Living with or at least holidaying with a helmet camera.
On a whim, well on the recommendation of the Gadget show, I bought
a Oregan Scientific helmet camera for use on my bike and so obviously
it came on holiday with me.
I should point out that I have had a few versions of the camera
due to early ones just powering down after a few minutes. Each time
the shop replaced them but the symptom persisted until I started
using 2700mAh metal hydride rechargeable batteries, since then the
camera has behaved flawlessly.
With a 2Gb SD card in it it will record 1 hour 2 minutes at 30
frames a second and 1 hour 20 minutes at 15 frames a second (I still
don't know why you don't get twice as much time when you half the
frame rate, perhaps when I'm back on the Internet I'll find out). For
commuting I use 15 frames so I can just start it and forget but on
holiday that seems pointless.
For cycling long distances, like the journey not
to the viaduct, it was not particularly useful. It is impossible
to predict when you will want to record. So I just hit record at the
top of the hills and tried to remember to stop recording at the
bottom. Since hills in France are real hills this results in many
minutes of content of the form of “cyclist's eye view of going
down a hill”.
The best videos have been when out with the family cycling. I now
have video of all my children cycling all be it from the rear but it
still shows those early rides.
I also took the camera out on our canoe trip, where it had to be
strapped to my head, partly to see how it would work, partly to see
how waterproof it really is (alas my canoe stayed upright) and partly
just to look ridiculous, something I do rather well.
Three things came out of this.
You need to take much more care of where the camera points.
This seems obvious but as the camera has no view finder you need to
get someone else to line it up. I failed to do this and have some
videos where the shot is framed in the right of the shot and then
the action all disappears stage right.
Not having a viewfinder allowed me to forget about the camera
so, while I looked strange I was able to get on with having a laugh
and then dealing with the footage later.
Lots of people seemed to think having a video camera was
actually pretty cool, but most of those people looked like geeks, ie
people who should be respected.
Not having a viewfinder is both a blessing and a curse. It
prevents you from spending hours worrying about filming events rather
than being part of events however it also means that if you have not
set up the camera perfectly, something that is extremely difficult to
do when you wear it on your head, you can end up with a lot of poor
or useless footage.
I look forward to the time when a camera is built into your sun
glasses and can record 8 hours of footage. However until then the
helmet camera is an entertaining bit of kit.