Making Mountain Biking Videos
[Update 2010] My newest helmet cam: The Contour HD 1080P camera..
[Update 2007] Read about my latest HD helmet cam setup.
First published 3/26/05
To make videos of mountain biking, I first had to find a way to mount a camera securely. I have a Sony DCR PC-5 mini DV video camera with a 0.6X wide angle lens adapter installed. It's nice and compact. So I decided to mount the entire camera on my helmet. But why would I want to mount the entire camera on my head when I can go out and buy a tiny lightweight lipstick camera?
Well, for several reasons:
Who knows, maybe they've gotten better by now. I'm always looking for something better. After all, it is kind of a pain carrying 8lbs on your head, although I've gotten used to it by now, including the stares I get from people.
Here's a couple links to places that make lipstick cams:
And here's a link to a new concept in recording:
www.mydejaview.com (update 12/2007 -- This company's website no longer exists)
This hands-free wearable camera is always recording. You just press a button to save the last 30s. Kind of like a TiVo for your life. Now you can capture all the crashes you would miss otherwise.
Before you take your first video, make a checklist. This will avoid many mistakes that can ruin your footage.
Also, periodically check during filming to make sure nothing has changed, such as dust getting on the lens or water. I lost a lot of footage one time when water droplets got on the lens and the camera focused on the droplets instead of the trail. Doh!
Recently I got a new mounting system from RAM Mounts. I can mount my camera just about anywhere on my bike using this system. I've tried the handlebar, fork, seat post and top tube. Even though it feels secure the camera still moves on rough trails. I've only had good luck with the top tube mounting position shown in the photo at the top. It's confusing to figure out what you need from the catalog, but if you call gpszone they carry RAM Mounts and are very helpful.
After I've filmed a ride, I fire up my Mac and import it through the Firewire cable. I use iMovie to do all my editing. iMovie is pretty basic - you can't do fancy editing, effects or transitions. Probably better that way because the one thing I can't stand is a lot of cheesy effects.