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Old 05-01-2003, 04:58 AM   #16
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We (3 of us) just picked up 2 of the cameras from sportzhots.com over the winter. Now all we need is some sun and warm weather

The camera kits were about US$375 each and you need a compatible dv camera with LANC and aux in on it (one for each helmet camera).

Footage is great (just tried it on short trips in the city) and the audio is awsome.....almost too much soundm so we're gonna wrap the mics in some foam to avoid wind and fabric scratching sounds.
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Old 05-09-2004, 11:37 AM   #17
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Helmet camera tips?

Just went for my first ride with my helmet camera. Hooked it up to a Sony DCR-HC40 camcorder inside the tank bag.

Mistake #1 was being very careful to align the camera horizontally and not even thinking about vertically. Now I have a kink in my neck from watching the entire video with my head tilted to one side.

A little tweaking will fix that... but I've got issues with too many/too long cables and such. I also got a Sony wireless mic to annotate the tape with but it seems like the mic output is too hot for the camcorder mic in. Also the wind noise blotted pretty much everything else out.

So, I'm wondering... anyone have any thoughts/tips/tricks for how to get the best video and audio? Know of any high quality wireless mics with really good noise cancellation?

Also, any thoughts on helmet mounting the camera? To the side? On top? Don't bother?

I've got mine mounted in front of the oil cooler on my GSA - it seems like a decent location but would like to hear where others mount them.


BTW, I've never been a huge Sony fan but I wanted the remote/weather resistant LANC start/stop button so I got one. I have to say, this camcorder kicks some serious butt. One of the coolest e-toys I've ever owned and I do own some seriously cool ones.
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Old 05-09-2004, 02:53 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dhaynes
Just went for my first ride with my helmet camera. Hooked it up to a Sony DCR-HC40 camcorder inside the tank bag.

Mistake #1 was being very careful to align the camera horizontally and not even thinking about vertically. Now I have a kink in my neck from watching the entire video with my head tilted to one side.

A little tweaking will fix that... but I've got issues with too many/too long cables and such. I also got a Sony wireless mic to annotate the tape with but it seems like the mic output is too hot for the camcorder mic in. Also the wind noise blotted pretty much everything else out.

So, I'm wondering... anyone have any thoughts/tips/tricks for how to get the best video and audio? Know of any high quality wireless mics with really good noise cancellation?

Also, any thoughts on helmet mounting the camera? To the side? On top? Don't bother?

I've got mine mounted in front of the oil cooler on my GSA - it seems like a decent location but would like to hear where others mount them.


BTW, I've never been a huge Sony fan but I wanted the remote/weather resistant LANC start/stop button so I got one. I have to say, this camcorder kicks some serious butt. One of the coolest e-toys I've ever owned and I do own some seriously cool ones.
You ought to go a website called :www.2coolrc.com.They specialise in cameras for radio control cars and planes . For $150 you vcan get a fairly good one with good audio and GPS compatibility. Go look under the cookies ,really cool stuff . They have about 5 different models to choose from .

Enjoy.
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Old 05-09-2004, 07:26 PM   #19
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I've made laods of mounts for tube type cameras - on frame sliders, rear footpeg mounts, etc.

I'm currently making one for my Ducati 916 (see pic). Still in the prototype stage as I'm trying to figure out the best mount angle, etc.

I usually make 2-3 tubes and mount them on the bikes in various places, then just move the tube camera around to the various mounts. It's quick and easy to do.

Let me know if you need some help making one for youir bike.


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Old 05-09-2004, 07:38 PM   #20
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As far as the mic goes, the issue sounds like it is with wind noise reduction and not with reducing the cordage needed to connect the camera/mic to the VTR or camcorder. If you want a good quality wireless go for Lectrosonics. I've used them for for 10+ years and currently own 2. Expect to pay around $1100. Sony makes a cheaper one in the <$150 range...model number is 999 or 99 or something like that. Going wireless won't change your wind noise problem; it only reduces one cable and/or gives you the capability to add narration at a (limited) distance from your recording deck/camcorder.

However, back to the noise issue.

You are more than likely having to deal with AVC or some other such circuitry in your camera. Even if you have a "wind" setting you may not be able to override or overcome the wind noise. Because of that you'll need to try relocating the mic as a first step. Placement is important, as is how you're covering the mic to reduce noise.

One way is to place the mic on your chest or throat and cover it with light foam and then tape it down. You'll have to experiment. Placing it on your throat will give you better frequency range. Taping to your chest will pick up lower frequencies when your'e talking instead of the higher frequencies, so it may be harder to understand you as a result. Both locations will mean that you have to contend with rustle/contact noise associated with your riding garments. High neck placement means you have more wind noise. Low neck and chest placement means you have to content with garment noise (stay away from the zipper area) such as wind moving the leather/fabric or your body movements against the leather/fabric.

Some mics work well inside the helmet...Autocom, for instance, uses a very directional mic...but their box also has the circuitry that's dialed in for that sort of application. Again, your AVC circuit may be adding to your woes. If you have manual volume control during recording, you won't have the limiter and/or compressor overthinking things.

Taping the mic to your skin under clothing is an old trick to reduce wind noise. Try and and see how it does. Don't spend money until you've tried this, since all you will have is a more expensive way of picking up wind noise.
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Old 05-11-2004, 02:28 AM   #21
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Thanks for the replies!

I've already got hardware design/machinist friend what loves to make things techno-geek, thanks :) I actually consulted with him about the initial spot to mount things because he's usually got a different viewpoint that a "mere" software guy like me :p Turns out the bill on the GSA is a good spot.

As for the Sony wireless mic (I think it's WCS-999 model), that's what I was using. It seems like it was running up against/over the limits of the mic input on the camcorder. It seems to clip/cut out even with just loud voice - though I have to say the audio quality up to the spots where it cuts out is exceptionally good. I wore it around the house while testing it and it does a bang-up job.

Never thought about body mounting it - seems like a good idea sound-wise but perhaps an itchy solution. Just so long as no sadistic nurse attacks me with sandpaper and a dremel tool with a big rubber eraser in it (remembering back to my adventures wearing a holter heart monitor for 24 hours :p)

I'm a bit of an audio fanatic (former submarine sonar tech) but not quite $1100 worth :) I'm going to try some wind screening and I'm also going to give the mic that came with the helmet camera a try. It's a wired type and it has a really cheesy mounting (a metal alligator clip) and doesn't look look all that spiffy - but who knows, maybe it performs.

I like the idea of being able to annotate the tape even while away from the bike with the wireless. When I'm driving my car I tuck a little Panasonic digital voice recorder in my pocket with a Sony external mic on it so I can make voice notes as I go.... comes in handy, especially during my long (35 minute) commute.

They're predicting snow and temps in the 30's and 40's here for the rest of the week so I think the beta testing will have to wait for a bit. Sigh.

Thanks again to all, I appreciate the info.
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Old 05-11-2004, 10:42 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dhaynes
Just went for my first ride with my helmet camera. Hooked it up to a Sony DCR-HC40 camcorder inside the tank bag....

So, I'm wondering... anyone have any thoughts/tips/tricks for how to get the best video and audio?
I use a helmet cam as well. I have it mounted with industrial velcro to the side of my helmet. I take the time before I mount the bike to get the vertical angle correct, having learned the same way you did! My camera is just in my tank bag. I have a remote start/stop switch that sticks to a velcro tab on the bike where I can easily reach it. This way, I only have one cable between me and the bike. I still don't like being tethered to the bike, but I've tried keeping the whole unit in a backpack or belt pack, and that is worse IMO.

As for sound.. I say forget it. After the ride/trip I do all my post editing on the computer anyway, and usually am not particularly interested in the sound of wind/engine. I just turn the bacground sound track down to a very low level. If you really need that as background sound, get the best mike you can afford with a good windscreen and mount it behind your windshield/fairing in some dead space.
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Old 05-11-2004, 05:15 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dhaynes
It seems like it was running up against/over the limits of the mic input on the camcorder. It seems to clip/cut out even with just loud voice - though I have to say the audio quality up to the spots where it cuts out is exceptionally good. I wore it around the house while testing it and it does a bang-up job.
Why not try an attenuator? Radio Shack has a pretty cheap patch cable with 6 dB of attenuation; I think they have another that drops even further.
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Old 05-11-2004, 07:16 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dyvking

As for sound.. I say forget it. After the ride/trip I do all my post editing on the computer anyway, and usually am not particularly interested in the sound of wind/engine. I just turn the bacground sound track down to a very low level. If you really need that as background sound, get the best mike you can afford with a good windscreen and mount it behind your windshield/fairing in some dead space.
Gotta add my two cents here: dyvking is right about adding narration during editing as an optimal way of doing things.

One of the most commonplace things I see as a shooter/editor when working with amateur video is narration done during taping. People often ask "can you remove it?" and the answer is almost always, "no, not without taking the rest of the nat (natural) sound with it."

As a hint to folks that want to edit later and have the vrooom of the engine (or, in slower-speed shots, the crunch of the pinestraw or spinning of the tires in mud, etc) the process of just recording the natural sound and adding narration later during editing is preferable...unless it's very important to you to have the stream-of-consciousness narration at the time of the shooting. Unless you're running 2 channels of audio (one to mic, one to nat sound) you're gonna be stuck with the narration and nat sound mixed to one channel. This gives you more options down the road when you edit.
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Old 05-12-2004, 06:55 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Photog
Gotta add my two cents here: dyvking is right about adding narration during editing as an optimal way of doing things.

One of the most commonplace things I see as a shooter/editor when working with amateur video is narration done during taping. People often ask "can you remove it?" and the answer is almost always, "no, not without taking the rest of the nat (natural) sound with it."
.
I agree - if I were trying to make a 'travelogue' type video, I'd do the voice on a digital voice recorder or something. My primary goal in annotating on the video is just to make better notes on where I'm going. "Turning left at the red barn" is a lot more helpful than looking at the GPS route and saying "I think this was the corner where the red barn was..." On my better days I'll do 400 miles of wandering down logging roads, trails, highways, old railroad roadbeds and whatever looks interesting. Remembering all the landmarks is a bit difficult when you have a short term memory like mine.

What were we talking about?

:)

My secondary purpose is so I can kick software design ideas around and compose letters "on the fly" while I'm commuting the 30 miles of empty interstate I travel each way. I don't really need the video from that, but the remote control start/stop/pause button and only having to take one device with me still make the camcorder the weapon of choice.

Thanks again for the good advice!
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Old 05-12-2004, 08:00 PM   #26
inte
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Recommended helmet cam?

I saw the "helmet cam tips" thread, but I have a more fundamental question:

What are some recommendations for a make/brand helmet cam to use?

I'm most concerned with achieving optimum image quality. will be running it to a mini-DV cam in a hard case strapped to a chest protector.
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Old 05-12-2004, 08:10 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inte
I saw the "helmet cam tips" thread, but I have a more fundamental question:What are some recommendations for a make/brand helmet cam to use?
I've been using the 480-line cam from this outfit. So far, so good. The cam seems strong and versatile.
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Old 05-12-2004, 08:27 PM   #28
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Not gonna endorse or recommend anything, just some background:

Many vendors are repackaging Sony-based lipstick cameras and selling them under whatever brand name they have. Other brands are around (first one I worked with in the mid-90's was Toshiba) but the Sonys seem to be most common, with usually 2 levels of resolution to choose from. The defining differences, vendor-wise (beyond resolution choices) are the variety and quality of support accessories (battery packs, mics, LANC connectors, housings, and so on) and how well they are wired. Lens choice is equally important. And, like anything else, you'll want to look at the warranty, service, tech support, and so on.

I have to be able to mount cameras on anything from motorcycles to aircraft to humans to critters so my needs are biased towards rugged systems that I can munge together in the field with standard connectors if I need extensions or have to connect them to other video systems. Some vendors provide one-cable connections--wasn't what I needed but might be something useful to you.

I wouldn't shy away from the low-end cameras, which can be had for as little as $150-$160 on Ebay and online, since most are based on the Sony chip. This makes for inexpensive experimentation, and you can always upgrade once you know exactly what you want to do. One caveat would be to remember that if you go with a 380 line camera and later move up to a 480 line camera and choose to use them both at the same time you'll see differences. However, I've seen really good results with the 380 line systems.

If you want to get into splitting hairs, you'll want to know how certain lenses work in concert with how the camera will handle contrasty situations. In other words, how well will your system cope with a wide shot showing lots of sky, or lots of road, in terms of exposure? It's a common situation.

You'll probably end up making your own custom mounting system...I've outgrown the supplied systems but a trip to a hardware and/or outfitter store fixes that quickly.

Get to know your camcorder or VTR, and don't ignore your audio, either. It's just as important.
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Old 05-14-2004, 01:14 PM   #29
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My helmet camera

Quote:
Originally Posted by inte
What are some recommendations for a make/brand helmet cam to use?

I'm most concerned with achieving optimum image quality. will be running it to a mini-DV cam in a hard case strapped to a chest protector.

They all use the same couple of Sony cameras as far as I can tell, all you're really buying is the mount and connections. I got the higher resolution one, the image quality is excellent.

I got mine from helmetcamera.com - it's okay. Camera and mount are nice, the rest is mediocre at best. The battery pack, microphone and other accessories are pretty lame. The 12V car adapter blew a fuse (if it has one) or broke a wire the first time I used it.

In particular, don't waste your money on the headband mount. I thought I might have some uses for it while riding my mountain unicycle - but instead of some elastic band or something it's just a crappy bit of nylon webbing with a couple inches of velcro stitched on it. It'd be about as comfortable as tightly strapping some nylon webbing to your head. It's inexpensive but definitely not worth the price or the shipping cost.

They were fast on delivery and accurate on the order - although I tried to order two additional lenses for it and the website apparently ate that part of my order so I didn't get them.

The mount is a pain in the butt to get the camera level side-to-side. It's just a round security-type CCD camera so you have to set it somewhere flat, level it out, tighten down the allen screw and then make sure that tightening the screw didn't cause it to twist a bit. It takes several tries to get it to level out. I still haven't gotten mine perfect, when it does I'll use an awl to scratch an alignment mark into the back of the housing and camera.

If I had it to do over again I'd look for one that has a simple cable - just video and power connectors. The mess of cables (video, audio, power, mic, mic power) for mine is a pain in the butt.

I got a Sony DCR-HC40 camcorder and I love it - works perfectly with this combo and the touchscreen and the LANC button and remote control makes it easy to use.

One thing I learned - I've been taking all the excess cable and coiling them into a zip-lock bag along with the allen wrench, battery pack etc. Makes for a lot less mess in the tank bag.
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Old 12-23-2004, 03:53 PM   #30
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Question Helmet camera recommendations

Hey everyone,

Happy holidays to everyone. Need some feedback. I am thinking about buying a helmet camera to record some of the rides that I have planned in 2005. I know that there are a couple of companies out there that offer camera kits for moving activities. I would really appreciate any recommendations from current users on what they are using for helmet cameras. Thanks for the feedback
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