Helmet Cam

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    • #43998

      So I have been approached by some people wanting to produce a documentary on firefighters. They want HD video from one or two firefighters’ POV when inside a fire. So obviously a helmet cam would do that trick.

      But is there anything out there that could the trick?

      I know it is kind of extreme, but I thought there might be something out there.

      We have a decent budget, so building the unit is not out of the question either.


    • #184356

      Keep in mind that a firefighter already has some weight added to their head in the way of a helmet, radio system, SCBA mask. So you might want to look at something along the lines of a lipstick camera, posibly wireless, to a recorder under their coats. You want to make it as light as possible as they are already carrying a “ton” ofgear. Heat (an idea about heat, Fahrenheit 451 was not just a book title, it is the flash point for paper), water, and steam are somethings to consider as far as any protection goes.

      Unlike Hollywood where it’s all staged, under careful control,and a lot can be added in post, this equipment will take a real beating.

    • #184357

      HD development in helmet camshas been very SLOW. Most are using CCD cameras with 580 Lines of Resolution (Xtreme Recall), while others are using a CMOS approach (Vio Sport).Most of the helmet cam manufacturers are smaller companies.As point-of-view videography becomes more popular, some of the big guys like Panasonic, Canon, and others may get into it. Sony just recently introduced a helmet cam, but it is pretty high-end and pricey (see below)

      There are (2) HD helmet camera options that I know of at this time. Both of these just recently came out.

      1) Sony HXR-MC1. It is a nice unit, HD, but runs about $2,400.00 a unit. Pretty expensive. Also, it is NOT waterproof, which may not be good for fire fighters. This helmet cam has gotten reasonable reviews. There are also some YouTube videos out there showing the footage quality. It was designed and built for professional/commercial videography.

      Link: http://pro.sony.com/bbsc/ssr/cat-industrialcameras/cat-highdefinition/product-HXRMC1%2FACC/

      2) VholdR ContourHD. It just meets HD resolution. This product JUST came out. I am trying to get a demo unit to test. It runs for about $300.00. There are no formal reviews on the product yet. I expect it to do a reasonable job, but don’t expect the same quality from a camcorder or the Sony unit mentioned above.. It too is NOT waterproof. This unit seems to be designed and built for the “average Joe” who has a smaller budget than the professional/commercial folks.

      Link: http://www.vholdr.com/

      Hope that helps.

      Mike Stoll

    • #184358

      Just a couple of thoughts from a Firefighter….(who is also a photographer)

      As long as the camera is the same relative size as the “regular” helmet cams that are out there, it should not be an issue as far a wearing it, What will be an issue to getting it to survive in the fire environment. I would suggest that you work very closely with the folks who are going to wear it and I am sure that you/they can figure a way to protect the camera.

      I have seen an idea of using the “hood” that we wear to help protect the camera. That may protect it from the heat, but you are also going to have to protect it from smoke, steam, and impact.

      The other issue that you are going to have is visibility. Most of what we do in a fire is done in the dark. With all the smoke etc there just isn’t a lot of light available to capture. You may also have issues with where the camera is pointing as it may be looking at the floor or the back of the firefighter in front on the camera. Even in the best of conditions with a well ventilated fire, visibility is low at best.

      The other option you may want to explore is to film crews at a local Fire Academy. These fires are much more controlled and may offer a better “perspective” for the fire and be done in a “less stressful” situation.

      Remember that what you see in films is nothing like what the “real thing” is like. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to let me know and I will answer them to the best of my ability,

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