Go Pro Helmets and Features

Go Pro Helmets and Features

Go Pro Helmets and Features

0 comments 📅06 May 2016, 10:49

The GoPro’s helmets ultra wide-angle fisheye lens is excellent, sharp out to the corners and multi-coated. Color is vivid. Like other helmet cameras, this one has fixed focus (not an issue with the extreme wide angle lens, unless you would like to take extreme close-ups) and automatic exposure control. This can be set either to full-screen or spot mode. The HD Helmet Hero offers four video shooting modes at a 16/9 aspect ratio, from 480 x 848 WVGA up through 1080 x 1920 full HD. A 4/3 aspect ratio is available only at 1280 x 960. Downsampling and cropping in post-production are, of course possible. The Helmet Hero also can take 5 MP still photos, and has a self-timer and sequence timer, so it also can shoot time-lapse video.

GoPro-Helmet

The internal batteryand supplied 16GB SDHC memory chip are good for three hours of shooting at the highest resolution. You may use any chip up to 32 GB, maybe more. The battery and chip are field-replaceable, so you can carry spares. The battery recharges and the camera may be operated from external power through its USB port. Analog video and USB ports are on the side of the camera, only accessible if it is outside the waterproof housing. An optional “skeleton” housing is available which allows use of these connections.

Adjusting viewing angle is cut-and-try, even if the camera is within sight — there is no viewfinder unless you buy an optional viewscreen back. Generally, the camera should be tilted down about 10 degrees when using it on a bicycle, so as to get more road than sky in the picture. When the camera is mounted on a helmet, you might use a mirror or a reflection in a window to align the camera — or ask a companion to help, or carefully lift the helmet off your head without tilting it, to check the angle.

The front of the shell has a domed glass window which protects the camera’s lens. The window is of optical quality but not optically coated, resulting in lens flare when a bright light source (typically the sun) is in front of the camera. Go Pro calls the window a “lens”, but it really is only a window.

If the camera is shaking, as it will when used for action shots, the two small switches on the camera body rattle, spoiling audio recording. Rubber patches which hold the buttons half-depressed may solve this problem. Foam covering the openings in the shell will reduce wind noise. This is a simple, must-do modification. Audio is monaural and, except for these problems, of rather good quality if the camera is in the open-back or skeleton shell. You will need to use a separate recorder to get good stereo or surround-sound audio, and you will have to synchronize the audio in post production. I do this with a hand clap visible to the camera. I clap again at the end of longer shots in case I may need to correct for timing drift, but that is usually unnecessary.

Controls are with only the two buttons, to minimize the number of openings in the shell. The control sequence requires memorization and viewing cryptic codes in a window on the front of the camera. Setup for different modes is slow, and you must remove the camera from the helmet, or remove the helmet, to view the settings and switch modes.

The camera may be left on, with a start-stop button for shooting, but also there is an “on-off” mode which shuts the camera down completely between shots, sparing the battery. Shooting is then controlled by the on-off switch on the front of the camera. It takes a couple of seconds in “on/off” mode for the camera to stabilize and adjust its exposure. In this mode, your finger will probably be visible at the side of the image as you press the on-off button to start and stop the camera. The camera beeps to indicate starting and stopping, a useful feature when it is mounted out of sight but within reach.

You must open the shell (except if using the skeleton shell) to charge or replace the battery or download data. Downloading the huge files which the camera produces is faster with a card reader than over a USB cable. Files are in MP4 format, which most video editing software packages can read.

It is important to carry an instruction sheet with you, because of the cryptic, abbreviated codes in the display window and the complicated sequences of button pushes needed to change settings. Several different copies of user instructions are supplied with the HD GoPro Helmet Hero, and when folded, they all look the same, with the word “Instructions” in English.

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