About a month ago, perhaps because I wrote an article on how to make your own $2.00 helmet cam, Chris Dickey from VIO helmet cams sent me a demo VIO 1.5 helmet cam to try out, which was most likely a ploy as he knew that I’m a techno geek and once I tried it, I would want to keep it. The cam part is a forgone conclusion – I tend to like cameras. The helmet part however is another story. I wear helmets for ice climbing, downhill racing, mountain unicycling and bass fishing, but never for backcountry skiing. For one they are too hot on the uphills, they don’t carry well in, or on packs and I think they encourage me to take chances I probably wouldn’t without one. I realize this is Old Skool thinking, but if a helmet serves as both a tripod AND head protection, I might change my evil ways.
Part of the reason it took me a month to actually try out the new VIO cam was that I needed the right helmet for it. My Alpine skiing helmets are too heavy for BC skiing and my climbing helmets don’t work well with goggles, so I needed yet another helmet to add to my collection of ten or so helmets which I own but never use. I was able to pick up a K2 Edge helmet, which is not only lightweight, but seems pretty comfy. It looks like it would offer up some nice crash protection, but by the time I’m done misdrilling all of the mounting holes six times over, it is so Swiss Cheesed that protection is now secondary to camera location.
One of the cool things about the VIO system is that it has a very forgiving wide angle lens. Still, if the angle is off, you end up getting a stiff neck watching the videos as you are constantly craning your neck to try to see the top of the frame, which just isn’t there. Getting the camera angle just right is a big part of making a helmet cam work, otherwise the results are more annoying than fun.
My first mounting attempt did a good job at capturing “task” details, like getting into bindings, stripping skins, etc., but didn’t look far enough ahead to work well for skiing. More helmet holes are needed. But, the aft looking position worked pretty well and I almost like that angle better as it makes plinky-dink skiing look more dramatic.
The above video is my backyard stomping ground and is a run I’ve skied at least 200 times. It’s not “world class” but it is quick, easy, safe and you can bring your dogs, so it has been getting increasing traffic over the years. The snow tint looks off, but it is actually from a dust storm which blew in from Moab and made all the snow red.
After trying screws and Velcro, I have now settled on the burly little magnets for attaching the camera to the helmet. I like this as the camera snaps into position by itself and has a sort of release feature if I crater, which I hope will help save the camera. And who knows… it might even save my skull.
Category: 02 Gear