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Is it me, or are helmet cams a waste of money?

Morgan's picture

By Morgan - Posted on 29 April 2009

Maybe I'm just old and own a Rohloff Speedhub, but I was thinking of buying a helmet cam recently then realised this might not be such a good idea for the following reasons..

There's a lot of Youtube stuff shot by people with helmet cams. Well, how pointless. Either:

the riders are moving quickly which makes the camera jiggle all over the place and it looks like the cam has been gaffa taped to Skippy's ears, or

all you see is the arse of a slow rider. Usually accompanied by pumping fast dance music to give the illusion that everyone's having a great time moving at 6k's an hour, or

it's impossible to see what's happening at all due to the camera resolution.

Does anyone watching those home made vids get anything out of them? Do I need a different pair of glasses because I'm missing some subliminal hot stuff?

Is this just because the cameras out there aren't good enough right now and maybe I should buy one in a couple of years when technology has pushed on so I can take video of some slow moving bugger's arse in hi def?

Pray tell!

pikey's picture


The author is Evil and must be ignored Sticking out tongue

Morgan's picture

You know who's hi def arse I was talking about don't you?

Hey, are the Snoring Forties hitting the Scott this year? I'd still like to be included in your team if you'll have me.

Rob's picture

Save your $$$ for some ropes and stuff as IMHO flying fox shots are loads nicer. Talk to some RC nerd (Loz!) about building a trolly that can be 'driven' along a rope (rather than simply falling with gravity) so you have some way of controlling how fast it goes.

As seen in the Rocky Trail show these can produce some cool shots, but with a little control could be even better Smiling

Nic's picture

... I have heard that a chest mounting system is less bumpy than helmet mounting.

Most helmetcam videos are pretty @#%&, but there are some good ones - following someone seems to work well and also a rear mounted cam.

Alternatively you could have a stick thing out front with the cam pointing back at you... apparently Sam [down]Hill filmed at Thredbo this way.


sensai_miagi's picture

hey morgan i reckon the main problem you've stumbled across is that the quality of any video on youtube is low res. my mate and i made a real quick and dodgy DIY helmet cam by cutting a hole in the front of an old foam helmet and just sticking his old point and shoot camera in there and it worked out pretty decent on a fast downhill track! just check out proper file footage from a helmet cam before you make your decision...i wouldn't decide based on youtube quality.

darkmuncan's picture

Also depends on what software you are using to edit the footage.

Apples new iMovie 09 has some great stabilisation options that smooth out a lot of bumpy stuff, I use it for underwater film and it virtually removes any shaking/movement from surge or current.

Ill be interested to see what it does to MTB footage.

I dont ride my bike, my bike rides me... we are currently in counseling...

Little-Ditty's picture

There are some great helmet cams on the market. Just have a look at some of their websites, and see for yourself. Regarding the quality, riding whilst keeping your head still is a must... for obvious reasons. You just ride more 'softly', keeping your head steady, and absorbing any terrain undulations through your legs and elbows, much more than you would normally. There is a trick to it, you just need to alter your riding style a bit. Also, wind noise is bad on helmet cams. When editing, normally its best to suppress the audio of the ride with your own stuff, songs and the like. That's just my 2c. Smiling

Gilbo's picture

I picked up one of the little oregon scientific a2k models from T7. Certainly not going to win me any oscars with the picture quality, but all up a decent way to capture some action while out riding. agree totally with Liam, you need to make sure you ride with the camera in mind otherwise it all gets a bit messy. other options risk your $$$'s or high def camera so would recommend a cheapy to get started.

pikey's picture

Now that you are based in canberra will you still be 40 as all the figures that come out of Canberra are lower than expected?

Once you re-apply and we approve you're application back into the Snoring Forties you will be informed via the Canberra Times Eye-wink

Catch Ya soon


Canberra is Evil and must be moved closer to Sydney Sticking out tongue

Noel's picture

If your watching on Youtube you are seeing the result of the file compression being relative to the patience of the person uploading it. I have about as much patience as.. see I cbf'd even finishing the sentence*. I have a helmet cam and if I want to upload a good image it takes too long (even with Cable). I find it to be a fun toy. Mounting it in different locations makes it more interesting. It takes a long time to tweak your set up of it. Having it mounted to a seat post and point back towards the rider can work too like in the below vid (in some shots). Also, having some exciting riders (who do some tricks n stuff) could make for some better footage.

This one has a variety of angles, and we agreed the rear angle one worked well but needs to point up more.

Coming back from a ride to a rumpus room with a few friends and watching the raw footage over a couple of beers is popular pass time. We plan on getting a bit more panning footage into the movies (with the HD mini) and further improving on them.

It's all just a bit of fun, I don't see the money side of it being a consideration. My helmet cam was $300 or something, I don't even remember, its not big money. It's a fun challenge to make better and better movies, and the people I ride with like having input into the improvement process with suggestions etc it. For us, it's recording history, like a photo, but it moves, and has music and is edited etc.

Two friends are very skills riders but I have not filmed them yet, I want to refine the process before I stuff them around with the "oh, i just have to check the cam" stoppages during our ride.

*but I'll write lots on helmet cams cause i find it interesting.

If your riding buddies generally wear lycra then I can understand the need for concern.

Morgan's picture

I have had a height check and am now officially 4 ft 3, adjusted for inflation, forecast to increase 4% over the 2009-2012 fiscal period.

But what I should say is this. In this great country, Australia, Australians are on average as tall as other Australians of the same height. That is not to say that if this country, Australia, were another country like, say New Zealand, which is in a recession that may affect all Australians, although Australia has only been in recession for the last 2 weeks, that the average population height may not be the same throughout that country, unless bananas are slipped into each person's shoes to produce a squishy yet strangely comforting slimy sock effect, in which case Australians might then be different even though they are nearly the same except for a difference in average height.

In summary then, I need to go away now and have a small nap. NUUUUUUUUUUUUURSE......

sensai_miagi's picture

from pikey and morgan. i trust you boys have seen the ABC tv series hollowmen. you'd love it to bits.

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