It’s not easy being a lone unicyclist in the forest… well actually that’s not true, more often than not it’s absolutely fantastic! Occasionally though it’d be great to have something – pictures or video – to show family and friends why riding unicycles off road is so enjoyable. It’s not always so easy to get that when out riding by yourself.
I first came across GoPro wearable digital cameras in December 2007 at a motorsport event where drivers were fitting these little cameras all over the place – to their helmets, outside of the car, inside of the car. GoPro cameras can be used to record sports and activities where there isn’t a cameraman on hand, or it’s not possible hold the camera yourself or stopping and setting up static video shots doesn’t work – motor cross, surfing, car racing, mountain biking, skateboarding, climbing etc – why not unicycling!
The GoPro Helmet HERO Wide camera features a 170 degree wide angle lens housed in rugged case, waterproof to 30m. It shoots 56 minutes of ‘TV-quality’ (512 x 384 @ 30 Fps) video with sound or interval 5MP photo every 2 or 5 seconds, stored on a 2GB SD card, powered by 2 AAA batteries.
The Helmet HERO Wide comes with a range of accessories including the housing, helmet mounts, adhesive mounts, mounting clips, headmount, plastic arms and cables.
Out of the box you can either use the traditional helmet mount strap or the alternative system of adjustable arms which can attach anywhere on your helmet via an adhesive backed clip system. The camera can be easily moved from mount to mount so there’s no reason not to use all of them.
After road testing the HERO Wide for the last month here’s what I’ve learnt:
- The fisheye lens combined with helmet and bar mounts offer unique points of view that do a good job of capturing the experience and fun of off road unicycling
- The camera is rugged, surviving UPD’s
- Easy and fast to use during a ride vs tripod based video
The Not so Good Stuff:
- The video resolution is relatively low
- The 2 x AAA batteries don’t last long. Works best with premium lithium/rechargeables. Take spares!
- The menu/settings take some deciphering, luckily there aren’t many.
- Can’t really see where you’re shooting as the optical viewfinder is obstructed by the case and quite small. Upside is with a fisheye accurate framing isn’t always critical.
- Not well suited to video of night rides with lights