Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Helmet cam!

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

I celebrated my 30th birthday on Sunday. It was a good birthday; as I posted on Facebook yesterday,

I’ve enjoyed quality time with my wife, mom, sister, and nephews, good food, a little time on the bike, new birthday toys to play with, and a beautiful drive with my beautifuler wife. What more could I ask for?”

What I didn’t mention is what I meant by “toys.” My wife got me a really cool gift: a helmet cam! It’s a “Go Pro Hero Wide.” It’s a tiny video camera that can mount on your helmet, handlebars,  etc. I did a short test yesterday with it on my helmet. The wide angle view lets you see a lot.

The best thing about this camera, though, is that it has slick mounting brackets that make it very easy to mount the camera or remove it, without hassle. It’s also very small, so it should be easy to take it on rides.

Here’s my brief test video from yesterday. The image quality is pretty good. This thing is going to be fun! This ride isn’t particularly interesting — just a test around the neighborhood — but it gives you an idea of the camera’s capabilities.

16 Responses to “Helmet cam!”

  1. Steve A Says:

    I have noticed some of the skiers in the Olympics wearing helmet cams.

    A few questions:
    It sounded very quiet except when you whapped the camera. What sort of traffic noise can you get with it?
    What was that obstacle before the RR tracks? It looks like something to disembowl an unsuspecting cyclist as punishment for riding without a headlight in the dark.
    I couldn’t quite make out what that traffic device was at 3:58. Yes, these traffic cams are interesting, particularly before Aptertome figures out clever editing.
    Is there any sort of stabilization turned on? The image seemed pretty stable to me.
    Can the camera be oriented, say, towards the side or rear if you wish without too much trouble?

  2. RANTWICK Says:

    Sweeet! I look forward to seeing more as you work with it.

  3. Chris Says:

    Bravo! Now, how about one of those midnight rides through the woods…you know, as a test.

  4. Apertome Says:

    Steve: I’m not sure what the deal is with those obstacles by the tracks. I guess they’re to make you think twice before crossing the tracks. Nice idea, but those obstacles are a real hazard to novices. I’ve gotten the hang of them, but even so, yikes. In fact, it’s hard to look both ways to watch for a train, since you have to concentrate on the ridiculous railings.

    That was a stop sign at 3:58. I can’t tell, are you giving me crap for not stopping at it?

    No image stabilization, but with the camera on a helmet, your body absorbs most of the shock. I would like to find a good way to get the camera lower, though.

    Rantwick: Thanks! I’m looking forward to it, too.

  5. Apertome Says:

    I forgot to mention: audio-wise, there are two modes, I think it’s on the quieter mode now. I’ll have to try the other mode and see how it fares. There are some other options I’m exploring as well.

  6. Redbike Says:

    Happy birthday.

    Just turned 30 myself. I was sulking big time for a week or too! I really hated the idea of becoming ‘distinguished’.

    That video/camera is very clear. I was thinking about getting one of the very cheap Chinese £3 ($5) ones off ebay but having seen that video I think I will just keep saving to get a good one.

    I’m highly jealous of the way all the roads/ paths are clear of snow and ice. Here in England we can’t seem to get our roads that clear of ice and the paths simply aren’t cleared at all.

  7. Bill Lambert Says:

    Happy Birthday!

    I think I saw a dark orb in the sky when you started out and at the very end. Very suspicious, like a UFO. Keep your helmet cam with you in case you get beamed up.

  8. furiousball Says:

    ok, so even though i did the most heartfelt birthday wish (aka “hey happy birthday man” on your facebook wall)… happy birthday again amigo. that helmet cam is the coolest thing ever

  9. Dave Says:

    Holy crap, dude…the helmet cam makes it look like you’re FLYING around the neighborhood. Heck, if it seems to add 10mph to our mountain bike rides, I might not be so embarrassed to have the thing turned on when we’re riding! Happy birthday, dude…your wife is a good “gifter”!!!

  10. Myles/ rattrappress Says:

    Your wife is awesome! What a cool gift. I’ve been wanting one of those cameras. The video was nice and steady.

  11. Steve A Says:

    I would NEVER give you crap for running a stop sign! I’m certainly NOT a cop in your jurisdiction! Inquiring minds just wanted to be sure, before the Apertome editing learning curve makes such inconveniences disappear if they do not support the particular message of the day. Rantwick, for example, has gotten far too clever to let such things show in his videos, unless they illustrate a point he’s trying to make.

    Seriously, those RR track things look potentially deadly, as in a cure that is FAR worse than the original problem. I’d be tempted to just abandon the path a block ahead of time and then cut back to the path when things got sane again. OTOH, if touring, I might encounter them with no warning in which case that would not be an option. Commuteres really DO have an advantage. Can you imagine the outcry if they tried to put motorists through a similar obstacle course instead of a simple crossing arm?

    If THAT is no image stabilization, I see little reason to pay extra for same. I look forward to seeing what things sound like if the microphone can be set to be more sensitive, as long as the Apertome editing cuts out the whapping of the camera at starts and ends of segments.

    All in all, an interesting and educational experiment to let us in on, and I want to learn more about it. My iPhone video camera has, so far, not been particularly “bike friendly.” I’ve taken video with it, but rarely when riding. I really LIKE the idea of something one doesn’t have to fuss with.

  12. Chandra Says:

    Happy Birthday, Michael! Wish you many many years of happiness, great health and prosperity.

    Have fun with the toy and please post some videos from the darker hours of the day, if time permits. I would like to see how it works in low light.

    The way you have it mounted on your helmet seems fairly stable! Great!

    One thing I do not like about the camera I have (Oregon Scientific ATC2K) is that the buttons are so tiny and unwieldy. Are the buttons tiny or somewhat big for seniors like me?

    Peace & Health 🙂

  13. Apertome Says:

    Steve: I take the same path, but in the opposite direction, on my way to work. In that case I ride in the street instead until I am past the tracks, which is much safer.

    Maybe the thing by the tracks is supposed to prevent people from riding through on mopeds/scooters? I’ve never seen anyone on any bike path in town on a motorized vehicle, though, so it seems unnecessary.

    Chandra: the buttons on the camera are pretty small. Although there are only two buttons, and they are not right next to each other. It’s a little tricky to navigate with only two buttons, but I have big hands too and the problem is not the size of the buttons, but the fact that it’s not completely intuitive.

  14. Sarah Says:

    Re: The stop sign

    Drat, my plan has been exposed! Buying him the camera was all a ploy. Documenting his indiscretions just makes it easier for me to yell at him! If you want to be all “bicycles have the same rights as cars,” you gotta follow the same rules. Besides, what good is a dead husband??

    Signed,
    The Wife

  15. Steve A Says:

    Note to self. Next time I want to give Apertome a hard time about something on his blog, I’ll have to email him if it’s something that might lead to an ominous-sounding comment from “The Wife”

    Note to “The Wife.” I’m sure this is the only thing he’s ever done anything indiscreet, camera or no. You are obviously much too clever a woman to have chosen otherwise.

  16. Alice Says:

    Thanks for the interesing post on the helmet cam. I’ve looked at these in the magazines and see quite a few cyclists wearing them so I’ve always been curious what the image quality looked like. It seems very sharp and high quality. I mounted an old tail-light bracket onto my handlebars so I can mount my Flip camera. I use that during my more interesting rides. I like the quality of the Flip videos and the software is super easy to use, but by the time I upload the videos to YouTube or the Flip channel, the quality gets degraded enough it looks crappier than it really is. (Which was my reason for considering this Hero helmet cam.) Next time I post a video, I’ll try linking directly to the actual Flip video rather than the YouTube lower-res version. Maybe that’s the fix. Anyway, thanks for posting your video. Looks great!

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