GoPro Helmet HERO Wide Video Camera Review

Pro Reviews

Download and Viewing
To download or view the video’s you will need a PC or Mac. Just take the camera out of the housing, and connect the mini USB to the camera, and then the other end of the connector to the computers USB port. The unit will appear as a Removable Disk, just navigate down to the appropriate directory (example: F:\Removable Disk\DCIM\100GOPRO) and either download or view the video straight from the camera. You can also remove the SD card, and use a SD card reader or other appropriate device, and bypass the camera as the downloading interface. The video’s are in a AVI format (MJPEG), and you can use them as is or edit them in your favorite video editing software.I have been using Cyberlink’s PowerDirector 7 with good results. For some strange reason, the dates of the AVI’s appear as 1/1/2098? Watching the video’s on a PC was a pleasant surprise, there was only a tad of graininess and pixelation when blown up to a full screen mode. Still pictures are stored in the JPEG format.

You can also view video’s directly from the camera on a TV using the RCA to mini USB cable. You use the camera’s buttons to tab through, and start each of the video’s stored on the camera’s memory. The controls are very rudimentary, but they do work. For a small video camera watching the video on my large 57 inch TV was tolerable, the pixelation, and grain were more pronounced with a bit of aliasing. It might be nice if it was recorded in widescreen instead of 4:3, as that seems to be the future trend of video.

Audio
Since the unit is enclosed tightly in a waterproof polycarbonate housing unit the sound is somewhat subdued and only the louder sounds seem to get recorded at higher volumes. Therefore, the tires, frame and forks getting banged around get picked up, but you are not going to hear low level noise. Since most of us are going to add audio information, such as a soundtrack, at a later point in time it’s not a big issue. Audio is recorded in Mono at 8Khz.

Miscellaneous
The camera’s lens is somewhat fragile so it’s a good thing it’s enclosed in the polycarbonate housing, which is how it was meant to be used. I did use the camera outside the housing doing some video’s of various bike products. The camera was easy to use, and hold, and the sound that was recorded was much better since it had no housing to muffle the volume. If you are carrying the camera outside it’s housing make sure that you use a soft bag since the protruding wide angle lens could be susceptible to damage.

With regards to use as your normal still camera, the optical quality as not as good as your normal point and shoot camera, megapixel count is not all that make a better quality picture. For rough, and tumble shots on the bike and other sports it will be fine, but I still bring my small Sony to capture still shots.

I have been getting a lot of questions and comments on this product, more so than anything else I have been testing. With the unit stuck up on your head it can easily be seen so hikers, and bikers, tend to start up a conversation on the camera.


Helmet Wide HERO kit

Parts included in the Helmet HERO Wide kit: a camera, housing, 2 curved stick on mounts, 1 flat stick on mount, USB/RCA to mini USB cable, 2 quick release buckles, vented helmet strap, headlamp strap, instruction manual, extra stick-on, and a side arm swivel.

Video examples

This is a composite video of various helmet mounted shots:

Mountain biking – Pueblo South Shore Trails from Brian Mullin on Vimeo.

This is a short composite video showing various mounting options, it includes a frame, handlebar, seatpost, and helmet mount shots (there is a bit of aliasing on the seatpost shot from the video editing software):

GoPro Hero Test Video’s – Monument Preserve, CO from Brian Mullin on Vimeo.

Big thanks to Julie Evans of Verde PR and the GoPro staff (especially Justin Wilkenfeld) for letting me do a review of their fine product!

Continued on next page

About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian has been part of the Mtbr team since 2007, where he has become an integral member of the review and test staff, specializing in technical articles. He likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, extreme skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth and hyperbolic articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on extremely technical singletrack.


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  • Reginhild says:

    I was waiting for one of the mountable light video cameras to accept a 4GB SD card. Even the higher end ones right now are limited to 2GB.

    The next step would be 8GB capability but it would require going to two AA vs. AAA to last longer than 2hrs… or the video resolution/frame rate could be pumped up.

  • Reginhild says:

    I was waiting for a light mountable camera to move up to 4GB SD cards. Even the high end ones seem to still be stuck at only accepting 2GB cards.

    Next step is 8GB and higher frame rate or resolution to still fit in the 2hr battery limitation…or they could redesign for AA batteries.

  • Adrian says:

    Hi. Could you tell me where you got that update for the camera. So that I can have a 4gb memory card. Thanks.

  • pastajet says:

    GoPro should be releasing a 4GB firmware upgrade shortly for the HERO camera, I do not have a time frame for the release. It will also be nice when they have the 8GB firmware.

  • oneye says:

    Good to excellent quality video ( for the price ) . Doesn’t take a genius to figure it out. Make sure to use lithium batteries in cold temps. Oh yeah, the sticky mounts are good to 140 mph, I can vouch for that!

  • Amrish says:

    Can it be directly hooked up to a PC to be used as a web cam.

    Need to transmit images in real time.

    Amrish

  • pastajet says:

    It appears as a removable device/disk when hooked up to PC, so it won’t work as a web cam as far as I know. I can try it sometime at home, but I doubt it would work in that manner.

  • George Henry Poppycock says:

    Nice videos Brian! I have a Hero 5 as well, I had some faulty quick release buckles that snapped when removing from mounts, I contacted GOPro and they informed me that I had received a kit that had been made with brittle resin – and sent me new clips and parts the next day… I believe the reason for the sun being blacked out is that it is programed to do so, to prevent over exposure of the video. If the sensor metering off of the sun and changes the aperture and or exposure to the correct exposure for the sun every thing else is extremely dark… I think it looks kinda cool too. I want to get the handlebar/seat post mount. When my buckles were broken I used the head strap mount as a shoulder/chest/crotch cam.

  • mufn8r says:

    Arrrgh! When is the firmware going to be released?! Also, will the firmware improve the video quality of the older versions? I mean when I connect my GoPro to my motorcycle, no matter how secure the camera is the video misses frames and looks “liquified”.

  • Edo says:

    I’m thinking about buying this camera. Where can I find some sample video files to download to my PC to check them and to play around with my video editing software?
    Thanks

  • LeeL says:

    Edo – myself and several others have posted some GoPro footage to the MTBR Video forums. You need a vimeo login but once you have one you can download the footage to play with editing

  • John says:

    What are the recording times using using the recommended rechargable batteries?

    Thx!

  • 8664 says:

    hi since they have the wide i am a big fan and with the chest mount it is the best solution without shutter!!! best cam for money!

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