More on Helmetcam (can't reply to prev post)

Just scored a Sony CCD-TRV82 from e-bay for $335. In great shape and still under warranty. Not digital, but is Hi8 format with over 400 lines of rez with stereo sound. The helmetcam is good for 380 lines, so this is gonna work great.

Time for me to start thinking about getting video into a digital world and do the edit thing (just like '00). Currently looking at the Videum AV PCI video capture card by Winnov. 640x480 capture with full-duplex synchronized audio. I've used one of these before and it worked real well, and it's only $160.

Any suggestions on editing software? Hey '00, what are you using?

Hi there... damn I like being able to offer input :) look out there's lots...

The card you show there looks pretty reasonable. I know a lot of folks that are using the ATI Expert@work card as well and it's about the same money. Personally, If you're doing analog to digital (camcorder through a VCR-type connector to video card to hard drive)(Not IEEE1394 or Firewire) then, there's lots of options available.

Editing Software.. I use Adobe Premier 5.1c's expensive (~1000 U.S) and just about all you need to make TV-quality videos. Do I suggest it? Probably not. it's would be like buying Photoshop (hmm another Adobe product) to make xmas cards... overkill.

I have 20+ years of A/V production experience and my demands are high. (kinda like you guys with ton's of dirt experience) The advantage of Premier is that it does the MiniDV digital (IEEE1394) inputs, ton's o' effects/wipe/dissolves, it can export into Photoshop and you can alter each frame if you want, as well it exports to a bunch of different formats. (NTSC, PAL, HDTV, MPEG,etc) so.. do you need this. not likely. Is it nice to have? YES!

I've talked to a bunch of folks and they're happy with a solution called Video Wave

it's quick, easy and cheap (~$150 CAN!!) and delivers good results. Will you be able to control video effects to the frame? probably not, but for 'general' editing it'll work great. ("general" meaning video clips with an additonal audio background) I'm not sure howmany audio track you get with these applications. Premier offer 99 audio AND 99 video tracks to layer stuff up on. I haven't used more that 5 of each, so again. overkill.

Don't even think about editing at 640 x 480. This will consume massive amounts for hardware to run smoothly. I do most of my stuff at 320 x 240 and get complaints about it being too large. When I'm doing the quick render I do those at 120x90 just so I can see the results faster. Naturally, the larger you render it, the longer it takes. I have a PIII733 and it takes an hour to render a 320x240, 30 frame per second, 3.25 minute video.

Last fall I did a 640 x 480, 30fps, 12 min video and it came out to 1.1 Gig of file space. I later erased it and made another at 640x480 for about 500 meg... at least it fit on a CD then.

Premier will also let you edit in a reduced mode and then export in high-res mode. verrry nice but again.. overkill.. I do most of my stuff for computer play-back or the web, not telvision or video tape.

Hardware. Get a large 7200rpm hard drive. File snippets are upwards of 50 to 100meg a piece before editing them. My last bit o' fun had 75 x 50Meg files to edit from. My home box has 50Gig of HD space, 384 Meg ram (you will need at least 128 meg. the more the merrier) and at least a 16Meg video card (I run a 32 Meg Matrox G400)

enough? No doubt I can add more...


Hey '00 - you da man.

Believe it or not, I understand what your saying. I plan on doing my analog to digital / editing @ work. The machines are nice here - many 10,000 rpm scsi drives (18GB each), CD burner and 1GB of RAM per box. Much better than the sled I have at home…

Thanks for the tips on the software. I'll give Video Wave a shot. I think I have the shareware version already. 320 x 240 sounds good. Going to have to wait until after the holidays before I get the capture card and software, but can't wait to rip up my favorite trails with a camcorder on board.

Thanks again.

I just accidentally wiped out my detailed response. So here's another one. Consider going DV. Pull into the computer in DV, edit in DV, print and copy in DV. You can borrow a buddy's handy cam and use it as a digitiser. Just get a Firewire card if your machines don't have those ports (sounds like they're high end and should already) and then choose up an editor. There's Final Cut Pro, Premiere, EditDV, something with the Studio DV ($99) or their DV200 w/Premiere5.1 for $499, and maybe others as well.

I have seen somewhat disappointing analog video capture from cheap cards, even when through their S-video connection. Card quality is all important. With DV you skip that, relying on the DV handycam as a good digitiser. They are. Once you finish working in high quality, you can down convert for web streaming, CD's, web download etc and can always print off an analog copy when required - a 1st generation analog copy. DV is about 5:1 compression, at full size. Broadcast is about 2 or 3:1. Visibly grainy stuff is 8 or 10:1.

You would clearly see the difference between a Hi8 recording and a DV recording from the same composite camera signal. For $ sake of smashing a fanny pack, go Hi8 but convert to DV for the rest of the steps if possible.

Just remember, it used to be ridiculous to conceive of editing video on a computer, then it was crazy expensive, then it was medium expensive but crappy quality, now it's medium expensive for excellent quality and soon crappy quality will be like running on a 386 - it will fall off the scale. So maybe invest in some quality that can produce stuff that's still ok to see, distribute and look good a few years down the road. DV holds that promise until HDTV gets up a head of steam, and is getting very cheap equipment wise for its degree of quality.

Another point - if you saw a 380 line camera beside a 450 line camera you'd be shocked a the improvement. But, leave that for after the infant mortality test - whether your 1st camera stays in one piece for a season.

My 2 cents

I have 20 5-7 minute videos that need to be digitized (at work). We are using

Seems pretty good so far.


Is the best Dazzle board 10 Mbits/sec or about 1 Mbyte/sec? It doesn't seem like that can be mpeg-2/DVD quality, for the price since any DVD software is always big $$. The only explanation I have is it is a hardware mpeg2 compressor which would account for the small data rate (post-compressed). It's got DVDit lite which would cut the cost. $300 U.S. is then reasonable, and I would expect it could do as it claims.

Man, the technology is changing fast!

I have to say that DV is the way I do all my editing. The camera connections are super simple. no fuss no muss. One of the pluses is that I can control the input device (camera)through my 'puter and this makes the gathering of clips easy.

I'm not sure if losing a generation by going from analog to digital just so you can input the digital into the 'puter is the way to go. Video editing is very much about minimizing loss in your image during the manipulation process. Doing transfers cause generational loss and this is the greatest cause of bad quality. (ever tried to watch multi-generation VHS copies.. yeeech) That's why the digital format is so good... it's already digital and txfers are supposedly loss-free.

But analog into digital by means of a decent video card will be ok for web-based presentations. The number of lines in the camera will make more of a difference over whether you use DV or Analog inputs. Spend your money on the camera before investing in a DV set-up.

Your High-8 camera should work great. Since it is High-8 you are recording your signal onto the tape in 2 components. Chrominance and Luminance (ok, I spelled those wrong :) ).. or colour info and brightness info. So... this is the same way the signal is txfered via S-video cables and if you can get a video card with s-video in, you will minimize your signal loss out of a non-dv camera.

IF you were going to use an analog connection, not s-video, your s-video (or High-8) camera would have to convert from s-video signal to an analog signal (by adding an RF carrier signal) to export through an 'standard' RCA-tpe plug where it would be received, striped of the RF carrier and converted again back to a digital signal. Can we add a few more steps in there. :D

I think an important point is that the digital thing is more about minimizing the amount of time you have to deal with the original magnetic media. These tape formats are tiny. Yeah they'e handy as hell, but they are also fragile. The less you play with your video tape the better as each pass by the recording/playback head generates loss or drop-outs due to magnetic media flaking off the tape. With redundant code, DV minimizes this problem but I can still see drop-out in some of my clips. So what you want to do is to get if off the tape a.s.a.p (any way you can) and then deal with it on your 'puter.


"infant mortality test - whether your 1st camera stays in one piece for a season."

Thats the big question.

This whole thing is a big experiment for me. Thanks to all for the insight and advice, and maybe I'll be able to share some interesting footage with you guys. Should be fun trying to go nuts without smashing myself or the equipment. Time will tell… Yeeeeeeehaaaaaa!!!

On the tape durability issue, I agree - play the tape only few times and don't pause it! It sits and grinds on the play head when paused, and inevitably you paused it at an interesting point that you don't want to damage.

The DV codec does have some compression artefact in it, although this is only experienced one time in the initial read-in or native record in a DV handycam. I think the mpeg-2 would be higher quality in terms of not having compression artefact. When digitising off your Hi-8, even though you fed composite from your helmet cam into the unit, I agree that taking it out from the deck and into the digitiser via S-video is the way to go if possible. Every analog connection is generally a source of degradation, so using the best one possible is a good plan. It's pretty cool to find another tech video guy like '00 in Calgary!

A tip for surviving mortality problems: Get a bit bigger fanny pack than the camera and make a foam liner for it so the camera doesn't directly contact the back of your hips/back, doesn't bounce up and hit your chest protector, and has padding underneath in case it bounces down onto the seat. Remember, there's a super precision spinning head mechanism inside there! Use the softest foam possible. Foam on the outer surface would help prevent damage from contacting the ground in a crash. I've gone down a few times and have tended to land on my side/shoulder, saving the deck. But I did roll over it a couple of times - makes you pretty nervous. From that point of view, I think it's less vulnerable near your hips than up in a back pack mid-back, because you typically roll off your shoulders and back in a crash.

Big point - don't clean the dust or mud off your lense with a quick wipe out on the trail. You will guaranteed scratch it. Make sure you have a clear shield of some sort in front of the lense. I use thin Lexan which I periodically replace due to scratching from cleaning it. I also carry a small wipe to de-dust or de-mud it when riding, once in a while.

Best of luck, Ron in SoCal

yep. good points :) I've had great results taping the camera setup to the front of a chest protector. I think it's the most stable place and (opening up another discussion here) how often do you actually drive your chest into the ground? I usually get some sort of roll onto the shoulder/side in there during my get-offs. heh heh That's if I get any input at all into the crunch :D

I've been doing the video thing for a few decades now. :D (going back '75 and 2" open reel VTRs the size of fridges) but... other costs have kept me from buying the stuff needed to get decent bike videos. Lucky for me, that has changed... so I am now anxiously waiting for spring happen. :D I'll have to make do with downhill ski vids until the roads thaw. :D


Neil, I looked up the previous posts and checked back to your web videos - pretty cool. I went to and am curious which model you got? If it's high end, maybe check if you can tap into the S-video output to feed your VTR.

Equipment location - I used to have everything on the back of my chest protector until I needed to backpack extra stuff one day. I have a separate battery pack and a separate preamp for a dynamic mic. I now strapped them on near my stomach. I find that sometimes I need to duck plenty to get under fallen trees or branches, pushing my chest almost onto the cross bar. Hill climbs get me close to the cross bar too. I have hit my preamp and battery on the cross bar on occasion. With the exception of bad crashes, I found a hip fanny pack ok for the VTR. If I get a supersmall DV VTR I bet I could tuck it in real good by my stomach - I'll have to try that some day.

Is your camera in your helmet chin guard or on the side? I had a chin mount once but it hit the bars a few times and got real good closeups of my triple clamps on occasion. Quite humorous, like a bad 3-D movie!

Something I want to check into is remote on/off, rec/stop for long rides, so I don't have to stop, unzip the fanny pack, mess with everything, rezip up etc all the time. Any ideas?

Hi there...

well, explaining your circumstances gives good reason to go for the low kidney belt positioning. I am pretty well a novice at the dirt bike side of motorcycling so I'm still experimenting myself. The big kidney belt with a bunch of foam in it sounds pretty decent, if you can keep the bag from bouncing too much.

I snagged the "pro" model from the I was going for the max line resolution. I think my next one I get from those guys will be one that does fewer lines (cheaper) and I think a pencil cam style rather than the inch x inch x 1.5 inch model. I've seen a few POV cams out there that are pretty damn small. The pencil style you could mount to the underside of your visor.(!) ...the downfall was that they were low on resolution. My goal is to get enough footage together to make a video or two and try to recover a few bucks. To make a decent video, you can't compromise on the quality.

The cam I got came with a helmet harness (std w/ purchase)... so I have the cam mounted on the top of my helmet. It has been banged up a bit but no harm done (heheh) .. so far. I like the idea of mounting it on the chin guard, if, for nothing else, you get some of the bike in the shot.

I've found that mounting the cam up high, like the top of the head, gives a misrepresentation of just how fast you are going. The Highwoodpass video I have is us ripping though a local mountain pass at 100mph+ and it looks kinda dull. To add excitement I'm going to have to go back out and shoot some low level stuff to get the ground flashing by and that feeling of going really fast. I have a few friends that are willing to sit on the back of my FZR with the camera on a pole that they can stick where ever looks good. ... now on a dirt bike. :D it's going to be tougher .

... oh well, oddly enough, that's where a bunch of the video fun is. Figuring out HOW to make the shot and still have fun doing it. AND convincing your friends that they have to do that stunt over and over again so you can make sure you have the shot. (it's tougher with crash video :D)

The makers of the cam (I talked to the guy who actually made my camera :D ) I bought claims it'll handle 80mph in the rain on my street bikes... so mounting it low and doing some stream crossings will be in the works come springtime.

I'm going to play with the cam-on-a-stick concept over the next few months on the local ski hills. The dirtbike side of life won't be around until March. :)

soooo... in the months in between here... when do we get to see some of your stuff? can you post any to the web?


I'm just in the process of converting my thinking from getting video recorded to massaging it for outflow. This was prompted to some degree by the guys I ride with always saying "can I get a copy of that?" I'll let you know if/when it goes out to the public. I'm also starting to think about paying for all those video tapes I used.

It's hard to get Hi-res color in a pencil cam, but I think there's a professional Sony model and also something from Elmo, but they may have "boxes" with the electronic guts. Of course, that's not a big problem because there's a handycam/VR yu have to carry in the fanny pack anyway.

For the heck of it, along the lines of this camera on a stick idea, why not try a short 8" stick going out backwards at 45 degrees from the top of your helmet, so you can see "yourself" in the shot? Kind of like the view they use for video games where you can see "yourself" as you run around shooting everything. I would be very interested to hear if it does anything useful. My camera is too big and lumpy to stick up like that. It sounds like yours is just a small cube.

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