Thursday, 3 February 2011

Getting a grip

For my first attempts to use the helmet camera I tried the obvious approach and mounted it on my helmet. I felt like a teletubby, and I found that I ended up capturing too much sky, or too much tarmac. I've also tried various ways of attaching the camera to my clothing, but none worked very well for me when I was riding. I decided it would be better mounted on the bike.

Veho provide a wide variety of different options for attaching the camera to different things. They are very clever, and I think they would work fine if there was a bit more room available on the handlebars, but I found I had trouble locating the camera with a clear line of sight around the bar bag, brake cables, and other bits and pieces. I needed a way of lifting it a bit further away from the bar without losing stability.

I bodged up home-made bracket Mark-1 from various bits and pieces. It worked up to a point, but it needed very careful positioning to get a clear view. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't, and I didn't know which until I got home and saw the results.

Mark-2 was an improved version, built from Meccano, which worked better. The results were more consistent, but it wasn't rigid enough, so they were consistently shaky. It did give me a better idea of where I needed the camera to be positioned though.

At least at that stage I thought I understood better what I needed to achieve. So I set out to build something that would position the camera where I wanted it, would be stable enough, and give me some ability to adjust the camera position.

Bracket Mark-3 aimed for all that, and turned out to be too ambitious. It was nice on paper, but some way beyond my limited construction skills. So it never got completed, and I went back to the drawing board to figure out something simpler.

I thought I was beginning get my ideas sorted out, but then this morning I was mooching around B&Q and discovered their mini clamps. These were probably not designed to be used as camera mounts, but they looked as though they might work.

It's been a lovely day today, so I treated myself to a set this morning and tried them out this afternoon. There's a picture that gives a better idea of how it works here. As far as I can tell, they are the best solution (so far). They are very easy to mount, they give me a choice of different camera positions, and they seem to be reasonably stable.

Once I manage to edit the results we'll be able to see whether they are good enough to justify an Oscar nomination. I suspect not. But these clamps look as though they might meet my limited needs for the time being.

No comments: