GoPro mounts - The chest mount - Part 1 of 2

Dec 8, 2010 at 0:05
Dec 8, 2010
by Lee Lau  
 
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You've seen it before. Yet another POV video... It is so easy to be lazy and just throw them together, I admit guilt, but it can be so easy to put together creative video using some different perspectives. GoPro's POV cameras have what are generally acknowledged to have the best mounts in its class. The popularity of the GoPro POV cameras have resulted in interesting mounting ideas using not just the GoPro mounts, but many refined and not-so-refined garage-engineered third party mounts.

Part 1 of this two part series will explore some mounting options for the GoPro with an emphasis on the chest mount and hopefully give you some ideas on how to shoot creative video. Part 2 will discuss more esoteric mount options.




GoPro chest and helmet mount


Two different helmet mounts on a full-face helmet (Picture courtesy of Watermarks Online). The most common mounts for the GoPro are the helmet mount and the chest mount. GoPro recommends those mounts and they work well for biking.   I  won't talk about the conventional forward-looking helmet mount as the GoPro site and manuals already discuss them in some detail and almost every GoPro bike footage you see will have helmet cam.
Two different helmet mounts on a full-face helmet (Picture courtesy of Watermarks Online). The most common mounts for the GoPro are the helmet mount and the chest mount. GoPro recommends those mounts and they work well for biking. I won't talk about the conventional forward-looking helmet mount as the GoPro site and manuals already discuss them in some detail and almost every GoPro bike footage you see will have helmet cam.
GoPro vented helmet mount works on XC lids and skate lids with vents (picture from Gramslightbikes.com). You'll get a vented helmet strap mount if you bought the GoPro HD Helmet Hero or you can buy it is as an accessory ($ 14.99). That vented helmet strap works on any lid with vents.  Sticky pads work on full-face helmets or skate lids without vents. You can buy a chest mount harness ($ 39.99 ) or make one yourself using the instructions I provide later in the article. Getting these mounts gives you an entry into the world of POV video.
GoPro vented helmet mount works on XC lids and skate lids with vents (picture from Gramslightbikes.com). You'll get a vented helmet strap mount if you bought the GoPro HD Helmet Hero or you can buy it is as an accessory ($ 14.99). That vented helmet strap works on any lid with vents. Sticky pads work on full-face helmets or skate lids without vents. You can buy a chest mount harness ($ 39.99 ) or make one yourself using the instructions I provide later in the article. Getting these mounts gives you an entry into the world of POV video.
The standard GoPro chest mount - $ 39.99.  These have the extra arms that come with the HD Helmet Hero on the chest mount built as an extension (photo from gramslightbikes.com). The chest mount shows the hands, stem and wheel of the rider.  The helmet mount shows a portion of the helmet and doesn't show the bike unless you point it down, which usually means you don't get to see all of the trail in front of you.   The chest mount involves the person watching the video as you get the POV of the person filming.  The helmet mount tends to remove you from the action.  What mount you prefer is subjective to personal preference.
The standard GoPro chest mount - $ 39.99. These have the extra arms that come with the HD Helmet Hero on the chest mount built as an extension (photo from gramslightbikes.com). The chest mount shows the hands, stem and wheel of the rider. The helmet mount shows a portion of the helmet and doesn't show the bike unless you point it down, which usually means you don't get to see all of the trail in front of you. The chest mount involves the person watching the video as you get the POV of the person filming. The helmet mount tends to remove you from the action. What mount you prefer is subjective to personal preference.


Setting up the chest mount properly


I often see videos featuring the chest mount which are pretty shaky or are poorly composed (usually too much bike and not enough trail). Here are some tips on how to correct this.

• To get the correct filming position the GoPro should be almost pointing at your chin when you're standing straight up. Remember that you are riding downhill and that the rider ahead will be below you - adjust the GoPro accordingly. Usually if you think the camera's pointing too high, then that's probably the correct position. It also helps if you position the GoPro pretty high up on your chest.

• If you have the extra arms that come with the HD Helmet Hero use those extra arms and you can extend the camera a bit further away from your chest so you can get the correct upwards tilt and mount the GoPro right side up (see picture below). If you don't have any extra arms you might have to flip the GoPro upside down so that you can tilt it upward enough to get a good camera filming angle.

• Tighten the strap on the chest mount so it doesn't move around. If your pack has a sternum strap put that strap under the GoPro chest mount plate . It keeps the strap from flapping in front of the lens and also helps keep the camera from being knocked around or creeping down your chest

• Be sure to check that your Camelbak hose or pack straps aren't flapping away in front of the stem.

Proper inclination of the chest mount if you're riding downhill - it should look like the camera's pointing at your chin.  This has the GoPro mounted upside down.   Use the UPD camera feature or flip the video in your software to get the footage right side up.  Picture from
Proper inclination of the chest mount if you're riding downhill - it should look like the camera's pointing at your chin. This has the GoPro mounted upside down. Use the UPD camera feature or flip the video in your software to get the footage right side up. Picture from "varaxis" via mtbr.com
I tilted the camera a bit to show the sternum strap position; note that it goes over the GoPro chest mount plate.  Tightening the strap secures the chest mount which helps a ton with video quality.
I tilted the camera a bit to show the sternum strap position; note that it goes over the GoPro chest mount plate. Tightening the strap secures the chest mount which helps a ton with video quality.


Setting up the reverse chest mount


This is a stable mount that works well for filming someone chasing you down. It will work when you're wearing a pack but only on low profile packs (the camera will sit awry on big packs). It will also work on someone with a huge chest or if the rider is wearing body armour as it's then possible to get the chest mount tight enough so that it's stable. All you have to do is flip the chest mount in reverse and wear it so the camera is pointing backwards. If you're wearing a pack, the pack actually seems to absorb some vibration and impact so that the footage is relatively smooth. The fisheye wide-angle also amplifies the feeling of speed.

• Ensure that any dangly pack bits aren’t in front of the camera lens.

• I found that the best position is somewhere in the mid-point of the pack. Too high and you’ll see the pack itself. Too low and the chest mount straps will constrict your neck. You should loosen the shoulder straps if you’ve been using the Chest Mount conventionally as it’ll be a tight fit worn over a pack You should cinch the chest strap part of the mount as tight as possible.

• On most packs, the camera should be perpendicular to the pack and then inclined about 5 to 10 degrees from perpendicular towards your head. When you’re standing up it’ll look like you’re taking pictures of the ground. However, when you’re riding downhill and it’s steep and the person you’re filming is behind you, then the angle will be perfect. Resist the inclination to tilt the camera forward. As always ask the person riding behind you to check camera angle.

• This works best if you have straps on your pack that allow you to cinch the chest mount down tight. It also works well if you're a big guy as you'll be able to get the reverse chest mount suitably tight.

Chest-mount on a pack filming backwards
Chest-mount on a pack filming backwards



Here's a video that shows a properly setup forward and reverse chest-mount

Views: 23,793    Faves: 9    Comments: 8




How to make the head strap mount into a chest mount

Because I'm a cheapskate, and because I like monkeying around with tape and webbing, I took the GoPro headband elastic mount (which I've never used) and made it into a chest mount. Skip this part if you'd prefer to pay the $ 39.99 for the chest mount or if you don't appreciate ghetto engineering.

• I cut the elastic piece which goes around your head when you're wearing this contraption as a headband mount into two. I then joined the pieces together with fastex buckles that you can buy from any outdoor store (buckles cost me $ 0.75). This will now go around your chest. Trust me - you'll be able to put this on and take it off a lot easier if you go through this step.

• You now need something to go over your shoulders. I took off the elasticized one-piece webbing that would normally go over your head. I then bought a ring from that same outdoor store ($ 0.25) and some webbing (about a meter length did the trick, $ 1.30 - I bought the good stuff), then I taped the webbing together into a shoulder harness. It doesn't need to be super-nice as it's not taking a load (the elasticized chest strap should take most of the load). It just needs to work. Pictures below will show more details of this bastardized creation and how the two pieces of webbing are attached to the rear.

Here is the finished chest mount once the headband mount is converted.   The GoPro headband elastic mount was cut in half and joined with buckles. Note that I've mounted the GoPro upside down so its the right angle
Here is the finished chest mount once the headband mount is converted. The GoPro headband elastic mount was cut in half and joined with buckles. Note that I've mounted the GoPro upside down so its the right angle
Here is the homebrew chestmount from the rear. It looks like the kind of braces your grand-dad might wear.  The buckle on the lowest strap ($ 0.25) lets you tighten the two shoulder straps. The ring just splits the shoulder straps so that you can put one strap around each shoulder.
Here is the homebrew chestmount from the rear. It looks like the kind of braces your grand-dad might wear. The buckle on the lowest strap ($ 0.25) lets you tighten the two shoulder straps. The ring just splits the shoulder straps so that you can put one strap around each shoulder.



If you want to treat yourself to the real meal deal buy the GoPro HD Helmet Hero HD via the Pinkbike store
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47 Comments

  • + 6
 My chest harness made with part of GoPro box (packaging), dirt helmet mount and 2 rubber strips.
img830.imageshack.us/img830/4661/jawszlkachgopro1.jpg
img829.imageshack.us/img829/5053/jawszlkachgopro2.jpg
img682.imageshack.us/img682/650/jawszlkachgopro3.jpg
Works nearly perfect. Probably switch horizontal rubber strip for something non elastic for the next season.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLl_Cq9wSP8
www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WScUMqIQCM
  • + 1
 AWESOME~!! So creative
  • + 1
 Seriously, good work.
  • + 1
 That is fantastic. Going to do that for sure!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Nice overview. Looking foreward to other mounting options you came up with. I'm using the bar and frame mounts that allow for a lot of funky angles.
Maybe something to add to the next part is that if you want to use the camera upside down without having to rotate the video afterwards, you can give the camera a Firmware update (see gopro website, support section). This gives you the option to record upside down. Can help if your editing software doesn't support rotating the footage.
  • + 1
 Faab - thanks for mentioning that.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Think about making own chest mount with use of vented helmet mount. Use some webbing, buckles etc so you can mount/umount vented helmet mount on it.
I'm thinking about something like that. I'll try to post it if it'll be done (maybe before christmas Wink
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Hi Lee,

Thanks for this review (& your a href="http://www.feedthehabit.com/outdoors/the-definitive-gopro-pov-video-camera-review/">original GoPro review/A>, which was very helpful when I first bought mine with Chesty back in summer-'09)...

Lately I'm having a bit of trouble figuring out how to comfortably & adequately use Chesty together with Leatte brace. Need more trial & error on that, but I'm instead using helmet-cam when with Leatte thus far.

By the way, just to share a great a href="http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?p=5938596">full-face helmet-mount mod/a> (not originally my idea)...

Looking forward to your "part 2".
Cheers!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Cameras are everywhere now days, its pretty cool being able to see all these different angles. i wonder when someone will just build one directly into a helmet... on a side note anyone see tha barbie that had a camera in it which the fbi put out a warning for?
  • + 1
 There was a TV program here in the UK that featured that weird barbie camera... what's the FBI put the warning out about it for, apart from the fact it's just weird and wrong!? Smile

Favourite mount is definitely chest mount, so much more involving, but like the rearward view when there's someone following as well, gives a great perspective and involvement in the video.
  • + 2
 the FBI warning was put because apparently there was a scare that pedophiles would use it... Anyway, i've never used a go pro chest mount do they get uncomfortable because i am seriously considering getting one
  • + 4
 Not uncomfy. I don't even feel it's there.

This point of view is one selling point of the GoProHD. You should try it out and once you figure out the angle, it gives you one more angle to keep your videos interesting--videos that follow 1 PoV all the way through tend to be more boring, IMO.

Too bad the GoProHD itself kind of blows. It clacks; the video shakes too much; its auto exposure is too sensitive to bright light (whole video darkens if the sun is in the frame or you have a light with a bright spot); the video clarity could be lots better. The auto-exposure is the thing that bugs me the most, since there's no fix for it that I know of. The clacking can be fixed by making the sliding clip fit more securely onto the mount--like clipping your shirt into the mount or adding tape to the underside to pad it. There's deshaker, mercalli and other programs to get rid of shake digitally. Video clarity is decent enough for sharing online.

The DriftHD has better video quality, especially around changing light conditions. It just doesn't have all the mounting options.
  • + 1
 hmm thanks for the info maybe ill get one soon just need to save up
  • + 3
 What do you guys think of my POV montage all from my go pro? www.pinkbike.com/video/168000 its got dub step!
  • + 2
 Lol that's not dubstep.^
  • + 1
 has anybody tried mounting a gopro to their leatt? i would think it would be pretty similar to a chesty mount.
  • + 1
 Or use the adhesive mount (flat or curved depends) and slap that on a chest protector.
  • + 1
 sheffy7, it's not uncomfortable but needs to be done tight to stop it bouncing. As the straps are elastic, if it's too loose the problems are compounded by the elasticity of the straps that end up with the GoPro bouncing around like a hamster on a hot plate. I've also found my GoPro over sensitive to bright light, but only since upgrading the firmware, was great before. Still love it though. varaxis is right, the DriftHD is actually better quality video, more realistic colors etc but not the same variation of mounts and I find the GoPro pretty handy for the timelapse photos etc. Whichever you choose you won't be disappointed, watching your own and others POV vids is always fun! Smile
  • + 2
 If your a propper cheapscate, on the head strap, just cut the top strap down the middle (for your head to go through) sew a cross at ether end to stop it riping any more and melt then sew down the cut edges to stop it fraying. Works perfectly iv just done it, it does look a mess but it does the job. ( yeh i sewed it, im not scared Wink )
  • + 1
 CHris - you win! Or you can just gorilla tape to stop it ripping. THe black tape makes it look a bit less ghetto unless you are trying to make it look ghetto
  • + 1
 i just had flashbacks of ride to the hills from the beat in that video
  • + 1
 Whys the video so dang blurry?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 OMG Lee, you are indeed a cheapskate! Making homemade chesty from the headband mount. If you mount the chesty high enough, you don't need to point to too high, specially most downhill bikes are fairly upright, unless you ride in tucked down position all the time. Check out some of my vids in profile, they're all shot using GoProHD.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Put a Sticky Mount on the Back-Plate for faster removal.



http://www.pinkbike.com/photo/8444494/
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Read this this morning and decided to improvise (I don't have a GoPro). Stuck my digi camera on my front with a belt and inner tube then rode to work - it's minus 10 celcius! Worked pretty good - check out sunny Glasgow in the snow:
www.pinkbike.com/video/172635
[Reply]
  • + 1
 As mentioned in the above the go pro works great, as long as your can keep it from vibrating or shaking, tightly mounted it really plays back smooth! My favorite angle it upside down on the handle bars, and under the seat, both forward and reverse, it makes your back tyre look hella moto!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 i also modified the head strap so i can use it as a chest strap but i didn't do a good job. good for him. i ended up buying the chest strap eventually, hehe. i guess im pretty dumb with DYIs.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I find I get a perfect view just mounting my gopro straight to the chesty and tilting it back as far as it will go. I dont need to mount it upside down or use the extra arms. Chesty is my favorite, for biking and skiing.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Pinkbike should do a feature on how to do a good DIY job on a setup like this : www.pinkbike.com/photo/5888266
  • + 1
 reebs - watch for part 2. You are a mind-reader
  • + 1
 cheers leelau, this is a great article and i look forward to part 2.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 I love my Contour Hd, but think Go Pro pro have far better mounts..
[Reply]
  • + 1
 My mom decided to be awesome and bought two GoProHDs, I am so stoked for next season! Move aside winter D:
[Reply]
  • + 1
 www.pinkbike.com/video/172504 my attempt of a camera on bike bars.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 turned my headstrap into a chest mount just gotta try the go pro upside down on it. cheers lee
  • + 2
 you can be even more ghetto and just stretch the headstrap over your body and you get a pretty decent chest mount too it works just as good as the regular chest mount and you dont end up wrecking your headstrap mount
  • + 1
 HA nice I do the same thing with mine!
  • + 1
 Nice job London! I like ghetto solutions (ghetto is a compliment to me btw). Only problem is that once you do that its usually too stretched to use as a headband but I don't think that;s a huge problem because I've never used it as a headband anyway.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 good work, have just ordered the HD with chest mount so this article will be useful.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Your Link to the Pinkbike Store is no longer Valid .
[Reply]
  • + 1
 how does the chest mount go with a leatt neck brace??
  • + 2
 No problem at all. The two shoulder straps of the chest mount tuck slightly under the leatt, further stabilizing the camera.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 ANy onenow how to make a contour chest mount?
  • + 1
 ya but it wont be in the center.. just use the goggle mount and a tensor bandage.
  • + 1
 I've tried that Kenny. The problem is that if you're wearing a jersey or t-shirt then you'll have flapping clothes and your arm in the way. If you're wearing tight lycra then it might work but then... you're wearing tight lycra (NTIAWWT). If you're interested I'll stick up a video of the results
[Reply]

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