The helmet cam war is heating up. This latest crop of HD wearable camcorders, is no doubt the most user friendly, durable, and feature packed line of cameras that the consumer market has ever seen, but they all lack one crucial feature: screens. One of the most difficult parts of using a helmet camera, is trying to avoid aiming the camera so that you aren’t left with 45 minutes of footage staring at the ground or up at the sky. Without a reference as to what you are actually filming, a lot of times you get home and download your rad footage only to realize you framed the scene so that your buddy doing that crazy drop is missing his head. Don’t fret, help is on the way!
The add on screen revolution started when Contour dropped a bomb recently, after informing the public that any Contour HD GPS camera, was fitted with a secret Blue tooth chip that would allow users to broadcast footage from their camera directly to their smart phone. Pretty sweet, but it still has it’s ups and downs. This implies that users would require a smart phone with a Blue tooth connection that they would be willing to take with them on whatever adventure they are filming. The upside is that with the camera positioned somewhere awkward, like on top of your helmet, you would be able to aim the camera properly while looking at your phone.
GoPro has chosen to go a different route and offer an LCD screen directly on the back of the camera. While the knowledge of the introduction of a screen is nothing new, as they have been talking about it for months, Engadget’s coverage of the new screens at CES means they’re finally getting ready for their release to the public!
What does the screen mean for battery life? How does it attach? Find out after the break!
Dubbed the BacPack by GoPro, the new screen simply plugs into the expansion slot on the back of current GoPro HD Hero cameras. Yes, unfortunately the new BacPacks are only compatible with the highest end GoPro HD Hero. While the other cameras are amazingly capable for those on a budget, they will miss out on the screen and the battery BacPack due to the lack of an expansion slot.
Wait, battery BacPack? Yup, if you feel that you would rather have the ability to film for twice as long and forgo the new screen, the new battery BacPack has you covered. Occupying the same space and attachment of the LCD BacPack, the battery will effectively double (at least) the total filming time. Add in a 16 or 32 gb SD card, and you could film 2+ hours of adventure without stopping, all in glorious HD.
Of course, with added bulk to the back of the camera, the waterproof housing needs to change, but only the rear door is modified. The new bump out will accommodate both BacPacks, keeping them dry and protected, while it should still allow for easy removal and installation of the old door if you choose to run your GoPro without a backpack.
Pricing and availability are TBD, but once it’s available we’ll let you know!