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How I spent my summer vacation – take one!

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July 5, 2012 by Rider Newsletter Staff

Capturing your riding adventures on video can add to the fun and make the off-season easier to handle.

A cold, snowy winter night. Your motorcycle sits safely stored as visions of warm, sunny days spent touring, cruising and otherwise cavorting around on two well-maintained wheels dance in your head. It’s been weeks since you felt the wind in your face and it is likely to be weeks before you feel it again. A biking vacation would be ideal, but the bank account says no such luck. All you have are fond memories from riding season. You are one sad biker, my friend. But, all is not lost.

As with so may facets of life these days, it’s technology to the rescue. You can make those fond, fair weather memories come alive and discover a whole new hobby in the meantime. If you add a motorcycle camera to your bag of goodies now, you can spend the summer gathering great motorcycle adventure footage, then take time in the winter to edit your own epic videos reliving beautiful days on the road. If you’re adventurous enough, you can even do it in 3-D!

Helmet, machine and body mounted cameras are all the rage in many outdoor and action sports these days. Athletes use them to relive their glory and also to improve their skills. For motorcyclists, a first-person, point-of-view video can be the perfect addition to your vacation action reel and, gathering and editing the video makes a great ugly weather activity.

While there is money involved, investing in quality, action-oriented video technology has never been cheaper and digital editing has never been easier or more fun. You’ll find both hardware and software to meet just about any budget and the quality is surprisingly good.

First, you need to score a video camera designed to capture action as it takes place. This is one area in which your wiz bang smart phone simply ain’t gonna cut it. To get quality, POV video, you need a camera designed specifically for the purpose. One that can take the heat (and the rain, wind, sun and vibrations) and deliver video worth watching. You can use your smart phone or a regular camera to capture the off-bike action, and then edit the footage together on a pc, Mac, iPad or similar device.

There are literally hundreds of action cams available. Some mount to your helmet, some to your handlebars and a few can be strapped to your chest, which brings to mind the possibility of going hands free when you’re not riding. The goal of each is similar. Capture the action in detail and live to film another day. The latest craze in POV video (as in the cinema) is 3-D. That’s right. You can capture your road-based antics in three stunning dimensions. Of course you’ll have to wear some sort of dumb looking glasses to view the results. The good news is: you don’t have to wear them while filming.

You can pay as little as $50 or as much as several hundred dollars for an action camera. As you climb the price ladder you’ll find better optics, more features and advanced capabilities. If you can afford it, great optics can really add a lot as can the ability to reduce the effects of vibration. Better quality autofocus can make the resulting footage easier on the eye. For the most part, you get what you pay for, but even the lowest cost models will provide video that is fun to watch. As with any technology purchase, research is the key, and also a big part of the fun. But, don’t spend too much time thinking, summer is here and you don’t want to miss capturing your best ever adventures.

In future entries, we’ll discuss key features in more detail and provide some information on video editing software and hardware. In the meantime, here are some links to manufacturers and sellers of POV action video hardware to get you started:

Sports-Vue offers a variety of cameras at all levels and for all sporting activities. There’s also a ton of information on features and advice for making your choice.

If you don’t already know about Cyclebots, it’s worth a visit. They specialize in technology for motorcycling. There are lots of cameras to review, along with tons of other cool biking tech.

Tachyon offers high-quality helmet-mounted cameras and special models designed to mount on rifles and handguns. They claim to have the smallest helmet cam available, but that’s the sort of claim that can become obsolete at any moment.

Drift has HD action cams and a ton of accessories and supporting technology. Their power pack is designed to provide juice to your camera or other digital devices for as long as 20 hours. You’ll find mounts, waterproof enclosures and more.

GoPro has a line of cameras and accessories called Hero. Although not the cheapest solution, their equipment is highly versatile and allows you to use a smart phone as a remote control and video viewing device. You can even upload live video to the Web. Their latest innovation is a 3-D action cam.

HelmetCameraOutlet.com is a great site for exploring what is available, comparing features and just nosing around. We can’t vouch for their pricing or service, but the information alone is worth a visit.

Keep in mind, when it comes to finding new products, Google and Bing are your friends. The sites shown above are based on a few simple searches. There’s lots more information out there, so be sure to take the time to surf.


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