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Mine Exploration Forum

Author Helmet cams (bullet cams)?
Vanoord

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Joined: 28/11/2005
Location: North Wales

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Helmet cams (bullet cams)?
Posted: 08/07/2009 19:02:04
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I've been thinking about getting one of these bullet cam thingies... Shocked

Idea would be for underground use and above-ground use, including in some relatively unpleasant conditions so weather-resistance would be a good idea.

I want movies in Quicktime format by preference (using a Mac).

Toadstone kindly suggested these folk [web link] and they seem to offer a decent selection.

Does anyone have any experience of using such a device and can offer any tips?

Ta! Flowers

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Filling space until a new signature comes along...
IP: 81.130.81.22
greyslate

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Joined: 08/05/2007
Location: sileby leicestershire

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Helmet cams (bullet cams)?
Posted: 26/07/2009 20:48:36
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Hi,
I bought a hqr2 helmet cam recorder recently, along with a hq2 camera. bloody expensive.
The camera has a supposed lux of 0.001 at F2.

I took some video on our last trip at cwmorthin in mpeg4 mode but am still working on conversion and burning to dvd.

I am not sure yet if I have the best quality video the unit can produce as there seems to be quite a bit of compression artifacs when moving the camera quickly, so will try it in mpeg 2 mode next time to compare results.
The best lighting I have used up to now is a multi led working light from maplin. It gives a broad light output with looooong battery life.

when I sort out the conversion I will put a short clip on the site so people can see results.
Overall though I am pleased with the results compared to my standard panasonic \dv camera I have been using up to now, with regard to picture visibility in low light .
bye
IP: 78.150.101.81
SimonRL

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Joined: 27/11/2005
Location: North Wales

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Helmet cams (bullet cams)?
Posted: 26/07/2009 22:04:58
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Hi greyslate

I got as far as pricing up a setup based around the old HQ1 and a suitable recorder. Had a very stiff drink and still couldn't take the plunge Smile

But it looked the busness, for size, low light ability and the IP68 rating.

Hope it's working well for you and look forward to seeing the footage you got. Flowers
IP: 90.240.128.254
toadstone

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Joined: 10/09/2007
Location: Father's Dwelling, Big Low

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Helmet cams (bullet cams)?
Posted: 28/07/2009 07:57:06
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Vanoord wrote:

snip

Does anyone have any experience of using such a device and can offer any tips?

Ta! Flowers



Not wishing to perhaps confuse some people but here is my take on what's on offer. This is gained from limited experience but using the knowledge gained in looking at the various specifications, I haven't actually tried each individual system. The first thing to say as ever these days, is how fast the technology is progressing. The result being that having once decided on a path, another invariably opens up a little while later.

It must be remembered too that the quality of the recording is down to the the recorder in the first instance and the method by which it captures and stores the image. So if you buy a high end camera head and process this through a cheap recorder the resulting video will only be as good as the format the recorder will allow. Blindingly obvious but often forgotten. So as ever the best camera along with the best format recorder will produce the best results. Sadly if only that were the end of it.

Anyone who has tried using a standard camcorder and processing the result on a computer will tell you, you've only just begun. At this point we will take a step back because by deciding some parameters before the computer stage when deciding which system, will help in how far you go at the computer stage. This applies to conventional camcorders and bullet cams.

Decide your format and quality. conventional squarish or wide screen. Usually you'll find that by default if you go for wide screen format it is usually HD. I don't have to tell you that the trend is towards this format. Another decision is what exactly will you be doing with the footage? Is it for the web?, do you want to view it on your recently acquired 48" LCD? to which you've had to reinforce your lounge wall to accept such a beast! Or are you quite happy to just play back the footage from the camcorder/recorder either directly through its own LCD screen or a TV/monitor?

The next parameter is what format does the camcorder/recorder store the moving image? There are basically 3 on offer at the moment, each one having its own pros and cons. Each will decide how and to what lengths you are going to have to go to when you process the footage on your computer. The formats are:
mpeg2/4: most widely used for conventional frame format. Stacks of proprietary and free software to process footage and to produce DVD's and the like.

AVCHD: an HD codec. It requires post processing unless you view it directly from the camcorder's LCD or if played through a monitor/TV. Usually comes with proprietary bundled software which at best is awful to use but will produce a DVD of sorts. The better way is to use third party software which will convert the AVCHD .mts file into a readable file for use on both PC & Mac. I use software called Voltaic to accomplish this. Post processing uses vast amounts of memory and hard disk space. As an example depending on the complexity of the footage a 10 meg AVCHD file will give a 50 meg .mov file. This process also takes time and is dependent on the "power" of your computer.

mov: This is usually associated with Apple's H264 codec. It is a superb codec it will also save on post processing time and software. It is also favoured by some of the stills cameras that allow movie recording.

If by this stage you've gone off the idea I don't blame you it is sadly a nerdy subject if you want to get the best out of it. OK ........next .......Computers.

Where do you start? Again its a question of the small print. Do not expect an old Pentium 2 with 256mbs of RAM, with an 80 meg hard disk to deliver full HD processed footage. Whether you are PC based or Mac the requirements are as follows.
Processor chip............the biggest and fastest.
RAM..............................As much as the motherboard will allow.
Hard Disk.....................Big but not huge, useful to have 2 or more especially with Macs where you can use one as a scratch disk. Speed, without doubt 7,200rpm. Low end PC's and laptops are usually 5,400rpm. Can still be used but it will take more time to process and you will suffer from crashes if handling big files on a PC. Macs are more forgiving mainly due to how Macs handle memory and software.
Video Card..................The best along with extra RAM onboard. Allows instant viewing/joggle, realtime etc.

If there is one task that will call any computers pedigree in to question it is without doubt video processing. Whether you go for Macs or PC's it is the same. The only advantage Macs have over PCs is that Macs have been designed as a package and as such they are generally better at media tasks than the average high street PC. If however you look for a specifically designed video PC, you will find that they are more expensive than the high end Mac packages. It really is a question of taste.

Finally going back to where we started.............how deep is your pocket and what can you justify? How easy do you want it to be? Have you got the time or the inclination to faff around with video files and computers. My view with current offerings would be for the Contour-HD. Gives an HD image via a .mov file which can be loaded straight onto a PC or Mac with relatively cheap software, i.e. Quicktime. Pro version being £30. The H264 codec is brilliant. Can be loaded to YouTube etc with only editing needed. Only wished the damned thing was out before I chose my current route. The only proviso is that I would like to see some more stable/less action video than is presented on their web site, just to evaluate the quality better before I would buy one.

Sorry to be so long winded but I felt it was necessary to share my experience.
Flowers
IP: 81.158.28.89 Edited: 28/07/2009 09:44:30 by toadstone
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