When I have been interested in action camera body mount, I had a lot of questions: how much should I spend, what additional accessories do I need, which models should I pay attention to, what mounting setup is the most convenient, etc. In this post, I’ll share my experience and give you some recommendations about best products in the market.
Best camera body mount setup
Action camera on the helmet
In terms of setup, helmet mounting is one of the best. On the helmet the camera works under far less vibration and gives a higher perspective shots. Nevertheless, it’s harder to assess, the unit has a tendency to move out of alignment and may get clonk by safety bars on the chairlifts.
Forehead helmet mount gives less wide point of view, but it is much easier to aim if you’re filming someone else. And you can point the camera a little down so it is tracking right in front of you. Most of my friends set their GoPro at the front, but there’s nothing stopping you to mount a it a bit further back, or even use two cameras and play around with both positions.
As an example, GoPro vented helmet mount has straps wrap around the vent openings in the bicycle helmet to position the camera and securely hold it in place. The rubber base on the bottom helps to snug the mount in place when pressure is applied the straps. The mount attaches easily, but can take a some time and efforts to to decide which hole locations work best. It’s a good choice, taking into account, that it costs less than the actual wrist strap.
Of course, the most reliable are the mounts that are designed as a part of the helmet. And these are usually cheaper than helmet+mount set. Mongoose bike helmet with GoPro mount is one of the well built and comfortable products. Embedded mount don’t close slots and allow air to flow through. The camera holder is made of hard plastic, and it serves as a stable platform for the better videos.
The chin mount is a common choice for the motorcycle action cameras. These mounts are easy, reliable, have a great angle and doesn’t stand out on the helmet. Chin mount also has very little to no drag at highway speeds, and you’re able to use your mirrors to check battery and recording status. The only downside is that the passenger will most likely need an overhead or side mount to avoid hitting the driver’s helmet or breaking the camera off the mount.
The common con of the helmet setup is it gives no perspective of gradient or speed, plus you don’t know how it affects the helmet and your head in the event of a crash. For example, chest or pool mount is much better for snowboard or ski and can provide some amusing footage. Nevertheless, helmet mounts may be quite useful for filming your children and family on the move if you’re following them.
Chest and shoulder action camera mount
In my experience, on a chest mount the camera bounces up and down a bit more than on the helmet. There are two reasons for this: the head is generally more stable in space due to the work of the neck and spine muscles.
Chest mount is good for motorcycling/bicycling. The choice of POV depends on whether you want capture straight ahead or you need to aim the camera with a head while riding. Кeeping the camera facing forward better conveys a sense of the route and the video does not jump right and left with the direction of the face, as if the camera were located on a helmet.
There are a lot of chest mounts on the market. As an example, official GoPro mount. Its stretchable fabric straps look like they will never lose its elasticity. The clips are tough, brackets and the mount are metal. There’s plenty of room to adjust the straps even for larger people. When mounting on the chest you can hear the on/off sound and see the indicator lights. In my opinion, it’s also safer from a crash than on a helmet mount. I fall lots and haven’t injured myself or lost the camera yet!
Shoulder mounted cameras give a better viewing angle. These usually have sturdy joints to keep your camera securely in place, and have a 360° rotating angle so that the camera can be turned around
For instance, Taisioner shoulder mount strap clamp is compatible with most of action cameras, including GoPro HERO 3-9, Xiaomi Yi, APEMAN, DJI OSMO ACTION and other. The camera on the mount can rotate 180° vertical and 360° horizontal. The strap allows free adjustment and is pleasant to the touch – good mount to try!
Tips and tricks
- Consider what the camera may do in a crash. Will it ram into your stomach/ribs/head? Anybody who had keys in the pocket and fell on it knows how nasty that can get. A selfie stick you just naturally drop in a crash and then it’s out of the way, may be it is safer in some cases.
- Try differently, may be use an accessory Kit or different types of action camera body mounts.
Neewer kit is an about $35 accessory pack that will give you a lot of options for experiments. It is compatible with most camera models, comes with straps for chest, head, and helmet for taking shots of skateboarding and parachuting, bungy jumping and surfing, etc. It also has a
wrist strap and floating handle grip. A handlebar mount fits bars of 0.75”–1.4” in diameter for bikes and motorbikes. Suction cup is useful for in-car footage. Selfie stick and flexible tripod are good for taking selfies and videos on the go, etc.
The choice of the camera mount should depend on the task. Helmet ones are the best when you need to make videos of your friends and family. Chest-mounts are good for fishing sessions, motorcycle and bicycle rides, etc. With shoulder and chest holders you’re more likely to record where you’re actually move. The accessories kits are good if you are not yet sure what you need and want to evaluate different approaches.