$2.00 Helmet Cam

| March 10, 2009 | 9 Comments

If you have an old helmet, a Point & Shoot Digital camera and about $2.00, you have all the fixin’s for a dirt-bag helmet cam.  More often than not, I’ll shoot POV footage just by holding my G9 camera in my hand and skiing with it, but at times, two hands come in handy for skiing and with this design, it is a simple matter to bolt your camera to your helmet.

First off, you need to find a 1/4-20 NC Allen Bolt and a plastic thumb knob at a hardware store.  This is the bulk of your expenses.  The length will depend on your helmet thickness, but I think the one I used was about 1.25″ long.

The heart of the Dirt Bag Helmet Cam. The universal size for camera tripod mounts is a 1/4-20 thread.

Next, cut a 1/4" wide slot in the helmet (voiding the warranty and weakening it). After that, cut up an old blue-foam sleeping pad and glue the foam to the helmet with Contact Cement. When it is dry, use a sharp knife to level the top plane of the foam where your camera bottom will sit. Depending on the design of your helmet, you may need to Dremel out a slot on the inside to keep the screw knob from digging into your noggin. Stick the screw up through the slot and bolt the camera on to your helmet. A camera on a helmet, aka a Helmet Cam.

The purpose of a slot instead of a single hole is that it allows you to slide the camera fore and aft, which means you can focus it on your hands or match your field of vision looking outward.  I turn all those annoying little chirps and beeps on within my camera so that I get an audio confirmation when the camera is turned on (bliing!) or when the shutter is tripped (kerchick).  It’s not nearly as good as a full-on VIO POV rig, but then again, it costs about two bucks.

 Here’s a 90 second kiting video shot with the DB Helmet Cam: 

The rig in all of its glory:

 
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Category: Projects

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber, Mountain Unicycle rider and father of two very loud little girls.

Comments (9)

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  1. mc says:

    Nice inclusion of the sponsor in drawing #2!

  2. Andrew says:

    Hehe – I actually left that out to begin with, but added it later as it gave some curvature to the front of the helmet instead of having a big blank space. I was wondering if I’d get any shit for it. :) The ironic part is that it’s an old Giro helmet with a sticker on it.

  3. Chuteski says:

    Glad to see you are using ozone foil kites. The Nasa wings were good in the day but progress has made the sport so much more fun!

  4. Andrew says:

    Hi Mark! I’m having a good time with the foil kites, but still wouldn’t trade a NASA wing for superlight, downwind, heavy pulling. I think of them as spinnakers.

  5. Joshua Auerbach says:

    Hey, that was my idea! (though I am sure it’s not a new one) http://tinyurl.com/allt4t

    I just used a vent hole in the helmet. does the foam help with shakiness?

  6. mark says:

    From one dirtbag to another, this is some fine work. Need to find a beater helmet for the project. Now, if you could just give us a $2.00 dirtbag pattern for one of those kites, I’d be all set.

  7. Andrew says:

    Hi Joshua – I started with a vent hole, then upgraded to a slot to get some adjustment. But, that said, it vastly compromised the integrity of the helmet to cut a slot in it.

    The foam is nice as it allows the camera to be cinched down in a variety of positions, as well as absorbing some shock.

  8. Andrew says:

    Hi mark – I don’t have a pattern for foil kites, but if you are interested in building a NASA wing, the info is here:

    http://straightchuter.com/2008/08/powered-up-build-your-own-nasa-wing-kite/

    For anywhere from about $10 up, you can put together a kite which will rip your arms out of their sockets. How much fun is that, eh?

  9. Hey, nice tips. Perhaps I’ll buy a glass of beer to the person from that chat who told me to visit your blog :)

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