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Off the Top of Your Head

Off the Top of Your Head
by Gary Woods

If you haven't made your first YouTube video sooner or later you will. But when you make that video you're going to want to have some action shots of you involved in whatever craziness you can come up with.

To keep from trying to hold on to and focus your camera while you're skiing, skateboard, biking or whatever you'll want to get a Helmet Cam. Helmet Cams come in two basic designs: all-in-on or two-piece. All-in-one units provide the smallest overall package and are euphemistically called "lipstick" cameras because they're housed in a long tube and have a built-in media reader. The two-piece cameras feature a similar lipstick design and connect via a cable to a separate recording unit.

The upside of the all-in-one unit is size but with the two-piece units they usually have an LCD screen which works as a viewfinder allowing you to make sure the camera is pointed where you want it to be pointed.

Most helmet cams have resolutions anywhere from 640X480 to 769X494. With that many pixels what you get will look good both on standard definition TV and also give you plenty of data for online playback.

Almost all helmet cams run on AA batteries with which you should get about 6 hours of shooting time. A remote control is most likely an essential but some cameras use infrared remotes, which can be a problem. A better solution would be a radio frequency remote which doesn't require a directly line of sight.

If you really want to add some realism a separate microphone would be an accessory you might look at. Now keep your eyes peeled and definitely don't hit anything.

If you have any suggestions or questions for me please drop me a note at or see my column on the Internet at or call me at (805) 729-0910

Gary Woods is the Computer Trainer for the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. And he is a Broker/Associate at Home Realty & Investments, Inc