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more info on helmet cams please!

29 posts in this topic

Ive been searching posts in the archive for a wile now and I have learned a little but Im still a little hazy about which camcorder would be best for the helmet cam thing. Im sure some of you guys that have one probably know by now wether the cam you got was a good decision or not.

Ron in So Cal - I noticed you said you purchased a Sony CCD-TRV82. How do you like it? Is that plenty of camera for the cam and everyday videoing?

Ive got the helmet cam coming in friday and I am really anxious to try this thing out. Looking forward to your feedback so I can do some shopping this weekend! :)

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Darin from Missouri - 1999 WR 400F

Enduro Heaven

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Yes, there's lots of info in the old posts. Hi-8 is fine for starters. Maybe just try to get one that's not too big or $$; easier to carry and less $$ pain upon damage. A smaller one is less prone to damage too because it doesn't get in the way.

Good luck!

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I suppose I could ask my friend Larry... he tapes stuff for SpeedVision with one. I'd guess his setup is more expensive than you'de like though.

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I'm not really qualified to answer which is 'best', but can tell you what I know.

I am using the camcorder I had before purchasing the helmetcam, which is an old Canon. I've also used my buddies Sony. Each of them are standard 8mm - non digital.

Both work fine for capture, like the Helmetcam website says - if you can tape the news off of TV then you'll be able to tape from the Helmetcam. Both are bulkier than I'd like, and I feel the weight at the end of a long day! The Sony is easier from a controls perspective, since the Canon requires that I enter menus each time to change the input source. This means taking it out of the fanny pack & horsing around instead of just hitting record.

A digital camcorder would be preferrable from a quality, ease of transfer to pc, and size/weight perspective. BUT...the cost a lot more.

So...if budget isn't an issue get a Digital (I don't know anything about the different models of these since I'm a cheapskate :)). Make sure you get the ultra long life battery, because it's annoying carrying spares, & really annoying running out of battery just before the best part of the ride!

If budget IS and issue, find an old used 8mm Sony for a couple hundred bucks. It'll work just fine.

The tricky part (I'm discovering), is capturing the hours of video & making something worth watching. I'm having some frustration learning the technical side of pc capture, and the commands/terminology/interface of the capture software.....& the time to do it!

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Milkman,

Good question. Without a doubt, a digital camcorder is the way of the future. Digital is also very expensive right now. If you plan on putting videos on the computer consider digital, but get ready to buy a new high-end computer with gazilla-bytes of storage soon.

I went with Hi8 because it's much less expensive and it's easy to get the videos on good old-fashioned VHS. Also, I would not be too bummed if I submarine the thing in a deep water crossing or smash it on a rock somewhere. I'm also not to serious about it, just having fun.

So far I'm very happy with Hi8. It works great for recording whatever you want and is not over kill for the HC.

If I was to do it again, I would buy Sony's new Hi8 unit (not sure of the model number but I see it in the Sunday paper every weekend) that costs $299 brand new. Look in stores like The Good Guys or Best Buy. They advertise this unit at this price. I'm sure it's better than the one I have and the price is right. If you want I can get the model number for you this Sunday.

Cueball has some good points: "The tricky part (I'm discovering), is capturing the hours of video & making something worth watching. I'm having some frustration learning the technical side of pc capture, and the commands/terminology/interface of the capture software & the time to do it!" Amen brother!

Good luck and enjoy the helmetcam!

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Originally posted by Ron in SoCal:

I went with Hi8 because it's much less expensive and it's easy to get the videos on good old-fashioned VHS. Also, I would not be too bummed if I submarine the thing in a deep water crossing or smash it on a rock somewhere. I'm also not to serious about it, just having fun.

Thanks a bunch guys. This is the info I am looking for.

Ron, the above quote sums up exactly what I am looking for. I dont have a family of my own so I am not looking for something to take endless hours of little league or baby cooing (not that there is anything wrong with that) :)

I think Hi8 is definatly the way to go. The camera you are refering to ron is the Hi8 Sony CCD-TR818 for $300 retail? Is it not? This is the camera I have been considering. As a matter of fact Im going to best buy tonight to check it out.

Thanks cueball for your input. Im very unknowledgeable about all this high tech stuff and Im not grabbing this information as fast as I would like but I think Im just going to stick to the helmet cam and camcorder and stay away from the computer side of things because that sounds like when it gets expensive.

Thanks again all! I will let you know what I decide on so mabye future helmet cammers can prosper in my limited knowledge! :D

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Darin from Missouri - 1999 WR 400F

Enduro Heaven

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Ron, Ive been doing some serious looking the last two days and I have discovered the TR818 dosent have VTR on it!

The guy at best buy told me that only the digital models have the record function avialable on them. I thought he was BS'ing me but after looking at all of them, everything that Best Buy carried in 8mm and Hi8 did not have the record capabilities.

So now am I forced to go to a Digital 8 camera? Looks like it.

I was under the impression that your camera wasnt a digital?

This helmet cam thing is getting expensive FAST!

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Darin from Missouri - 1999 WR 400F

Enduro Heaven

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Milkman,

I find it hard to believe it does not have a VTR feature. My camcorder is a Hi8 unit, definitely not digital and it definitely does have VTR.

It's 3:30 pm right now here in SoCal and I'm at work. At 5:00 I'm going strait to Best Buy to take a look at this unit. I will be able to tell you by 6:00 my time if it will work or not. Don't buy anything yet and don't trust the salesmen at the store. I'll post here what I find out.

I purchased my camcorder from e-bay for $326 this last December. If the camcorder you are looking at does not have VTR then maybe e-bay is another option. They have literally hundreds of them on e-bay, it's just a little risky. I waited until I found someone selling one that was near where I live so I could see it and try it before I gave the seller my money.

Stay tuned…

Ron

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Yikes!

I'm still at work but have looked into this CCD-TR818 model. It does not look good. I am still going to physically look at one of these tonight, but check this out:

http://electronics.cnet.com/cgi/CEPdetail.asp?ptable=Camcorders&pid=1000498

Quote:

"Just when you think that Sony could run out of idea about designing a new look for their camcorders, they've come out with not one but many different better looking picture making machines. This camcrder is very cheap, but you could spend more to get models with 3 1/2* LCD screen. Remember: this new generation of Hi8 camcorder won't allow you to record an external source as the old Hi8 camcorder does. In contrary to a VHS Vcr, the Hi8 camcorder can make a dub from a DVD to take a movie with you on vacation and use your Hi8 cam as a player. In short, a better looking machine with some important features trimmed-off!"

Won't allow you to record an external source = Major bummer for us helmetcamers. I should have looked into this more before I recommended this unit. Let me see what I can see at the store…

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Okay, just stoped by The Good Guys (an electronics store here in SoCal, not sure if they are nationwide) and here is what I found out - THE SONY CCD-TR818 DEFINITELY WILL NOT WORK.

Like you said, no VTR. Sorry about the bogus advice. :)

However, they did have many Hi-8 units on clearance. I did see a Sony CCD-TRV87 Hi-8 WITH VTR for $379.00 brand new. A little more than $299 but this camcorder will work with the helmetcam no problem. I hope you find something that does not cost too much. Shop around, good luck & let me know what you find.

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Ron, Thanks for all your advice. I appreciate you looking at all the cameras for me. I may go with the TRV87 that you recommended.

What functions does this camera have that your 82 doesnt have? What do you dislike about yours?

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Darin from Missouri - 1999 WR 400F

Enduro Heaven

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Image stabilization doesn't do anything 'cause you record your images in VCR mode. The image stabilization only works off video coming through the camera lens.

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Darin,

The TRV87 is basically the same as my TRV82, just a newer model. I'm not sure what the differences are but I would imagine the 87 is better in some ways just because it's newer.

Don't mention the help. '00 in Calgary and techman have helped me a lot with this stuff. They both know way more than I about it, especially digital camcorders and editing.

After looking at all the new expensive digital camcorders out there, I could only complain about the size of my 82. I am used to carrying many things in my backpack and the size camcorder does not bother me. Do I like the 82? YES! Would I buy it again? YES! Would I rather have a $1,700 digital mini camcorder? YES YES YES, but I don't want to pay for it. :)

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Well, I went ahead and dove in head first tonight and bought the DCR-TRV320 Digital 8.

Looks like a great camera with lots of cool features. Now if I can just find the time to learn how to use them.

I was really leaning to the Hi8's but after a lot of thought I decided I would probably ending up regreting it if I didnt go ahead and buy digital.

(now if I can just keep the darn thing safe!!!)

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Darin from Missouri - 1999 WR 400F

Enduro Heaven

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Hey Milkman,

We have some TRV315's at work and they are very nice little units. They're a bit big and have some weight to them, so I'm suggesting that you make a hard-case for it and then have very soft foam inside the case between the camera and the case walls. This case could then either go in your backpack or a big fanny pack. I think it would be too big for going on your chest (but you could try it). At the front makes it infinitely easier to play with controls like start/stop and tape/battery refills.

Here's a big bonus of your choice: if you set it up right, you can stop and pull out the camera at good spots on the trail, flip over from VTR to Camera, and take some normal video, mixed in with the helmet camming. Then go back to VTR and ride off, helmet camming again.

Now grab yourself an Imac DV (or win the lottery and get a 733 G4 so you can put all your stuff to DVD), or get a cheap firewire card bundled with Premiere for your PC.

Good luck with your stuff.

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Originally posted by techman:

Now grab yourself an Imac DV (or win the lottery and get a 733 G4 so you can put all your stuff to DVD), or get a cheap firewire card bundled with Premiere for your PC.

Good luck with your stuff.

Techman,

Could you explain in simple tems what a firewire card does? Is that the same thing as what is referred to as a IEEE card?

I would like to put some of the video on the net and send some clips to buddys through e-mail but Im not sure where to start there.

Excellent idea on pulling the camera out on the trails and taking some video except Im not sure how comfortable I would be riding with it in front of me.

Thanks!

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Darin from Missouri - 1999 WR 400F

Enduro Heaven

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Just a thought for you Cam to PC users... for $50 you can get an ATI TV wonder VE. Cable and composite inputs, lets you watch television on your PC. In addition to being able to watch TV, it has a digital VCR function, so you can record whatever signal you input. It also has a scheduler so it can record TV you want to watch, and will automatically turn on if you want it to at preset times so you don't miss a show you like. It has limitations, but for $50, it was worth it to me just to be able to watch cable in my dorm room without another big TV somewhere.

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BTW, how much are helmetcams going for? What sort of resolution can you get? Has anybody tried to wire up one using a PC Camera? There are some cheap cams available (like <40$) and it can't be that hard to set one up for use as a helmet cam. Anybody know what signals one of these cams would send a USB? A composite (RCA style) signal maybe? If so the conversion would be EEEEEEEASY.

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