September 10, 2013
Makin' Movies: Motorcycle Helmet Camera Buyer's Guide
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If that’s true then does that mean a video is priceless? That may just be the case with the evolution of mobile video devices becoming so compact, durable, and capable of delivering real time (or near real time) feeds with impeccable quality. A picture is great to stare at and admire, but an awesome video can pull you through the screen and make you feel like you’re part of the action, especially when it’s shot from the point of view (POV) of a motorcycle helmet camera
Speaking of action, the action sports scene has been at the forefront of creating some of the most captivating videos. And within the last decade GoPro has forged the way for extreme sports enthusiasts to stick a camera to their motorcycle helmet and record all their thrills and excitement with the company’s highly popular Hero cameras. Super lightweight with a fixed lens, the Hero cameras capture hi-def video and photos that can make the most inexperienced videogrpaher/photographer look like a pro. And while GoPro may be the leader of this segment, over the past several years other companies like Drift and Liquid Image have joined the game offering consumers an assortment of helmet cameras for videoing all their exploits.
Simple in design and easy to use, these new cameras makes it nearly impossible to take a bad video or picture—even from a helmet mounted camera. To help ensure you get the best hands free videos from your helmet there are a ton of accessories ranging from helmet camera mounts
, lenses, remotes, and microphones.
For GoPro owner’s looking to get the smoothest POV there are plenty of camera mounts allowing them to video from a variety of angles. If you truly want people to experience what you felt as you cleared that 30 foot gap on your dirt bike, then a front helmet mount
is the best choice. With a wide range of adjustment you can put the camera in a low profile position tight against the helmet so viewers feel like they are right there in the saddle as they watch it. With this mount you can also angle the camera out and away from the helmet and point in a downward position so you can get some self-portraits or capture that expression on your face as you case the landing on an unfamiliar track. You could even mount the camera to the back of your helmet from a truly dizzying experience. Want to take someone on a ride along with you, but don’t want to haul around the extra weight? Then you definitely want to pick up a side mount motorcycle camera mount. With one of these stuck to the side of your head it’s like someone watching over your shoulder--without the screaming and yelling.
While the GoPro is easy to use, once the camera is mounted to your helmet and your helmet is on your head it can be a little difficult to get at all the controls and know exactly what setting you’re on. To help solve that problem you’ll want to pick up a Wi-Fi remote
. With this little gadget you can switch from video to photo and manipulate all your camera’s settings all without having to remove your helmet or fiddle around with your hand on top of your head like a monkey foraging for his next snack.
Even though the GoPro is a highly durable unit, like any another camera, the lens is the most critical component in ensuring you get crisp and clear images. But when used as a helmet video camera the lens can be highly susceptible to nicks and scratches. To protect your camera and it’d be a smart idea to pick up a lens cap and door cover to help protect your gear when not in use.
Not everyone is on the GoPro train and that’s okay. Like they say different strokes for different folks, right? Well, for a really unique POV experience how about trying Liquid Image’s Torque Series Wi-Fi 1080P Goggles. Similar to a motorcycle helmet cam, these goggles will capture spectacular video and put the viewer right in the rider’s lap. With its Wi-Fi capabilities, at the end of your riding session you can stream the video straight to your smart phone or tablet so you and your buddies can relive your super hero feats of defying gravity and the principals of aeronautics. And with the Torque’s cutting edge image stabilization technology your videos won’t look like they were shot by the Blair Witch team. Looking to capture a little bit different angle for your next adventure? Install the camera wedge and it will position the lens forward and down by 10 degrees for a little bit different perspective.
Now if you’re not the goggle type, Liquid Image offers its Ego Camera which is a mountable camera. Use it as a motorcycle helmet camera, secure it to your handlebars, roll cage, or just about anywhere, the Ego is similar to the goggle in the fact that it has Wi-Fi capabilities, and great image stabilization.
Another option for a motorcycle video camera is the Drift HD camera. This micro shooter captures 1080P video, has an integrated 1-1/2” LCD two finger touch screen, and takes 9 meg still images. Mount it to the front, back, or side of your motorcycle helmet, the Drift camera has plenty of mounts and accessories to turn you into the next Spielberg of the dirt track scene. Some of the most fun riding is in the rain and mud, so in order to help protect your camera as you puddle jump from spot to spot you can encapsulate your camera in a water proof case.
Want to turn your mud bogging into an educational documentary? Plug in an external microphone into the Drift and narrate the do’s and don’ts of riding in the slop. If you’re never sure if your camera is on or off, then an LED camera cable will solve all your problems. Simply hook it up to the camera and the LED will shine super bright to let your know you’re recording and then less bright to let you know the power is on but not recording.
As you can see, we’ve come a long way from strapping a bulky home video camera around our neck in hopes of capturing the thrills of the road, track, or trials to share with our family and friends. Nowadays not only are the cameras much smaller, lighter, and shoot amazing videos, but they do it hands free from the safety of your helmet. Now you can truly say, “look ma, no hands!”