Helmet Cams using lipstick (bullet ) cameras

spectr17

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Anyone using the little lipstick cameras on their helmets or hats for video.



Here is a link to Chris' setup on his mountain bike using a color lipstick camera. It's 21 megs to download but it gives you a good idea what's possible.

http://www.ramsays-online.com/tread/

The cameras are about $100.00 for a color and a bit cheaper for black & white. To run them into a camcorder, your camcorder must be able to record external video sources like a VCR. Sony cams call it "VTR" mode.

The supplier of Chris' lipstick cam was Active Surplus Electronics, 347  Queen W Toronto, ON
M5V 2A4  (416) 593-0909

Another supplier of lipstick cams is http://www.surveillancezone.com/

The camcorder Chris uses is a Sony TRV-87.

Here are some websites that sell the cams already wired to give you an idea what's out there.

http://www.ozemail.com.au/%7Esatcom/helcam.htm

http://www.helmetcamera.com/

http://www.customvideocameras.com/

Please post any ideas, suppliers or experience you have with the bullet cams, thanks
 



gizz

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That's kinda cool. I'm gonna go check em out. The movie is downloading now -- 50KB/sec -- love this starband.
 

ToddP

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Another mountain biker who produces excellent videos is Pete Fagerlin at http://petefagerlin.com  He used to use a lipstick cam but has sinced moved to a small digital camcorder.  I'm looking at getting a lipstick camera for the up coming hunting season.

ToddP
 

ChrisP

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ToddP!!  Don't I know you?  The video you see on my page was made with a camera I have since sold, I bought the one Jesse mentions from http://www.surveillancezone.com/ that looks to be the same quality as the one from helmetcamera.com but half the price.  I don't have any videos online with it but I will soon.  This camera does not have a built in mic like the other one did and I didn't think that would matter, but after testing I find the videos are really sterile without the wind and other noises.  

You would think that you could just buy a microphone and plug it into the mic jack and that would be the end of it, but no, the camera in VTR mode does not pick up a signal from the mic jack, it only takes it from the audio-in jack.  The problem is, the audio in jack expects a preamplified signal from a VCR.  If you just plug a microphone in there you bearly hear a peep out of it.  So, I had to buy a small amplifier that runs off the same battery as the helmet cam, I did a lot of research on these and I will list a number of them that are available later on, I still have some work to do on my own to get the proper connectors soldered to it.
 

Elk Bowhunter

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Any new information on the helmet cams? That would be awesome for filming your own bow hunts with. Turn you head and video what you see. No matter where the deer goes, he is still on tape if he can be seen.
 

ToddP

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Elk Bowhunter,

Earlier this summer I got a lipstick camera and rigged it up to a hat so I could video tape as I shot bow.  The results were so so.  The picture quality wasn't what I expected.  The colors were not as good as from a camcorder.  The other issues I had was with the wires, battery pack and camcorder.  It's alot to get all this stuff plugged together, then put on your body in a manner that you can hunt comfortably with.  I wouldn't recommend it.  It was more of a pain than what it was worth.  

Another thing,  I video myself shooting at a McKenzie target 20 yards away.  On the video it made it look like the target was 50 yards away.  

Alot of these lipstick cameras DO NOT do well in low light like in the evening either.

Later,
ToddP
 

spectr17

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Todd,

What model of bullet cam and camcorder did you use. How did you attach the cam to your head?

Thanks.
 

ChrisP

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There is a wide range of quality when it comes to those cameras.  The more expensive ones tend to be higher resolution with better light reception.  I still have mine but I've sold my Sony 8mm camcorder and bought a Canon Elura 2MC.  It's a miniDV camera, small enough to mount the whole thing onto a helpmet with the proper case.  I haven't had it out yet because I don't think it will take to well tot he freezing temperatures out there right now but I hope to use it soon.  I'm keeping the lipstick cam to use in the winter as well as getting shots at odd angles like off the back of my bike's frame or the roof of my truck.
 

ToddP

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This is the lipstick lens I used, the one on the left.  http://www.microvideo.ca/~microvid/2300cam.htm

The guy has other lipstick lenses but recommended this one for what I wanted.  He askes you what your application is and matches you with the best product he has for that application.  It's fun to talk with the guy because he's in Canada.  You get alot of "ehs" in the conversation.

Another website to refer to is Pete Fagerlin's who produces some great mountain bike video.  He used to use a lipstick cam attatched to his helmet but has since moved to the small digital camcorders.  You can read about his set up at http://petefagerlin.com/video_how_to.htm

To attatch my lens I just cut some holes in a hat and used zip ties to attatch it to the hat.  It worked for testing it out but I probably would look for something a little more durable and less floppy.  I tested the lense this way and found I didn't like the quality so I sent it back.  

The wires were a pain too.  There's one each for sound, video and power.  The power pack was eight AA batteries.  Another issue I had was my camcorder would automatically shutdown when idle.   I would rather it stay on and use my remote to hit record.  

Seems there's always an issue to deal with.

Well,  that's what I can think of off the top of my head.  If you think of something else to ask, fire away.

ToddP
 

ExtremeShot

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Can you give me an idea of total cost for the lipstick cam system?  ... ballpark numbers is fine.

Thx.
 

ToddP

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I was looking at around $300 just for the lipstick lense if I remeber correctly.  Follow the link I have above.  There's prices listed.

Todd
 

saltwaterslick

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Todd, I have the same problem with the shut off after 5 min. idle.  You know anyone who has been able to defeat this feature of the little MiniDV cameras?  Specifically Sony.  I want to get a reverse angle shot set up for mine, but kinda hard to remember to push the record on my remote every 4.5 minutes to keep the camera from going to sleep.
 

ToddP

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I'm not playing around with the lipstick cams anymore.  It just doesn't seem to be worth it.  I have a 'tre-pod' for my camcorder so I'm just going to play around with that.

Later,
ToddP
 

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