used to have a GoPro; switched to Contour.
    The Contour's shape is better for me. I like to
    mount the cam in different places; fork, seatpost,
    helmet, rear triangle, handle bar, etc.

    GoPro 960 HD on helmet:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hheU...6zPoymgKaIoDLA


    ContourGPS on seatpost and fork:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jea4...IoDLA&index=22


    ContourGPS by rear triangle:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fh5V...6zPoymgKaIoDLA

  25. #25
    BF Avatar Zombie Hunter Jseis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiroVette View Post
    I have heard great things about the Go Pro. And after reading your post, I think I concur about not giving a rat's ass about what it looks like. Front mount might be good for me since it won't interfere with the lights I have at the top of my helmet if I get caught out late in the dark.

    Thank you very much for the info!
    Be advised...it's addictive. Also. I use the iPhone app to run the camera...this is a huge help on setup though it'll suck the energy out of the phone. Once I'm set up, I run the camera Pinball Wizard style as I disconnect the phone). GoPro software automatically cuts video into 15 minute clips (you can knit them back) and the files are large so get some terra byte storage!
    Amerika, Land of the Very Brief.

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