GoPro or go home!
I recently bought a GoPro HERO4 Silver primarily to mount on the chin of my helmet to record my motorcycle rides. I previously had a Drift HD Ghost mounted on the right side of my helmet. The Drift was great. It had excellent video quality and it served as a reputable alternative to a GoPro. I especially loved that it came with a free remote, it had a video tagging feature, and it was waterproof without needing a case.
However, the biggest gripe I had with the Drift was that because of its form factor, I had to mount it on the side of my helmet. That took away some of the periperal view to my left since my helmet was in the way. I also wasn't a big fan of having the point of view off centered.
Here's how videos looked with the Drift mounted on the side:
Luckily, I came across an opportunity to upgrade. My friend was kind enough to procure me a HERO4 at a discounted price. Of course, I jumped on the opportunity.
Now with the GoPro, I'm able to get a centered point of view by sticking the camera on the chin of my helmet. I was a little skeptical at first because I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to place a mount on the chin since the front of my helmet (I have an AGV K4 EVO) is more curved (i.e., pointy) than the curved adhesive mount that comes with the GoPro. I would have only been able to get less than half of the adhesive surface to get in contact with the helmet. But, I did some research and was able to add a little magic to get more contact with the helmet—details below.
Combined with the superb video quality of the GoPro, I'm now satisfied with the videos I record while riding (until the next latest and greatest GoPro comes out).
Here's a snapshot of how the videos look (albeit on a cloudy day) at 720p with a wide field of view:
I can now capture both sides at an intersection—very helpful if you ever get into an accident!
As I mentioned before, the adhesive on the backside of the standard GoPro curved mount doesn't entirely contact the helmet due to the shape of the front of my helmet. I didn't want to risk putting my GoPro on with such little contact, so I did some research. I forgot how I came across this, but I found a product called Sugru.
Sugru is mouldable glue. Stick it, shape it and it will turn into rubber. We invented it to make fixing and making easy and fun.
I saw a bunch of DIY guides on how people used Sugru as a glue to make and fix things, and I figured it would be good to use as extra insurance for making sure the camera and the mount stays on my helmet at high speeds. I essentially used this Play-Doh-esque compound to fill the gaps where the mount does not come in contact with the helmet, and after it fully cured, the camera and mount passed the stress tests I placed on it (i.e., I held onto the camera and let the helmet hang, I tried ripping it off the helmet with moderate strength, etc.).
For those that are wondering how to do a chin mount on a helmet, I'm happy to share my experience.
- Wash your filthy hands with soap and warm water
- Wipe down the mounting area with rubbing alcohol. Be careful not to drink the alcohol!
- Peel off the protective film from the curved adhesive mount and put the mount aside
- Prepare the Sugru by following the instructions that come with it. You won't need to use too much of it. I only used less than half.
- Roll up two small balls of Sugru
- Form each ball into thin strips the length of the mount
Place each strip between the center and the edges of the mount. This will provide you more contact between the helmet and the mount. You don't want to place the strips too close to the center otherwise they will cover the center area of the adhesive (which will come in contact with your helmet). You also don't want to place the strips too close to the edge of the mount otherwise they will spill out.
Here are visuals of the end result: As you can see in the picture above, right below the plastic mount is the gray 3M adhesive that comes with the mount, and the black compound between the adhesive and helmet is the Sugru.
- Carefully place the mount with the Sugru on the chin of the helmet
- Apply pressure to the mount for a minute or so to get as much contact with the helmet as possible
- If some Sugru spills out from underneath the mount, just use some toilet paper to remove the excess
- After a few minutes, make sure the mount is fairly stuck onto the helmet. You should be able to wiggle it a little to do small adjustments.
Angle the connector arms on the mounting kit and try coming up with a setup that works with your helmet. I used all the parts from the mounting kit, but you may use less depending on your setup. Also make sure the mount is leveled. The best way to do this is to use the GoPro app on your mobile phone to preview the video.
Here's my setup:
- Once you got the mount angles all squared away, unclip the mounting kit, leaving just the curved mounting base on the helmet
- Use the plastic wrap to secure the mount in place. Wrapping it tight will apply pressure to make sure the mount comes in full contact with the helmet
- Wait 24 hours for the adhesive and Sugru to cure
That's it! I hope this helped. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions or...comments.