Mini-DV Camcorder Helmet Mount
I've had a number of requests for information: how do you mount a
camera on top of your helmet? We aim to please. So, here it is. A quick 'n
dirty helmet mount. - Bruce Argyle
||Before you start, here are two critical considerations:
(1) You need a helmet that fits VERY securely - one that won't roll when
you tip your head with the weight of the camcorder on the top.
(2) You need a VERY light camcorder - only the lightest mini-DVs will do.
As a test, tape your camcorder to the top of the helmet with
electrical tape. Tip your head. If the helmet slides, you need a lighter
camcorder, or a tighter-fitting helmet. (A cheap helmet often remains in
place better than expensive ones, which are designed for minimal contact
with your head!)
Also, I need to warn you that even the lightest camcorder will change your
balance and slow your head-motion in tight turns and technical stuff. Need
proof? Watch the Alpine Lambert Park video, where I
slide into a tree because I couldn't make a tight turn on a wet trail.
3x4" piece of pine
piece of rubber inner tube
bolt of the right length and diameter to mount your camcorder
small roundhead screw
band saw, jig-saw, or coping saw
drill with 1/4" bit
miter saw or hand saw
wood-carving chisel and hammer
socket driver (with you on the bike, to attach camcorder)
||First, check your helmet to see where the vent holes will
allow you to attach the mount. You may need to alter the basic shape.
Cut out the basic shape of the mount from 3/4 or 1" pine. Because
it will be weakest in the side-to-side direction, cut it so the grain of
the wood will go from right-to-left (not front-to-back).
|Mark the location of the "beam" that will fit into
the helmet's top vent hole. Make it a little bit narrower than the vent,
to allow room for the rubber strip.
Start the cuts for the slot with a miter saw.
||Shape the underside of the wood so it matches the curve of
the top of the helmet. Cut away wood, starting from the outside edge, and
getting deeper as you approach the center "beam."
|Drill a central 1/4" hole for the camera's mounting
Match the the wood against the helmet to see the ideal location for
mounting holes. (The cable ties will go through the top -- center-- vent,
go around the nearest solid part of the helmet, and come up in the next
vent hole.) Drill the holes for the mounting straps.
||Cut a piece of old bicycle inner tube, 1/2" larger than
the the wood (you'll trim it later).
Sand the surface of the tube, just as if you were planning to patch it.
Make holes in the rubber to match the holes in the wood.
|Coat the underside of the mount and the SANDED side of the
rubber with contact cement. Let both pieces dry until they're barely
Keeping the sides of the rubber up, match the center holes and push
the rubber down onto the center of the mount. Then, one side at a time,
bend the rubber so you can put it into the groove. Once it's bonded
perfectly into the notch, smooth it out to the edge.
||Cut off the excess rubber.
Attach the mount with the cable ties, loosely at first. (Make a couple
of trial runs with the camcorder to see how far forward or back to place
the camera for comfortable straight-down-the-trail recording.)
|A small round-head screw fits into a hole on the camcorder
to keep it from rotating.
The camcorder is tightened down with a socket-driver, such as the one
shown here. You'll pack this tool with you on the bike, so you can remove
and reattach the camcorder while riding.
I usually take extra cable ties, so I can move the mount while on the trail.
(It's very quick and easy to cut the cable ties with the knife on your
multi-tool, then snug new ones into place.)
To shoot a biker who's riding in back of you, snip the cable ties, turn the
mount around, then reattach it. You'll need to experiment to see where the mount
should be for straight-back recording as you ride. (You may need to drill other
holes in the mounting, so you can put it in another location on the helmet.) Or,
you can use the cable-ties to attach the camera to an equipment rack on the back
of the bike.