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HelmetCam --- FINALLY!

2154 Views 13 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  brianmdavis
Recall the threads with the film of the bike accident and all? Many Duc-MS members said they were going to get HelmetCam setups, including me.

Well, got all my gear and the weather cleared enough last Saturday for me to try it all out, actually a second time.

I attached the clips, one 40MB for those who have the speed to download it, one 10MB for the more challenged. Did not include a file size for dial-up because if you are still using dial-up, you should not even be on line.

The Specs and Details:

Scene: It's driving around San Francisco, which is no fun at all. This is an interesting change from those who post nice video of rides in the country or on the twisties. My film is actually distressful at times, seeing all the BS that can happen on city roads. But what the hell, maybe it's a good training film. And hey, if nothing else, I think the film captures the Ducati sound and ride, so on a rainy day, play the film.:)

I paid about $160 on eBay for a helmet cam.


The above is a "naked" camera lens, meaning you have to hook it up to a recording source, a camcorder.

I had a JVC DX-77U mini camcorder with the capability of recording from an AV external source, such as this camera. You need to make sure the camcorder has an AV jack that says "In." This typically means it can record from external VCR's, DVD players, or in my case, a HelmetCam.

Since I already had the camcorder [for about 2 years], I consider the total cost of the HelmetCam to be the $160.


Setting up the camcorder in a pouch on the bike, running the cord up to the camera on the helmet, attaching the microphone to the bike frame, turning on the camera, getting the right mounting angle for the cam on the helmet, etc. was a hassle the first time.

But, last Saturday it took me about 5 minutes to hookup and turn the cam on, since I was now familiar with it.


The camcorder has digital stabilization, which I turned on. I do not know if that made a difference [no time to test the cam with that feature on and off].

The Sony HelmetCam lens works good very well, better than what you see in the below files [I had to compress the file for posting on the Net, so quality degraded at least 60%, if not more. On the 10MB file, quality degraded maybe 70%]. And compressing from the DVD [see below] to a PC WMV format even further degraded quality.

Actually, I did a check on the DVD disc, it shows the one-hour recording was 2.6GB in size. So that means I reduced the file for posting here from 2.6GB down to 40MB. That's a LOT of compression.

The HelmetCam does NOT like sunlight hitting it, as any camera does not. There is a way to adjust white balance, etc., but I did not bother with that on this second run.

There is also a way to focus with the optional remote, but I did not buy the remote, so the lens is fixed to infinity. I thought it worked fine.

The mic that comes with the camera is crappy, at least on the first run. Last Saturday I put foam from a phone headset on to the mic on the bike, taped it, and assumed it would act as a wind barrier. That worked like a charm, as you can hear.


After I got the raw DV tape home, I could directly transfer it on to my computer. But instead, I hooked up the camcorder to my DVD recorder [not my VCR, but the DVD recorder, which I use now, instead of the VCR].

After I put it on a DVD, I put the disc content on to my PC hard drive. From there I have programs that convert DVD [MPEG2] files into WMV format. That resulted in a 2.6 gigabyte file being reduced to about a 400MB WMV file.


I then opened Moviemaker, did the edits that you see, and then saved the file to the hard disk. Moviemaker gives you the option to save the file in WMV format to any size you want. The default for this movie was 128MB [which is what Moviemaker said was the ideal size for good quality].

I saved it twice, one in 40MB and the other 10MB. If you want, you can see the difference by downloading both files and comparing.

For grins and folly, I also saved the file to 3MB. You can open that to see how crappy video can get if you compress it too much, from 2.6gb down to 3mb, that's obscene.

I also saved it to Moviemaker's 128MB size so to compare. It looked very good. But I did not upload such a huge file on to my server.

OH.... it's only a 10 minute film, albeit the recording from the camcorder on to the DVD was 58 minutes. I edited it way down for two reasons: 1) size concerns; and 2) BORING...... So the 2.6gb file size on the DVD disc was for one hour of taped material, not the 10 minutes available for download here.

e-mail me or post questions.


P.s. I liked how the sound turned out. About as close to live Ducati sound as one can get, at least from what I have ever heard out there. Figured this was better than putting some background music on it.

Also, as to my riding, which I have said before, I make lots of noise on the road so people can wake up and see me coming. They hear me first, then usually get out of my way.:D


Roto [the non-Watergate plumber guy]



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· Registered
3,281 Posts
Dear Mr. Roto Video-

Thanks !

That was a lot of fun and it has me thinking it might be a good thing to do. If I proceed with a similar setup, I hope to rig it so that I can record my next roadside discussion with the CHP when I am on my Norton. ( The bike that shows an especially low level of social integration/socialization.)

Am I breaking any laws by doing that ? And if so, uh.....how much would THAT ticket be ?

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