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I recently tested my GoPro Hero 3 for the first time during a run in the park using a helmet mounting. It's not bad footage but it's very 'bouncy'. I've been looking at a few options to stabilize the camera. There are some interesting steadicam options out there and some very fine DIY videos on YouTube. However most helmet-based steadicam solutions involve mounting the camera on a long pole which includes a counter weight.

I'm going to be running the Tough Mudder (http://www.toughmudder.com) soon and I don't think sticking the rig of a long pole will be particularly convienent, least of all for the other runners whom I might injure.

Is there an alternative steadicam-style helmet mounting that I could buy or make?

Thank you.

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3 Answers

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Unfortunately, the physics of a Steadycam require a counterweight (sometimes provided by springs) and distance to minimize the impact of movement by using the inertia of the system. The best you might be able to do in a small size would be a shock mount. If you had a power source, you could presumably put a small gyroscope in to try and further stabilize the rotation, but that would become pretty (very) expensive really fast.

A shock mount is probably your best option within a semi-affordable range and will deal with the actual movements forward and backward, up and down, etc, but not rotation. It does appear that people have made multi-axis gyro mounts that would work, but they've all been custom builds and the power and weight is still probably prohibitive to wearing it in a run. It would also still have to be shock mounted to account for lateral movements as the gyro would only deal with rotation.

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multi-rotor.co.uk/index.php?topic=213.0 <-- may link rot, but this has a do it yourself version that keeps the weight down pretty well. –  AJ Henderson Jul 17 '13 at 13:55
    
Thank you very much for your advice. I'll have a look into the shock mount solution. It might do the trick. I had always wondered if a full steadicam solution for a helmet was even possible. Again, thank you for your suggestion. Kind regards –  Adam C Jul 25 '13 at 14:23
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I would skip the wearing of rediculous hardwear on my head and just remove, or greatly lessen, the bounce using good image tracking software in post-production. Avid Media Composer handles this well. Adobe After Effects does it too. There a number of cheaper programs (including one offered by GoPro, I think) that may, or may not, do this well. Here's one: http://www.guthspot.se/video/deshaker.htm

Experiment!

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This works to an extent, but you can't overcome the loss of sharpness you get from motion blur when there is a bunch of motion in the video. It still normally looks ok after stabilization, but it isn't as good as avoiding the issue in the first place (though it is better than nothing when physical stabilization is prohibitively expensive or implausible. –  AJ Henderson Apr 1 at 17:10
    
All true. But a little motion-blur can be an asset when your subject is in motion! We even get it with our naked eyes when we go out for a run, so it's art's way of imitating life. –  Craig Apr 1 at 17:14
    
yes, but that's motion blur that moves in the direction of the subject. Motion blur moving in the wrong and rapidly changing directions when the subject doesn't appear to be moving is very disconcerting. –  AJ Henderson Apr 1 at 17:20
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How would a partial sphere (mounted to a tripod and camera) react if contained in another sphere (3/4 round with a thin rubber seal) and floated on a pool of oil? Would that produce a steady picture during motion?

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If you could make it truly frictionless then yes, this kind of a gimbal system would work to allow free rotation and help with rotational stability. Unfortunately, we do have friction, so we need either gyroscopes or extra weight to help counteract the force of friction on the system. Additionally, that won't deal with actual physical changes in position, just rotation. –  AJ Henderson Apr 1 at 16:24
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