A helmet camera, otherwise known as a micro video camera, bullet
camera, or lipstick camera, is an action camera, usually a closed
circuit television camera, attached to a helmet allowing someone to
make a visual record from their point of view (POV), while keeping
their hands and vision free.
2 Camera types
4 See also
6 External links
An early helmet cam. Provided by Aerial Video Systems, worn by Dick
Garcia and broadcast live via microwave on ABC from the 500 World
Championship at Carlsbad Raceway on June 28, 1986.
Archives containing photos of helmet cameras have surfaced over the
last decade. One shows
Denver Broncos backup quarterback Jacky Lee
wearing a helmet camera at football practice in 1965. Another
early helmet video camera was a 1977 head-mounted camera designed to
convert images into tactile sensations for the blind,
Almost a decade later, a Canon CI-10 camera was mounted to the side of
Dick Garcia's helmet by Aerial Video Systems (AVS) of Burbank, CA at
the Nissan USGP 500 World Championship at Carlsbad Raceway in
Carlsbad, CA on June 28, 1986. At this time the helmet camera
was used commercially. For the first time, images were transmitted
live from this camera by AVS via portable microwave to the ABC
broadcast truck, then integrated into their live broadcast. This
innovative system showed viewers the rider's Point of View of the race
as it unfolded.
Mark Schulze wearing helmet cam in
The Great Mountain Biking Video
The Great Mountain Biking Video in
Another early innovator of video helmet camera technology was Mark
Schulze, who created a system for use while producing The Great
Mountain Biking Video in 1987. "Schulze stripped-down a
red motorcycle helmet and jury-rigged a mounting for the first
consumer color video chip camera. A cable ran from the camera to a
padded backpack that contained a Panasonic VHS portable video recorder
and a DC-lead-acid battery for power, which made the rig heavy,
unwieldy, and hot.
This pioneering technology brought an engaging perspective to live
sports television and action sports videos and eventually gave way to
button and lipstick cameras. The helmet cam then became a standard
piece of equipment, worn by umpires, catchers, goalies and referees
for live television as well as BMX riders, surfers, skiers, skydivers,
hockey and soccer players and other sports aficionados, to record and
share their experiences.
In 1991, the
World League of American Football
World League of American Football introduced the
innovation of a miniature camera mounted on the right side of the
VSR-3 Riddell helmet worn by quarterbacks. This rig was developed by
USA Network and Aerial Video Systems (AVS). An antenna was placed in
the crown of the helmet between an inflatable pad and the shell. Each
of these Helmet-Cams cost $20,000 and transmitted live game
action. These helmet cams were briefly used to provide live
player's-eye-view footage in professional American football. However,
their use was discontinued after players complained of the extra
weight, and TV networks became concerned about the aggressive behavior
the cameras captured.
In 2002, after graduating with a degree in Visual Arts from UCSD, Nick
Woodman, a long-time surfer, created the
GoPro camera. This was a
small, wearable camera with a waterproof housing for people to share
their personal experiences in sports and other endeavors with the
Today's generation of helmet cameras offer features like on-screen
menus, high-definition format, wireless transmitting to an offsite
recording device, waterproof enclosures, multiple mounts and 3D
Helmet cameras generally fall into two main categories; CMOS and CCD
type. Although helmet cameras take on a variety of forms the majority
are small cylindrical cameras resembling a tube of lipstick or a
bullet, coining the name lipstick and bullet cameras.
may be connected to a video recording device with video input
capability, such as a handheld camcorder, or purpose built digital
CCD helmet cameras are based upon the charge-coupled device (CCD)
image sensor. They typically operate on 12 VDC power and output an
analog type signal. These cameras draw more power than CMOS cameras
but offer superior picture quality and better color replication.
CMOS helmet cameras are based upon the complementary
metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) image sensor. They typically
operate on 5 VDC and draw very little power. CMOS cameras are also
generally smaller than the CCD type.
US soldier in Afghanistan with a personal helmet camera, 2010.
Action camera that mounts on helmet and elsewhere
Many sports enthusiasts use helmet cameras to capture the essence of
the sports they love. For example, many paraglider pilots carry a
bullet camera to record their flights. This can be mounted on the
helmet, foot or elsewhere to capture unique camera angles. There are
many samples of helmet camera videos available on the net.
Wearing helmet cameras is also proving popular with cyclists as a
safety aid as it allows cyclists to record their journeys and to
record any incidents from their point of view. This recording can be
used in a court as evidence.
In 2006, a British cyclist was convicted of abusing traffic wardens,
using evidence from a helmet camera.
Also in 2006, in the documentary Race To Dakar, Charley Boorman, Matt
Simon Pavey used helmet cams to document their participation
the 2006 Dakar rally. Out of the trio, Pavey was the only member of
the "Race To Dakar" team wearing the camera to make it to the
Senagalese Capital and (the rally's finish).
Ben Maher won the Martin Collins Eraser Stakes at London
Olympia horse show while wearing a helmet camera.
Firefighters have begun to utilize helmet cams as a tool to assess
their responses to fires and allow non-firefighters to see the reality
of what occurs inside a burning building. One technological
improvement that fire departments would employ would be thermal
imaging detection of differences in heat.
Helmet cameras are also being used in the military, where video
footage can be streamed back to a command center or military outpost.
A notable instance of this was the raid on Osama Bin Laden’s
compound, where live video footage of the raid is believed to have
been streamed to the White House. In 2013 a British Royal Marine
soldier was convicted of murder after shooting to death an unarmed and
injured Afghan insurgent, contrary to the Geneva Convention. The
incident had been recorded by a helmet camera whose images and sound
were used in evidence at a court martial relating to the incident.
The helmet camera, has been the focus of the Discovery Channels latest
Taking Fire about the 101st Airborne in the Korengal
documenting their personal war footage.
In 2012, on the occasion of the 50th birthday of
RP FLIP ("Floating
Instrument Platform"), several
GoPro action cameras were placed on
various positions aboard the research vessel to capture it as it
flipped and descended into the ocean.
In 2016 "a camera recovered from the helmet of a dead fighter offers a
contrasting picture of chaos and panic in a battle with Kurdish
Body worn video
^ The Denver Post, "Broncos wore helmet cameras long before
born, by Nicki Jhabvala, August 30, 2015
^ Sports Grid "Some Hilarious Historical Shit" by Rick Chandler,
August 26th, 2015
^ "A brief history of wearable computing". Retrieved 16 August
^ Glick, Shav (June 28, 1986). "Carlsbad's Last Motocross Grand Prix
Is Today : Raceway Where the Sport Developed Has Produced Its
Share of Memories". Los Angeles Times.
^ "The Pits". Motocross Action. Hi-Torque Publishing Co., Inc.: Page
31 October 1986. Archived from the original on 2010-08-14.
^ "Going Hollywood," Mountain & City Biking Magazine, April 1989
^ http://mountainbiketales.com/articles/patty0610.htm Mountain Bike
^ Coldwell, Will (April 12, 2012). "Who dares films: Why
extreme-sports fans love helmet-mounted cameras". The Independent.
^ Sports Video Innovations http://www.sportsvideoinnovations.com/
^ The Daily Dot "This hockey ref's helmet cam is the future of
televised sports" by Michelle Jaworski — Dec 23, 2013 at 2:47PM
^ Motor Racing, "
Helmet cam gives you driver's perspective of a lap at
the Nurburgring" By Samuel Reiman, May 20, 2016 at 10:49a ET
^ The Salt Lake Tribune, "College football:
Helmet cams could give
teams a new point of view" By Lya Wodraska The Salt Lake Tribune First
Published Aug 16 2015 10:54AM,
^ Nancy Gay, The Sentinel Staff, March 24, 1991
^ "Helmet-Cam History". Retrieved 16 August 2015.
^ Advertising Age "How
Nick Woodman Let Consumers Lead Him
to New Idea" By Ken Wheaton. Published on July 09, 2012
^ Yahoo Finance "From Surfer To Billionaire:
GoPro CEO Nick Woodman
Chats With Stephen Colbert" by Jason Shubnell, October 15, 2015
^ How Stuff Works "How
Helmet Cameras Work" by Alia Hoyt
^ "The Many Factors That Determine Video Quality". Archived from the
original on 2010-12-12.
Helmet Camera Videos Online".
^ "Spotlight on cyclists wearing Head Cameras".
^ "First conviction from traffic warden 'head-cams' as cyclist
threatens to 'behead' NCP car park attendant". Archived from the
original on 2011-07-08.
^ Olympia headcam:
Ben Maher in the Eraser Stakes. YouTube. 22
December 2011. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
^ http://www.ktvu.com/news/26895905/detail.html Menlo Park
Firefighters Start Using Unique
Helmet Cameras, February 16, 2011
^ dave statter. "Must see mayday video: Bedford, Virginia
firefighter's helmet-cam captures his fall from attic to basement".
Statter911. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
^ "Obama watched live video of bin Laden raid, U.S. official says".
CNN. May 20, 2011.
Royal Marine guilty of murder". BBC News. November 8, 2013.
^ Reuters, "
Helmet cam footage shows Islamic State in chaos," April
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Head cameras.
Dick Garcia wearing the first-known helmet camera at USGP race in
Carlsbad, CA, June 28, 1986, The Pits, Motocross Action Magazine,
Todd Campbell, Author of Beyond Slickrock, Rides With
Helmet Cam at
Slickrock, Moab, Utah, 1988
Helmet Cam Footage of Olympian
John Howard (cyclist)
John Howard (cyclist) Videotaped by
Mark Schulze, 2010
Helmet Cam Innovator Mark Schulze," by Patty Mooney, February 7, 2014
Helmet Camera Forum Website discussions for
Helmet Cam owners
"The Most Influential Gear of All Time," by Berne Broudy and Andrew
Freeman, Outside Magazine, May 21, 2012
Helmet Camera TV Website for
Helmet Camera Videos
"Caught on Camera" Outside Online
Helmet Cameras Work
Helmet Cam Inno