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Discussion Starter #1
I want to set up a helmet cam system but have no idea of where to start.

If anyone hear has some experience with good but not broadcast quality motorcycle video systems I'd sure appreciate a pointer on what to look at for equipment.

I'm planning on doing some long rides this year, plus I travel a fair bit with a local MC club and I'd like to add to the still photos I take with some video footage. I want something that can record several hours of riding and allow me to add audio commentary as I ride. Once I get it recorded, I have the software to edit it down.
 

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Not the helmet cam info that you requested, but the route that I decided to go -- this is the response that I wrote to John in Australia after he had a questions about the three Montrose Ride videos that I posted on youTube. He is coming to the States or ride in the west in September.

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I decided to use a relatively inexpensive camera since it could easily get hit be a rock or gravel and it would be all over (no problem thus far), so I purchased a Canon ZR200, which is small, has image stabilization, good optical zoom, and just felt good in my hand. One charge of the battery lasts just about one hour, which is the length of the DV tape (I prefer tape as can easily be reused). I used a RAM mount and can mount the camera to the engine guard (that's where it was in the videos that you saw, thus the reason that the road looks to be close when I bank left as it is on the left guard). Can easily move it to film backwards, from the handlebars (through the windshield), etc.

One can always keep the tapes, but no one wants to sit through that much video, so eventually you need to edit. I dump the tapes to a external hard drive (each hour of video is about 17-20G in the original, and best, .avi format). I use Adobe Premiere to edit the videos down to less than 20min so that I can save it in the best format (.avi) and keep it less than 4.5G so that it will fit on one regular DVD (some folks don't have Dual Layer DVD, which is double the standard DVD). These are in 720x... Format (I prefer the widescreen recording which is available on my camera, normally I just use the Easy Method recording with widescreen, image stabilization, and auto focus on). Can't use the remote since the camera is in front of me, so I get is set up while parked (right amount of zoom, etc) and as we get ready to run a stretch that I know I might want I just turn it on and let it roll. I would not advise this with the wife on-board, but I turn the viewer so that I can see it (poorly in the bright light) and can actually reach down to adjust the zoom while riding. I actually find that a camera with a wired remote would work well, but good cameras all have wireless remotes. I stop to turn the camera off, but leave it on the guard (put the lens cap back on to keep the bugs off; also do not have the lenscap attached to the camera as it just flies all over the place in the wind -- I purchased a couple of extra aftermarket lens caps for when I misplace one, which I have done). The videos that you saw on youtube were each reduced to about 5-6 minutes (must be less than 10 minutes and less than 100M for youtube uplink) and I saved them in .wmv format, 460x... Format, so were about 50M each for upload) -- youtube resizes them anyway. These are good for folks to see via the web, but the originals are VERY good in the avi format.

For most I processed all three videos (each about 15-20 minutes, 3.5-4G, avi format) into a normal DVD (that can play in TV DVD players). Menus for each cut, etc. They turn out pretty good (not as good as the avi that is played in the computer), but very convenient. For a few folks I actually copy the avi file for each cut on its own DVD so that they can have it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Ken, thanks for the helmetcamera.com link. :D

I had seen their product some time ago, before this need came up, and I didn't save their link. With such an obvious domain name it's hard to believe I didn't find it when Googling. I was searching for motorcycle video recording rather than helmet cam. It sounds like they might have what I need and I've sent them an email for info to fill in the blanks.

Thank you also wingnutzz. :D

I'm willing to spend a little on a good system and need several hours of continuous recording capacity so I'd have to find a camera that dropped the image quality a bit in favor of file size. It certainly sounds like a great way you've come up with as most people would be more concerned about the cost.

BTW... What year is that orange wing. I'm finally placing the order for my '07 Burnt Orange later this week. I heard orange was the fastest color 8)
 

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I have hundreds of hours of video that I have shot from all over the US on the bike using the Helmet cam.

You can read my review of the product here:

http://www.angelridevideos.com/reviews

They now have a new model out that has a bit higher resolution than mine. I have been recording onto Hi8mm because the tapes are 2hrs long each. I would like to go to digital MiniDV format, but the tapes cost a lot more and don't hold as much.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the feedback Fred. :D

I had a read of the info posted on your website and found it to be very informative. It looks like one the big differences I have in my needs verses most others is the record time. I need to be able to record a minimum of 4 hours continuous and hopefully 8 or more.

I sent helmetcamera.com some questions about the little mini-DVR. It says on their website that with a 2GB SD card you can record 2 to 8 hours. They didn't explains the difference between the two lengths though but I expect it's likely video quality. I'm thinking if I stick in a 4GB high-speed SD card I should be able to get the required record time by using 1 or 2 of these swapped out part way through the day.
 

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Daddo said:
Thanks for the feedback Fred. :D

I had a read of the info posted on your website and found it to be very informative. It looks like one the big differences I have in my needs verses most others is the record time. I need to be able to record a minimum of 4 hours continuous and hopefully 8 or more.

I sent helmetcamera.com some questions about the little mini-DVR. It says on their website that with a 2GB SD card you can record 2 to 8 hours. They didn't explains the difference between the two lengths though but I expect it's likely video quality. I'm thinking if I stick in a 4GB high-speed SD card I should be able to get the required record time by using 1 or 2 of these swapped out part way through the day.
This is why I stuck with Hi8mm and haven't gone to digital. I can't find any digital format that gets any decent recording time at all, with good quality. Hi8mm allows me 2 hours per tape, with very good quality.
 

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Another option you might look at is Chasecam http://www.chasecam. I've had mine about a year and a half and use it all the time since I have the bullet cam permanently mounted below my left mirror. I record to a Sony DCR-HC32 Camcorder I keep stored in my trunk. I definitely recommend you get a remote button to control your camcorder. It definitely makes for a safer use of a camcorder on a motorcycle, plus saves on the battery too.

DaleC

 

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Here is another company that also offers a motorcycle package that uses a voltage regulator rather than a battery pack. The camera's resolution doesn't seem to be quite as good as helmetcam.com's though. Still, it looks like a quality product with a decent price.

http://www.twenty20camera.com/index.html
 
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