December 21, 2007 Online video sharing has absolutely exploded in the last few years – and the cresting wave of extreme sports we use to wrench ourselves out of the risk-free banality of modern life is showing no signs of slowing down. Helmet-cam technology provides a natural and easy means for the average rockclimber or motorcosser to record and distribute the action and excitement of their weekend – and latest-gen all-in one units like the VholdR push the state of the art further forward with MicroSD memory, laser dot aiming and leveling, and nearly an hour's worth of 640x480, 30fps capture out of a tiny, featherweight, helmet-mount device.
When it comes to first-person extreme action video, you can't beat a helmet cam for the immersive viewing experience – whether you're skydiving, thrashing motorcycles, racing go-karts, snowboarding or belting downhill on a mountainbike. In years gone by, this was best accomplished by using a bullet cam-style lens linked to a standard video camera, but a new generation of all-in-one compact digital video cameras specifically designed for helmet-cam use has made the process much quicker and easier.
The VholdR, one of the latest, has a few nifty features that make it one of the easiest units of its type to operate, and one of the best for the purpose. In particular, once it's mounted, it's got two laser dots which you can use to aim the camera and be sure you're getting the right shot, and a simple rotating lens that lets you make sure your horizon will be horizontal. These two simple features eliminate the most annoying part of helmetcam recording – getting to the end of your run and realizing the camera's been on wonky the whole time.
A 1GB MicroSD card holds about 50 minutes of footage, and operation of the VholdR is as simple as it gets – there's one, large, rubberized switch (easy to get to with gloves on) that starts and stops recording. Each time you start and stop, it creates a new clip. There's no menus, no LCD screen, no messing about, it's either recording or it's not. Two indicator lights let you know how you're going for battery life and card storage.
Naturally, given the target market, the VholdR is shockproof built to take a fair bit of abuse, and insulated against rain, mud, dirt and even snow.
The sample footage on the VholdR website is pretty impressive for such a simple and compact camera – we look forward to testing the unit out for ourselves. It will be unveiled to the public at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show, and it's slated to retail at around USD$350. That includes the helmet mount, but there's also a bunch of optional mounting options including a vented helmet mount, a goggle mount, handlebar and roll bar mounts to give you a range of angle options.