So you’ve thought about getting a helmet camera to record your cycling for safety/fun but you are not yet sure how to go about it or if it’s for you. Fortunately, I’ve asked helmet camera pro Gaz (I’m sure he won’t like being referred to as that!) to talk about which helmet camera he recommends and how he uses it.
Recently, as if to illustrate the value of helmet cameras, Gaz was hit by a car as he was pedalling down a bus lane. Of course being a helmet camera cyclist he captured a video of it.
Anyway, onto Gaz’s pearls of wisdom..
ContourHD Helmet Camera
My helmet camera of choice is the ContourHD. HD quality, slim line, multiple mounting options and easy to use buttons makes it a winner for me. Its advantage over the GoPro is the fact that it isn’t square on when you mount it to your helmet, so it looks a bit better.
But if people don’t want to fork out several hundred for a camera, then I would definitely suggest looking at the Veho Muvi range of cameras, they are great quality, well made and have some good mounting options. If you shop around you could pick one up for less than £50 (£57.99 with sports mount kit).
Staying on top of all the videos you record
I name all my helmet camera videos by [description] [date] e.g. CommuteW 10.10.10. These full videos are stored on a 2Tb external hard disk for 5 months. Smaller clips are trimmed from the full videos using Quicktime Pro and saved in a similar fashion with the description being the number plate if a vehicle is involved.
Getting the videos onto YouTube
Anything which i think could be worthy of going onto YouTube is then imported into iMovie. Here I add visual effects, texts, transitions, voice overs etc. After I’ve edited the video into a state where it could be uploaded, I watch through it several times and think about what reaction I would get. Some things seem pretty minor when viewing them on your computer but could be completely different when on the road, clips that fall into that area I will not upload even if i have put lots of time into them.
As I use a Macintosh, some of the applications I use are not available on Windows, some video editors you can use are Windows Movie Maker and Adobe Premier Elements.
Who should use helmet cameras?
Anyone that uses the road should use a helmet camera. You never know what is going to happen to you whilst you are on the road, and having the evidence on film of what happened from your point of view is so valuable. You don’t have to put lots of time into it like I do, and you don’t have to upload a lot of videos. I know of some cyclists that use helmet cameras that post very rarely on YouTube and that’s great because it’s not taking a lot of time away from their family’s and other commitments they have.
What first got you into using Helmet Cameras?
I really wanted to make a difference to the behaviour of motorists towards cyclists whilst we share the roads. It’s not very common to see a commuter cyclist as far out as Croydon, and thus the drivers aren’t really aware how to behave. So I used to get a lot of stick from drivers and I wanted to document it and see what can be done about it. Slowly but surely making a difference.
This is a little video series that I’m working on which shows common errors that cyclists make on the roads, it’s basically an educational tool to help people understand what they shouldn’t do!