I love my GoPro HD camera, but the mounts available for it (at least from a mountain biking standpoint) mostly suck. The vented helmet mount that comes with the camera is OK, but I don’t like riding around with a giant camera sitting on top of my head. So I bought the handlebar/seatpost mount kit, and that’s what I’ve been using for the past few months. The problem is the handlebar mount is not that good. All the black polycarbonate parts GoPro uses are junk; these parts are brittle and weak, and they break often. I’ve had two handle bar mounts and three housing clamps (used to lock the housing closed) break on me just from normal use. Aside from the cheap plastic, the mounts just are not engineered very well. The handlebar mount doesn’t have any padding (I use old bike tubes, which helps) and the mounts tend to slip around (again, bike tubes as padding helps with this). If you try to tighten the mounts so they won’t slip the plastic will split, or the screw pops out on the open side of the screw hole (leaving one side of the screw hole gaped is another baffling design choice). The audio and video vibration is terrible (plastic on metal with no padding, what did they expect?), and those vibrations also cause the crappy plastic to eventually fail. I learned the hard way to tether my camera to the bike; I rode off a small curb and the handlebar mount snapped in half sending my camera flying. Yesterday I tried in vain to mount my camera to the front fork, but none of the mounts I have will work: the handlebar mount is not wide enough and the strap mount slips around. GoPro really needs to come up with bike mounts that can be mounted in more locations, are much stronger and padded to dampen vibrations.
I found an interesting and unexpected solution to the video vibration issue – software! Up until now I’ve been using the very limited Microsoft Windows Live Movie Maker software to edit my videos. Move Maker is free and simple to use, but the main reason I was using it is because it works perfectly with native GoPro video. The problem with Movie Maker is it just can’t do much aside from basic editing. A few months ago I tried Sony Vegas (version 9), but it didn’t work well with GoPro video. Yesterday I saw that there is a new version out, Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum Production Suite. I downloaded the free demo and spent part of the day learning the software. I’m really, REALLY impressed. This new version works perfectly with my GoPro footage and includes tons of awesome features that you would not expect to find on such an inexpensive piece of video editing software. One of the features is that it can remove vibration and shakiness from video footage. I ran some tests yesterday, and couldn’t believe how well it worked! But that’s just scratching the surface of what it can do. The software comes with some excellent interactive tutorials that got me up to speed on the basics in just an hour or so. Download the free demo and check it out! If you decided to buy it, go through the JSF Amazon Mall instead of Sony’s site and save yourself 30 bucks ($89.99 instead of $129.95).
It’s an incredible morning here, and I’m going to hit the trails. Not sure where yet, depends on if my friends are up for a ride. About to start texting some buddies and working out the plan for the day. Hopefully I’ll have some nice videos to post later!
LAST DAY!!!! Registration for the Novemeber 2010 “100 Challenge” is now underway! Your Official Challenge post must be made by 9:00 AM (EDT) on November 1, 2010 if you plan to participate – NO EXCEPTIONS! To participate, you must be a member of the forum. If you are not a member, simply create a free account. It can take up to 24 hours for your account to be activated, so don’t wait until the last minute to register! For all the details, official rules and sample entry data, just head over to the November 2010 “100 Challenge” thread on the forum. If you are ready to work hard and want to challenge yourself in a fun and competitive environment, then please take part!