Hands-On (and off) with the VholdR Helmet Cam

VholdR cameraEver since I had a digital camera that could record video, I’ve been trying to devise ways to use it to film myself skiing from a first-person perspective. It usually involved me holding the camera in front as I picked my way down a mountain, careful not to drop anything. Fortunately, there’s some great new hands-free options, and this past weekend, I got to test one of them out, the VholdR helmetcam from Seattle-based Twenty20, on the slopes of Heavenly in South Lake Tahoe, California. The $349 camera is a small, compact, and durable device that shoots 640 x 480-pixel resolution video to a 2GB MicroSD Card. There are only two buttons on the exterior of the camera—a power button on the back and a slider to start and stop recording on the top—and they’re both designed to be used by people wearing gloves. Since you can’t see what you’re shooting once the camera is mounted to your helmet, two lasers on either side of the lens are activated when the camera is turned on; by rotating the lens until the lasers form a line parallel to the ground, users can make sure their video won’t be all sky or all ground. Having lasers beam from the side of your head is a bit reminiscent of Predator. Right now, Twenty20 only offers a helmet mount: basically a pad with double-sided foam that slid into the rail on the side of the camera. By McGyvering an old belt clip for an iPod mini, I was able to attach the camera to my ski goggles. Unfortunately—as you’ll see in the video—the elasticity of the goggles’ headstrap caused the camera to wobble violently every time I went over a mogul. Even when the company comes out with a clip for goggles, I’d stick with a helmet, and a helmet mount. The VholdR was really easy to use and, except for a ton of wind noise, was a great way to record parts of a vacation you wouldn’t be able to otherwise. Check out the video, and stay tuned for a full review. [flq:e66dd97d62244aaf90ce13515e028942]

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