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Helmet Cam Update

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With that video on the motorcycle crash and discussion, some of you said you were going to look for a helmet cam setup. I too like the idea that the helmet cam saved that rider's butt from the person at fault denying liability.

As a convenience, I compressed her video of the accident, down from her 19MB to a 3.9MB file. Here it is if you want to download it.

http://www.heartinsanfrancisco.com/BikeAccident.wmv

I have decided to update my camera and leave it on at all times on my rides. I have been looking for the Sony 520 resolution camera setups.

This guy on eBay has a lot of info on helmet cams. Not saying he has the best one out there or even the best deal, but he has taken the time to post a lot of information about the cameras and the technology.

Check it out.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=5869292452&fromMakeTrack=true
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Dawn, the rider who got in the accident and caught it all on tape, had posted pages on her site as to her accident, and her particular helmet cam and camcorder.

In addition to links, I saved her pages in PDF format in the event the her pages are someday taken down.

On the accident & "Film":

http://www.smoothcurvesracing.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=304&highlight=sony

http://www.heartinsanfrancisco.com/SmoothCurvesOnAccident1.pdf

http://www.heartinsanfrancisco.com/SmoothCurvesOnAccident2.pdf

On the Helmet Cam:

http://www.smoothcurvesracing.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=280

http://www.heartinsanfrancisco.com/SmoothCurvesOnHelmetCamera.pdf

On the Camcorder:

http://www.smoothcurvesracing.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=279&highlight=sony

http://www.heartinsanfrancisco.com/SmoothCurvesCamcorder.pdf
 

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I have been looking for the right set up for some time now and came across this samsung mini dv

http://www.samsung.com/Products/Camcorder/DigitalMemory/SC_X105LXAA.asp

I saw it at best buy for 500.00 and it comes with the external camera for mounting. Its size (2.31"(W) x 3.65"(H) x 1.15"(D)) is unbelievable!!! It is advertised for active use, i.e. on a bicycle or snowboarding. I am seriously looking this one up and down!

Not that samsung is a small company but i do like the "smaller" companies as sometimes the big companies (like sony) ride on their names too much. I have had quite a few problems with the last two sony products purchased.
 

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Cool. Been looking for a setup myself. The only thing is it has 512MB memory with no options to upgrade.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
raffyk said:
Cool. Been looking for a setup myself. The only thing is it has 512MB memory with no options to upgrade.
Here is a post I made in Chat:

That is nice in concept, but IMHO there are many alternative tapeless cameras or camcorders that can be set up to work with a separately purchased helmet cam. Plus, it got lousy reviews [see below]. Sadly, a cool concept, but in the end, a bad product.

The Samsung is good if one wants it mostly for sports use and does not want to expend the the hours it may take to find and set up the individual components and parts needed for a setup similar to the Samsung. Moreover, as to a full-sized camcorder setup, I note that toting around a 1 pound camcorder on the waist is not the ideal, nor having one mounted on the tank.

I am currently looking at tapeless camcorders and also digital cameras with a movie mode [but only as a temp solution. I suspect I will NOT be using these as a permanent bike recording method because none of these work that well [MPEG 4 and AVI are not that good for recording. MPEG 2 is the DVD format, MPEG 4 is too compressed, so quality is lost].

I will probably end up using my JVC camcorder, a GR-DX77, which is a tape MiniDV [digital video] model, that weighs 1.5lbs with battery and tape.

I have about three of the small camera/camcorders [similar to this Samsung] that I am looking to using for the bike. Two of them are older, but the Aiptek MPVR is a newer one. It may work well and they advertise that it can be used as a recorder from an external source.

All of the ones I have, and considering, have an AV jack, and USB too. But I have not bothered to look to see if my older ones can accept an external camera. My older ones also record in AVI, which is NOT as good as MPEG, which the Samsung records in.

I just bought a helmet cam for $190, which includes this seller's "EXView" add on, which will purportedly give it good night recording capability.

http://cgi.ebay.com/520-Res-Helmet-Cam-Sony-Vivid-Video-Color-Bullet-Camera_W0QQitemZ5871795685QQcategoryZ48629QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

The seller seemed very knowledgeable and is probably willing to help with any setup issues, as his communications have been excellent when I made the purchase [when I wanted to add on the EXView option he got back to me the same day, about 3 times, to answer my questions].

Here are the makers of the tapeless cameras I have, that is, the ones that record in AVI format on to an SD or CF chip. Note: I just picked up a mint used Aiptek MPVR [their top model] for $50 on eBay. Deals like that don't happen too often. Note that the newer models record in MPEG, the same as the Samsung.

http://aiptek.com/

http://www.mustek.com/ProductLine.aspx?category=digital%20camcorder

Now, most important, here is a review of the Samsung. Not too glowing:

http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Samsung-SC-X105L-Camcorder-Review.htm

In the end, like I said above, I will probably be using the JVC MiniDV Tape camcorder since it has a better recording format, longer recording times, and has digital image stabilization, plus it is small as camcorders go, but weighs about 1.5 lbs. I will use it with the helmet cam I just bought.

 

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Small DVR

Hey Guys,
I hope this is allowed on this forum.

I have a website that sells some DVRs. Here is a link to on that cost $289.99 that you can hook up an external camera to it. I don't know if it fits your needs but it may.

Portable DVR

I hope I'm not breaking any rules with this post.
 

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grinder96 said:
I have been looking for the right set up for some time now and came across this samsung mini dv

http://www.samsung.com/Products/Camcorder/DigitalMemory/SC_X105LXAA.asp

I saw it at best buy for 500.00 and it comes with the external camera for mounting. Its size (2.31"(W) x 3.65"(H) x 1.15"(D)) is unbelievable!!! It is advertised for active use, i.e. on a bicycle or snowboarding. I am seriously looking this one up and down!

Not that samsung is a small company but i do like the "smaller" companies as sometimes the big companies (like sony) ride on their names too much. I have had quite a few problems with the last two sony products purchased.
Have a couple of helmetcamera setups, including this one. Has its pos/neg. Stock storage isn't great (power and media) but a spare battery and a large memory stick can take care of that. Where this camera really shines is its ease of use and small form factor. I just park the tiny camcorder in a pocket with a single cable leading to the bulletcam I have on the side of the helmet. For travel (just throw it in a suitcase), simplicity, etc. it has its advantages.

If curious about the recording quality it isn't as good as a bullet cam connected to a camcorder, but one also doesn't have to fuss with the spaghetti network of cables, a larger camcorder, and the recording isn't bad for sporting or onboard rides. Examples of the video...

(Utah 12 - Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument)
http://www.farson.com/video/slcd4.wmv

(A Lonely High Altitude Road Where Time Stands Still)
http://www.farson.com/video/gstarry.wmv
 

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sfarson -- thanks so much for sharing your videos ... the quality of that samsung is not bad at all, looked like some really nice riding out there too - I could almost feel the cold!

I also like the second song very much, while my wife liked the first one - so you will have to name both! :D

I use a Bulletcam along with a Canon camcorder. I know what you are saying about the spaghetti wires which are miserable when it comes to that set-up... I am also having trouble getting it on to my PC as I need an IEEE 1394 connector, which I have not have had time get yet... I did finally order one yesterday, so I'm looking forward to sharing soming of my vids too. The Samsung looks very interesting as far as convenience with less wires and ease of transferring to the PC.

Thanks again for the great videos -- I have watched every one of them from start to end. I put them on while I am working sometimes - makes me feel like I'm riding :D
 

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Thanks migz123. Very much.

The first one your bride likes is the well known "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". What is not well known is the artist, who is Eva Cassidy. Someone who has become quite famous since passing away from skin cancer in her 30's. Can she sing. When 9/11 happened I was marooned far from home on a biz trip but fortunately had a rental car. As I drove home I heard radio stations playing this song. Moving.

Tune #2 is from a great collection of music coming out of South Africa called "Breathe Sunshine". Enter "Breathe Sunshine South Africa" at Google and you will find links to it. The track is "Step Two". I've had others ask about this tune.

The IE1394 connector will help much transferring the video to your hard drive. If you ever need a video fix, PM me. Have over a 100 of many great roads, many places.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
More Helmet Cam Stuff

As stated before, I bought on eBay a cheapo camcorder/camera combo for $50, where it retails for about $200 and sells new on eBay for about $150. It's the Aiptek MPVR.

http://search-desc.ebay.com/aiptek-mpvr_W0QQcatrefZC6QQfromZR10QQfsooZ2QQfsopZ3QQfstypeZ1QQftrtZ1QQftrvZ1QQftsZ2QQsacatZQ2d1QQsaprchiZQQsaprcloZQQsbrsrtZd

http://aiptek.com/

Anyway, today I tried out the camcorder feature. Have to say considering it was indoors and dark, it did pretty well.

When I get my helmet cam I will plug it into this cheapo camcorder and see how it does on the road. [It has an AV in port, so it will accept the helmet cams' cords, plus it has image stabilization].

Obviously, this thing is not made for aggressive sports or motorcycle filming and I am sure it will come nowhere near the vibration free filming like some member's Samsung camcorders. But for such a low price, never hurts to see how it does. May be a total bomb because as you can see in the video, any quick movement causes the shot to blur big time.

This camcorder records on to SD chips, in ASF format, which is NOT MPEG4 recording. [Many tapeless recorders, including the Samsung, mention MPEG4 in their specifications, but if you read carefully you will see what they are saying is that they use MPEG4 type technology or compression to record, but not the process. Advanced Streaming Format is Microsoft's audio/video format, meant specifically for streaming purposes [playing online, etc.]. It DOES NOT specify how the video or audio should be encoded, but instead just specifies the structure of the video/audio stream. This means that ASF files can be encoded with basically any audio/video, such as AVI, and would still be in ASF format.

As for editing, I transferred the raw Aiptek ASF file [meaning that "movie" that was on the SD chip located in the camcorder], from the camcorder on to the desktop. I then opened the FREE Windows MovieMaker and imported the video into Moviemaker.

Once in Moviemaker I added the title for the film, which took all of about 1 minute.

After that I told Moviemaker to save the video to the desktop. Note, an interesting feature that Moviemaker has, but which is overlooked, is the ability to save the movie in whatever file size you want. Obviously, smaller file sizes degrades quality.

For example, the raw video that was on the SD chip from the camera was 18MB [for a 1 minute clip]. I told Moviemaker to save it to 5MB. That is attached below.

For fun, I also said to save it as a 1MB file. The 5MB, for viewing on line, did not make that much difference than the raw 18MB file [albeit, the 18MB file had a bigger screen compared to the 5MB. The smaller the file size, the smaller the picture on screen].

1MB looks crappy, but that is fairly aggressive in terms of compressing a video file. Pretty amazing though when you think about what you are doing, making a two-minute recording and making it into a 1MB file.

Here is MovieMaker's screen where it asks you the file size you want to produce. Again, on the one file below I said to make the 18MB file into 1MB.

http://www.heartinsanfrancisco.com/moviemaker.jpg


Oh, forgot to mention. The Aiptek MPVR does not record in stereo, only mono. But I think it sounds fine, especially since stereo recordings do not matter much, except maybe an air show or race where your camcorder may be able to distinguish direction of sounds, such as a jet or bike passing by.

Well, this is more than you need or probably want to know, but it is interesting, at least I think so, how helmet cams can be set up, shot, edited and posted on line or kept for your records [e.g., accidents like Dawn's].

http://www.heartinsanfrancisco.com/900Warmup1min.wmv

http://www.heartinsanfrancisco.com/900SSSPRainyDayWarmup2min.wmv

http://www.heartinsanfrancisco.com/900test1MB.wmv
 

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Thanks again sfarson! I have found the tracks and ordered them.

I just went through the second video again here at work ... man that video really takes you to another place! I like the historical shots, it's not just like a motorcycle ride, but a little journey through time.... absolutely fantastic!! Thank you again!

Roto --- thanks for the editing tips as well, I'll be surely going back to this thread once I get my PC wires and software in. I'm already looking forward to playing around with it and have some videos ready.
 
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