Some ramblings on Helmet Cameras

The Bigfella

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Aug 15, 2012
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KTM 950SER & EXC, BMW R90S & Dakar, MZ250, BSA B33, Norton 16H, Honda - 500 Fs & X, DRZs, XLs XRs CRFs CT110s etc
I've done four generations of helmet cameras over the last ten years. I'll add to this thread as time goes on - feel free to contribute.

I started with a ContourHD in 2010 which I used through Cambodia, Vietnam, Australia, Timor Leste, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Laos. Great camera. 1080HD resolution, simple to set up on the computer and then it was readily adjusted for level on the helmet using a couple of laser dots. After that... slide switch forward for on, back for off. Bloody brilliant.

00helmetasmall.jpg


Only downside was it wasn't waterproof.... but it did have a waterproof case that it slipped into if you wanted - and it wasn't image stabilised (nothing was back then).

Unfortunately, GoPro rolled over the top of Contour and Contour went bust. I grabbed their updated Contour Roam2 when they were on runout sales.... and had been using it until recently, when the mount disintegrated (still have some mounts and the camera)... but, again... not image stabilised and only 1080HD, no 4K.

I finally weakened and bought a GoPro 4 Black in 2015, but only because I was shooting drone footage in 4K and wanted to be able to stitch bike and drone footage together. I hardly used it because of the crappy form factor. Hello Teletubby. I guess I can't be too critical of that because I'd mounted my original Contour on a piece of wood that was glued to the helmet... so that I didn't pick up the visor in the footage. As below

00helmetbsmall.jpg


On later iterations, with full face helmets, I mounted it on an epoxy block, but closer in to the helmet.

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That worked really well. Then came the GoPros. Have I mentioned how much I hate GoPros yet?

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That's a GoPro 7 Black that I picked up just before the release of the 8.

I've had that for just over a year now. The 9 is due for release, this month being the tip.

However... I've had some issues with the GoPros

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More on those later......
 

The Bigfella

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KTM 950SER & EXC, BMW R90S & Dakar, MZ250, BSA B33, Norton 16H, Honda - 500 Fs & X, DRZs, XLs XRs CRFs CT110s etc
The biggest problem with the GoPro is that it wants you to act like a 15 year old kid who knows how to deal with IT crap. I've set it to record at 4K 30 frames a second. Every now and then, despite these settings being locked in, it launches itself into still photos at 0.5 second intervals mode. No, I don't want that.... and it means I can't trust the damn camera to just turn on and record unless I stop, take my helmet off, turn it on to record, scream "I hate GoPro" when it doesn't. Turn it off, turn it on again... and generally, we get video. What a piece of shit. Yeah, I know - poor carpenter blames his tools, etc. The next bloody idiosyncrasy is that the date keeps resetting itself.... so I've got hundreds of videos all recorded on 1 Jan 2016.

As for those bulging batteries. One year... intermittent use. Stuffed. In Oz, I'd have a statutory warranty and they'd be replaced. It's hardly worth asking in Thailand. 750 baht each.

Meanwhile, I've tried a few mounting locations. I ran the old 4 Black on a mount on the alternator of the Ducati for a while. Great angle, covering suspension, brake and wheel, with forward view. I've run that in synch with the 7 Black mounted on the camera and thought it worked well. Deere's fixed a rearward facing mount on the back of one of the 500s. That works too.

Here's another mount I used briefly

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This next shot shows the mount on the back of the 500 and the location that Deere and I are now using. One advantage of this is that I can do a quick visual check in the mirror to see if the camera is working properly and how much battery life I've got left.

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Rudeboy

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Jun 8, 2012
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Scotland/Sakon Nakhon
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Yamaha Raptor 700se Quad, Suzuki DRZ400sm
I've been using the Sony Action cams for quite some time now but recently switched to gopro due to the better image stabilisation, got a hero 7 black but not really used it in anger yet,
I love the sony's, similar form factor to the contours (of which I also had) splash proof without a case although I've had mine in a few downpours and they still work fine, can be used with external mic and battery without the need for any add ons (gopro 7 and 8) and have always just worked, never had any issues and they have seen some abuse, If Sony would bring out an updated version with image stabilisation as good as the gopro's then I'd buy one straight away,

Mine are the older Sony HDR AS100V, whilst poicture quality is perfectly good the stabilisation was rubbish and button on the rear can be a bit fiddly to find with gloves on.
Sony HDR ASV100.jpg


The newer X3000R has better image stabilisation but still dont think its on par with gopro, and although newer its still around 4 or 5 years old so hoping Sony are going to bring out a newer one soon.

Sony X3000R.jpg
 

The Bigfella

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KTM 950SER & EXC, BMW R90S & Dakar, MZ250, BSA B33, Norton 16H, Honda - 500 Fs & X, DRZs, XLs XRs CRFs CT110s etc
I still have some SONY distaste, after their shutting down Imagestation with little notice some (many) years ago.

Meanwhile... here's an example of what I was complaining about with the GoPro. Locked settings, hit the "record" button... and it's decided of it's own accord to take a still image every 0.5 seconds, instead of recording the desired video

I'm checking the mirror to try and determine what it's decided to do this time.

1599807469999.png
 

Iron Chef

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Aug 21, 2015
Location
Tokyo
Bikes
FJR1300
I had similar problem with a GoPro Session 5 - I wanted it to take photos while also recording video, this was the mode it operated in out of box so I though great but after a week it was switching to another mode, often timelapse in low resolution and would not work as set.

I had been pondering should I try another one but this thread answered that. Thanks. Hard to understand why such a big company still has such bug ridden software all these years.
 

MastaMax

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Apr 28, 2011
Bikes
15 Yamaha YZ250F / 08 Husky 450SMR / 13 ER6N / 13 KTM 300XCW(sold)
Had a contour hd back in the days too, best design for side of the helmet, slide to record so you know when it's recording and when not.

Then had gopro3 on top of helmet, lasted 2 rides before it got taken away by a branch. Useless...

They advertise those as extreme adventure cameras but the design is really clunky. With each new iteration they add more screens (like dji osmo action with 2 screens)... My impression is they are more and more small vlogging rigs for travellers.

The only good design that came along was the goPro session, which fits under the helmet lid, best spot for a good angle without being in your vision. I really don't understand why they discontinued that session.
Imagine a session with image stabilization and a slider to record. That would be perfect for riding in tight stuff.
 
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