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Old October 29th, 2010, 12:50 PM   #1
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Location: Morgantown, WV
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Affordable bicycle mounting systems for DSLR?

Hi All:

I'm seeking to make some really nice, beautiful POV mountain biking videos with my DSLR. Yes—you read that right! I do NOT want to use a GoPro camera, because frankly I'm sick of seeing videos with so much spherical distortion that they...

...look like you're staring through a hotel room peephole...
...look like a scene from the movie "Inception"...
...look like you're inside a bubble...

I can't for the life of me understand why these "fisheye" videos are so ubiquitous and popular...except of course for the marketing "Grand Slam" achieved by the makers of the GoPro camera!

So...I really want to find (or build) some kind of inexpensive (but obviously sturdy) DSLR mounting system for my mountain bike.

Actually mounting the camera on the bike (on reflection) seems like a bad idea, as the camera will surely be jolted to death (unless someone has any brilliant shock-mount ideas?) But a helmet mount is a possibility. Yes, I know a DSLR is heavy, but it's not THAT heavy (my Canon T2i with the kit lens is actually pretty light).

So if anyone has any ideas (or has ever done anything like this with a DSLR) I'd love to hear them! I really don't like sleeping at night knowing that the world of action-oriented, POV video will forever be dominated by GoPro Fisheye Cams! :-)


EDIT: I'm wondering if some kind of giant version of a microphone shock mount would work? e.g. a cage or surrounding metal frame with bungee cords strung across it that cradled the camera?

EDIT2: I'm NOT looking for a mount that will survive crazy stunting—I'm not doing flips and leaping off cliffs or anything like that. I'm just riding down bumpy, rocky trails in the woods...
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Old November 6th, 2010, 08:27 AM   #2
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Hi Scott,
Interesting thread. I've tried holding the handlebar with one hand and a 7D in the other & pushing against a strap around my neck and watching the LCD. Way too much bumping and jolting and dangerous to be useful. And this was on a smooth path on level ground. Maybe I'll try Mocha to straighten up the video, but it would be far better to have a decent mount in the first place. I can visualize something on the handlebar. Some sort of gyro? Maybe a lens on a helmet with camera in a back pack? Ideas anyone?
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Old November 8th, 2010, 07:14 AM   #3
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This sounds like something that we'll end up seeing on Failblog or America's Funniest Home Videos.

I have the GoPro Hero HD, and it's very rugged and you can get replacement casings relatively cheap - cheaper than the kit lens on the 550D/T2i. Something that large (T2i) attached to your helmet while riding is going to be dangerous.

The wide angle of these POV cams also tend to minimize rolling shutter effects and that generally noxious feeling as we watch you bouncing around or doing the head bob.

BTW, the GoPro is not as wide in 1080p mode vs 720p, 127 degrees vs 170 degrees.
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Old November 8th, 2010, 02:29 PM   #4
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anything here float your boat?


Good quality & good service as well.

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Old November 9th, 2010, 02:46 AM   #5
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this worked ok, but to get smooth footage, i basically had to stand on my pedals with knees bent, using my legs as shock absorbers, squeezing the seat lightly with my thighs, while riding no-hands and pulling the underarm straps down to stabilize... all while riding down a winding Burundian mountain road at about 60-70 km/h.
slightly insane, but i got some good footage, i think. and it was worth it to see the look on the faces of the Burundians as i whipped by!
any tiny tiny bump will cause jello/sea sick footage... a wide angle lens also helps....
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Old November 9th, 2010, 03:59 AM   #6
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Location: No Fixed Address :) Western Australia
Posts: 266, you may want............ give this a go...............

What I did was order a cheap (ish) Steadicam imitation called 'Flycam' Magic Flycam 6000 Steadicam for DVX110A HVX200 HDV XL1 (eBay item 130451143731 end time 13-Nov-10 21:15:49 AEDST) : Cameras from India. I then stripped it down and used the top swing arm. To use this I made up a prototype bracket out of steel and mounted it to the bike. I also made up a prototype mount so I could put the 503 head of my Manfrotto tripod on. This gave me a lot of freedom for pan and tilt. I then mounted my Canon XL2 + remote monitor onto it. To mount the monitor I used a suction cup, [mounted on a piece of aluminum plate I fitted to the Flycam arm] from Gripper 3025 - The Filmtools 6" Suction / Vacuum Cup Camera Mount. I have 4 of these and I hang my 2 Xl2's directly off them on the car, they've never failed yet......(I secure them just in case though!!!!! ) The whole system worked very well, my speeds were exclusive at times and over rough ground but the footage is remarkably smooth. There are issues with the flexible cable breaking but I've come up with a tech fix for that. If you decide to go ahead with this I'm more than happy to go into detail about it. When I get the time I'll have the mounts made from an aluminum alloy. This is a fairly radical fix to your problem and may be out of your budget but if you're able I'd seriously consider it because it gets rid of all the GoPro problems and is well worth it. Incidentally, I had a GoPro piggy backed on the XL2 looking back at me and that worked very well. The GoPro's certainly have a function and place.

Here are 2 pics, the lead divers weights were removed, I tried them to see if it made a difference to the 'float', it didn't. If you look closely on the arm you can see the mounting holes for the monitor plate and suction cup. The second on illustrates the broken cable.

PS. Don't mind the plastic bag over the camera and monitor....I promise it didn't rain too much.... ;)
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