Ever since I discovered Motovlogging, I’ve been intrigued and giving a lot of consideration to joining the ranks of Motorcycle Content Creators on YouTube. While the challenge of creating compelling content is very real – the bigger hurdle seemed to be how to implement the recording itself.
I have done quite a bit of research and there seems to be two popular options for recording – a helmet-mounted action camera or an all-in-one unit that handles both the video and audio recording without the need for adapters.
The staple setup among the Motovlogging community seems to be a helmet-mounted GoPro with an external microphone mounted inside the helmet. The benefit of this setup is a point of view directly in front of the rider with no obstructions. There are two main drawbacks to this setup – the first of which is that the GoPro requires a microphone adapter that will also need to be mounted to the helmet (for what it is – it is actually rather large). The second is that the camera is mounted along your chin which I’m afraid could obstruct venting and limit the field of view of the rider.
Despite the drawbacks, I find this setup to produce the best results in terms of video and audio quality. There are options to get around the bulky microphone adapter but that requires either an older Go Pro or a separate audio recorder that will require syncing in post production. Neither option is ideal and it seems that many Motovloggers simply deal with the microphone adapter.
Sena 10C EVO
Stepping away from the dedicated action camera realm, there are two options from Sena that act an all-in-one units. The Sena 10C Pro and new Sena 10C EVO. These two units serve as a mashup between an action camera and a Bluetooth communication device to give you the total package. The really convenient part of this setup is that it is multi-purpose. You can motovlog, you can talk with friends in a group ride, or you can do both at the same time (capturing the voices of everyone connected).
The Sena 10C EVO was the route I was gravitating towards for Motovlogging. The major selling point is that it is multi-purpose and would save me from buying a Go Pro, plus a Go Pro Mic Adapter, Plus a Lavalier Microphone, plus a Communication Device. When you add up all the components, the price is rather substantial.
The downside to the Sena is that battery life is reported to be abysmal. In addition, unless it is mounted far forward on the side of your helmet, you wind up blocking part of the shot. This problem is compounded if you have a helmet with a side actuated sunshade. I’m not thrilled with the field of view, however, I like the out-of-the-box color saturation of the Sena over the Go Pro.
Smart HJC 10A
Up until recently, my plan was to purchase a Sena 10C EVO for my initial Motovlog setup with the intention of switching to a GoPro down the line. It would save me the initial investment in all of the extras and I thought that I would make use of the Smart HJC Cutouts in my helmet (mounting locations and wire routing for the speakers and microphone).
On a whim, I decided to look up reviews on the Smart HJC communicators to see if it was worthwhile to go ahead with a GoPro instead then use the Smart HJC 10B or 20B as a communication device at a later time. This is when I stumbled onto the Smart HJC 10A. Unfortunately, this device doesn’t appear to be available yet but the commercial (below) and website gives a decent idea of what you can expect from this new piece of technology.
The Smart HJC 10A is produced by Sena, however, unlike the 10C EVO it doesn’t mount to the side of the helmet. Instead, the camera mounts to the top of the visor – giving you the same field of view as the Gro Pro without the on obstructions or added bulk of a microphone adapter.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to track down any reviews of this new device to see how it performs in real world applications. The teaser video is pure hype and tells you very little about the unit or how it functions. What I can see is that it looks ridiculous and is very Power Ranger-esque. I’ve watched the video several times and while I love the concept, I just can’t get behind the appearance. That isn’t to say that I wouldn’t buy one thought.
I like the location of the camera and the fact that it pivots is a big plus. I don’t quite understand the LED Lights, to be honest. I can’t tell if they are intended to illuminate your handlebars and/or display or if they were simply put there to make the unit look a little less like a tiara. If for nothing else, I think they will help you get noticed riding in dawn or dusk situations – adding to rider safety even if it wasn’t intentional.
As you may already know – I have an HJC F70 Helmet which is Smart HJC enabled. For that reason, if this unit is released at or around the same price as a Go Pro, I would take the chance and pick one up (Assuming that for the price it includes the communication device – which is missing from photos on the website). Looks aside, I think that The Smart HJC 10A has a lot of potential to be a one-stop solution to someone trying to get into Motovlogging.
I think it is safe to assume that if you are reading this blog post, you are either a Motovlogger or someone looking to get into to Motovlogging. I would appreciate your input – what type of setup would you go with if you were strictly planning on starting with a single POV Camera?